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Hello! 15 Best Contemporary Opening Numbers In Musicals

Another opening, another show…

The opening of any musical can make it or break it, and it’s the most important way to grab the audience’s attention and make a first impression. Openers create the portal in which audiences find themselves in the musical’s plot. While certain openers are more subtle and intimate, others are massive spectacles that immediately intrigue their audiences. Ranging from more traditional sounds to rock musicals, here are 15 of our favorite contemporary opening numbers:

1. ‘Omigod You Guys’ from ‘Legally Blonde: The Musical’

A favorite choice among high schools, “Legally Blonde: The Musical” has one of the most recognizable opening numbers in contemporary musical theatre.

2. ‘Alexander Hamilton’ from ‘Hamilton’

It seemed as if no one could escape 2016 without hearing something about “Hamilton” and its opening number, which fuses hip-hop with history to tell the “ten-dollar Founding Father’s” story.

3. ‘Hello’ from ‘The Book of Mormon’

This catchy opening sequence has spawned numerous covers and even a “South Park” sequence.

4. ‘Circle of Life’ from ‘The Lion King’

The live version of this iconic Disney song is chock full of extravagant puppets, authentic costumes and colorful makeup.

5. ‘Miracle’ from ‘Matilda: the Musical’

Tim Minchin’s 2011 West End hit opens with a birthday party where the children and their parents brag about their unique traits.

6. ‘Prologue’ from ‘Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812’

This swingy intro to Dave Malloy’s musical adaptation of “War and Peace” explains the plot and characters to a quick, toe-tapping beat!

7. ‘Just Another Day’ from ‘Next to Normal’

This rock musical opens with a dysfunctional family practicing their morning routines.

8. ‘No One Mourns the Wicked’ from ‘Wicked’

The opening to Stephen Schwartz’s biggest show shows the Ozians cheering Elphaba’s death and Glinda explaining her friendship with Elphaba.

9. ‘Mama Who Bore Me’ from ‘Spring Awakening’

This angsty opening to the musical features a group of adolescent girls who lament not knowing what it means to be a woman.

10. ‘Fancy Dress’ from ‘The Drowsy Chaperone’

In this opening, the audience meets the characters, the most notable of which, Janet van de Graaff, is giving up her career for married life.

11. ‘What I Was Born to Do’ from ‘Bring It On: The Musical’

This thrilling opening sequence features a group of headstrong cheerleaders introducing themselves.

12. ‘Welcome to the Renaissance’ from ‘Something Rotten!’

This Shakespeare-inspired comedy opens with the Minstrel familiarizing the audience with the end of the Renaissance.

13. ‘Underground’ from ‘Memphis’

This rock-n-roll-inspired musical opens at an underground bar in 1950s southwestern Tennessee. The show discusses the rising popularity of black music in white communities.

14. ‘Take Me to Heaven’ from ‘Sister Act: The Musical’

Long before she enters the convent, Deloris is seen here as a nightclub singer in hopes of scoring a record deal.

15. ‘When You’re an Addams’ from ‘The Addams Family’

While visiting a graveyard, Gomez sings to his family about honoring the cycle of life and death.

Did we leave out your favorite contemporary opening scene? Let us know in the comments below…

Written by Joseph Kisiday

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Joseph Kisiday is a 2016 graduate from Christopher Newport University, majoring in Music Composition. Joseph's love for theatre came at a young age through discovering the musicals of Andrew Lloyd Webber, such as "Cats" and "The Phantom of the Opera." When he is not writing, Joseph can be found watching operas or Miyazaki films.

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  1. Live in living color .. Catch Me If You Can… Nice list, but this should make the list (Excellent choice with Something Rotten, btw)

  2. I never get tired of “Good Morning, Baltimore”, from Hairspray. So glad Legally Blonde: the Musical made the list.

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