Musical Theatre History Timeline - (1955-Present)

  • Harold Prince

    Harold Prince
    With a 50+ year spanning career, Harold Prince is one of the most renowned Broadway director in history. He began his career with co-productions on West Side Story, and would go on to work on Cabaret, Sweeney Todd, Evita, and The Phantom of the Opera. Prince is considered the pioneer of of the “concept musical,” using a departure from an idea or theme rather than from a traditional story. Prince has been awarded 21 Tony awards and was also a member of the National Council of the Arts. (Haines)
  • West Side Story

    West Side Story
    West Side Story is a love letter to the musical. Taking the storytelling from the ashes of Romeo & Juliet, it retells the plot to be in New York City in the 50s, with two street gangs of different backgrounds and two lovers stuck in between. It was conceived by Jerome Robbins, music by Leonard Bernstein, and a book by Arthur Laurents. Its innovative choreography, music, and theatrics, have all been a root of inspiration for theatre since, and remains one of the most revived plays ever. (Ward)
  • Trevor Nunn

    Trevor Nunn
    After becoming the artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1968 and moving into Broadway in 1982, Trevor Nunn has become one of the most prolific directors in theatre history. Whether it's producing the 8 hour long epic of Nicholas Nickleby, or taking over West End classics like Les Miserables and Starlight Express, Nunn hit and has continued a remarkable streak of work, which he still keeps up with today. Nunn also has had 9 Tony nominations, 3 of which he won. (Culwell-Block)
  • Jesus Christ Superstar

    Jesus Christ Superstar
    Taking inspiration from The Who's rock opera album: Tommy, Andrew Lloyd Webber created something that took the spirit of that release, into a one of a kind production. Jesus Christ Superstar tells the story of Jesus Christ through the lens of a rock opera musical. The play is groundbreaking for various reasons, like remaining the defining act for the West End theatre, changing what storytelling and theatrics could be in pop music, and how it introduced the world to Webber's talent. (Simonon)
  • Sir Tim Rice

    Sir Tim Rice
    Sir Tim Rice is an English composer and lyricist who has been known for his work with Andrew Lloyd Webber, Disney, and his solo music. He composed for Evita, Jesus Christ Superstar, Chess, Aladdin, and The Lion King among many others. His music writing style is considered groundbreaking for its usually over-the-top pop arrangements and his endeavors in experimental genre fusions. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1994 and was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1999. (Rossen)
  • Les Misérables

    Les Misérables
    Les Misérables is a musical adaptation of Victor Hugo's book of the same name, written by Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil. The play is set in 19th century France and is about a peasant who seeks to start a revolution to change the country's inequalities. The play is praised for its unique music, character development, and elaborate set design. It is also one of the longest running Broadway musicals of all time and having critically acclaimed film and soundtrack adaptations. (Gopnik)
  • Beauty and the Beast

    Beauty and the Beast
    After a constant winning streak of animated films in the late 80s to early 90s, Disney decided to take these stories to the stage. Starting with Beauty in the Beast, the Walt Disney Theatrical Studio has since put out 17 Broadway shows and continue to put out productions, most recently with the revision of Aladdin in 2018. The Walt Disney Theatrical Studio has often been one of the biggest powerhouses in producing Broadway musicals of all time, and revitalized Broadway in the 1990s. (Hobbs)
  • Jersey Boys

    Jersey Boys
    Jersey Boys not only show the career of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons to a new audience, but helped revitalize the "jukebox musical" for the present Broadway state. The concept for the musical sprouted from Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, and used music by Bob Gaudio, an original member of the Four Seasons. The musical quickly became viewed as a Broadway classic, for giving a unique insight to a group who made headlines but not much for the individuals. (Carmichael)
  • The Book of Mormon

    The Book of Mormon
    South Park creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, are known for making immature jokes on their animated show. What the world didn't see them doing next was writing for Broadway. The Book of Mormon is a comedy musical that tells the story of two Latter-Day Saints missionaries who are stuck in a Ugandan village while preaching faith to the locals. The play was met with critical acclaim, while being one of the most oddball musicals ever written, and bringing a new audience to the musical. (Shilt)
  • Hamilton

    Based on the story of founding father Alexander Hamilton, Hamilton is a history-themed musical primarily written by Lin-Manuel Miranda. It has a significant cultural impact because it's the story of how America looked years ago represented by how America looks like today, with an emphasis provided by the diverse and inclusive casting. The play has also garnered popularity through its filmed stage adaptation, but especially through its incorporation of hip-hop and rapping in the songs.