American Psycho is a musical with music and lyrics by Duncan Sheik and a book by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa. It is based on the controversial 1991 novel American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis, which also inspired a 2000 film of the same name, which starred Christian Bale. Set in Manhattan during the Wall Street boom of the late 1980s, American Psycho is about the daily life of wealthy young investment banker Patrick Bateman.
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Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical is a rock musical with a book and lyrics by James Rado and Gerome Ragni and music by Galt MacDermot. A product of the hippie counter-culture and sexual revolution of the 1960s, several of its songs became anthems of the anti-Vietnam War peace movement. The musical’s profanity, its depiction of the use of illegal drugs, its treatment of sexuality, its irreverence for the American flag, and its nude scene caused much comment and controversy. The musical broke new ground in musical theatre by defining the genre of “rock musical”, using a racially-integrated cast, and inviting the audience onstage for a “Be-In” finale.
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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.
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Shrek the Musical is a musical with music by Jeanine Tesori and a book and lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire. It is based on the 1990 book Shrek! by William Steig and the 2001 DreamWorks film of the same name it inspired.
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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).
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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.
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Rock of Ages is a rock/jukebox musical, with a book by Chris D’Arienzo, built around classic rock hits from the 1980s, especially from the famous glam metal bands of the decade. The musical features songs from Styx, Journey, Bon Jovi, Pat Benatar, Twisted Sister, Steve Perry, Poison and Asia, among other well-known rock bands. It is directed by Kristin Hanggi and choreographed by Kelly Devine. The show is noted for being more lighthearted and comedic than other shows on Broadway. During performance, the performers frequently break the “fourth wall“, directly addressing the audience and seemingly forgetting (or perhaps reminding the audience) that they are actors in a play.
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Chicago is a Kander and Ebb musical set in prohibition era Chicago. The music is by John Kander with lyrics by Fred Ebb and a book by Ebb and Bob Fosse. The story is a satire on corruption in the administration of criminal justice, and the concept of the “celebrity criminal.” The musical is based on a 1926 play of the same name by reporter Maurine Dallas Watkins about actual criminals and crimes she had reported on.
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Mary Poppins is a Walt Disney Theatrical musical based on the similarly-titled series of children’s books by P. L. Travers and the Disney 1964 film. The West End production opened in December 2004 and received two Olivier Awards, one for Best Actress in a Musical and the other for Best Theatre Choreography. The musical features the film’s music and lyrics by the Academy Award winning Sherman Brothers, along with additional music and lyrics by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe. The book was written by Julian Fellowes. The musical was directed by Richard Eyre and co-directed by Matthew Bourne, who also acted as co-choreographer with Stephen Mear. A Broadway production with a near-identical creative team opened in November 2006, with only minor changes from the West End version. It received seven Tony Award nominations, including Best Musical, winning for Tony Award for Best Scenic Design.
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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.
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The Lion King is a Tony Award and Olivier Award-winning musical based on the 1994 Disney animated film of the same name with music by Elton John and lyrics by Tim Rice along with the musical score created by Hans Zimmer with choral arrangements by Lebo M. Directed by Julie Taymor, the musical features actors in animal costumes as well as giant, hollow puppets. The show is produced by Disney Theatrical.
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Mamma Mia! is a jukebox musical with a book by British playwright Catherine Johnson, based on the songs of ABBA, composed by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, former members of the band. It was an early example of the jukebox musical genre and helped to popularize the form. Although the title of the musical is taken from the group’s 1975 chart-topper Mamma Mia, the plot is fictional, not biographical.
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West Side Story is a musical with a book by Arthur Laurents, music by Leonard Bernstein, and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. The musical’s plot is based on William Shakespeare‘s Romeo and Juliet. Set in New York in the mid-1950s, the musical explores the rivalry between two teenage gangs of different ethnic and cultural backgrounds. The young protagonist, Tony, who belongs to the Anglo gang (Jets), falls in love with Maria, the sister of the rival Puerto Rican gang’s (Sharks) leader. 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 has become extremely popular; it includes “Something’s Coming,” “Maria,” “America,” “Somewhere,” “Tonight,” “Jet Song,” “I Feel Pretty,” “One Hand, One Heart,” and “Cool.”
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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.
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Wicked is a Tony Award-winning Broadway and West End musical, with songs and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and book by Winnie Holzman. The story is based on the best-selling novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire, a parallel novel of L. Frank Baum‘s classic story The Wonderful Wizard of Oz from the perspective of the witches of the Land of Oz.
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