At the beginning of our exploration of contemporary musical theatre repertoire in 2012, Lorene Phillips and I went to the (now sadly defunct) Colony Records to see how many scores we could find for contemporary shows. Click here to read more about our initial research.
To our amazement, we found over seventy selection books for shows presented on Broadway and Off-Broadway, from 2000 to the present. We thought this roster was rather impressive – even quite possibly exhaustive. That wasn’t far from true, but thanks to Lorene’s initial research, we began to compile a more complete list of shows.
Below is the updated list, broken down by genre: Legit, Contemporary Mix, Pop/Rock (Original Score), Pop/Rock (Jukebox), World Music, and Miscellaneous. We have meticulously gone link by link to make sure you can get to the score, cast album, and MP3 recordings.
You may notice some of the shows were not on our initial list, which means we were able to find a score elsewhere. While we always encourage people to buy locally, it’s hard to speak ill of Amazon’s amazing selection and zippy delivery.
There are several shows for which a vocal selections book was never released. Those musicals are still listed here because a soundtrack is available. They are marked with an asterisk (*). Shows marked with a plus (+) are ones we believe are particularly worth your time.
We hope you find this list helpful! We’ll continue to update it each season so we can show you the rich landscape of contemporary musical theatre!
As you would expect, “legit” shows demand the performers sing in a more classically trained way. These shows tend to utilize singing actors who can use their strong technical backgrounds in music and drama to bring the characters to life. On the whole, these “cross-over” musicals are much more intricate and demand excellent musicians. Works like Craig Lucas and Adam Guettel’s breathtaking Light in the Piazza are being performed by opera and theatre companies alike.
Contemporary performers who fall into this category include: Victoria Clark, Christine Ebersole, Aaron Lazar, Marc Kudish, Audra McDonald, Brian Stokes Mitchell and Kelli O’Hara, among others.
|A Dog Story (2016)|
|Adding Machine (2008)|
|Amazing Grace (2015)|
|Beautiful Game, The (2000)|
|Christmas Story, A (2012)|
|Daddy Long Legs (2015)|
|Dance of the Vampires (2004)*|
|Death Takes a Holiday (2011)|
|First Daughter Suite (2015)*|
|Grey Gardens (2006)+|
|Holiday Inn (2016)|
In Vegas (2014)
Been You (2015)
|Jane Eyre (2000)|
|Jerry Springer, the Opera (2003)|
|Kid Victory (2017)*+|
|Light in the Piazza, The (2005)+|
|Love Never Dies (2010)|
|People in the Picture, The (2011)|
|Shuffle Along (2015)|
|White Christmas (2008)+|
|Visit, The (2015)*|
|War Paint (2017)*|
These scores highlight more variety in singing styles from legit (Marc Kudish in See What I Wanna See) to belt (Megan Hilty in 9 to 5). The shows feature diverse musical influences, from Classical to Pop/Rock and everything in between.
Contemporary performers who fall in this category include: Heidi Blickenstaff, Norbert Leo Butz, Sutton Foster, Brian D’arcy James, Julia Murney and Aaron Tveit, among others.
|13: The Musical (2008)|
|9 to 5 (2009)|
|A Bronx Tale (2016)*|
|Addams Family (2010)|
|American Psycho (2016)*|
|Avenue Q (2003)+|
|Billy Elliot (2008)|
|Bonnie and Clyde (2012)*|
|Book of Mormon, The (2011)+|
|Bridges of Madison County (2014)+|
|Bright Star (2015)+|
|Caroline or Change (2003)|
|Catch Me if You Can (2011)|
|Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2017)|
|Chitty, Chitty Bang, Bang (2005)+|
|Class Act, A (2001)|
|Color Purple, The (2005)|
|Come From Away (2017)*+|
|Dear Evan Hanson (2016)+|
|Dessa Rose (2005)|
|Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (2005)+|
|Drowsy Chaperone, The (2006)+|
|Elf: The Musical (2010)|
|Everyday Rapture (2010)*|
|Fun Home (2015)+|
|Ghost Quartet (2014)|
|Glorious Ones, The (2007)|
|Groundhog’s Day (2017)*|
|Himself and Nora (2014)*|
|In Transit (2016)*|
|Immigrant, The (2004)*+|
|It’s Only Life (2006)|
|Last Five Years, The (2002)|
|Last Ship, The (2014)|
|Legally Blonde (2007)|
|Little Mermaid, The (2008)|
|Little Women (2005)|
|Man of No Importance, A (2002)+|
|Marry Harry (2017)*|
|Mary Poppins (2006)|
|Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 (2016)|
|Old Hats (2016)|
|Pirate Queen, The (2007)|
|Producers, The (2001)+|
|Scottsboro Boys, The (2010)*+|
|See What I Wanna See (2005)+|
|Silence: The Musical (2012)*|
|Sister Act (2011)|
|Something Rotten! (2015)|
|Spelling Bee, The 25th Annual Putnam County (2005)+|
|Story of My Life, The (2009)|
|Sweet Smell of Success (2002)+|
|Tale of Two Cities, A (2008)|
|Thing About Men, The (2003)|
|Thoroughly Modern Millie (2002)+|
|Title of Show (2008)+|
|Tuck Everlasting (2015)|
|Wild Party, LaChiusa (2000)|
|Wild Party, Lippa (2000)+|
|Witches of Eastwick, The (2000)|
|Woman in White, The (2005)|
|Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (2011)|
|Year with Frog and Toad, A (2004)*+|
|Young Frankenstein (2007)|
POP/ROCK (ORIGINAL SCORE)
These scores are decidedly pop/rock influenced, though that still covers a broad range of styles, from R&B/Hip-Hop (In The Heights) to Indie Folk-Rock (Spring Awakening). Performers auditioning for these shows will almost always be asked to sing a pop/rock song at their audition. For the more hard rock shows, much is demanded of these singers, and often times, there are more replacement casts because of the difficulty of sustaining an eight-show week.
Contemporary performers who fall into this category include: De’Andre Aziza, Coleman Domingo, John Gallagher, Jr., Chad Kimball, Lin Manuel Miranda, Sherie Renee Scott and Stew, among others.
|Altar Boys (2005)+|
|Bat Boy (2001)*+|
|Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson (2010)*|
|Bring it On (2012)|
|Finding Neverland (2015)|
|First Date (2013)|
|Full Monty, The (2000)|
|In The Heights (2008)+|
|Kinky Boots (2013)|
|Leap of Faith (2012)*|
|Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical, The (2017)*|
|Lysistrata Jones (2011)*|
|Murder Ballad (2013)|
|Next to Normal (2009)+|
|Passing Strange (2008)|
|School of Rock (2015)|
|See Rock City (2010)*+|
|Spider-man, Turn of the Dark (2011)+|
|Spring Awakening (2006)+|
|Spongebob Squarepants (2017)|
|Striking 12 (2006)|
|Toxic Avenger, The (2009)|
|View Upstairs, The (2017)|
|Wedding Singer, The (2006)|
|Zanna Don’t (2003)*|
+ – Particularly noteworthy* – Recording only
Jukebox musicals have grown in popularity over the last decade. They often feature songs from one artist or group (i.e. – Green Day in American Idiot, or The Four Seasons in Jersey Boys), which are tied together with some sort of narrative or plot. These theatrical hybrids bring together musical theatre and a rock concert, sometimes in very entertaining ways. Again, much is demanded of these singers, especially if the show has a hard rock score (i.e. Rock of Ages).
Performers who have worked in this category include: Stephanie Block, Michael Cavanaugh, Christian Hoff, Cheyenne Jackson and Amy Spangler, among others.
|All Shook Up (2005)+|
|American Idiot (2010)|
|Boy from Oz (2003)|
|Come Fly Away (2010)+|
|Jersey Boys (2005)|
|Here Lies Love (2013)*|
|Mamma Mia (2002)|
|Marvelous Wonderettes, The (2001)|
|Million Dollar Quartet (2010)|
|Movin’ Out (2002)|
|On Your Feet (2015)|
|Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (2011)*|
|Rock of Ages (2009)|
These two shows utilize specific musical influences from the particular countries in which the musicals take place. As such, they don’t easily fall into the above categories.
|Bombay Dreams (2002)*|
* – Recording only
MISCELLANEOUSThere are always shows that don’t seem to really fit in a particular genre. We’ve classified them to the best of our ability below. Legit (Jukebox)
|SHOW||VOCAL SCORE||CAST RECORDING||MP3|
|After Midnight (2013)|
|Bullets Over Broadway (2014)*||mp3|
|End of the Rainbow (2012)*||mp3|
|Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill (2014)*||mp3|
|Love Musik (2007)*|
|Soul Doctor (2013)|
* – Recording onlyLegit (Review)
|SHOW||VOCAL SCORE||CAST RECORDING||MP3|
|An American in Paris (2015)*||CR||mp3|
|Nice Work if You Can Get It (2012)+||CR|
* – Recording only
In full disclosure, Laura Josepher and I have been overwhelmed by this growing list of musicals. Not only has it taken considerable time to gather and edit the information, it’s hard not to feel personally responsible for knowing each show. But, frankly, it’s not possible. If all we had to do each day was listen to a new musical, maybe we’d be able to manage, but as active theatre artists, we struggle to keep up with contemporary work.
We hope you’ll use this categorized roster of shows as a jumping-off point to become familiar with some contemporary musicals. Start with the shows we’ve highlighted as being worth your time. Follow your gut. Ask your colleagues what shows they know. Compare notes.
And I highly recommend not only researching the shows, but also the performers. The above artists are all at the top of their game in this business. You should have a working knowledge of who they are and what they’ve done. It will help you understand a performer’s “type” (which we’ll discuss in an upcoming blog) and give you a sense of their career development.
Keep in mind many performers fluidly move from one genre of show to another. My favorite example is dynamo Lauren Molina, who was in John Doyle’s revival of Sweeney Todd, then went to Rock of Ages and recently played Cunegonde in Bernstein’s Candide in several regional productions. That’s versatility!
It’s inevitable we’ve missed something. If we did, let us know by writing a comment. We’ll be happy to add the information to our list. Questions? We’ll happily answer them to the best of our ability.
We hope this growing list gets you excited about exploring new work. There’s a ton of great stuff out there just waiting to be discovered.
Go to it!!
Check out our new book “Mastering College Musical Theatre Auditions: Sound Advice for the Student, Teacher, and Parent” now available on Amazon.
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Visit www.contemporarymusicaltheatre.com for more information on over 180 contemporary musical theatre writers and 550+ songs, all searchable by voice and song type.