Broadway Musicals

A Patriotic Musical - "1776"

The Broadway version of "1776," which opened in 1969, was well-received by both audiences and critics. It ran for 1,217 performances and won 3 Tony awards, including the award for Best Musical. The 1972 movie version, although almost identical in cast and production, did not fair nearly as well. [read more...]


Applause was a Tony-winning musical based on the classic movie All About Eve. The book was written by the experienced play and screenplay writing team of Betty Comden and Adolph Green and the score was written by Charles Strouse (composer) and Lee Adams (lyricist). Applause opened in March, 1970 and it played for 896 performances, closing in July, 1972. The stars of the play were Lauren Bacall, Len Cariou and Penny Fuller. [read more...]

Big River

"Big River," the musical play based on Mark Twain's "Huckleberry Finn," played in regional theaters before making its way to Broadway. In February, 1984, "Big River" was performed at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The next performances were in June and July of 1984 at the La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego, California. [read more...]


Frederick Loewe and Alan Jay Lerner wrote several musicals, but they are best known for their highly successful play, "My Fair Lady." Lerner and Loewe are the only composing team that wrote the scores for two movie musicals that won the Academy Award for Best Picture - "Gigi" in 1958 and "My Fair Lady" in 1964. [read more...]

Buddy Holly Story

When I was in London several years ago, I went to see "Buddy - The Buddy Holly Story" and I loved it. I grew up in the 1950s and "Buddy" was a great nostalgia trip, taking me back to a time when life seemed simpler. Like the 1978 film, "Buddy" is the story of Buddy Holly's rapid rise to fame and it ends with his tragic death several years later in a plane crash. [read more...]

Bye Bye Birdie

"Bye Bye Birdie" was the original rock and roll musical, although in an interview from the American Theatre Wing, Charles Strouse, the composer for the musical, said that the original idea for the play was not based on Elvis or any other individual performer. During the creation of the play and music, Lee Adams, the lyricist, suggested the rock and roll theme. [read more...]


Although "Cabaret" was a very successful play, winning 6 Tony awards out of 10 nominations, and a highly successful movie, winning 10 Academy Awards out of 12 nominations, the two versions differed significantly, both in plot and songs. In the original play, the female lead, Sally Bowles, was English but in the film she was American, probably to better fit the role to the movie's star, Liza Minnelli. As a balance to the play, the male lead was switched from the American Cliff Bradshaw to the British Brian Roberts in the movie version. [read more...]


In 1960, after the enormous success of "My Fair Lady," the Lerner and Loewe musical "Camelot" opened on Broadway. The play, based on the T.H. White book, "The Once and Future King," about the legendary King Arthur and his kingdom of Camelot, had a long history before making its way to Broadway. Tryouts started in Toronto and the original play was so long that evening performances ended long after most people's bedtime. It was cut by an hour and a half before it went to Boston and additional numbers were cut prior to the Broadway opening. [read more...]


"Carousel" was Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein's second musical, coming after their extremely successful "Oklahoma." It was based on the play "Liliom" by Hungarian playwright, Ferenc Molnar. "Carousel" opened on Broadway in 1945 and it ran for 2 years and 890 performances. The original cast included John Raitt as Billy. Like "Oklahoma," the choreographer for "Carousel" was Agnes de Mille. [read more...]


Although "Chicago" was a hit musical play in 1975, playing on Broadway for 2 years, it was not made into a movie musical until 25 years later, after a second highly successful run on Broadway. In fact, the movie version of "Chicago" was based on the 1996 revival rather than on the original 1975 play. [read more...]