Tony Award for Best Musical winner from the year you were born
Harking back to the ancient Greeks and Romans, musical theater remains one of the most profound expressions of art, life, and the human condition. While theatre productions can be seen all over the world, nothing represents them quite like New York's Broadway Theater district. Originating in the 1700s with a small theatre company on Nassau Street that put on plays and operas, Broadway has since become an iconic part of the stage, with 40 theatres and billions of dollars in revenue every year. Many of the productions that make it to Broadway go on to become feature films, running for years and enjoying multiple revivals and tours. While critical acclaim and box office success is always sought after, one of the most coveted forms of recognition for show creators and cast members is a Tony Award.
Named for actress, director, and producer Antoinette Perry, the Tony Awards began in 1947. What began as a small, exclusive dinner and awards ceremony held in upscale hotel ballrooms grew into a huge event. Today's Tonys take place at Radio City Music Hall or Manhattan's Beacon Theatre in order to accommodate the large number of attendees. In 1967, the show made its inaugural broadcast on television. In 1978, CBS picked up the show and now dedicates a three-hour time slot to the event each year, making it accessible to viewers across the globe.
Using data from the Broadway League's Internet Broadway Database (IBDB), which compiles information on all winners and nominees from years past to current, Stacker has rounded up a chronological list of the Tony Award Winners for Best Musical from 1949 to 2018.
Check out the list to see which musical was awarded a Tony Award the year you were born.
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1949: Kiss Me, Kate
A musical version of Shakespeare's “The Taming of the Shrew,” “Kiss Me, Kate” was written by Samuel and Bella Spewack and put to music by Cole Porter. The original Broadway production debuted in December 1948 with a cast that included seasoned stage and screen actors Alfred Drake and Patricia Morison. The show ran from 1948 to 1951 for a total of 1,077 performances, and was the first musical to win Best Musical at what was then the newly created Tony Awards.
1950: South Pacific
This World War II musical drama tells the parallel love stories of an American nurse and a military lieutenant who fall in love while stationed in the South Pacific. Each faces fears of prejudice and racism, and must decide if love outweighs the social restrictions of their time. Created by Rodgers and Hammerstein, “South Pacific” was one of Broadway's longest-running productions, and received great critical acclaim. It was made into a movie in 1958, starring Rossano Brazzi and Mitzi Gaynor.
1951: Guys and Dolls
Premiering on Nov. 24, 1950, and running through 1953, “Guys and Dolls” was produced by Cy Feuer and Ernest Martin. It was based on two short stories, “The Idyll of Miss Sarah Brown” and “Blood Pressure,” by author Damon Runyon. The story takes place in New York during the Great Depression, and follows the lives of two gamblers as they try to win big in life and love. In addition to Best Musical, “Guys and Dolls” won Tony Awards for Best Performance by an Actor, Best Performance by an Actress, Best Choreography, and Best Direction.
1952: The King and I
Another Rodgers and Hammerstein classic, “The King and I” was based on the novel, “Anna and the King of Siam” by Margaret Landon. The book was taken from the memoirs of Anna Leonowens, who was a governess for King Mongkut of Siam in the 1860s. “Anna and the King of Siam” was originally made into a movie in 1946, and opened as a Broadway musical in 1951. Chronicling Leonowens' life and relationship with the king, the show ran for nearly three years on Broadway, and two more movies were made from the story, one in 1956 and one in 1999.
1953: Wonderful Town
Written by Joseph Fields and Jerome Chodorov, with music by Leonard Bernstein, “Wonderful Town” is based on Fields' and Chodorov's play, “My Sister Eileen.” Debuting at the Winter Garden Theatre in February of 1953, the show, which starred Rosalind Russell, Edith Adams, and Cris Alexander, went on to win five Tony Awards. A 2003 Broadway revival earned the musical a Tony nomination for Best Revival, and an award for Best Choreography.
Based on the 1911 play by Edward Knoblauch, “Kismet” is the story of a poet on the streets of Baghdad whose beautiful daughter becomes the unlikely love interest of the Caliph. Starring Alfred Drake and Doretta Morrow, the show premiered at the Ziegfeld Theatre in 1953 and ran through 1955. In addition to its Tony for Best Musical, it also won for Best Actor and Best Musical Conductor that same year.
1955: The Pajama Game
Opening in 1954 at the St. James Theatre and running for a total of 1,063 performances, “The Pajama Game” highlights unrest in a pajama factory as workers fight for fair wages. The show was choreographed by legendary dancer and choreographer Bob Fosse. Cast members included John Raitt, Carol Haney, and Shirley MacLaine, who started as an understudy for Haney and went on to fill her role for several months after Haney suffered an injury. MacLaine's performance caught the eye of a producer, and she went on to sign a contract with Paramount.
1956: Damn Yankees
“Damn Yankees” tells the story of a man who sells his soul to the devil for a chance to help his favorite baseball team, the Washington Senators, find victory. Based on the book “The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant,” the show opened in 1955 and ran through 1957. Music and lyrics were composed by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross, with Bob Fosse again providing choreography. It swept the 1956 Tony Awards, with wins for Best Musical, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Choreography, Best Conductor and Musical Director, and Best Stage Technician.
1957: My Fair Lady
George Bernard Shaw's play, “Pygmalion” was the inspiration for this much-loved musical about street girl Eliza Doolittle, who is taken under the wing of Professor Henry Higgins so that he may make a lady of her. The original Broadway cast included Julie Andrews and Rex Harrison, who went on to star with Audrey Hepburn in the 1964 movie version of the show. "My Fair Lady" ran from 1956 to 1962, setting the record as the longest-running show of that time.
1958: The Music Man
“The Music Man” debuted in 1957, telling the story of a grifter named Harold Hill, who poses as a band organizer in order to bilk a small town looking to start a high school boys band. Things go awry when Hill falls for the local librarian, and he risks losing it all for love. With music and lyrics by Meredith Wilson, this musical comedy ran from 1957 to 1961, for a total of 1,375 shows. It was made into a feature movie in 1962, starring Robert Preston and Shirley Jones.
Composed by Albert Hague and written by Dorothy and Herbert Field along with Sidney Sheldon, “Redhead” is a racy murder mystery set in the 1800s in a London wax museum. It opened at the 46th Street Theatre in 1959, running for 452 performances. This was choreographer Bob Fosse's first foray into directing, and the show starred Gwen Verdon, who was also his love interest (and eventually his spouse) in real life.
1960: 'Fiorello!' and 'The Sound of Music'
In a somewhat unprecedented decision, musical “Fiorello!” and “The Sound of Music” tied for Best Musical at the 14th annual Tony Awards. “Fiorello!” was written by Jerome Weidman and George Abbot, and tells the story of New York City Mayor Fiorello H. LaGuardia and his fight with Tammany Hall. Written by Rodgers and Hammerstein, “The Sound of Music” was based on the memoir, “The Story of the Trapp Family Singers” and is about a governess who falls in love with the widowed father of the children she cares for, set against the backdrop of Austria during the Nazi regime. It starred Mary Martin and Theodore Blake, and won a total of five Tony Awards. “The Sound of Music” went on to become a feature movie in 1965, winning five Oscars and a Golden Globe.
1961: Bye Bye Birdie
Inspired by the true events surrounding famed singer Elvis Presley getting drafted into the army, musical comedy “Bye Bye Birdie” takes place in 1958 and tells the story of a young rock and roll idol being sent off to war. As a publicity stunt, his management decides he will give a farewell kiss to a young Ohio girl during “The Ed Sullivan Show,” which causes an uproar for both the small town and the teenage girls that live there. The show opened in 1960 at Martin Beck Theatre, running through 1961 for a total of 607 performances, and starred Dick Gautier and Chita Rivera.
1962: How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
Opening in 1961 at Broadway's 46th Street Theatre, “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” was written by Frank Loesser, Abe Burrows, Jack Weinstock, and Willie Gilbert. Starring Robert Morse and Rudy Vallee, it won a total of seven Tony Awards, as well as the 1962 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
1963: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
A funny, punny, and satirical farce, this take on ancient Roman playwright Plautus' tales tells the somewhat coarse story of a slave who tries to help his master win the girl next door. Starring Zero Mostel, Brian Davies, and Preshy Marker, the show ran from 1962 to 1964. In addition to Best Musical, it won Tony Awards for Best Author, Best Actor, Best Direction, and Best Producer.
1964: Hello, Dolly!
Taken from Thornton Wilder's farce, “The Merchant of Yonkers,” “Hello, Dolly!” is the story of a matchmaker who travels to Yonkers, N.Y., in an effort to find a match for the wealthy Horace Vandergelder. Produced by David Merrick, and starring Carol Channing and David Burns, the show ran from 1964 to 1970 and won 10 Tony Awards. “Hello, Dolly!” was made into a feature film in 1969, starring Barbra Streisand and Walter Matthau, netting three Oscars as well as a Golden Globe nomination.
1965: Fiddler on the Roof
Written by Joseph Stein and composed by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick, “Fiddler on the Roof” takes place in Russia in the early 1900s. A devoutly religious father tries to keep his Jewish traditions alive, while his daughters want to marry for love and make their own choices. Opening in 1964, “Fiddler” had a phenomenal 3,242 performances, which made it the first musical to surpass 3,000 shows, and placed it as record holder of the longest-running Broadway musical for nearly 10 years.
1966: Man of La Mancha
This 1965 musical was adapted from Dale Wasserman's 1959 teleplay, “I, Don Quixote” which was inspired by the book, “Don Quixote,” written by Miguel de Cervantes. Starring Richard Kiley and Irving Jacobson, it ran from 1965 to 1971 for a total of 2,328 performances. It has since enjoyed four Broadway revivals, and has been performed in countries around the world.
Set in Berlin during the Nazis' rise to power, “Cabaret” tells the story of a romance between a German boarding house owner and a Jewish fruit vendor. Written by Joe Masteroff, with lyrics and music by John Kander and Fred Ebb, it won eight Tony Awards and was nominated for three others. The show inspired a feature film of the same name in 1972.
1968: Hallelujah, Baby!
A musical depiction of the African American struggle for equal rights, this 1968 winner follows a young African American woman as she fights racism and social expectations on her rise to fame and fortune. Starring a then relatively unknown Leslie Uggams, “Hallelujah, Baby!” catapulted her career, and she went on to star in numerous television shows and feature films. The Broadway show ran from 1967 to 1968, and won eight Tony Awards.
Based on events taking place during the signing of the Declaration of Independence, “1776” was written by Peter Stone, with music and lyrics by Sherman Edwards. It premiered in 1969 and ran for a total of 1,217 performances. In addition to winning a Tony for Best Musical, it won for Best Featured Actor and Best Direction, and was nominated for Best Featured Actress and Best Scenic Design.
Applause debuted at Broadway's Palace Theatre in 1970, running through 1972 for a total of 896 shows. Based on the 1950 film, “All About Eve” and the short story, “The Wisdom of Eve” the story is about an older star who takes in a young actress, not knowing the young woman plans to steal her career. Cast members included Len Cariou and Lauren Bacall, whose role won her a Tony for Best Actress in a Musical.
“Company” is a musical comedy that tells the story of a single man who can't commit, his five married friends, and his three girlfriends. Written by George Furth, with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, it opened in 1970 and ran through 1972, with 705 performances. It was nominated for an astounding 14 Tony Awards and won six, including Best Musical, Best Direction, and Best Lyrics.
1972: Two Gentlemen of Verona
Based on the Shakespeare comedy of the same name, “Two Gentlemen of Verona” is a rock musical written by John Guare and Mel Shapiro, with music by Galt MacDermot. The Broadway production ran from 1971 to 1973 and starred Clifton Davis and Jonelle Allen. The show was revived in 1996 by the New Jersey Shakespeare Festival, and was well-received by audiences and critics alike.
1973: A Little Night Music
Running from 1973 to 1974 for a total of 601 shows, “A Little Night Music” was inspired by the film, “Smiles of a Summer Night” and delves into the love lives of several couples. The original Broadway production won six Tony Awards, and it has since enjoyed numerous revivals, as well as being adapted to film in 1977.
Starring Virginia Capers, Ernestine Jackson and Joe Morton, “Raisin” is an adaption of the play, “A Raisin in the Sun,” the story of an African American family in 1950s Chicago. It opened to rave reviews and ran from 1973 to 1975 for a total of 847 performances. In addition to its win for Best Musical, Virginia Capers won a Tony for Best Performance by a Leading Actress.
1975: The Wiz
This retelling of the book “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” provides a modern twist on the original tale, showcasing modern African American culture. Written by William F. Brown, with music and lyrics by Charlie Smalls, “The Wiz” opened in 1975 at Broadway's Majestic Theatre, and ran through 1979. It was adapted as a feature film in 1978, and a live television version of the stage show was shown on NBC in 2015.
1976: A Chorus Line
The story of Broadway dancers auditioning for a spots in a show, “A Chorus Line” opened in 1975 at Shubert Theatre. It ran from 1975 to 1990, a total of 6,137 performances and remains one of Broadway's longest-running shows. It received a total of 12 Tony Award nominations, as well as the 1976 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
Based on the comic strip, “Little Orphan Annie,” created by Harold Gray, “Annie” was written by Thomas Meehan, with music and lyrics by Charles Strouse and Martin Charnin. Telling the story of a young orphan girl taken in by a billionaire businessman, the show ran for six years and won seven Tony Awards. The show has been produced all over the world and toured nationally, and generated feature film adaptions in 1982 and 2014, as well as a made-for-TV movie in 1999.
1978: Ain't Misbehavin'
A tribute to the African American musicians of the Harlem Renaissance, “Ain't Misbehavin'” opened in 1978 and ran until 1982, for a total of 1,604 performances. The original cast included Nell Carter, André DeShields, and Armelia McQueen. In addition to winning a Tony for Best Musical, Nell Carter was awarded a Tony for Best Featured Actress in a Musical, and director Richard Maltby Jr. won for Best Direction.
1979: Sweeney Todd
“Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” was written by Hugh Wheeler, with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Based on the 1973 play of the same name, it tells the macabre tale of a murderous barber bent on revenge, killing people off and giving the bodies to the woman who runs the shop below him for her meat pies. It ran from 1979 to 1980, winning eight Tony Awards. It was made into a feature film in 2007, starring Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter.
With music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice, “Evita” follows the life of Argentine leader Eva Perón and her rise to power. It ran from 1979 to 1983 and won seven Tonys. It was later made into a feature film in 1996, starring Madonna.
1981: 42nd Street
This 1980 Broadway show was produced by David Merrick with music and lyrics by Al Dubin, Johnny Mercer, and Harry Warren. Based on a novel by Bradford Ropes, the story was initially made popular by a 1933 movie of the same name. The musical showcased a broad mix of songs, including original works, songs written by Dubin and Warren for other films, and songs made popular by the original movie. The show ran from 1980 to 1989, with two popular revivals in 2017.
Based on Federico Fellini's film, “8 1/2,” “Nine” tells of a film director who dreads getting older and is fighting a midlife crisis. It opened in 1982 and ran until early 1984, for a total of 729 performances. In addition to winning Best Musical, actor Raul Julia was nominated for a Tony for Best Actor, and actress Liliane Montevecchi won for Best Featured Actress in a Musical.
“Cats” first opened in London's West End in 1981, and made its Broadway debut in 1982. Composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber and based on a book by T.S. Eliot, it follows the lives of a tribe of cats, known as the Jellicles. Both the London and Broadway productions set run-time records, with the London show running for 21 years and the Broadway show for 18 years. A Broadway revival of “Cats” premiered in 2016, and a film adaption was made in 1998. A new feature film is set for release in late 2019, starring Idris Elba and Rebel Wilson.
1984: La Cage aux Folles
Based on the 1973 play by Jean Poiret, “La Cage aux Folles” tells the story of a gay couple dealing with one partner's son trying to introduce them to his fiancée's very conservative family. It ran from 1983 to 1987, winning a total of six Tony awards. It had revivals in 2004, 2008, and 2010, all of which won awards as well. The 1996 movie version, “The Birdcage”, starring Robin Williams and Nathan Lane, was nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe, and won a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast.
1985: Big River
“The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” is set to music in this country-themed show, with music and lyrics by Roger Miller. Directed by Des McAnuff and choreographed by Janet Wilson, it ran from 1985 to 1987 for a total of 1,005 performances. In addition to winning a Tony for Best Musical, it also won for Best Book, Best Original Score, Best Featured Actor, Best Scenic Design, Best Lighting, and Best Direction.
1986: The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Otherwise known simply as “Drood,” “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” is based on the partially finished Charles Dickens novel of the same name. The show was unusual in that it involved the audience, allowing them to pick from multiple endings. Running from 1985 to 1987, it was nominated for a total of 11 Tonys and won five.
1987: Les Misérables
Premiering in Paris in 1980, “Les Misérables” is based on the 1862 novel by Victor Hugo and tells the story of Frenchman Jean Valjean and his friends during the onset of the French Revolution. While the London reviews were initially negative, the Broadway performance, which opened in 1987 and ran through 2003, became one of Broadway's longest running productions and won nine Tony Awards.
1988: The Phantom of the Opera
"The Phantom of the Opera" tells the story of a mysterious musical genius' obsession with a beautiful young singer. Originally opening in London in 1986, it premiered on Broadway in 1988, and continues to run today. It is the longest-running production in Broadway history, and the second-longest running London musical.
1989: Jerome Robbins' Broadway
Revolving around the shows that made Jerome Robbins famous, “Jerome Robbins' Broadway” opened in 1989 and ran through 1990, for a total of 633 shows. Robbins was considered one of the most well-known choreographers of his time, known for his work in shows such as “West Side Story” and “The King and I.” Its large cast of 62 actors included Jason Alexander, Charlotte d'Amboise, and Faith Prince. It won six Tony Awards, and was nominated for 10 in all.
1990: City of Angels
A musical comedy that pays homage to the film noir movies of the 1940s, “City of Angels” made its Broadway debut at the Virginia Theatre in 1989 and ran through 1992. It starred James Naughton, who won a Tony for his performance, and Gregg Edelman, who was nominated for Best Actor.
1991: The Will Rogers Follies
The story of the life of performer Will Rogers, “The Will Rogers Follies” opened in 1991 and ran through 1993, starring Keith Carradine and Betty Blake. The show went on national tour in 1992, closing in 1994. In addition to a Tony Award for Best Musical, it won for Best Original Score, Best Costume Design, Best Lighting, Best Choreography, and Best Direction of a Musical.
1992: Crazy for You
A romantic comedy written by Ken Ludwig, with music and lyrics by Ira and George Gershwin, this show was based on the Gershwin's 1930 musical “Girl Crazy.” It opened at Shubert Theatre in 1992 and ran until 1996, for a total of 1,622 shows. A televised production was shown on PBS in 1999, and a U.K. revival opened in 2016, with a U.K. tour from 2017 to 2018.
1993: Kiss of the Spider Woman
Opening at the Broadhurst Theatre in 1993 and running through 1995, “The Kiss of the Spider Woman” is the story of a gay man serving time in an Argentina prison, building a rich fantasy life in order to escape his reality. It starred Brent Carver and Chita Rivera, both of whom won Tony Awards for Best Actor and Best Actress. In 1985, it was adapted into a feature film, and starred William Hurt, Raul Julia, and Sonia Braga.
Adapted from the film “Passione d'Amore” and the novel “Fosca” by Iginio Ugo Tarchetti, “Passion” takes place in Italy, where a soldier is the object of desire for Fosca, his Colonel's cousin. The production opened in 1994 and ran through January of 1995. The show was well-received and won four Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, and Best Original Score.
1995: Sunset Boulevard
“Sunset Boulevard,” based on the 1950 film of the same name, tells the story of Norma Desmond, a former silent screen actress who tries to revive her career with the help of a young screenwriter. The show originally opened in London in 1993, and premiered at Broadway's Minskoff Theatre in 1994. It ran until 1997 for a total of 976 performances and won seven Tony Awards.
A rock-n-roll musical loosely based on the opera “La Bohéme,” “Rent” centers on the lives of a group of young artists as they struggle to find their way through life in New York's East Village. It opened at Nederlander Theatre in 1996 and ran through September of 2008, for a total of 5,123 performances. The show received much acclaim, and won four Tony Awards. It toured nationally for several different runs, and was adapted into a feature film in 2005, starring many of the original Broadway cast members.
Based on the infamous story of the wreck of the RMS Titanic, this dramatic musical opened at Lunt-Fontanne Theatre in 1997, running through 1999. It was directed by Richard Jones and the cast included John Cunningham, Michael Cerveris and Victoria Clark. “Titanic” was nominated for five Tony Awards, and won them all. A national tour of the show launched in January of 1999, and ran through September of 2000.
1998: The Lion King
A well-known front-runner on Broadway, “The Lion King” opened in 1997, with 8,953 performances to date. Based on the Walt Disney movie of the same name, it debuted in Minneapolis, Minn., and quickly moved to Broadway. It is the third-longest running show of all time and is the highest-grossing production of all time. Current cast members include Fred Berman, Stephen Carlile, and Bradley Gibson.
A celebration Bob Fosse's many years of Broadway choreography, “Fosse” opened at the Broadhurst Theatre in 1998 and ran through 2001. It was nominated for 10 Tony Awards and won three, including Best Musical and Best Orchestrations. A televised production was aired on PBS's “Great Performances” in 2002, and a national tour was launched in 1999, which ran until 2002.
Created by Susan Stroman and John Weidman, “Contact” consists of three separate dance pieces, all taking place in different locations, all circling around themes of love and connection. It opened at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre in March of 2000, running through September 2002 with 1,010 shows. It was nominated for seven Tonys, winning a total of four.
2001: The Producers
Mel Brooks adapted this musical from his own 1967 movie of the same name, which tells the story of two theatre producers trying to get rich quick via overselling a failing Broadway show. It opened in 2001 and ran until 2007, for a total of 2,502 performances. The show starred Nathan Lane, who went on to star with Matthew Broderick in a feature film version in 2005.
2002: Thoroughly Modern Millie
Telling the story of a young woman who tries to land a rich husband in New York City, “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” based on the 1967 movie of the same name, opened at Broadway's Marquise Theatre in 2002. It ran through June of 2004, for a total of 903 shows. It was nominated for 12 Tony Awards and won seven, including Best Musical, Best Featured Actress, and Best Orchestrations.
Based on the 1988 movie of the same name, “Hairspray” opened at Neil Simon Theatre in 2002 and ran until 2009. The tale of a teenage girl trying for a chance to be on a TV teen dance show, cast members included Harvey Fierstein and Marissa Jaret Winokur, both of whom won for Best Actor/Actress in a Musical. The show was nominated for a total of 13 Tonys and was adapted into a successful feature film in 2007, which starred Nikki Blonsky, Michelle Pfeiffer, and John Travolta.
2004: Avenue Q
Featuring a mix of puppets and human actors, “Avenue Q” is the creation of Jeff Whitty, with music and lyrics by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx. It opened in 2003 at the John Golden Theatre, and ran until 2009, for a total of 2,534 performances. The show's success inspired many international tours, as well as introducing a child-friendly script for school shows.
Monty Python's particular sense of humor comes to life in this fanciful and rowdy take on the story of King Arthur. Loosely based the 1975 movie, “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” it opened in 2005 at the Shubert Theatre, running until 2009. Cast members included Tim Curry and Hank Azaria, both of whom were nominated for Tony Awards in the Best Actor categories, and Sara Ramirez, who won a Tony for Best Featured Actress in a Musical.
2006: Jersey Boys
Based on the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, “Jersey Boys” debuted at the August Wilson Theatre in 2005, running until 2017 for a total of 4,642 performances. Stylized as a documentary, it follows the formation, success and subsequent breakup of the popular group. It was adapted to a feature film of the same name in 2014, starring John Lloyd Young and Christopher Walken.
2007: Spring Awakening
Premiering at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre in 2006 and running until 2009, “Spring Awakening” had a total of 859 performances and was nominated for 11 Tony Awards, taking home a total of eight. Based on the 1891 German play, the story tells of a group of 19th-century teens discovering their sexuality, set to a background of folk-infused and alt-rock music. Singer/songwriter Duncan Sheik composed the music, with lyrics by Steven Sater. The show had several worldwide productions, including one at London's West End.
2008: In the Heights
Set in New York's Washington Heights neighborhood, “In the Heights” was created by Lin-Manuel Miranda, who wrote the original draft when he was still a college student. It premiered on Broadway in 2008 and ran until 2011, for a total of 1,184 performances. Nominated for 14 Tony Awards, it took home five, including Best Musical, Best Original Score, and Best Choreography. A feature film version of the musical is slated for 2020.
2009: Billy Elliot: The Musical
Broadway's version of the award winning movie, “Billy Elliot: The Musical,” debuted in 2008 and ran until 2012. With music by Elton John and lyrics by Lee Hall, this is the story of a young boy who dreams of being a professional dancer, much to the chagrin of his father. The show originally premiered at London's West End in 2005, where it had a successful run through 2016. It also generated several national and international tours, including locations such as Chicago, Toronto, and Australia.
A loose interpretation of the life of Memphis DJ Dewey Phillips, who was one the first DJs to play African American music on a predominately white radio station in the 1950's, “Memphis” opened in September 2009 and ran through 2009. It was nominated for nine Tony Awards and won five.
2011: The Book of Mormon
Written by South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, “The Book of Mormon” is an irreverent, yet ultimately fun-loving take on the lives of two Mormon missionaries as they try to convert a remote African village. The show premiered at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre in 2011, and is still running, with 3,403 performances to-date. It was nominated for a total of 16 Tony Awards, winning 11 of them.
Based on the 2007 movie of the same name, “Once” premiered at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre in 2012 and ran until 2015. Cast members included Steve Kazee and Cristin Milioti, and the show was nominated for a total of 11 Tony Awards. The show's success led to productions in London and Dublin, as well as a series of national and international tours.
2013: Kinky Boots
“Kinky Boots” opened on Broadway in 2013 and ran through April of 2019, for a total of 2,505 performances. Based on the 2005 film, the story is inspired by true events, in which a man inherits a shoe factory from his father and partners with a drag queen to produce a new line of boots. The show originally premiered in Chicago, moving onto Broadway and sparking a U.S. tour in 2014. It won six Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Original Score, and Best Performance by an Actor.
2014: A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder
This musical comedy was created from the 1907 novel by Ron Horniman, with music and lyrics by Robert L. Freedman and Steven Lutvak. It premiered at the Walter Kerr Theatre in 2013, running until 2016. Cast members included Jefferson Mays and Bryce Pinkham, both of whom were nominated for Tony Awards for their performances.
2015: Fun Home
Adapted from cartoonist Alison Bechdel's 2006 graphic memoir of the same name, “Fun Home” opened in 2015 at Broadway's Circle in the Square Theatre. Originally developed through various readings and performances at other venues, the story is laid out as a series of vignettes that take us through Bechdel's life. In addition to winning a Tony for Best Musical, it also won for Best Direction, Best Original Score, Best Book, and Best Performance by an Actor.
Playwright, composer, and actor Lin-Manuel Miranda knocked it out of the park with his musical, “Hamilton.” The show combines pop, hip-hop, R&B and old-school show tunes as it tells the story of founding father Alexander Hamilton. It debuted at Richard Rodgers Theatre in 2015 and is still running, with 1,573 performances to date. Current cast includes Austin Scott, Daniel Breaker, and Carvens Lissaint. The show has received critical acclaim, winning 11 Tony Awards and a Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
2017: Dear Evan Hansen
Opening in 2016, with music and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, “Dear Evan Hansen” is about a teenager trying to find his way in the world as he gets caught up in a lie not of his own making. Still running at Broadway's Music Box Theatre, current cast members include Andrew Barth Feldman and Mallory Bechtel. It was nominated for nine Tony Awards, and won a total of six. A feature film version of the musical is currently in development.
2018: The Band's Visit
Adapted from the Israeli film of the same name, “The Band's Visit” is about a police orchestra in Tel Aviv that accidently boards the wrong bus and ends up in an isolated desert town instead of the city they were scheduled to play. The show premiered at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre in 2017, running until 2019 with 588 performances. It won 10 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Direction, and Best Book.