As we enter a new decade our critics Mark Ludmon, Julian Eaves, Ray Rackham and Editor Douglas Mayo were asked to select the musicals that they felt earned a place on the Top 10 list of new musicals for the decade 2010-2019.
It was an interesting process, with each of the contributors being passionate fans of musical theatre. A few basic criteria were laid down prior to the discussion:-
1. The musical must have opened after 1 January 2010 in its original production either on Broadway or in London's West End;
2. Jukebox musicals were not considered not were musicals based on animated films. Revivals or revisals of musicals were not admissible.
It was interesting to note that several shows were named and acclaimed by all four panellists and that selections made did not necessarily reflect the overall box office or critical success of the shows selected.
We'd love to hear your thoughts on the following selection.
First performance – 18 December 2017
Six the musical features book, music and lyrics by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss. From Tudor Queens to Pop Princesses, the six wives of Henry VIII take to the mic to tell their tales, remixing five hundred years of historical heartbreak into a 75-minute celebration of 21st-century girl power. The musical has been a popular hit and continues to run at the Arts Theatre in London's West End, on tour around the UK and on Broadway, Edmonton, Australia and around the USA.
9. Groundhog Day
First performance – 16 August 2016
Groundhog Day is a musical comedy based on the 1993 film with a book by Danny Rubin and music and lyrics by Tim Minchin. The musical had its world premiere at The Old Vic Theatre, London where it won the 2017 Olivier Award for Best Musical and Best Actor In A Musical (Andy Karl) before opening on Broadway in April 2017.
8. The Bridges Of Madison County
First Performance – 20 February 2014
Based on the novel of the same name by Robert James Waller, with a book by Marsha Norman and music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown who won the 2014 Tony Award for Best Original Score and Best Orchestrations. Trevor Nunn directed the European production at the Menier Chocolate Factory, London in 2019.
7. The Scottsboro Boys
First performance – 7 October 2010
The Scottsboro Boys has a book by David Thompson, music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb. Staged within the framework of a minstrel show with alterations made to alow a musical social critique, the company (except for one) consisted entirely of African-American performers. The Scottsboro Boys tells the true story of nine boys wrongly convicted of rape in 1931. The musical received twelve Tony Award nominations and was staged in London in 2013 at the Young Vic, before moving to the Garrick Theatre in the West End in 2014.
6. Fun Home
First performance – 30 September 2013
Fun Home is a musical adapted by Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori from Alison Bechdel's 2006 graphic memoir of the same name. Told through a series of non-linear vignettes connected by narration provided by the adult Alison character. Fun Home won the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best Musical, and four 2015 Tony Awards including Best Musical. Fun Home played at the Young Vic Theatre in London in 2018.
5. The Book Of Mormon
First performance – 24 March 2011
The Book Of Mormon has music, lyrics and book Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone. Receiving incredible reviews from the press it has become one of the most successful musicals of all time. On Broadway, it became the 14th Longest Running show on 27 July 2019. Directed by Trey Parker and Co-Directed and Choreographed by Casey Nicholaw, The Book Of Mormon won nine 2011 Tony Awards including Best Musical, five 2011 Drama Desk Awards including Oustanding Musical, four Outer Critics Circle Awards, and four 2014 Olivier Awards including Best Musicals. It continues to run at London's Prince Of Wales Theatre, on tour around the UK and on Broadway.
First Performance -6 December 2011
Based on 2007 film of the same name by John Carney, Once features songs by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová with a book by Enda Walsh. Once won eight 2012 including Best Musical, Best Actor and Best Book. Once also won the 2012 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Musical and the 2013 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theatre Album. Once the musical was significant for its innovative staging with direction by John Tiffany and movement direction by Steven Hoggett. Once is touring the UK in 2020.
3. Come From Away
First performance – 29 May 2015
With book, music and lyrics by Irene Sankoff and David Hein, Come From Away tells a story of how the days post 9/11 affected the small town of Gander, Newfoundland as planes were diverted following the closure of US Air Space leaving 7000 passengers stranded. Critically acclaimed, Come From Away is a musical full of heart, compassion, humanity and leaves audiences feeling that there is hope and kindness in a world where perhaps we had diminished hope. At the 2017 Tony Awards it was nominated for seven awards winning one for Best Direction for Christopher Ashley, Three Drama Desk Awards including Outstanding Musical and four 2019 Olivier Awards including Best New Musical. Come From Away is now playing at the Phoenix Theatre, London and on Broadway.
First performance – 17 February 2015
Hamilton is a musical inspired by the 2004 biography Alexander Hamilton by historian Ron Chernow with music, lyrics and book by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Drawing heavily from R & B, pop, soul and hip-hop Hamilton tells the story of the American founding fathers and the remarkable story of the life of one Alexander Hamilton who features on the American $10 bill. The show won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for drama, Eight Drama Desk Awards, Eleven Tony Awards including the award for Best Musical and seven Olivier Awards in 2018, including Best Musical. Hamilton is currently playing at the Victoria Palace Theatre, London and on Broadway.
First performance – 9 December 2010
Based on the 1988 children's novel of the same name by Roald Dahl, Matilda the musical is adapted by Dennis Kelly, with music and lyrics by Tim Minchin. Matilda won seven 2012 Olivier Awards including Best Musical, holding the record for most Olivier awards won by a musical, tying with Hamilton in 2018. At the 2013 Tony Awards, Matilda won five awards including Best Book Of A Musical. Presented in association with the Royal Shakespeare Company, Matilda has played in countries around the world bringing Dahl's colourful characters to life and starting the careers of some incredible young performers who blew our minds. Matilda is currently playing at the Cambridge Theatre, London.
What are your thoughts on our selection for the Top 10 New Musicals of the decade 2010-2019?