We’re now half-way through this vast array of fantastic musicals. For everyone who took part in this poll, we have to say you’ve got great taste. This next set of musicals are a mixture of timeless classics and modern pop scores. It’s been interesting for us to look at just how quickly some of these more modern scores have entrenched themselves as favourites amongst musical lovers.
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50. Seven Brides For Seven Brothers
Written as a motion picture musical, Seven Brides For Seven Brothers burst onto the big screen in 1954. Based on Stephen Vincent Benét’s The Sobbin’ Women, which was based on the ancient Roman legend The Rape Of The Sabine Women, Seven Brides For Seven Brothers had music by Saul Chaplin and Gene de Paul and lyrics by Johnny Mercer. Directed by Stanley Donen, the film featured the choreography of Michael Kidd. The film was nominated for five Academy Awards that year winning for Best Scoring of a Motion Picture.
49. Next To Normal
Next To Normal begin life as a 10-minute workshop sketch about a woman undertaking electroshock therapy entitled Feeling Electric. Next To Normal features book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey and music by Tom Kitt and is the story of a suburban mother who struggles with a bipolar disorder and how the attempts to alleviate it affect her family. The show debuted on Broadway in 2008, opening on Broadway in April 2009. With a cast including Alice Ripley, J. Robert Spencer, Jennifer Damiano, Aaron Tveit, Adam Chanier-Berat and Louis Hobson, Next To Normal was nominated for elevn2009 Tony Awards, winning three for Best Original Score, Best Orchestration and Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical for Alice Ripley. The show also won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize For Drama.
48. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang started life as a children’s story by James Bond author Ian Fleming, before being adapted into a motion picture musical. Billed as “the most fantasmagorical musical entertainment in the history of everything!”, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang features songs written by Richard M and Robert B Sherman, with script written by Roald Dahl and Ken Hughes. Starring Dick Van Dyke, Sally Ann Howes, Lionel Jeffries, James Robertson Justice and Robert Helpmann as the infamous Childcatcher.
Chess is a musical with music by Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus of ABBA fame, and lyrics by Tim Rice . Following in the footsteps of Tim’s previous shows Jesus Christ Superstar and Evita, Chess was released in concept album format first to familiarise the public with the music from the show and to help raise funds for production. Set against the politics of the Cold War, Chess is the story of two men – an American Chess grandmaster and a Society grandmaster – and their fight over a woman who manages on and falls in love with the other. The show opened in 1984 running for three years, whilst the Broadway production, substantially re-written opened in 1988 closing a few months later. The score remains a firm favourite with musical lovers.
46. Fiddler On The Roof
Based on the tales of Sholem Aleichem, Fiddler On The Foor has music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick and book by Joseph Stein. Set in Imperial Russia in 1905, it tells the story of Tevye and his Daughters. Originally directed and choreographed by Jerome Robbins, Fiddler On The Roof opened on Broadway in 1964 and became the first musical to surpass 3000 performances, holding the record as longest-running Broadway musical for 10 years until surpassed by Grease. Fiddler won nine Tony Awards, including Best Musical, score, book, direction and choreography, has been revived numerous times, adapted for film in 1971 and is performed continually around the world.
45. Sunset Boulevard
Based on Billy Wilder’s classic film of the same name Sunset Boulevard has book and lyrics by Don Black and Christopher Hampton and music by Andrew Lloyd Webber. It tells the story of Norma Desmond, a faded silent film star, who encounters a young screenwriter called Joe Gillis, who assists her in making a comeback with tragic consequences. The show opened in London in 1993 and enjoyed long runs internationally. The Broadway production was nominated for 12 Tony Awards winning 8 including Best Musical, Best Score and Book, and Best Leading Actress for Glenn Close. Close returned to the character of Norma Desmond in 2016 at the Coliseum Theatre in London.
44. Spring Awakening
Based on the German play of the same name by Frank Wedekind, the musical version of Spring Awakening features a rock score by Duncan Sheik with book and lyrics by Steven Sater. It concerns itself with coming of age and issues of teenage sexuality. Opening on Broadway in 2006, the show’s cast included Lea Michele, Jonathan Groff and John Gallagher Jr. The production won 8 Tony awards including Best Musical, Direction, Book and Score. Its 2015 Broadway revival a further 3 Tony Award nominations. The show’s West End production won four Olivier Awards including Best Musical. The trailer shown features Deaf West’s production of Spring Awakening which recently had a highly-acclaimed season Broadway.
43. Funny Girl
Opening on Broadway in 1964, Funny Girl is the musical that made Barbra Streisand a bona fide star. Telling the story of Fanny Brice, the musical had music by Jules Styne, lyrics by Bob Merrill and book by Isobel Lennart. The production was nominated for eight Tony Awards, but won none. The musical was subsequently turned into a film starring Streisand and Omar Sharif. Streisand won the Academy Award for Best Actress. Following a critically acclaimed season at London’s Savoy Theatre in 2016 starring Sheridan Smith, the show will undertake a major UK tour in 2017.
Oklahoma! was the first musical written by the formidable team that was Rodgers and Hammerstein. Based on Green Grow The Lilacs, a play by Lynn Riggs, Oklahoma! opened on Broadway in 1943, running for 2,212 performances and has been presented around the world ever since. The show won a special Pulitzer Prize in 1944 and the 1999 Olivier Award for its most recent London revival starring Hugh Jackman.
41. Starlight Express
With music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, lyrics by Richard Stilgoe, Starlight Express became famous around the world due to the rollerskating feats of its cast who portrayed trains racing on an enormous train track designed by John Napier and under the direction of Trevor Nunn and with choreography by Arlene Phillips. It became one of the longest-running musicals in the world with 7408 performances in the West End. The show continues to run in Bochum Germany.
40. Little Shop Of Horrors
Little Shop Of Horrors has music by Alan Menken and Lyrics and book by Howard Ashman and is based on the 1960 low budget black comedy film of the same name which featured Jack Nicholson. Premiering Off Off Broadway in 1982 , the show moved to the Orpheum Theatre Off-Broadway where it ran for five years. It was made into a film in 1986 directed by Frank Oz of The Muppets fame.
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