In recent years, musicals have exploded in mainstream media, the thespians now becoming large-scale celebrities in their own right; tapping into historical settings let some rise to fame, while others adapted cult classic from film to the stage. But which shows proved to be the best in our eyes? Writers for The Edge look over the musicals released in the last decade, and their impacts:
When it comes to musical theatre, Lin Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton is unparalleled in the effect it has had on audiences across the world. Taking the previously overlooked life of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton enhanced with a hip-hop and rap-based soundtrack, it was the idea that was never supposed to take off the way it did. But this musical has captured hearts all over the world in just under 5 years since its debut. What hit home with fans the most was the decision to consistently cast people of colour in the main roles; an act of reclaiming a history that was so strongly against minorities and emphasising the positive historical impact of immigration. Hamilton is exactly what it says it is, ‘an American musical’; a celebration of America’s past and present, with undeniably one of the greatest soundtracks in the history of musical theatre.
– Vicky Greer
Heathers: The Musical is based on the infamous 1988 film starring Winona Ryder and Christian Slater. The story itself is one of murder and intrigue, which also includes truly captivating psychoanalysis of all main characters. This dark comedy was the perfect forefront to a great musical, and its adaptation into a stage show could not be any better. There’s death, there’s sex, there are bombs, secrets, and there’s a lot of high school drama. It touches on many themes- most being very difficult ones to do appropriately- and it puts them into a suitable context with the humour and lightness of an exquisite rock-based musical. The most recent tour has seen the part of Veronica played by Carrie Hope Fletcher, whose performance was an absolute masterpiece. With its catchy songs, fantastic story-lines, and off-the-chart humour, there’s no doubt that this is by far the best musical of the decade.
– Emily Dennis
In 2012 Harvey Fierstein’s Kinky Boots took to the Broadway stage, with lyrics and music by Cyndi Lauper and based on Geoff Deane and Tim Firth’s film Kinky Boots (2005) – inspired by true events. The story follows Charlie Price of Northampton, who inherits his father’s shoe factory, and drag queen Lola of Clacton-on-Sea, who helps him make a high-heeled boot to save the company. With a transformative set, changing from factory line to fashion runway, there’s never a boring moment. At times the musical gets deep, as Lola faces homophobic comments in the factory, and ignorance from Charlie, her true name of Simon is revealed – Charlie walking the runway in heels later on to make up for his mistakes. Up-beat and gag-worthy performances are what make this musical, ‘The Sex is in the Heel’ the most outstandingly choreographed number. Kinky Boots is entertaining, informative and certainly the best musical of this decade.
– Maddie Lock