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Best Musicals Of The 21st Century

Welcome to the Renaissance! Within the last 20 years plenty of new shows have reached the great white way. Here are some of the BEST musicals of the 21st Century. So far…

#1 Urinetown

A musical that is a satirical look at musicals! Plus it's downright hilarious. If you need a break from Phantom of the Opera or Les Mis. Checkout Urinetown!

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#2 Hairspray

This was a fan favorite at my high school. Even though it's not one of my favorites, it's still one of the best musicals of the 21st century.

#3 Wicked

Celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, Wicked has brought us the power duo of Elphaba and Glinda. Include some extremely quotable lyrics and you get one of the best musicals of the 21st century.

#4 The Color Purple

Both the original production in 2005 and 2016 revival are astounding. I was able to see the Revival tour this summer and every moment was a gift. It may not have been on Broadway for too long, but the story and the impact it has on audiences makes it one of the best musicals.

#5 In The Heights

Back in 2008, Lin-Manuel Miranda brought us to Washington Heights with In the Heights. Here we learned that all we need is a bit of pacencia y fe .

#6 Next To Normal

Next to Normal is about Diana, a mom with a worsening bipolar disorder. The Rock score helps to tell this story and shine some light on mental health. Oh, did I also mention Aaron Tveit. 

#7 The Book of Mormon

Known as the funniest musical of the century the creators of South Park gave us one of the most ridiculous lyrics, a spectacular tap number, and a hilarious idea for a Halloween group costume.

#8 Once

Based upon the 2006 indie movie, Once brought the music of Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova to Broadway. It's very refreshing if you want to have a break from a classic show tune. Plus all of the actors play their own instruments! 

#9 Newsies

Featuring a bunch of young, good-looking, dancing Broadway boys, Newsies brings the story of the real-life event of the 1899 Newsboy strike. Newsies has some of the most complicated and acrobatic choreography that makes us all wish we had more time in the dance studio. 

#10 Kinky Boots

Kinky Boots is full of life, color, and drag queens. During it's run on Broadway, notable people have stepped into the 2 1/2 foot boots of the musical. Such as Brendon Urie of Panic at the Disco, as Charlie Price, Wayne Brady from Who's line is it anyway as Lola, Youtube Star Todrick Hall as Lola and Pentatonix singer Kristin Maladonado as Lauren. Plus to add to it Harvey Fierstein, who was the original Mrs. Turnblad in Hairspray, wrote the book of the musical! 

#11 Matilda

Another musical featuring spectacular young performers. Based upon the classic Roald Dahl book, Matilda is one of the most playful and imaginative musicals that I've seen.  

#12 BEAUTIFUL: THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL

It's one of my favorite jukebox musicals. All of the music was written by Carole King. You'd be surprised how many songs you know! 

#13 American In Paris

To be honest, I love Gershwin. An American in Paris proves the music written by the Gershwin brothers are timeless classics that cause us all to have fidgety feet and that anyone can have rhythm. 

#14 Something Rotten!

Another musical making fun of musicals. Something Rotten will leave you in stitches.  

#15 Waitress

If you walk into a high school theatre, there is most likely a song from Waitress on deck on someone's Spotify playlist. Waitress made history by having an all female creative team. The last time that happened was 1978 with The Runaways. Waitress is a must-see musical straight from the heart.

*To be noted, it's best enjoyed with friends. 

#16 Hamilton

What kind of list would this be without Hamilton! Seriously, this blockbuster is so great people are non-stop buying tickets. Nominated for 16 Tony Awards and winning 11 of them. Hamilton has brought a whole new audience to the theatre.

#17 Come From Away

Growing up in a post 9/11 world, we all hear the stories about what happened in NYC. Come From Away is about an unlikely story where 38 planes had to land in the small town of Gander , New Foundland, Canada told by an ensemble cast.  Come From Away, is a story to be seen.

#18 Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812

One of my personal favorites on this list is Great Comet. An immersive theatre expirence, mixed with classic literature and the angelic voice of Josh Groban. Ugh, I love Great Comet so much.

#19 Dear Evan Hansen

Even though Dear Evan Hansen it's a very elaborately designed show, it has made an impact on making the world a safer place to discuss mental health and suicide. As "Waving through a Window" has become an anthem for those who don't feel like they belong, "You will be found" reminds us that even when the dark comes crashing through, when you need someone to carry you, when you're broken on the ground You WILL Be Found.  

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Written by Mac McDonald

Erin "Mac" McDonald is a member of the International Thespian Society and has a passion to learn everything about theatre. She has been in numerous productions from church Christmas pageants to performing in a original musical.  One day she would like to become a director and playwright.

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