Today BroadwayGlobal shares the most powerful Broadway musicals and composers by some of our top leaders in show business. We all know how music and lyrics help us get through rough times, or celebrate life events. Those songs are fresh in our minds, and some still from childhood. With the help of a few Broadway friends, producers, composers, directors and choreographers BroadwayGlobal is listing the best of the best starting with the most recent.
Looking at revenue at most recent Broadway shows we would have to pick in this order Lion King music and lyrics Elton John and Tim Rice, Phantom of the Opera Andrew Lloyd Webber, Wicked Stephen Schwartz, Beauty and the Beast Alan Menken and Mamma Mia with songs of ABBA, composed by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus.
Now the list gets a bit tricky with Les Miserables because the music and lyrics are by a few talents starting with music by Claude-Michel Schönberg, original French lyrics by Alain Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel, with an English-language libretto by Herbert Kretzmer, Chicago music and lyrics by John Kander and Fred Ebb, Cats Andrew Lloyd Webber and The Producers Mel Brooks.
Moving on we have Miss Saigon with music and lyrics by Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil, and Richard Maltby, Rent music and lyrics by Jonathan Larson, Jersey Boys music and lyrics by Bob Gaudio and Bob Crewe, Hairspray music and lyrics by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman and Shaiman, Mary Poppins with music and lyrics by Sherman Brothers (with additional music and lyrics by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe.
Staying with a current Broadway Composer who took time out of a very busy schedule, we must share Stephen Cole's message below. This brilliant composer is a BroadwayGlobal top composer, why because he was asked to create a musical for individuals in the Middle East. Now realize they don't have what we know as Broadway in America, so he wrote a musical about a composer visiting the Middle East and the journey of creating a show for them, that in itself is brilliant and current.
Let us just mention Stephen Cole timeless works: (The Road to Qatar!, After the Fair, The Night of the Hunter, Saturday Night at Grossinger's, Time after Time, Dodsworth, Aspire, Casper, Merman 's Apprentice and the upcoming off Broadways revue Inventing Mary Martin.) Below Stephen shares his list of composers.
"As a book writer and lyricist , I have been fortunate to work with fabulous and talented composers such as David Krane, Matthew Ward, Todd Ellison, Jeffrey Saver, David Evans, and the late Claibe Richardson. Claibe always told me he was the last theatre composer NOT to be influenced by Sondheim! In the days when Claibe was inducted into ASCAP, one needed a sponsor and he was lucky enough to be sponsored by the great Jule Styne. David Krane was a protege of Leonard Bernstein and played piano for Bernstein's last Broadway show, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. " Stephen Cole.
"My personal favorites are most always from the Golden Age of Broadway. How I long to have worked with Kurt Weill, a true renaissance composer who did it all. Richard Rodgers, Cole Porter, Arthur Schwartz, Jule Styne... I grew up on all the great Sondheim shows from Company to the present and, to me, he is more than a genius. No less a great theatre composer and friend is John Kander. Special praise should be heaped on the original talent of Harvey Schmidt, who chose to stop writing music and concentrate on his art. As Hammerstein might have written...these are a few of my favorite composers!" Stephen Cole.
And more current Broadway hit musicals may make the iconic composer list in the future, like Kinky Boots by Cyndi Lauper, Matilda music and lyrics by Tim Minchin, Motown various artists for, Newsies music and lyrics Alan Menken, Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark music and lyrics Bono and The Edge. All these Broadway Musicals may need to stay running for a few years to catch up to the gross revenue or popularity of the composers listed above.
Broadway producers, composers and friends were kind enough to share iconic life changing musicals and composers for this BroadwayGlobal exclusive. Please remember just like favorite pop singers, or top chart songs you may have a much longer list. We try to narrow the hundreds of Broadway musicals and composers down to a very special list. The "A List" of Broadway Composers that have touched the lives today around the globe, and their works of melodies will live on long after we are gone.
"Steve Brackenbury is a passionate Composer who loves musical theatre and has been Music Director for numerous regional productions in Utah. Steve has spent many hours in the orchestra pit playing and conducting and is a BroadwayGlobal and Theatre Chat favorite." BroadwayGlobal.
My dear friend composer Steve Brackenbury says it best, "I find it complicated to make a definitive list of what constitutes the best Broadway shows and their composers. My reasons? Sometimes a show is not very good but the score contains some of the composers best music. Sometimes especially early Broadway, songs were interchangeable and showed up in different musicals (Gershwin is a really good example of this)." Composer Steven Brackenbury.
"My list is a mixture of all of these considerations and may or may not agree with public opinion or with those who work on Broadway. I am also judging the show more strongly on the merit of the score rather than the book. Therefore, it is very personal. There are two books which I frequently look to to learn more about the musical theatre or to give me ideas and these books are: Showtime - A History of the Broadway Musical Theatre by Larry Stempel and The Theatermania Guide to Musical Theater Recordings by Michael Portaniere." Composer Steven Brackenbury.
"Show Boat (Kern & Hammerstein), Porgy and Bess (George & Ira Gershwin), Pal Joey (Rodgers & Hart), Annie Get Your Gun (Irving Berlin), Kiss Me, Kate (Cole Porter), Carousel (Rodgers & Hammerstein), My Fair Lady (Lerner & Loewe), Fiddler on the Roof (Bock & Harnick), West Side Story (Bernstein & Sondheim), Finian’s Rainbow (Harburg & Lane), Guys & Dolls (Frank Loesser), Gypsy (Styne & Sondheim), Hair (Ragni/Rado & MacDermot), The Kander & Ebb Shows (Cabaret, Chicago), The Sondheim Shows (Company, Follies, Sunday In The Park With George, Sweeney Todd, A Little Night Music), Mame (Jerry Herman), Floyd Collins (Adam Guettel), Parade (Jason Robert Brown), Barnum (Coleman & Stewart), Ragtime (Flaherty & Ahrens) and Grey Gardens (Frankel & Korie). Again it is very personal tatste..." Steven Brackenbury.
Tom Kirday (Tom Kirdahy Productions) is another BroadwayGlobal favorite in the biz. "Rogers and Hammerstein (Sound of Music) for their soaring melodies and emotional accessibility. Sondheim (A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd, Sunday in the Park with George) for his character driven story telling and probing lyrics. Kander and Ebb (Cabaret, Chicago, Kiss of the Spider Woman) for their ability to marry Broadway razzel dazzle with rich, dark material. Ahrens and Flaherty (Ragtime, Once on This Island) for their open hearted, melodic musicals. And of course Cole Porter (Kiss Me Kate, Anything Goes), for tuneful wit and Leonard Bernstein (West Side Story) for the muscularity of his music. " Broadway producer of "Ragtime" and "After Midnight" Tom Kirdahy (Tom Kirdahy Productions).
Music Director David Fletcher shares his top composers "Jerome Kern (Show Boat), George Gershwin (Porgy and Bess), Richard Rodgers (Oklahoma!), Leonard Bernstein (West Side Story), Jule Styne (Gypsy) and Stephen Sondheim (Sweeney Todd)." David Fletcher.
Some names we just have to mention like Leslie Bricusse (Doctor Dolittle, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, Stop The World I Want to Get Off with music also by Anthony Newley). David Bryan (Memphis), John Cameron London (Zorro) with music also by Gipsy Kings, William Finn (Falsettos, Falsettoland and Little Mary Sunshine), Stephen Flaherty (Ragtime, Seussical), music by Gary Geld and lyrics by Peter Udell (Shenandoah), Glen Hansard (Once).
For past Broadway musicals we still have Luther Henderson (Jelly's Last Jam), Marvin Hamlisch (A Chorus Line, They're Playing our Song), George M. Cohan (George M!), George Gershwin (My One and Only, Crazy for You), Noel Coward (Oh Coward!), Leonard Bernstein (West Side Story, Peter Pan), Duke Ellington (Sophisticated Ladies, Play On), Jerry Bock (Fiddler on the Roof), Warren Casey (Grease) with music also by Jim Jacobs. Do we count Frank Cipolla (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs)?
Cy Coleman (Sweet Charity, Barnum, Will Rogers Follies), George Forrest (Kismet). Noel Gay (Me and My Girl), Jerry Herman (Hello Dolly!, Mame, La Cage Aux Folles), music by Henry Krieger and lyrics and book by Tom Eyen for Dreamgirls and wait we almost forgot Fats Waller (Ain't Misbehavin').
So you can see the list goes on and on. The iconic music they wrote is still with this generation but will it carry over like (Porgy and Bess) with music by George Gershwin, libretto by DuBose Heyward, and lyrics by DuBose Heyward and Ira Gershwin? Chess still hits our souls with music by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, formerly of ABBA, and with lyrics by Tim Rice.
Thank you Stephen Cole, Tom Kirday, Steven Brackenbury and David Fletcher for sharing Broadway composers who changed the globe. Who have we left out from your favorites Broadway Composers? There are a lot that can be added to this magical list. BroadwayGlobal challenges our readers to share your favorites with youth, friends and family. Broadway Composer influence our society from classics to present day.