Revolutionary show gets history’s eyes on Broadway

“The musicals that leave us kind of staggering on our feet are the ones that really reach for a lot.” ~Lin-Manuel Miranda, writer and star of Hamilton on Broadway.

 For the past few years, Broadway has swept the world with hit after massive hit. Both young and old fans cheer for modern Broadway successes, such as Hamilton, Come From Away, Heathers, and Hadestown. Even past musicals have gained more attention, like Wicked, Phantom of the Opera, and Little Shop of Horrors. Community and high school theater programs have been popping up nationwide, and showtunes have become classic household names in theater-loving towns and cities.

Where did the modern resurgence for Broadway come from? What hooked audiences and got them to chomp for more? The concept of Broadway has been around for decades, so why have ticket sales only recently skyrocketed? The answer is actually fairly simple.

Four years later, hype has died down and opinions are changing on Lin-Manuel Miranda’s gigantic smash of a musical, Hamilton. It has its haters, but Hamilton still holds it own in terms of popularity. So much so, in fact, that it remains the only show on Broadway where you need to enter a raffle for the opportunity to even BUY tickets! 

Author Lin-Manuel Miranda attributes most of his success to the timelessness of the musical. The cast is comprised of men and women of all colors, instead of just 20 white men on stage. Alexander Hamilton is hispanic, King George is white, and Aaron Burr is black. The women have starring roles, which allows it to promote equality in every way. 

This kind of freedom seems to be the right answer as more shows have been started casting diverse people. 2019’s Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma revival cast Ali Stroker, a woman in a wheelchair, in a role that previously didn’t involve one. This hardly mattered, as she won a Tony award for her powerhouse voice. Stroker’s acceptance speech encouraged disabled and different children around the world to not let it stand in the way of their goals.

Musicals don’t need to be groundbreaking to be popular. Spongebob had his own musical on Broadway last year, which gathered a mild fanbase despite its mere 6-month runtime due to renovations to the theater. The Beetlejuice musical is running strong, attracting fans of the spooky Tim Burton flick for a faithful recreation. The most recent Best Musical Tony Award went to Hadestown, a dazzling musical recreation of the tale of the musician Orpheus and his quest to save his lover, Euridyce, from Hadestown. 

As the fanbase of Broadway has exploded, fans have begun to show their love for these shows through artwork, stories, costumes, reviews, and even song covers. This has even led to a classification of some musicals as ‘basic’, prime examples being Hamilton, Be More Chill, Dear Evan Hansen, and Heathers. The extreme love of these shows sparks toxic Broadway fans to shout out terms such as “Basic” or “I hate this show” purely because the show is popular.

While Broadway has taken advantage of this resurgence using new shows, they also promoted the Broadway Cares Foundation. Established in 1992, this organization is devoted to helping HIV/AIDS victims and raising awareness of the problem. In fiscal year 2018, the foundation supported 471 HIV/AIDS and family service organizations across the US as well as food banks, health clinics, housing programs, and more.

The uprising fandom of Broadway has shown almost nothing but benefits and support to people around the world. Fans of Broadway, disabled children, and HIV/AIDS victims alike have every reason to thank the Great White Way. All it took was a musical by one man to cause a revolution just as big as our founding fathers’.

A ranking of the best musicals, reviewed in 10 words or less

The worst musical: Dear Evan Hansen 4/10 DEPRESSION. ANXIETY. I LOVE FRIENDS. THE SAME SONG. TEN TIMES.

12. The Phantom of the Opera 8/10 Bit overrated. Still got me singing high praises.

11. Beetlejuice 8/10 This is just deadpool. Yo quiero más, por favor.

10. Little Shop of Horrors 8/10 It grew on me.

9. CATS 8/10 Watch the 1998 version. The nightmares there were intentional.

8. Avenue Q 8/10 The internet is really, really great!

7. Spongebob Squarepants 8/10 The best Spongebob has been in 10 years.

6. Hadestown 9/10 Eat your heart out, Hercules!

5. Hamilton 9/10 CRINGE. AND SHIPS. But lots of epic riffs.

4. Be More Chill 10/10 This show’s accuracy of high schools is painful beyond desquiption. 

3. Ain’t too Proud: The life and times of The Temptations 10/10 You should be proud!

2. Wicked 10/10  “Describe yourself with the title of a Broadway show.”

1.  The Lion King 10/10 A musical so mainstream that nobody talks about it.