My Top 10 Musicals

Hey, welcome or welcome back to my blog! For this weeks theatre post I thought I'd keep it simple and share my top 10 musicals. I've decided to only include musicals I have scene live otherwise the list would go on forever, but if I were only allowed to listen to these 10 musicals for the rest of my life, I'd be pretty happy! Remember these are my own personal opinions, but if there are any shows not mentioned you think I'd like based on this list, please let me know!

  

10. The Addams Family


The Addams Family musical comedy first made an appearance on Broadway in 2010 and 7 years later made its way over to the UK for its first professional production. Andrew Lippa's well-written musical follows the story of The Addams Family we all know and love, focussing on Wednesday Addams, who is now 18 years old, and has fallen in love with a 'normal' boy from Ohio. In an attempt to make the families get along, Wednesday organises a dinner between the two families which doesn't go as planned. In a fateful, hilarious night, secrets are disclosed, relationships are tested, and it turns out The Addams Family aren't the only kooky family in town.


The Addams Family made its first UK appearance in 2017 and starred Cameron Blakely, Samantha Womack, Carrie Hope Fletcher, and Les Dennis. Ever since then, it has definitely become more popular on our side of the pond, but I still don’t think it gets the credit it deserves.


I was lucky enough to see the first UK tour and was blown away. The score provides great musicality and frequent tango rhythms in songs like 'Trapped', 'Secrets' and 'Not Today' and the visual impact of the dance number during 'Tango De Amour' made this an irresistible highlight. The casting was perfection and the choreography was a strong element within the show in numbers like 'When You're An Addams' and 'The Moon and Me' incorporating a variety of dance styles including line dancing, ballroom and ballet. The set design worked amazingly, and the gothic theme was achieved extremely well. The well designed, elaborate costumes and makeup were very effective and the lighting and sound effects worked really well alongside. The musical is very original and the dialogue is full of humour. Songs such as ‘Pulled’ and ‘Crazier Than You’ are soon to be classics. 


I could honestly write for days about how much I love this show but I think its more sentimental than anything. I've always liked theatre but after seeing this show I was introduced to so many incredible performers which led to discovering so many new shows and I guess it started my love for the arts and I haven't really looked back since. The show has everything! From outstanding costumes, to melodies you could sing along to and easy to remember, plus a recognisable and easy story line to follow! Whether you’re 12 or 312, The Addams Family is sure to entertain! 


9. Hairspray 


Teenager Tracy Turnblad and her friend Penny Pingleton are avid fans of the Corny Collins show. When the chance to dance on the show is publicised, Tracy jumps at the opportunity. Not only does her dancing skills attract Corny Collins, but also the attention of teen heartthrob Link Larkin. Tracy emerges from being an victim of bullying due to her weight, to a television superstar. However, her journey is interrupted when she becomes involved in racial discrimination and decides to fight back. 


Hairspray is a classic and I've been lucky to see it twice on tour with two incredible casts. You simply can't go wrong with it. It's one of the best musicals with amazing songs that will forever be stuck in your head. The show is filled with important messages that everyone needs to learn from as it is something the world still suffers with today. The score is fun, energetic and unbelievably catchy, it's certain to brighten anyone's day. At this point I have the whole thing memorized! Hairspray wows an audience of all ages. With spectacular dance sequences, addictive tunes, big hair and bright, funky costumes, it surely is the musical to watch. 


8. Waitress


Waitress is a musical with music and lyrics by Sara Bareilles and a book by Jessie Nelson. The musical is based on the 2007 film of the same name, written by Adrienne Shelly. It tells the story of Jenna Hunterson, a baker and waitress in an abusive relationship with her husband Earl. After Jenna unexpectedly becomes pregnant, she begins an affair with her doctor. Looking for ways out of her troubles, she sees a pie baking contest and its grand prize as her chance.


Composed by the ridiculously talented Sara Bareilles, the music to this show is just one ingredient to making the perfect musical. Despite her pop background, she is able to piece together and develop the characters with words that last with the audience. The songs are so memorable and cleverly crafted. She is able to bring a comedic side to a slightly darker story. I first saw Waitress during previews in the West End and was blown away. The cast were simply incredible and I'm looking forward to seeing it on tour in the future.  


7. Wicked


Wicked tells the untold backstory of Elphaba, a green-skinned social outcast unloved by her fellow peers and her Munchkinland governor father. At university, Elphaba strikes up an unlikely friendship with popular fellow sorcery student Glinda, but the pair’s opposing personalities and rivalry over the same love-interest Fiyero, ultimately sees them fulfil their destinies as Glinda The Good and the Wicked Witch of the West.


From the striking set and breath-taking special effects to the bold and bright flamboyant costumes, every inch of this show is a complete and utter visual delight. Add in Stephen Schwartz’s memorable score with tracks like ‘The Wizard and I’ 'Dancing Through Life' and, of course, ‘Defying Gravity’, and it’s no wonder this visual spectacle casts a spell over all those who see it.


Another classic but I simply cannot fault this show. Everything about it is just terrific. Wicked for me was the musical that started it all ever since watching it for the first time back in 2013. No wonder the musical has broken so many box office records around the world.


6. The Book of Mormon


The Book of Mormon tells the story of two young Mormons, Elder Price and Elder Cunningham, who are thrust together as partners on a service mission to Uganda to spread the word of Jesus Christ, Joseph Smith and the Mormon religion. Elder Price has dreams of doing something incredible and is eagerly anticipating being sent to Orlando, Florida, which has been his dream destination since childhood. Elder Cunningham on the other hand, just can’t seem to remember the basics the missionaries are trained to deliver, and tends to have issues with telling the truth, but all he really wants is someone to call his best friend. Neither they or their fellow Mormon missionaries in Uganda know anything about Africa, or the needs of the villagers they encounter, whilst the Ugandans show no interest in them or the Mormon religion. That is until young Nabulungi convinces everyone the Elder’s deserve a chance.


The Book of Mormon score is brilliant and clever and will have you cringing with delight due to its controversial lyrics paired with hilarious comedy. I saw the show 4 times last summer when it kicked off its first UK Tour in Manchester and was blown away. The entire cast were stellar and it was impossible to focus on just one person. They were all able to bring something different and it was evident how much fun this show is. There was so much precision in every single movement and their teamwork was admirable. Everyone’s energy could take your breath away and each member performed terrifically. Wild and witty, The Book of Mormon is an excellent piece of theatre which will have you in hysterics from start to finish.


5. Little Women 


Based on Louisa May Alcott's life, Little Women follows the adventures of sisters Jo, Meg, Beth and Amy March and their beloved Marmee, at home in Concord, Massachusetts while their father is away serving as a Union Army chaplain. Jo is trying to sell her stories for publication, but the publishers are not interested, and her friend Professor Bhaer tells her that in order to do better, she must write more from herself. Taking on this advice, Jo writes the story of herself and her sisters and their experience growing up in Civil War America.  


I first saw the show back in 2017 at the Hope Mill Theatre in Manchester and it’s got to be one of the best shows I have ever seen. I only knew about two or three songs before entering the theatre, and wasn't very familiar with the story, but came out amazed at the performance I had just seen. The songs range from whimsical to gut-wrenching to playfully romantic, paired with a beautiful story about growing up and the love of sisters in 1800's America. If you love the book and/or the movie, you will love this musical adaptation. An extremely underrated musical!


4. Dear Evan Hansen


Dear Evan Hansen is the story of a lonely, socially awkward boy trying to fit in to a world that’s always left him on the outside, by deceiving his way into a grieving family dynamic. After its debut in 2016, this Tony Award winning musical has proven a sell-out hit in London’s West End, by tackling themes related to social media, suicide and teen anxiety.


The style of the music from this show is so varied and complex and unlike anything out there at the moment. An absolute triumph of a show, so moving and sweet at the same time. I saw the show at the end of 2019 in the West End and it was even better than I excepted. The cast were phenomenal and if you haven't yet listened to this score you need to! With music and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, this show has an outstanding score, and is a powerful and emotional production.


3. Back To The Future


Back to the Future The Musical is based on the American science fiction/comedy film of the same name, and tells the story of Marty McFly who accidentally travels back to 1955 in a time travelling deloreon invented by his friend Doc Brown, and jeopardizes his own future existence by interfering with his parents first meeting. 


Back To The Future The Musical had its world premiere in Manchester earlier this year and its run was unfortunately cut short to only 3 weeks out of a scheduled 12 due to the current situation. I was however lucky enough to see it three times in such a short amount of time and I think for it it to make my top 3 after such a short first run says it all! 


I honestly do not have the words to express how brilliant this show is and how much I loved it. This production had the most talented cast and it's score is remarkable. Every musical number is perfectly placed in the storyline. A particular highlight has to be 'Put Your Mind To It' due to its unforgettable melody and brilliant humour injected throughout the song. ‘Gotta Start Somewhere’ is also jam-packed with fun lyrics, impressive vocals and splendid dance moves. You can listen to both these songs on YouTube along with the classics from the movie. 


I also have to mention the technical elements of this show. From special effects to complex sets, to the flying delereon itself, this show has some of the best visual elements I’ve ever seen! The fine detail in projections, visuals, and use of a rotating stage created a euphoric atmosphere. A final mention must also go to costume and make up for recreating the look of the film in such detail. 


This show manages to maintain all the memorable moments from the film, with adjustments to keep this new telling fresh and creative. For fans of the film, the show contains everything they love already with the addition of a spectacular live experience and fantastic new songs. Back To The Future is definitely the newest must-see musical! I truly hope this show finds a new home one day and an official cast recording is released!


2. & Juliet


& Juliet is the fun-loving new musical that asks: what if Juliet’s famous ending was really just her beginning? What if she decided to choose her own fate? Soaring with pop anthems including …”Baby One More Time”, “Everybody” (Backstreet’s Back), “Love Me Like You Do” and “Roar”, & Juliet is one of the best new musicals out there.

This modern version of the classic tale ‘Romeo and Juliet’ began in Manchester at the Opera House on September 10th, soon transferring to the West End on November 2nd, and sees Juliet get over Romeo by running off to Paris with her Nurse and best friends on a trip of romance and self-discovery.
It’s hard to believe that these songs weren’t written specifically for the show as they fit with the entire story excellently, whilst the script blends both tender moments and comedy perfectly. Another show that I was completely blown away by. It's arguably the best jukebox musical out there! I was lucky enough to see the very first preview of this show since it opened in my hometown and have seen it another 4 times since. This show had me laughing from start to finish and I honestly cannot fault it. The set design is truly beautiful and continues to amaze the audience as the show develops. The costume designs are simply stunning with such detail and are a perfect mix of period and modern times. 
& Juliet is the brand new feel-good musical which teaches us all about honesty and self-love which will put a smile on your face right from the first note. Sensational from start to finish.
1. Heathers

Heathers tells the story of Veronica Sawyer: once-bullied, now-popular after she is taken under the wing of the schools most popular group, three girls called Heather. She soon meets JD, the mysterious but kinda-hot new kid in school. Together, JD and Veronica become the school’s murderous power couple as they knock off teenagers within the school. As JD becomes blood-thirsty, Veronica sees the light and decides she’d rather not be with a psychotic, manipulative killer like him.

Based on the ‘80s Winona Ryder film, this musical has earned a cult following over the years on the back of its humour and infectious score. After an Off-Broadway run in 2014 the show had an Off-West End run in 2018 and then transferred to the West End later that year for a limited engagement.

Since its West End run Heathers has become bigger than anyone probably imagined it would, and I'm not ashamed to say I was one of those people that fell in love with it. I hadn't really heard much about the show before it came over to the UK, probably one or two songs briefly, but after seeing the show 7 times, by the end of the run I could give you a one-women performance. The show simply has everything. 

The score is faultless and this show is one of the only musicals where I don't skip a track, and the new songs written for the West End version make it even better. The songs fit each character perfectly. Instantly capturing the feel of the film, and the 80's, the opening song "Beautiful" introduces us to the characters, life in high school and the style of the show. The lyrics to “My Dead Gay Son” are unprintably funny, “Dead Girl Walking” is full of smart insights into Veronica’s conflicted mind, and “Seventeen” acknowledges that even rebellious teenagers can dream of being “normal” kids. 

The story is full of tension and drama, exploring topics like teen suicide and depression, whilst the script is smart and full of dark humour. Overall the show is remarkable and takes the spot of my top musical. I can’t wait for this show to be brought back for a tour so that I can see it again. I couldn't recommend it enough! 



There are so many more shows that I adore that could have easily made this list, narrowing it down to just 10 was hard! In the style of MsMojo I guess my honourable mentions would have to be Sweeney Todd, Six, Mamma Mia, High Fidelity, Billy Elliot, Oliver, and of course Les Mis which I didn't include purely because it's kind of a given. I have a whole other list of scores I absolutely love but I've not yet seen on stage including Kinky Boots (I've seen the cinema screening but it's not really the same), Beetlejuice, Mean Girls, The Prince of Egypt, Legally Blonde, The Last Five Years, Finding Neverland, and plenty more! 

I'd love to hear what you're top 10 musicals are, and I'd love to do another one of these in a few years time to see if my views have changed and some new musicals have creeped on to my list! Stay safe.

Mia x