Broadway is as much an idea as it is a place. It isn’t entirely contained by the street anymore thanks to Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway productions that continue to share in the street’s legacy, but that changes very little. Plays, musicals, and other entertainment extravaganzas continue to pass through the place constantly in hopes of igniting the passions of performers and audiences. Some of them do a better job than others. OROGOLD took a moment to look into some of the most popular shows currently on Broadway. Most of them are still there due to their popularity, but one should never forget that some shows do eventually leave by a general decision that the show had gone on long enough. Don’t worry though. Art is eternal and those shows may be one spark of inspiration away from finding their way back.
The Phantom of the Opera
Based on the classic novel of the same name by Gaston Leroux, this musical adaptation has been running since 1988 and shows no signs of stopping. This makes the shows both one of the most popular shows on Broadway and one of the longest running. The mysterious Phantom seems to haunt the halls of Opéra Populaire and influence the performances that go on. It doesn’t take long for a relatively unknown singer in the opera, Christine Daaé, to become embroiled in the full reality of the Phantom. This musical spins between the mad passions of love and music. It is considered one of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s notable works due to its darkly haunting and deeply passionate music and story. Of particular note is the prologue, it provides a truly stunning display of what it can mean to step back into memory.
The Book of Mormon
Irreverent and controversial are words most people would associate with Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the creators of South Park and writers of ‘The Book of Mormon’, but most people wouldn’t attach “deeply moving” to anything they’d worked on. The musical “The Book of Mormon” is all of those. It chronicles to trials and tribulations of a pair of Mormon missionaries sent to Africa on a mission trip. True to form, Parker and Stone make the most of the opportunity to be irreverent, but also do their best to do so in a way that doesn’t denigrate the humanity of any of their cast. It explores concepts of faith, goodness, and what it means to live all within the context of a humorous journey that people will only realize inspired or taught them something later.
What exactly shapes who a person is? Their parents? Their upbringing? The events of their life? Wicked is a look into this with a twist. It follows the path set out in its original novel form, Wicked by Gregory Maguire, and tries to see what made The Wicked Witch of the West into who she was in the land of Oz. The musical takes a much more upbeat approach than the novel ultimately does, but it still explores the relationships between the witches of Oz and the Wizard himself. The first act is a backstory to set the stage for the second in which the familiar story of “The Wizard of Oz” plays out from the other side of things. Wicked has enjoyed over a decade on Broadway and continues to show people that it really isn’t easy being green.
Broadway’s most celebrated shows are almost always musicals. They celebrate both the thrill of stories and the capacity of music to move the spirit. OROGOLD sincerely recommends taking the opportunity to see any one of the shows discussed here. “Rent”, “Chicago”, and “The Lion King” are all good Broadway shows as well. The twinned magics of the stage and music make performances of any of these shows a memory to hold on for a lifetime.