Best "Starter Musicals" For People Who Aren't Fans Of Musical Theatre
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Best "Starter Musicals" For People Who Aren't Fans Of Musical Theatre

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Best "Starter Musicals" For People Who Aren't Fans Of Musical Theatre

So, you think musicals aren't your thing? You think you couldn't possibly enjoy them? Maybe you haven't seen a single musical in your life. Or, maybe you saw an overdone high school production of a musical that would've otherwise been great.

Some musicals can be a bit "much" if you haven't seen a musical before: whether it be the subject matter, the style of music, or the length. You might be deterred if an "excessive" musical is your first.

Luckily, none of the musicals on this list will be too intense, too corny, too politically-driven, or too questionable. Basically, all the musicals on this list will be pretty vanilla...because vanilla is a starter flavor! (And its delicious on its own) Once you figure out what you like, you can start mixing new elements in.

Regardless, you may not have been exposed to a great "starter" musical, and that may be the reason you don't like musicals overall. Never fear, I'm here to show you the way. This list will also mostly contain "accessible", for the most part, musicals that have been filmed.

If You're A Disney-phile

News flash: most of the great Disney movies are, in fact, musicals! (Well, they're movie musicals) So, if you're a fan of The Lion King, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, or Frozen, then you're already a musical theatre fan. In fact, all of the movies I just listed have, in fact, been adapted into Broadway musicals---Frozen actually just opened on Broadway!

While The Lion King is, without a doubt, a Broadway classic, and I would recommend it to anyone, there will always be those people who prefer the movie to the stage musical.

One Disney Broadway musical that almost everyone can agree is better than its original movie, however, is Newsies. The movie is great, but the musical took it to a whole new level--especially with the's some of the best.

Plus, Netflix (and some other streaming sources) have a professionally filmed version of the Broadway production. It's really high quality, as well, and a great way to be exposed to theatre if you can't make it to a live production.

For Disney-loving musical newbies, I recommend Newsies

For A Girl-Power, Feel-Good Experience

Let's face it, even the best musicals can be tragedies, but if you're in the mood for a true comedy that values positivity, going after what you want, and personal growth, then Legally Blonde the Musical is a great choice.

You don't even have to be a fan of the original movie or book to enjoy this musical. Plus, it's a great production to take the whole family to (well, most of this list is).

It's happy, it's snappy, and it's a great time. Plus, MTV did a professional filming of the Broadway production that you can also find on Youtube.

If You're Looking For A True Classic

For those unfamiliar, like periods in history, there are also periods in musical theatre. The musical is a distinctly American art form, and America is still a fairly young nation. Thus, the "Golden Age" of Musical Theatre did not actually last that long. The rough estimate for the Golden Age is 1943-1959. It is known as such because, during this time period, show tunes were actually very prominent in pop music. You could flip on the radio to a popular channel, and odds are, you would be hearing songs from the latest hit musical.

While there are so many quality musicals from the Golden Age, I think there is no better introductory choice than Singin' In The Rain.

I actually recommend the 1952 movie version! It's an incredibly well-done production that is sure to please a crowd.

If You're Looking For More Modern Music

I'm not going to lie. I'm a die-hard Hamilton fan. I've met some of the cast members, I've memorized the cast album, and I saw the original cast on Broadway. It makes me so happy that so many other people love it, as well.

While Hamilton did definitely bring a much greater popularity to hip-hop on Broadway, there was hip-hop and pop on Broadway before Hamilton. Jason-Robert Brown has composed some beautiful theatre pieces that have more of a pop sound, and I highly recommend any of his musicals. However, for this choice, I'm going to have to give it to Lin-Manuel Miranda's first Broadway musical, In the Heights.

In the Heights has many of the same themes as Hamilton, but it's actually easier to follow. While Hamilton takes place over the course of a few decades, Heights takes place over the course of a few days. Plus, it has a greater number of dynamic female characters than Hamilton. It showcases the values of diversity, community, failure, and success. In my opinion, it's equally light-hearted and whole-hearted. I know I said this list would be vanilla, but this is the least vanilla musical on the list. It's a flavor all its own.

However, I will say, there are a few songs that are a little explicit. Nothing too serious, but it's just a warning for people who are worried about language being exposed to children. That said, I know many children who adore In the Heights.

Unfortunately, there is not a professionally filmed full production of In the Heights available to the public. Your best bet is to catch a local community theater production. (It's always good to support the local arts!) However, if this is not an option for you, there are clips of many of the songs online, from both the Broadway production and the Reunion Concert, as well as a PBS Masterpiece Special that contains lots of content. I'm not advocating bootlegs, but you can find some of those online, as well. All in all, if you have the opportunity to see this show, you should take it.

This is far from a complete list!

Theatre is subjective, so one person may love a production, while another person may hate it. It all boils down to your own preferences. This list was difficult to make, and there are many more musicals that serve as excellent "starter" musicals, like Wicked, Guys and Dolls, Sister Act and Hairspray. You really can't go wrong with most musicals!

Yet, a happy-go-lucky musical may not be your cup of tea. For some, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street may be the musical that gets them hooked. What musical did it for you?

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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