The topic of revivals is a huge one on Broadway, and as one might think – it is very controversial. There is always the risk of underachieving, especially if the original was super successful, or another revival had a pretty strong run. But those are some risks that theaters are willing to take, in the name of the theater. For the sake of this cause, we decided to gather the top revivals of Broadway.
Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. Enough said.
Actually – not.
“Evita” tells the real story of Argentinian First Lady, her rise up the social ladder – from a small-town teen girl, up to a radio star, actress, and a model in Buenos Aires. Ché, the narrator, doesn’t spare us some details on her meteoritic rise. Her final conquest is Colonel Juan Domingo Perón, who eventually gets elected for President, thus making Eva his First Lady.
Evita rises as the show progresses. She starts a foundation but gets blamed for money laundering. Then she sets on a tour in Europe that is received with mixed emotions. However, she suffers from cancer, and her health declines simultaneously as the political career of Juan. Evita Peron passes away at the dawn of her run for Vice President.
Should we keep the pattern from above? Oscar Hammerstein II and Richard Rogers!
Two of the musical theater’s masterminds collaborate on the creation of one of the most successful shows in Broadway history. To keep the topic on revivals – Oklahoma! is the last recipient of the Tony Award for Best Revival on Broadway (2019), and a nomination in 2002.
The whole story revolves around a social square dance that ties the threads of several young people of the Oklahoma territory – Curly McLain, Laurey Williams, and Jud Fry. This classical Broadway love triangle gets heated as the two young men resort to blows after Laurey first dumps Curly for Jud, but then does the same to Jud, returning to Curly. Jud proceeds to attack the young cowboy with a knife, but falls over it and subsequently dies.
One of the ultimate pieces of musical theater, a global and cross-over hit, Les Misérables is the adaptation of Victor Hugo’s book by Claude-Michel Schönberg, Alain Boublil, Jean-Marc Natel, and Herbert Kretzmer.
The classical story of Jean Valjean, Javert, Cosette, and the Paris Uprising of 1832 was presented both on screen and stage. Many superstars have graced the stage, with the likes of Patti LuPone, Michael Ball, Colm Wilkinson being the most famous among them all!
Romeo and Juliet by Arthur Laurents, Leonard Bernstein, and Stephen Sondheim.
Set in the Upper West Side of NYC, this Broadway masterpiece tells the story of the two racially-divided gangs – the Jets (White Americans), and the Sharks (Puerto Ricans). The two groups agree to settle their score at a dance, where two members – Tony and Maria, fall in love. Perfect, just perfect…Tony tries to broker peace, but all fail at the rumble when Bernardo (Maria’s brother) kills Riff (Tony’s best friend), and Tony subsequently kills Bernardo in his rage.
In a real Shakespearian turn of events, the two groups face off each other, and Tony gets shot by Chino, Bernardo’s best friend. Maria, whose presumed dead, tries to take her life but fails. The feud ends, and both sides carry Tony’s body away.
The vaudevillian master class is probably the greatest ever revival on Broadway. Chicago is the longest-ever running revival on Broadway. The current production has been on stage since 1996 (it won the Tony Award for the Best Revivals on Broadway in 1997).
A widely-known story. Young upstart Roxie Hart stole veteran Velma Kelly’s thunder. And then she stole her tricks and her lawyer. Roxie strives to prolong her 15 minutes of fame at all costs. She fails miserably at the end but finds a new field.
You can hardly set the Top Revivals on Broadway to just five. I’d like to add some honorable mentions to My Fair Lady, Miss Saigon, Carousel, Fiddler on the Roof, The King and I, Hello, Dolly!, Falsettos.
Despite their controversy, the revivals are a risk worth taking. This way some of the top shows on Broadway will get a fresh breath of air, and win some new audience.
The revivals on Broadway are great. However, here are some more, like the bromances, and the goofballs on Broadway. They are here to give us a good laugh. Do you know how to become an actor in musical theater?