- May 2020
Assassins is a musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by John Weidman, based on an idea by Charles Gilbert, Jr. It uses the premise of a murderous carnival game to produce a revue-style portrayal of men and women who attempted to assassinate Presidents of the United States. The music varies to reflect the popular music of the eras depicted.
The musical first opened Off-Broadway in 1990, and the 2004 Broadway production won five Tony Awards.
- March 2020
West Side Story is an American musical with a book by Arthur Laurents, music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, and conception and choreography by Jerome Robbins. It was inspired by William Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet.
The story is set in the East 40s and West 50s of the Upper West Side neighborhood in New York City in the mid-1950s, an ethnic, blue-collar neighborhood. The musical explores the rivalry between the Jets and the Sharks, two teenage street gangs of different ethnic backgrounds. The members of the Sharks from Puerto Rico are taunted by the Jets, a Polish-American working-class group. The young protagonist, Tony, one of the Jets, falls in love with Maria, the sister of Bernardo, the leader of the Sharks. The dark theme, sophisticated music, extended dance scenes, and focus on social problems marked a turning point in American musical theatre. Bernstein's score for the musical includes "Something's Coming", "Maria", "America", "Somewhere", "Tonight", "Jet Song", "I Feel Pretty", "A Boy Like That", "One Hand, One Heart", "Gee, Officer Krupke", and "Cool".
- February 2020
The Rocky Horror Show is a musical with music, lyrics and a book by Richard O'Brien. A humorous tribute to the science fiction and horror B movies of the late 1940s through early 1970s, the musical tells the story of a newly engaged couple getting caught in a storm and coming to the home of a mad transvestite scientist unveiling his new creation, a muscle man named Rocky Horror.
Produced and directed by Jim Sharman, the original London production of the musical premiered at the Royal Court Theatre on 19 June 1973 before moving to several other locations and closing on 13 September 1980, running for a total of 2,960 performances and winning the 1973 Evening Standard Award for Best Musical. Its 1974 debut in the US in Los Angeles had a successful 9 month run but its 1975 Broadway debut lasted only 3 previews and 45 showings despite gaining 1 Tony nomination and 3 Drama Desk nominations. Various international productions have since spanned across 6 of the world's continents as well as West End and Broadway revivals and 8 UK tours.
The musical has since developed a cult following and was also adapted into the 1975 film The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which today has a worldwide cult following and has the longest-running release in film history. The musical was ranked 8th in a BBC Radio 2 listener poll of the "Nation's Number One Essential Musicals".
- November 2019
Pippin is a musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and a book by Roger O. Hirson. Bob Fosse, who directed the original Broadway production, also contributed to the libretto. The musical uses the premise of a mysterious performance troupe, led by a Leading Player, to tell the story of Pippin, a young prince on his search for meaning and significance.
The protagonist, Pippin, and his father, Charlemagne, derive their characters from two real-life individuals of the early Middle Ages, though the plot presents very little historical accuracy regarding either. The show was partially financed by Motown Records. As of July 2011, Pippin is the 31st longest-running Broadway show. Pippin was originally conceived by Stephen Schwartz as Pippin, Pippin, a student musical performed by Carnegie Mellon's Scotch'n'Soda theatre troupe.
According to musical theatre scholar Scott Miller in his 1996 book, From Assassins to West Side Story, "Pippin is a largely under-appreciated musical with a great deal more substance to it than many people realize...Because of its 1970s pop style score and a somewhat emasculated licensed version for amateur productions, which is very different from the original Broadway production, the show now has a reputation for being merely cute and harmlessly naughty; but if done the way director Bob Fosse envisioned it, the show is surreal and disturbing." Ben Vereen won a Tony Award for his portrayal of the Leading Player in the original Broadway production.
- November 2019
Spring Awakening is a rock musical with music by Duncan Sheik and a book and lyrics by Steven Sater. It is based on the controversial German play Spring Awakening by Frank Wedekind which was banned in Germany for some time due to its frank portrayal of abortion, homosexuality, rape, child abuse and suicide. Set in late-19th century Germany, the musical tells the story of teenagers discovering the inner and outer tumult of sexuality. In the musical, alternative rock is employed as part of the folk-infused rock score.
Following its conception in the late 1990s and various workshops, concerts, rewrites and its Off-Broadway debut, the original Broadway production of Spring Awakening opened at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre on December 10, 2006. Its cast included Jonathan Groff, Lea Michele and John Gallagher, Jr. whilst its creative team embodied director Michael Mayer and choreographer Bill T. Jones. The original Broadway production won 8 Tony Awards, including Tonys for Best Musical, Direction, Book, Score and Featured Actor. The production also garnered 4 Drama Desk Awards whilst its original cast album received a Grammy Award.
The success of the Broadway production has spawned several other productions worldwide, including various US productions, a short West End production that won 4 Laurence Olivier Awards including Best Musical, and a series of international productions.
- November 2019
Damn Yankees is a musical comedy with a book by George Abbott and Douglass Wallop and music and lyrics by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross. The story is a modern retelling of the Faust legend set during the 1950s in Washington, D.C., during a time when the New York Yankees dominated Major League Baseball. The musical is based on Wallop's novel The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant.
Damn Yankees ran for 1,019 performances in its original 1955 Broadway production. Adler and Ross's success with The Pajama Game and Damn Yankees seemed to point to a bright future for them, but Ross suddenly died of chronic bronchiectasis, at the age of twenty-nine, a few months after Damn Yankees opened.
- May 2019
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is a 1979 musical thriller with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and libretto by Hugh Wheeler. The musical is based on the 1973 play Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street by Christopher Bond. Set in 19th century England, the musical tells the story of Benjamin Barker, aka Sweeney Todd, who returns to London after 15 years' transportation on trumped-up charges. When he finds out that his wife poisoned herself after being raped by the judge who transported him, he vows revenge on the judge and, later, the whole world. He teams up with a piemaker, Mrs. Lovett, and opens a barbershop in which he slits the throats of customers and has them baked into pies.
Sweeney Todd opened on Broadway in 1979 and in the West End in 1980. In addition to several revivals the musical has been presented by opera companies. It won the Tony Award for Best Musical and Olivier Award for Best New Musical.
- March 2019
Sister Act is a musical written by Cheri Steinkellner and Bill Steinkellner with additional book material by Douglas Carter Beane, with lyrics by Glenn Slater and music by Alan Menken. It is based on the hit 1992 film comedy of the same name. The 2009 West End production was produced by Stage Entertainment, Whoopi Goldberg, and Michael Reno for Sis Acts LLC. Goldberg is also a producer of the 2011 Broadway adaptation.