Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz is a musical (music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz), based on the 1995 novel by Gregory Maguire titled Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, an alternative telling of the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz. The musical is told from the perspective of the witches of Oz, and tells the story of two unlikely friends, Elphaba (the Wicked Witch of the West) and Glinda (the Good Witch), who struggle through opposing personalities and viewpoints, rivalry over the same love-interest, reactions to the Wizard’s corrupt government and, ultimately, Elphaba’s public fall from grace. (source: Wikipedia)
The original production of Wicked premiered on Broadway in October 2003, starring Idina Menzel (Elphaba), Kristin Chenoweth (Glinda), and Joel Grey (the Wizard). The original Broadway production won three Tony Awards (including Menzel’s Best Actress award).
As of this writing (February 2017), Wicked is the 9th-longest running Broadway musical, and to date has had 5,552 performances.
Here is a clip from the Tony Awards show, featuring Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth (introduced by Joel Grey):
It really couldn’t be anything other than Hamilton. Eleven Tony Awards, come on! (The Producers holds the record with twelve). Hamilton won for Best Musical (and ten other awards), plus the 2016 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album, and the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
Its actual title is Hamilton: An American Musical. Lin-Manuel Miranda composed the music, lyrics, and book about the life of Alexander Hamilton, and his work was inspired by the 2004 book Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow.
Here’s a clip from the 2016 Tony Awards presentation:
(History has its eyes on you)
Dreamgirls, based not only on The Supremes but on other R&B acts such as The Shirelles, James Brown, and Jackie Wilson, follows a female singing trio called “The Dreams” on their way to stardom. The musical opened at Broadway’s Imperial Theatre on December 20, 1981 on Broadway and went on to win six Tony Awards.
Set in 1962, the original Broadway cast included Sheryl Lee Ralph, Vondie Curtis-Hall, and, of course, the inimitable Jennifer Holliday as Effie White. Here she is, in a performance that (even in poor video quality) will knock your socks off.
Candide, an operetta with music composed by Leonard Bernstein, was based on the novella of the same name by Voltaire (published in 1759). The operetta was first performed in 1956 with a libretto (the text used in an opera or musical) by Lillian Hellman; but since 1974 it has been generally performed with a book by Hugh Wheeler, which is more faithful to Voltaire’s novel. The primary lyricist was the poet Richard Wilbur. Other contributors to the text included John Latouche, Dorothy Parker, Lillian Hellman, Stephen Sondheim, John Mauceri, John Wells, and Bernstein himself. Although unsuccessful at its premiere, Candide has overcome the unenthusiastic reaction of early audiences and critics and achieved enormous popularity. It is very popular among major music schools as a student show because of the quality of its music and the opportunities it offers to student singers. (source: Wikipedia)
There are so many great songs in this musical, but “Glitter and Be Gay” is one of the favorites. Here, in the New York Philharmonic’s concert staging of Candide in 2004, Kristin Chenoweth displays comic genius all while tackling the very difficult vocals. (And yes, that’s Patti LuPone as The Old Lady).
Bonus! See the wonderful 28-year-old Robert Goulet as Sir Lancelot in Camelot sing “If Ever I Would Leave You.” The original 1960 production ran for 873 performances on Broadway.