The word legendary is bandied about a lot these days in advertising. But there is no doubt that some of the greatest productions on Broadway are also the most memorable and lasting. They not only make you laugh, cry or get excited, but they become part of your life and you’ll replay them day after day again and again long after they’ve been revisited by all. So if you want to prepare for your visit to New York City, prepare by learning a few of these Theater Songs that have always been essential to Broadway!
All That Jazz (Chicago)
“All That Jazz” is the perfect example of how to mix up song and dance in a Broadway musical. Music by Kander, lyrics by Ebb, choreography by Bob Fosse. A legend for sure! “All That Jazz” was nominated for twelve Tony awards including best musical and has a total of 18 nominations in all.
The fact that “All That Jazz” is also an early example of using sound effects in a musical makes it even more memorable! (We’ll talk about sound effects a little bit more later!)
A Chorus Line
“A Chorus Line” is the perfect example of how to mix up song and dance in a Broadway musical. Music by Marvin Hamlisch, lyrics by Edward Kleban. A legend for sure! This Tony award-winning musical has 12 nominations and won five.
For a musical with so many awards and nominations, “A Chorus Line” is still highly relevant today. For instance, the musical can be seen on Broadway as well as in London, Paris and Madrid.
And even though the musical has been a great success for ages, it’s still being remade currently in London by Sir Cameron Mackintosh and Patrick Doyle. But we won’t go into that here!
A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum
The opening song of the musical “A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum,” is a bit similar to “All That Jazz” but also has a good soundtrack and wonderful dance moves. Created by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim, the musical was nominated for twelve Tony awards including best musical in 1970 and holds an overall total of 13 nominations.
A Little Night Music
“A Little Night Music” is definitely one of the most creative musicals ever on Broadway. First of all, it was created by Stephen Sondheim and even though it only has a total of twelve nominations, it won four Tony awards including best musical in 1973.
What is so special about this production, however, is that all of the songs are sung not in English but in Swedish! (Or at least they were when they were performed by Britney Spears!)
Bye Bye Birdie (Bye Bye Birdie)
And now, we have “Bye Bye Birdie” by Charles Strouse and Lee Adams. It was nominated for another twelve Tony awards including best musical, with a total of 13 overall nominations. It also won the Pulitzer prize in 1960.
“Bye Bye Birdie” is a great example of the use of music and dance in a Broadway musical. And it clearly proves that you don’t need to make a musical about birds, singing and dancing (like “Jersey Boys”) to make a musical great.
Sit Down You’re Rockin’ The Boat (Guys and Dolls)
And now we will play a little game. Lets say that you want to make a musical that is never to be forgotten. Are you the one who can then make a Broadway musical that is never to be forgotten? The answer, of course, is “Yes!” And the best way to do this is by using music and dance in your show. And what better use of music and dance than this great song? The creators were Irving Berlin, George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart.
The musical “Cabaret” is one of the most famous and well-known musicals on Broadway. It was created by John Kander and Fred Ebb. It won five Tony awards such as best musical, including best score and best book!
It is an example of how to mix up song and dance in a Broadway musical. It also has a great soundtrack and wonderful dance moves. Most importantly, however, “Cabaret” also has a great score and unforgettable songs that are entertaining for all ages!
Cell Block Tango, (Chicago)
The song “Cell Block Tango” is a bit similar to “A Chorus Line.” Both are very entertaining with great choreography, music and dance. Both were choreographed by Bob Fosse and have a total of eleven nominations winning five Tony awards including best musical!
Electricity, Billy Elliot and Nine
This musical was nominated for eleven Tony awards including best musical, winning four. It was created by Stephen Schwartz and won five awards including best musical.
(The musical and the film, both called Billy Elliot, are actually different plays so they don’t have to be talked about together.) “Billy Elliot” is a classic example of a Broadway show that combines songs, choreography and dance in one act but with different numbers, which is what makes it so entertaining! The music makes the performance even better.
The Music of the Night, The Phantom of the Opera (The Phantom of the Opera)
“The Music of the Night” is a song from “The Phantom of the Opera” that was created by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Charles Hart. The musical is one of the most famous musicals on Broadway. It was nominated for thirteen Tony awards including best musical and has an overall total of 17 nominations in total!
It also won two Grammy awards in 1986 after its debut in 1986, achieving great popularity among people all over the world. This musical is considered as one of the greatest classics in Broadway entertainment.
As you can see, there are many different examples of how to mix up song and dance in a Broadway musical. Whether it’s “All That Jazz,” “Annie Get Your Gun,” “Cell Block Tango” or “The Music of the Night,” all of these musicals have great music and memorable songs! They all successfully combine song and dance into one with great success.