Things change over time and this isn’t more prevalent in musical theatre. We change to fit our intended audience, change to fit our theme for our show. But it’s very hard to change to something to something that has never been done before. Luckily, these musicals did exactly that so you don’t have to!
The phrase concept musical gets thrown around and the definition is debated but people agree that these shows focus more on the message of the show, rather than the plot itself. Fiddler on the Roof is said to be the first example of a concept musical, with its themes like anti-semitism being the main focus.
Most musicals have a dark themes, but musicals also try to hide them due to a fear of being to dark for audiences. Cabaret changed that being very explicit in its dark themes and being entertaining at the same time. Cabaret is one of my favourite shows some I'm glad it made the impact it did.
La Cage Aux Folles is a revolution in the content of musicals. This show portrayed gay people in a more realistic and emotional way. Before that, musicals with gay people in used them as a side character while La Cage Aux Folles made gay people the main focus. This paved way for shows like Falsettos, Fun Home and Everybody's Talking about Jamie.
Humour before this show was put into quips and puns, and any inappropriate jokes were put as euphemisms. Avenue Q changed that by making everything vulgar and inappropriate in an incredibly explicit which now resides in much of our comedy such as Spamalot, The Book of Mormon and Something Rotten!
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