The Top 10 Musicals for People Who Hate Musicals
As musical theatre lovers, we all have come to the sad conclusion that not everyone loves musicals as much as we do. Many of our friends and family members don’t like musicals, but they still want to try and at least pretend like they care. Oftentimes, in an effort to reach out, they will ask us to recommend some musicals to them or even to take them to one. We are then faced with the peculiar task of finding a musical that will appeal to someone who has no appreciation for the art form.
Below is a list of the top 10 musicals for people that hate musicals. These recommendations might not claim spots in your own top 10 favorite musicals, but that’s okay. They aren’t for you, because you love musicals.
9 to 5
This one is for the Dolly fan in your life. Based on the movie, this musical features a score by Dolly Parton including some of her radio hits. It opened on Broadway in 2009 and closed after 148 performances, but it has since become a favorite of regional and community theatres. If you’re trying to get your musical-hating friend to go with you, just tell them you’re going to a Dolly concert. But if your friend is willing to go to a Dolly Parton concert, chances are he or she already loves musicals.
Rock of Ages
This is a musical for your dad. Rock of Ages opened in 2009 and closed after 2,328 performances. Featuring a score of classic rock hits, this musical is perfect for anyone who loves some good old ‘80s rock. If your father is anything like mine, then all you have to do is play a few tracks from the cast album and tell him it’s just a classic rock mix-tape. He won’t know the difference.
Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey’s musical Grease opened on Broadway in 1972 and closed after 3,388 performances. By the time it had closed, the show had been seen in four different Broadway theatres during its eight-year run. The show has since had two Broadway revivals and has become a community theatre staple. The popular film starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John has much to do with this show’s appeal to someone who would otherwise dislike musicals. Maybe it’s the nostalgic rock ‘n’ roll score that makes people forget it’s a musical, or maybe the T-Birds are just so cool they appeal to everyone. Whatever it is, give this one a try with your musical-hating friend. If it doesn’t work, try Grease 2…
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is a musical that pretty much everyone can agree on. Musical theatre enthusiasts love it and that kid from your class who loves the Saw movies also loves it. With a score by Stephen Sondheim, this musical thriller opened on Broadway in 1979 and played 557 performances. Though it was not originally a commercial hit, it has since become a favorite for musical theatre lovers. In 2007, Tim Burton introduced the story of the murderous barber to a new audience with his film adaptation. If your friend hates seeing stage musicals, then he or she may enjoy the movie, but if you’re a fan of the musical, you may have a different opinion.
The original production of Schonberg, Boublil, and Kretzmer’s musical adaption of Victor Hugo’s epic novel opened in 1987 and closed after 6,680 performances. It quickly became a “guilty pleasure” musical for many people who refuse to watch musicals. For some reason, people who hate musicals with occasional songs absolutely love a musical in which there is no speaking. It must be easier for them to wrap their heads around a musical where everything is sung, as opposed to one with the occasional singing. This show is always being done by someone, so finding a production won’t be hard. Getting your friend to sit quietly during the whole thing is a different story.
This one has never made sense to me. But several people I know who dislike musicals share the same singular exception: Cats. With a score by Andrew Lloyd Webber, this musical is based on the popular collection of poems Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Elliot. The original Broadway production opened in 1982 and closed in 2000 after 7,485 performances. If your friend hates musicals but has a furry feline friend, perhaps you should introduce him or her to this show by giving them a copy of the popular DVD recording, featuring Elaine Paige (not that your friend will care).
The Rocky Horror [Picture] Show
The original Broadway production flopped in 1975, playing only 45 performances. Richard O’Brien’s science fiction story failed to find an audience in New York City. After it was adapted into a film (as The Rocky Horror Picture Show), the musical found a new audience. It has since become a cult classic with public screenings across the country at any time of the year, complete with shadow performances and audience participation. Take your friend and enjoy watching them be “hazed” by the die-hard fans.
The Book of Mormon
This musical, which opened on Broadway in 2009 and is still running, brought together the creators of South Park with one of the songwriters from Avenue Q. Together they created one of the most offensive and heartfelt musicals that audiences have ever seen. This musical comedy has something for everyone and is especially perfect for any of your friends who love South Park or Family Guy. The little old lady who sat next to me really liked it, so maybe your grandma will too…
The Lion King
Some people may hate musicals, but no one hates spectacle. The Lion King, which opened on Broadway in 1997, is still running and has played over 7,375 performances. This adaption of the extremely popular Disney cartoon is full of extravagant set pieces, intricate puppetry, and catchy tunes. Even if someone hates the singing and dancing, there are plenty of other expensive looking features to this show. If your friend is in their 20s, chances are they loved the movie. Take them to see this show and then listen to them call it “the best musical ever” for the rest of their lives.
The Phantom of the Opera
In 1988 Andrew Lloyd Webber took New York by storm when the Broadway production of his already popular Phantom of the Opera opened at the Majestic Theatre. Broadway’s longest running musical has played over 11,439 performances. Because of the legendary hype that surrounds this musical, it has become a New York staple. When tourists visit NYC, they see the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, and The Phantom of the Opera. It has become THE musical for people to see when they visit, even if they don’t like musicals. Naturally, it’s the perfect musical for those who hate them. There’s melodrama, romance, violence, and a guy with a gross face. Take your friend and hear them gush about how good it is. You’ll also probably hear them call it their favorite “opera,” but that’s a small price to pay. At least you got them to see a musical.
What musicals do you recommend to the people in your life who hate musicals?