Fiddler on the Roof is a musical with music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, and book by Joseph Stein, set in the Pale of Settlement of Imperial Russia in 1905. It is based on Tevye and his Daughters (or Tevye the Dairyman) and other tales by Sholem Aleichem. The story centers on Tevye, the father of five daughters, and his attempts to maintain his Jewish religious and cultural traditions as outside influences encroach upon the family’s lives. He must cope both with the strong-willed actions of his three older daughters, who wish to marry for love – each one’s choice of a husband moves further away from the customs of his faith – and with the edict of the Tsar that evicts the Jews from their village.
Billy Elliot the Musical is a musical based on the 2000 film Billy Elliot. The music is by Sir Elton John, and book and lyrics are by Lee Hall (who wrote the film’s screenplay). The musical revolves around motherless Billy, who trades boxing gloves for ballet shoes. The story of his personal struggle and fulfillment are balanced against a counter-story of family and community strife caused by the UK miners’ strike (1984–1985) in County Durham. Hall’s screenplay was inspired in part by A. J. Cronin‘s novel, The Stars Look Down, and the musical’s opening song is an homage.
Jersey Boys is a documentary-style musical based on the lives of one of the most successful 1960s rock ‘n roll groups, the Four Seasons. The musical opened on Broadway in 2005, and has had a North American National tour, along with productions in the West End, various US cities, and Melbourne. Jersey Boys won four 2006 Tony Awards, Best Musical, Best Actor (John Lloyd Young), Best Featured Actor (Christian Hoff), and Best Lighting Design (Howell Binkley).
South Pacific is a 1949 musical with music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II and book by Hammerstein and Joshua Logan. The story draws from James A. Michener’s Pulitzer Prize-winning, 1948 novel, Tales of the South Pacific, weaving together characters and elements from several of its stories into a single plotline. The musical won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1950. The issue of racial prejudice was sensitively and candidly explored, particularly for the 1949 stage work.
In the Heights is a musical with music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda and a book by Quiara Alegría Hudes. The story explores three days in the characters’ lives in the New York City Dominican-American neighborhood of Washington Heights. The score features hip-hop, salsa, merengue and soul music. The musical’s 2008 Broadway production was nominated for thirteen Tony Awards and won the Tony Award for Best Musical at the 62nd Tony Awards.
Avenue Q is a musical conceived by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx, who wrote the music and lyrics, and directed by Jason Moore. The book is by Jeff Whitty. The show was produced by and opened at the Off-Broadway Vineyard Theatre in March 2003. The production transferred to Broadway in July 2003 and won several Tony Awards, including the award for Best Musical. It is still running on Broadway and holds the position of 21st longest running show in Broadway history. The show has spawned a 2005 Las Vegas production, a 2006 West End production and various international productions. An Australian national tour began in June 2009 and will end in June 2010.