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* The stage adaption of ''Disney/TheLionKing''. In my opinion, it's one of the best stage musicals out there. Everything seems to be perfect! The visuals, the music, the characters, the little bits of comedy, the atmosphere, the costumes, the choreography, the emotion, everything is just stunning, leaving you with a huge "8O" on your face when it's over. I've been a fan of the original movie for a long, LONG time, [[AdaptationDistillation but I actually think this show is better than the original!]] Also, the opening number "Circle of Life" pretty much makes the show.


* The stage adaption of ''Disney/TheLionKing''. ''Theatre/TheLionKing'': In my opinion, it's one of the best stage musicals out there. Everything seems to be perfect! The visuals, the music, the characters, the little bits of comedy, the atmosphere, the costumes, the choreography, the emotion, everything is just stunning, leaving you with a huge "8O" on your face when it's over. I've been a fan of the original movie for a long, LONG time, [[AdaptationDistillation but I actually think this show is better than the original!]] Also, the opening number "Circle of Life" pretty much makes the show.

** ''Theatre/{{Company}}''. Just... ''Company''. There's just something about Robert's story that always resonates - instead of just being able to identify with one character, I can see myself in Bobby's self-sabotage, Amy's neuroses, Marta's kookiness, and Joanne's... Joanne-ness. And the score! My god, the score - nearly every single song is wonderful in its own specific ways, and there are these little bits of brilliance in things as small as the orchestrations (such as that moment in "Another Hundred People" where the trumpets echo the "Bobby/Bobby baby" motif and it's nearly impossible to hear until it's specifically pointed out to you), and there are just these wonderful scenes, like the opening and that scene with Bobby and Kathy (one of my all-time favorite scenes from any piece of theatre, ever), and... ugh, as much as I've always loved ''Sweeney Todd'', there's a part of me that loves this show even more.


** ''Theatre/{{Company}}''.''[[Theatre/CompanySondheim Company]]''. Just... ''Company''. There's just something about Robert's story that always resonates - instead of just being able to identify with one character, I can see myself in Bobby's self-sabotage, Amy's neuroses, Marta's kookiness, and Joanne's... Joanne-ness. And the score! My god, the score - nearly every single song is wonderful in its own specific ways, and there are these little bits of brilliance in things as small as the orchestrations (such as that moment in "Another Hundred People" where the trumpets echo the "Bobby/Bobby baby" motif and it's nearly impossible to hear until it's specifically pointed out to you), and there are just these wonderful scenes, like the opening and that scene with Bobby and Kathy (one of my all-time favorite scenes from any piece of theatre, ever), and... ugh, as much as I've always loved ''Sweeney Todd'', there's a part of me that loves this show even more.

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** Hell, you don't even need to perform in it to fall in love with it. When I first saw it, I remember thinking, "Great, a Romeo and Juliet adaptation...I already hate the source material's main characters for being StarCrossedLovers, I'm sure these two will be as idiotic." Then the opening sequence kicked in, and I was mesmerized - this really got me to understand that love tragedies are so good because they're tragedies, yes, but also love stories - two opposing elements coexisting and creating beauty.

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->''"But everything is beautiful at the ballet\\
Graceful men lift lovely girls in white,\\
Yes, everything was beautiful at the balle-et,\\
I was happy, at the ballet."''
-->''A Chorus Line''

Gush about {{Theatre}} here. Don't hold back. [[LargeHam Hamminess and theater]] are old, old bedfellows. Whether you've just listened to the OBC soundtrack a zillion times, dedicatedly attended every opening night, or openly adore even high-school productions, tell your love here!
* There's a reason that Creator/WilliamShakespeare is the byword for greatness in the English language. And while we're on the topic of Shakespeare,
** ''Theatre/TwelfthNight'' has got to be one of the best comedies ever written, with shipwrecks, pirates, mistaken identities, HoYay, and ThePowerOfLove all in full force, plus some amazing poetry.
** ''Theatre/JuliusCaesar'' is a heartbreaking tragedy about loyalty, betrayal, suspicion, guilt, and remorse. Brutus is a wonderful tragic hero: he isn't a stereotypical "Judas" character who has it in for Caesar; he's a man who has been deceived into killing his best friend, and he genuinely feels horrible about it. All of the scenes are so suspenseful that they're almost hypnotic, even though the audience already knows how it ends. The play also has some awesome speeches and soliloquies.
** ''Theatre/{{Hamlet}}'' is perhaps the best thing ever written. Forget the more commonly quoted soliloquies; it's the feigned madness that makes this awesome, particularly when Hamlet and Polonius are on stage together. Actually, any time Polonius is on stage, it's great, because he's just so buffoonish that you can't help but laugh at him.
*** Don't forget the more commonly quoted soliloquies! Just because they've seriously succumbed to PopCulturalOsmosis does not mean they are not gorgeous. "Thus conscience does make cowards of us all / And thus the native hue of resolution / Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought / And enterprises of great pitch and moment / With this regard their currents turn awry / And lose the name of action." I mean, ''wow''.
*** And let's not forget JustForFun/TheZerothLawOfTropeExamples...
** It's ''totally'' not PC for me to say this... but I love ''Taming of the Shrew'' with all my heart, feminism be damned.
*** Bah, who wants PC? It's a funny, bawdy {{farce}} with lots of double-entendre sparring and physical comedy potential. Most halfway clever directors can figure out a way to smooth over the UnfortunateImplications anyway.
** Macbeth is a ''really'' dramatic, awesome play. It's Shakespeare's ''Empire Strikes Back''.
*** As Bill Cain explains in''Equivocation'', Macbeth is "five acts of murder, politics and pornography." Macbeth both his shortest tragedy, and his best. It's everything that's awesome about Shakespeare distilled into it's purest form.
*** "Stars, hide your fires, let not light see my black and deep desires." "Blow wind, come wrack, at least we'll die with harness on our back." "Lay on, Macduff, and damn'd be him that first cries, 'Hold, enough!'" There is a ''reason'' three of [[Tropers/RedWren my]] top three quotes from anything are from this. Two, one, and three, incidentally (chronological order).
** And what of ''Theatre/RomeoAndJuliet''? Already incredibly feelingful and artfully [[DownerEnding depressing]] on its own, it becomes even better when you pick up on just how amazingly [[SubvertedTrope subversive]] the whole thing is; it manages to subtly parody adolescent crushes and {{Wangst}} while remaining a completely serious TearJerker. You can't do that with today's language.
** Othello. The pure, unadulterated evil that is Iago will NEVER work again, for any other author. Everyone knows the story, but Othello's breakdown is so human, so powerful, it's easy to see why Shakespeare's popular even today. What a play. My god.
*** Theatre/{{Othello}} was what first made me fall in love with Shakespeare many years ago, and I still thinks it's one of the best things ever written. The plot is so universal and so close to home and so disturbing at the same time, and the characters - from the creepy, ice-cold evil of Iago to the loveliness of Desdemona to the wonderfully human Cassio and Emilia, not to mention the complexity of Othello himself... the whole thing is just stunning.
** Theatre/AsYouLikeIt is sweet, romantic, snarky, satirical and slapstick-y by turns, has some genuinely beautiful poetry and brilliantly quirky characters, and a fantastically sharp-witted kick-ass heroine. It's still genuinely funny after five centuries, ''and'' it's got a happy ending for just about everyone involved; what's not to love?
** ''Theatre/TheComedyOfErrors'' is a rare example of a play that's laugh-out-loud funny even to ''read'', never mind see on stage; quite an achievement considering how long ago it was written. And another underappreciated Shakespeare I really like is ''Theatre/TroilusAndCressida'': one of his darkest works, but very, very true.
** My favorite top 3 favorite Shakespeare plays are the following: Theatre/MuchAdoAboutNothing, Theatre/KingLear, and Theatre/TheMerchantOfVenice. The first because it was the first romantic comedy and introduced the world to BelligerentSexualTension. The second because of its Christian themes and it being Shakespeare's most triumphant example of GettingCrapPastTheRadar. The third because in spite of it being a "problem play," it puts the women in strong roles and reminds everyone that true worth relies in the content of a person's character, not a person's religion or wealth.
** [[@/JDCyrus My]] favorite Shakespeare play is one of the better-known, but less critically beloved ones: ''Theatre/AMidsummerNightsDream''. It doesn't spend a lot of time delving into the darkness of human nature or anything like that--because it doesn't need to. The characters are really well-written and the love story is both funny and effective. But most of all, ''the Mechanicals''. Among the most hilarious characters I've ever seen on stage, and yet possibly the most sympathetic: a bunch of guys trying to create a work of art, with aspirations far exceeding their talent--but they press ahead anyway, because hey, why not? And in the end, Shakespeare lets them win--by ''inventing [[Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000 MST3K]] 400 years early''. And it's utterly priceless. Pure genius.
* The ''Henriad'' -- ''Theatre/RichardII'', ''Theatre/HenryIV Parts 1 and 2'', and ''Henry V'', are awesome from beginning to end, creating a story arc about the rise of the House of Lancaster and its most glorious moments, featuring epic battles, three-dimensional characters, and some of the most beautiful verse in Shakespeare.
* ''Theatre/{{Cats}}''. Plot? Who needs a plot? It's still awesome! From the deliciously LargeHam Rum Tum Tugger, the sometimes snarky Munkustrap, the mystical, magical, phenomenal Mr. Mistofelees, or the exiled former glamour cat Grizabella, this is one of the best things ever. "Memory" is my all-time favorite song!
** The Swedish version put up this year (2009) deserves special mention. Beautiful scenery (it takes place in an amusement park closed for the winter), top-notch acrobatics, wonderful acting and breath-taking songs. The song "Old Deuteronomy" deserve special mention. Not only did the actor playing said character manage to convey why the Jellicle Cats hold him in such high regard by just by ''walking'' to the stage, it was the only number not receiving applauds because it would've felt too rude to disrupt the respectful atmosphere!
* Music/StephenSondheim, whether as lyricist or composer, will simply blow you away. ''Theatre/SundayInTheParkWithGeorge'' - a smart, incredibly layered, heartbreaking, wise, funny, and ''[[SugarWiki/AwesomeMusic harmonious]]'' show - deserved its Pulitzer.
** And if that doesn't blow you away, ''Theatre/SweeneyToddTheDemonBarberOfFleetStreet'' will. It's pure undiluted awesome from end to end.
*** ''Sweeney Todd'' remains my favorite score to this day. The sheer quality of Sondheim's music is just breathtaking. A true genius, Stephen Sondheim.
*** After years of unashamed fan-worship, ''Sweeney Todd'' remains the theatrical love of my life. The greatest musical score ever written, a fantastic combination of pathos, obsession, black humour, loathing and love, it's not perfection, but (as ever with Sondheim) it's as near as makes no difference. Sweeney's descent into madness is so brilliantly told that only the worst could fail to pity him, and he holds his own among the most celebrated tragic heroes of all time. Well, you did say gush.
*** ''Sweeney Todd''. The love of my theatre life since I was 12. I love it because it turns life on its ear: the line between good and bad is blurred. We're expected to root for Sweeney and Lovett [[spoiler: who are bad bad people that murder/bake people into pies]], and the "bad guys" are the Judge and the Beadle, whom are supposed to maintain order, and some kind of moral standing. Not to mention the [[EpicRocking sheer]] SugarWiki/{{Awesome|Music}}ness of the music.
** I believe that pretty much everything Sondheim wrote after about 1970 is pure undiluted awesome; his earlier work is merely uniformly excellent. However, his pre-1970 work is very much in the vein of the composers and lyricists who went before him; it wasn't until ''Company'' that he started breaking moulds, which is what he does best.
*** There's something to be said for the pre-1970 stuff as well. ''A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum''? So much fun!
** ''Theatre/IntoTheWoods''! It gets you misty-eyed and thinking deep thoughts about ''fractured fairy tales'', ''and'' still manages to bring the funny in a big way. Plus, the finale is ''so [[Literature/HarryPotterAndTheDeathlyHallows Deathly Hallows]]''.
*** Seconded. My favorite musical of all time. For many of us younger tropers, it's the first {{Deconstruction}} we ever saw, and ''damn'' does it deliver. The songs will never get out of your head, so thank your respective deities that they're so clever.
** ''Assassins'' just does everything ''right''.
** ''Pacific Overtures'' gets a number of things wrong about Japanese society, but the things it does right are ''so'' right that even the Japanese don't care (it had a very successful Japanese production in 2004 that transferred to Broadway with a different cast).
*** ''Pacific Overtures'' ends with a musical number that is sheer, unadulterated SugarWiki/MomentOfAwesome, composed of the entire history of Japan from the Meiji restoration to the present. Yes, even Hiroshima. Because Japan got back up on its feet and kept moving forward. Even ''typing'' about it is giving me goosebumps.
*** ''Passion.'' It's very refreshing to see the whole "Beauty and the Beast" tale get GenderFlipped, and the songs may be some of the most haunting, earnest songs in musical theatre.
** ''Theatre/{{Company}}''. Just... ''Company''. There's just something about Robert's story that always resonates - instead of just being able to identify with one character, I can see myself in Bobby's self-sabotage, Amy's neuroses, Marta's kookiness, and Joanne's... Joanne-ness. And the score! My god, the score - nearly every single song is wonderful in its own specific ways, and there are these little bits of brilliance in things as small as the orchestrations (such as that moment in "Another Hundred People" where the trumpets echo the "Bobby/Bobby baby" motif and it's nearly impossible to hear until it's specifically pointed out to you), and there are just these wonderful scenes, like the opening and that scene with Bobby and Kathy (one of my all-time favorite scenes from any piece of theatre, ever), and... ugh, as much as I've always loved ''Sweeney Todd'', there's a part of me that loves this show even more.
*** ''Company'' oh dear God ''Company''. Raul Esparza. "Being Alive". I will ''always'' stand by my statement that Esparza's "Being Alive" is the greatest performance of any song ever sung on a Broadway stage. And it's ''Sondheim''. Take awesomeness, turn it UpToEleven and OverNineThousand, and you have Raul Esparza singing "Being Alive".
* ''Theatre/RosencrantzAndGuildensternAreDead'' is just brilliant in every way. There has never been a play that was just as wonderful to read as it is to watch. The wordplay, the wit, the HoYay, I find something new (and a new quote I love) each time I read it. The movie aint half bad either, frankly Gary Oldman and Tim Roth are quite easy on the eyes to boot!
** Damn straight. (Well, maybe [[HoYay not so much]]... But you get the idea. [[{{Emoticon}} X3]]
* The French musical of ''Literature/TheHunchbackOfNotreDame'', ''Theatre/NotreDameDeParis''. It doesn't matter that no one on this wiki's heard of it...singers with absolutely gorgeous voices belting out beautiful, heart-wrenching songs with a backdrop of the technical marvels that were the stage and choreography. Just try listening to "Belle", "Le Temps de Cathedrales", or "Danse Mon Esmeralda" and say that that isn't a work of utter genius.
** Seconded. There isn't really a weak song in this show: the above are just a few samples of how epic this show is (just try and stay away from the horrendous English translation). After [[Theatre/LesMiserables Les Mis]], probably my favourite musical ever. And both of them are based on Victor Hugo novels.
** There is a version that never really went anywhere, and only Boston-area theater people are likely to know about it, but for all its flaws, if you can find the album, it's worth getting just for "Nearer to Morning Than Midnight".
* ''Theatre/{{Arcadia}}''. Funny, ''smart'', moving, clever, and without losing any of the humanity.
** ''Seconded.'' It's a gorgeous piece of playwriting.
*** Thirded; I, like the one directly below me, will gladly tell you that ''Arcadia'' changed my life. It's what made me a theatre academic. Thanks, Tom!
*** Fourth'd. Playing Septimus Hodge was the best stage experience I've had so far.
*** Fifthed; I booked to see it on a whim and was blown away. It still stands as one of my all-time greatest theatre experiences, and I go a LOT.
* I will happily tell anyone who listens that ''The Coast of Utopia'' changed my life. It's a bordering-on-ten-hour trilogy of [[ContemplateOurNavels Russians talking to each other and trying to change their country]] that manages to be hilarious, emotionally touching, and incredibly stimulating and thought-provoking. The characters are so amazingly ''real'', you feel just how much they care about the ideas they're discussing. Plus Stoppard manages to balance all the philosophizing with some very human drama, which you feel double when you remember that the characters are historical and these events really happened (poor, poor Herzen). And that's to say nothing of the fact that Belinsky's monologue halfway through ''Voyage'' is nothing short of sublime. (Billy Crudup, who played Belinsky in the New York production, got a standing ovation after performing said monologue both times I saw him perform it, ''in the middle of the show''.)
* Skip the movie, but the stage production of ''Theatre/ThePhantomOfTheOpera'' is the most gorgeous thing I've ever seen.
** Yes, it's gorgeous--but no matter what the naysayers tell you, it's not the SceneryPorn that brings the fans back time after time but the heartbreaking tale of a "Literature/BeautyAndTheBeast" story gone tragically wrong.
*** "The Music of the Night" helps too.
*** Well, yeah, there is ''that''. I mean sure, the possessive StalkerWithACrush thing wouldn't be attractive in reality, but as a fantasy? Fetishes incoming, Captain!
** Yes, go ahead and skip that egregious movie version of ''Theatre/ThePhantomOfTheOpera'' musical, but don't skip [[Film/ThePhantomOfTheOpera1925 the original silent movie starring Lon Chaney]]. His deformed, tortured, magnificent version of the Phantom is the best, hands down.
* ''Theatre/{{Wicked}}'' dazzled [[Tropers/RiL me]], took my breath away... and got me together with my future husband.
** That musical is PURE WIN, I don't care what the purists of the book say.
** Thesis papers could be written on Stephen Schwartz's lyrics; simple and playful enough for children to enjoy, profound enough for adults to ponder over for years, and loaded with ancient poetic techniques (such as "[[IAmBecomingSong Defying Gravity]]"'s repetition of "I hope you're happy!" with a very different meaning than it's first appearance in the song).
** I had only ever gone to [[Theatre/ThePhantomOfTheOpera one play in my life]] (not counting high school musicals) before seeing Wicked. As of last week, I've seen it ''twice'' onstage, and heard the soundtrack enough times that I know almost every song by heart. The characters, the story, the awesome, ''awesome'' music, the [[LighterAndSofter happier ending]]...There is no bad here.
** [[Tropers/RedWren My]] favorite song ever was [[SugarWiki/AwesomeMusic "Defying Gravity"]] before I saw the show. Then I went to see the play. It is now off the scale. I saw it again with my brother, father and mother, and my brother, ''who dislikes music in general'', liked the musical. I laughed, I cried and then I cheered. Because, purity to the books or no, the play is awesome. [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking Not to mention, the man came up with a rhyme for 'tandem'!]]
** That musical is FANTASTIC. The raw emotion put into the songs is PURE GENIUS.
* ''Theatre/HowToSucceedInBusinessWithoutReallyTrying'' is a brilliant satire of Big Business whose jokes still work perfectly today, with songs by an all-time great, [[Theatre/GuysAndDolls Frank Loesser]]. It's a broad comedy, a love story, and full of great roles.
* There are better-written and higher-quality musicals than ''Theatre/{{RENT}}'', but everyone has to feel ''something'' when Angel dies because we've all got our own versions of him, everyone feels awesome when "''La Vie Boheme''" starts because we've all celebrated just because we can, and everyone has that point in life where it feels like everyone is leaving and you can't do anything about it. To me, RENT isn't just about artists/AIDS/homosexuality; it's about love and friendship and everything that comes with it, and that's why I love it.
** Couldn't have said it better myself. Also, see that page? Yeah... I've probably added about 1/5th of those examples...
** THIS.
** Exactly. RENT is more than "oh, isn't that the musical about the gay people and AIDS?". It is, but more than that, it's a celebration of life; yes, it has the controversial elements, but at the end, it's not about that. It's about living as if you were to die tomorrow and letting your heart go; it's about remembering the past but never letting it hold you back; it's about life not being measured in the problems and bad things that come up-- it's measured in friendship, celebrations, good times, and, yes, love. It's not the best musical ever, but it's still my favorite.
* Creator/CirqueDuSoleil shows have a tendency to be wonderful, but I would never have become a fan in the first place if not for ''Theatre/{{Mystere}}''. Yes, the acrobatics are beautiful, especially the bungee trapeze act, and so is the music. But the secret to its success is it's so darned funny: whether it's the adventures of Bebe Francois and his "papa", the pompousness of the Man in Pink, or the ''[[SugarWiki/GushingAboutCharactersYouLike everything]]'' of his nemesis Brian Le Petit, it's comedy (and AudienceParticipation) at its best.
** ''Quidam'' was the first Cirque show I ever saw, and I've been hooked ever since. Extraordinary feats of human strength and agility mixed with incredible theatricality and [[SugarWiki/AwesomeMusic amazing music]]? Sign me up!
* Theatre/A Chorus Line is one of the best stories you will see in any medium, ever--a touching, funny, heartbreaking celebration of the basic humanity and uniqueness of ordinary people.
** It’s a reflection of humanity. It talks about what show business is like so openly. And the finale? Oh my god. You spend the entire show getting to know these people, and just like that, they’re unrecognizable, identical to each other, smiling as if the past two hours never happened. There aren’t even proper bows. The show ends with “a kickline that goes on forever”. And you have to remember that the show is based off of taped sessions where broadway dancers and choreographers openly talked about their lives, careers, and why they started dancing. The majority of the script comes from those tapes, and some of the original cast were quite literally playing themselves. They were telling their deepest secrets and thoughts to 1,500 people 8 times a week.
* I am not ashamed to call myself a ''Tosca'' fangirl. From an early age. That opera kicks ass.
* Gilbert and Sullivan. Even though most of the people and practices they satirized have been dead for decades, they're still funny as hell.
** Some of them are parodying genres and are just as relevant today. ''Patience'' with its poser-poets and fangirls, ''Ruddigore'' skewering gothic romances, ''Iolanthe'' mocking inherited wealth and privilege- all still perfectly understandable.
%%* ''Theatre/SpringAwakening''. That is all.
* ''Theatre/AvenueQ'' is one of those things that makes me glad to be alive. Sure, anyone could do "it's Sesame Street type puppets, but they talk about grownup problems!" but they didn't just rest on the novelty of being a puppet musical that talks about mix tapes, racism and internet porn- they created real characters with warmth and humanity and a story that is genuinely relatable. I have yet to introduce it to someone who didn't end up a huge fan of the show. Memorable songs, witty lyrics and one of the most perfect, true endings ever in any media ("For Now" is a surprising SugarWiki/{{Heartwarming Moment|s}} for me) makes this one of the best musicals ever.
** I would like to second that. The times they break the fourth wall (Trekkie Monster sometimes does in the "Internet is for Porn" number when, in response to Kate's "normal people don't sit at home and look at porn on the internet" he points at a random audience member and says "You do."; and of course, the Money Song) count as [[SugarWiki/FunnyMoments Crowning Moments of Funny]] and, surprisingly, the end of the first act is quite emotional (if subject to MoodWhiplash, given that the funny "My Girlfriend Who Lives in Canada" separates the more twee "Fantasies Come True" and melancholy "There's a Fine Fine Line").
* ''You Can't Take It With You'': Perhaps the greatest play to do in high school drama. I've seen so many performed at Thespian conferences and they've all been excellent with so many different interpretations adding such depth.
* Theatre/LesMiserables is called a Broadway Musical because of its (US) premiere there, but it is, by every definition in the book, an opera, except with miked singers.
** We'll, for now, put aside the incredible adaptation that it did of a DoorStopper of a book; the heartwrenching lyrics and sweeping scope. The wide variety and range of the cast means that, in ''any'' good production you see, there's bound to be at least one actor, one character, who just leaps out from the crowd, whether it's the battered but never broken Fantine, the pure idealism that is Enjolras, the deliciously corrupt Thenardiers, the [[LawfulGood justice-loving Javert]], or heck, even rapturous, lovestruck Cosette, someone will be a star.
** Add to that, that it contains some of the most inspirational music I have every heard, ''Do you hear the people sing?'' Being just one example, and that being the world's longest running musical and arguably the most influential just makes it more awesome.
* ''The Drowsy Chaperone''. The ending of this musical makes me feel better about having to face the world, knowing that life really is a bit of a mess, but at least we've got musicals.
** No, ''Theatre/TheDrowsyChaperone'' is [[ShallowParody not a proper parody of any era of the American musical]], but it is by, far and away the most fun I've ever had at a Broadway show--the music is memorable, the plot is delightfully meta, the jokes are unrelentingly funny, and it actually seems to earn the heartfelt moments it gives its sardonic, snobbish protagonist. Historical accuracy? Who needs it? This show is brilliant. End of story.
* ''Legally Blonde: The Musical''. It's supposed to be candy-colored fluff, but its lyrics are ingenious. It repeatedly lampshades itself, the original movie, musical theatre tropes in general, and pop culture en masse on a regular basis, and it handles the hot-button issue of homosexuality in quite possibly the most awesome fashion ''ever''.
* ''Shrek: The Musical''. It's not supposed to be terribly deep or thought-provoking, but I am in love with the show. There's "I Know It's Today" which is all about wishing that today will be the day that your knight in shining armor will finally come and rescue you from the tower, and "Who I'd Be" which is a SugarWiki/{{Heartwarming Moment|s}} ''and'' possibly a SugarWiki/MomentOfAwesome for Shrek. And the actor playing Farquaad is walking around on his knees all the time and between him and Pinocchio generally steal whatever scenes they're in.
* ''Theatre/{{Evita}}''. I used to think Andrew Lloyd Webber could only write fluffy, crowd-pleasing material like The Phantom of the Opera, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Cats, or Starlight Express. Evita, on the other hand, is a dark and political show; the narrator clearly hates the protagonist, and the poor workers are just as screwed as the people in Les Miserables. The show is a true rock opera, full of delicious cynicism.
** I second that. And add: ''Evita'' is one of the single most moving pieces of theatre ever wrtitten. (and this from a die-hard Music/StephenSondheim fan). Also, who '''doesn't''' know [[SugarWiki/AwesomeMusic Don't Cry for me Aregentiiiiiiiiiinaaaaaaaaaaaaa]]?
* ''Theatre/TheMusicMan'' just makes me smile--a good old-fashioned musical comedy with loads of endearing characters and one of the most infectious scores ever written.
* ''Theatre/WestSideStory''. When I performed it, I wished I recorded it. The girl playing Maria was so perfect, the harmony between Maria and Anita in 'I Have A Love', the Jets in 'Officer Krupke'. I wish I could go back and make sure he got Lt. Shrank...or Tony.
** I have played Shrank, and oh, the music. I cried every goddamned time at the final music that plays over Maria sobbing over Tony's body.
* ''Theatre/JesusChristSuperstar''. Full stop. My mother was singing along with "Trial Before Pilate" when I was about 3- and so I, being her daughter, quickly fell just as in love with the play (actually, the 70s film version) as she had when she was a kid. My God.... The drama! The relationship between Judas and Jesus! Mary Magdalene! The lead singer from ''Music/DeepPurple'' ''playing'' Christ in the original soundtrack! And the '''''music!!'''''....
* ''Guys and Dolls'' is the only show that made it into the top 100 longest-running shows on Broadway ''twice'', for two different productions. And with good cause: dated as it is, it's a witty and charming and downright gorgeous delight from "Runyonland Music" to the final reprise of the title song.
* ''Equivocation'' by Bill Cain. Quite possibly the most successfully complex drama since ''Arcadia''. So many layers and multiple meanings... it is by turns suspenseful, sad, and ''bloody hilarious'.' And the original cast at Oregon Shakespeare Festival were just astonishing: six actors play all the roles-- and that's symbolic too. And Henry Garnet's speech with the TitleDrop is totally a SugarWiki/MomentOfAwesome:
--->"Equivocation: Don't answer the question they're asking. Answer the question beneath the question. The equivalent question. Answer the question really asked. And answer it with your life."
* ''Theatre/TheHistoryBoys'' by Alan Bennett. Oh, man. Never fails to blow me away. This show is so hilarious and heartwarming and heartbreaking and intelligent all at once. It has phenomenal things to say about education and history and growing up. The characters are marvelous, the dialogue spectacular. Even the music interspersed in the show is fantastic. The production I saw had an additional level of awesome in its ''set changes'', which were performed by the boys with lots of acrobatic tricks.
* ''Theatre/TheLightInThePiazza''. Full stop. The sets, the music, the costumes, the lighting. I was lucky enough to see it on Broadway with two of my best friends for my sixteenth birthday. Blew me away.
* ''Theatre/TanzDerVampire'' and ''Theatre/{{Elisabeth}}'' should be given more love. The music and lyrics are mindblowing, the sets gorgeous, and the plot never gets boring. German musicals are ridiculously underrated!
** There is not enough squee in the world to express my love of those two musicals. And to top it off, the one two punch of Tanz and Elisabeth found me the [[TrueCompanions four best friends I've ever had.]]
* ''Theatre/NextToNormal''. Amazing music, beautiful lyrics, and six of the best performances on Broadway today. Alice Ripley just takes your breath away (because Diana's story is one continuous punch to the gut after another), and I couldn't take my eyes off Aaron Tveit (and no, not just because he's gorgeous). From the silly, retroactively heartbreaking "Just Another Day" to the jaw-dropping beauty of "Light", it's just brilliant.
** And guess what? It just won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, putting it on a level of posterity with ''Theatre/{{Rent}}'' and ''Theatre/SundayInTheParkWithGeorge.''
* ''Theatre/WeWillRockYou''. Oh, it's cheesy as any show out there, with a tacked on plot, but there's something about the enthusiasm each of the performers put into their roles. Not to mention the large rock of Queen played to the highest of standards. There are many reasons this show ran for over a decade in the West End, despite spending its first year being trashed by all the critics.
* The stage adaption of ''Disney/TheLionKing''. In my opinion, it's one of the best stage musicals out there. Everything seems to be perfect! The visuals, the music, the characters, the little bits of comedy, the atmosphere, the costumes, the choreography, the emotion, everything is just stunning, leaving you with a huge "8O" on your face when it's over. I've been a fan of the original movie for a long, LONG time, [[AdaptationDistillation but I actually think this show is better than the original!]] Also, the opening number "Circle of Life" pretty much makes the show.
** Having seen it twice, I have to agree.
* ''Theatre/CyranoDeBergerac'' is '''the''' greatest play (and one of the top greatest romances) period. Forget ''Theatre/RomeoAndJuliet'', give me this heartwarming, heartbreaking love-and-friendship triangle with its surprisingly heroic intellectual female lead, TakeThat at LoveAtFirstSight, and the ''true'' WarriorPoet for its hero![[note]]For English translations, this only applies to Brian Hooker's. Sorry, Anthony Burgess.[[/note]]
* ''Theatre/TheImportanceOfBeingEarnest''. A hilarious comedy full to bursting with quotable lines -- including some much deeper truths than one expects in a comedy, yet they never seem out of place. Allow me to quote just one:
--> "It is always painful to part from people whom one has known for a very brief space of time. The absence of old friends one can endure with equanimity. But even a momentary separation from anyone to whom one has just been introduced is almost unbearable."
* ''Theatre/{{Camelot}}'' is just such a gorgeous musical, even the sparest productions of it. (I've seen four versions so far, and am not nearly done yet.) The story is [[KingArthur classic]]; the songs are exquisitely singable; the plot combines tragedy, comedy, and a unique love story; and the ending always makes me cry. "Don't let it be forgot..." indeed.
* "Theatre/AngelsInAmerica" is a pure masterpiece. The characters, the ideas of it, they're all so real and moving. And at the end you realize Prior's prediction did come true. This play is gorgeous.
* ''Theatre/{{Spamalot}}''. I had to see it multiple times because when I first saw it, I missed most of the best lines because I was doubled over in laughter through most of the performance. One of the best experiences I have ever had at a theater.
* ''Theatre/InTheHeights'' is just completely brilliant. It makes you laugh, it makes you cry, and it just makes you feel good. Not to mention, how often do you hear Cole Porter referenced in hip-hop?
* ''The Pillowman'' by Martin [=McDonagh=]. Absolutely one of the best plays ever - deeply disturbing enough to make ''Sweeney Todd'' look like ''Funny Girl'', but downright laugh-out-loud funny at times ("I'm so sick of everyone here using their bullshit traumatic pasts to justify their own shitty behavior. My dad was a violent alcoholic. Am ''I'' a violent alcoholic? ''Yes, I am!''") and the ending packs such a huge emotional punch. As far as SurrealHorror black comedies set in totalitarian ''[[PrecisionFStrike fucking]]'' states go, this one is far and away the greatest.
* What can I say about ''Theatre/LittleShopOfHorrors?'' A totally bizarre setting full of fun, bizarre characters. A creepy/funny/mysterious GreekChorus narrating in three-part harmony. And a plot that, while it's genuinely funny, also contains a serious message and some ''very'' real TearJerker moments. It rattles all over the SlidingScaleOfComedyAndHorror. It stands up to analysis, it's got some of the most sing-able songs you'll ever hear, and it's one of the most original musicals ever to surface, period. Plus, there's ''a giant and very cool evil plant'' who eats people and sings jazz.
* ''You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown'' is great for anyone who's a fan of ''ComicStrip/{{Peanuts}}'', a fan of wit in general, or just a fan of the warm feeling you get when you realize it hasn't been such a bad day after all.
* Any musical created by Creator/TeamStarkid. ''Theatre/AVeryPotterMusical'' and its sequel are absolutely brilliant parodies of the Franchise/HarryPotter. They make fun of all the ridiculous elements of the series, while still celebrating its awesomeness. Plus, they get a special mention for making [[BigBad Voldemort]] a sympathetic character. ''Theatre/{{Starship}}'' is an absolutely fantastic story about an alien bug who just wants to be a Starship Ranger. It's a great story, and Pincer is one of the greatest villains in existence(probably because he's played by Dylan Saunders). Their newest show, Holy Musical B@man is a pretty epic parody of Batman and other superheroes. All of their shows have fantastic music and give off a very Disneyish vibe, despite that they are definitely rated PG-13. Oh, and they're HILARIOUS!!
* Hi, don't mind me, I just wanted to add this in here: Evil Dead The Musical. Take everything you love about the Evil Dead trilogy, mix in some kick-ass and hilarious songs, not to mention (in the version I saw) some fantastic actors who really do justice to both the characters and the original actors, and you've got yourself a bloody funny show. Pun definately intended.
* {{Theatre/Chess}}. Just Chess. Beautiful music from Benny and Bjorn, some of the cleverest writing from Tim Rice (he considers it his magnum opus), and a story as old as time, but made awesome by the manner in which it's told. Anthem has to be one of the most powerful songs in the history of musical theatre. And The Soviet Machine one of the most infectious and fun.
* ''Theatre/CharlieAndTheChocolateFactory'' -- in its original West End incarnation as opposed to the Broadway {{Retool}} -- proves that family-friendly "corporate" musicals adapting well-known tales don't have to go through the motions, but can put a lively new spin on things. Brilliant updates to the source material, particularly Violet becoming a satire of modern celebrity culture! Catchy original songs ''and'' a beautiful incorporation of "Pure Imagination" from [[Film/WillyWonkaAndTheChocolateFactory the 1971 film]]! SceneryPorn and CostumePorn! Line after line of funny dialogue and lyrics; watch out for the BlackComedy! And, best of all on the Original London Cast Recording, Douglas Hodge giving the world a Willy Wonka for the ages -- as funny, mysterious, unsettling and larger-than-life as one could want (wait 'til you hear the Act One closer "It Must Be Believed to Be Seen"), and poignant on top of that ("Simply Second Nature", a ballad about DoingItForTheArt, is heart-melting). To quote a very different Creator/SamMendes directorial effort, "''[[Film/AmericanBeauty Spec-ta-cular!]]''"
* ''{{Theatre/The Book Of Mormon}}'' is far and away one of the greatest musicals ever. I'm a tried-and-true theatre fangirl, and, aside from ''Les Misérables'', no other musical, play, or opera has ever captivated me, amused me, shocked me, thrilled me, or saddened me like ''The Book of Mormon'' has every single time I've listened to the Original Broadway Cast Recording or seen it performed onstage. Through all the silliness and shock value, it really is a brilliant piece of satire with a beautiful message that (in my opinion) essentially boils down to, "the most important thing in life is that you're happy, kind, and a good person who works to in some way make the world a better place, regardless of your religious beliefs."
* ''Theatre/LaCageAuxFolles''. It manages to go from hilarious to tearjerking to heartwarming and right back to hilarious again in mere minutes. It delivers the message "BeYourself," and it really hits home with the show-stopping "I Am What I Am." And besides, a show about two gay men coming out on top in a fight against a {{Jerkass}} politician who hates everything they are, and proving they can be both homosexual transvestites[[hottip:*:"''One'' transvestite." "One ''plain'' homosexual."]] and a devoted couple and wonderful parents? SugarWiki/{{Warm And Fuzzy Feeling}}s all around!
* ''{{Theatre/Heathers}}''! It's an adaptation of an 80s movie! It's a rock musical! The villain is terrifying ''and'' sympathetic! The heroine is smart as hell! ''Barrett Wilbert Weed''!
* Do yourself a favour. If you ever notice that the Creator/ReducedShakespeareCompany are performing at a theatre near you, go and see them. I don't care what show they're doing, how old you are, whether or not you usually go to theatre or how much money you have, GO AND SEE THEM. You won't regret it.
* There is a ''reason'' Creator/LinManuelMiranda's show ''{{Theatre/Hamilton}}'' has taken the world by storm. American history set to hip-hop and rap? An almost-entirely POC cast? 48 songs of pure, undiluted ''awesomeness''? Yes, please! The entire cast is stellar, but Leslie Odom Jr. as Aaron Burr (sir!) and Daveed Diggs in the dual role of Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson are both standouts in what's an all-around amazing show. You'll be sobbing by the end... and, if you're like most of the fandom, feel compelled to learn more about history.
* ''Theatre/SpringAwakening''. Even for a play written in the 1800s, it was forward and striking enough to be a great influence to early psychoanalysts, and the message still resonates loudly enough to be made into a musical in the 2000s.
** Especially its American Sign Language revival, which went from a dance studio smelling of cat pee to a tiny 99-seat theater off skid row in Los Angeles to rapturous reviews on Broadway and three Tony nominations within a year. Aside from actors of varying hearing abilities, the cast also includes:
*** Ali Stroker (Anna), the first actress to be on Broadway in a wheelchair.
*** Krysta Rodriguez (Ilse), who finished chemotherapy for breast cancer when they were on Broadway. (She performed in the LA version, wearing a wig which she removes onstage, while undergoing treatment)
*** Alex Boniello (Voice of Moritz), who has anxiety.
*** Andy Mientus (Hanschen), who has claustrophobia (and does stagedoors!) and HNPP, a rare neurological disorder that paralyzes part of his body.
*** Katie Boeck (Voice of Wendla) lost her father shortly after the show opened on Broadway.
** To quote Marlee Matlin (revival's Adult Women)'s speech at the Tonys:
-->I started in theatre when I was seven years old, when no one thought a young Deaf girl could perform onstage. This season, Deaf West Theater's innovative production of Spring Awakening presented theater the way it was meant to be: open to all people, through the beauty of American Sign Language. Musicians, singers, hearing and Deaf actors, told a cautionary tale of lost and longing teenagers, and the adults who refused to hear them.
* How has no one mentioned ''{{Theatre/Dear Evan Hansen}}? It has a deeply emotional and moving plot, extremely relatable characters, and a brilliant message. My eyes were simply streaming with tears by the end.
* ''{{Theatre/Lizzie}}''. A rock musical based on the trial of UsefulNotes/LizzieBorden, with a four-woman cast. There's no official video recording and it's not a ''huge'' show, so you're unlikely to find bootlegs, but the official soundtrack album is available and it is ''wonderful''. And, since it's mostly a sung-through musical, you get nearly the full experience from just the songs. Dark, twisted, and equal parts tragedy and BlackComedy, ''Lizzie'' deserves far more attention than it currently gets.
* I'd just like to mention ''Billy Elliot'', which is one of those rare screen-to-stage adaptations that actually vastly improves on its source material. The story is just beautiful and heartwarming in spades, and plus there's something about watching a 10-13 year old boy performing these incredible dance moves that routinely give most of the adult performers in the show a run for their money. Add to that that it managed to run for over a decade on the West End with at least 3 "Billys" and 3 "Michaels" ''and'' a whole parade of ballet girls at any one time, this show and the level of talent that it inevitably displays is absolutely phenomenal.
* Can we just take a moment to talk about ''{{Theatre/Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat}}''? I'm not sure there can be many children in the UK since it was written who have grown up completely unaware of this show. Yes it's cheesy, yes some of the rhymes are painful to the point of parody, and yes it's Andrew Lloyd Webber at his most Andrew Lloyd Webber-est but let's be honest here: it's still pretty darn good. And the fact that it is regularly performed in schools and there's a UK tour at least once every couple of years, (not to mention that one time ''3 billion people'' voted on who they wanted as Joseph in the West End revival) only goes to show just what a hold it has on people...
* ''Theatre/ComeFromAway'' absolutely deserves to have more people talking about it. A cast of twelve playing about 6 characters each, often having to change ''within a matter of seconds'', a beautiful score and a book that's tragic, funny, heartwarming and ultimately restores your faith in the good of humanity, all the better that it's based completely in reality... Honestly, what more could you possibly ask for?
* The virtually unknown (outside the UK) musical ''Our House'' also deserves a bit more love. When it comes to {{Jukebox Musical}}s, you barely have to try since the main draw is the fact that people already know they're going to love the music, but ''Our House'' is one of those rare examples that actually has a very strong book to go with the pre-existing songs. It's hilarious, heartwarming and even quite thought-provoking, all of which it really didn't have to be. Essentially, this show went far above and beyond what was expected of it.
* ''Theatre/{{Anastasia}}'' is a fantastic adaptation of an already fantastic movie. The musical differs from the film in that it ties in a lot more history rather than magic, making it more mature and making the audience more emotionally invested. Gorgeous is the best word to describe it. The sets, the costumes, the music, the dancing, the singing, everything! It’s not simply about spectacle—the spectacle feeds into the story. For example, in Once Upon a December, you understand exactly what Anya is feeling because you see the grand Russian ballroom that she does. And don’t get me started on Christy Altomare. Not only does she have a beautiful, strong voice, but she is an electrifying actress.

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