15 Most Romantic Broadway Musicals

by Zarabeth Golden on May 17, 2010 · 13 comments

in Guest Blogger, Music and Video

by Zarabeth, guest blogger

I love Broadway Musicals and when Keira asked me to compile a list it got big really fast – and so I had to break them up into categories. Here you’ll find my top five happy, tragic, and both romantic Broadway musicals. I really don’t want to spoil anything so I’ll just give you the gist of what each Broadway is about. You should be able to determine what happens by their category but there you go.

Happy:

These Broadway Musicals are happy, happy, happy. They are cheerful and end with a HEA.

1. Brigadoon: A little village that disappears into the mist and wakes up to find its 100 yrs later, every day. 20th century hunters come upon the village and one of them falls in love with a village spinster. He must make the ultimate sacrifice of all he knows and cares about to be with her.

2. Sound of Music: A would-be nun is sent to serve as a governess to a widower and his 7 children. Set in 1930s Austria as the Nazi’s take power. Do either of them have the courage?

3. Beauty and the Beast: If this needs explanation please get off the computer and see it.

4. Thoroughly Modern Millie: A ‘modern’ woman comes to 1920s New York to find and marry a rich man to improve her lifestyle and status. She has to choose whether she really wants this high life or wants real love. And he has to choose if he wants a committed relationship or to continue being a rover (for my historical romance friends- a rake).

5. Legally Blonde: Musical version of the Reese Witherspoon movie is fun and colorful. We follow Elle through the breakup, the convoluted plan to get him back, the new romance, and her journey to find who she really is.

Tragic:

These Broadway Musicals are beautiful and very tragic.

6. Les Miserables: One of the saddest books I’ve ever read. It is set in Revolution era France. There are many characters worth identifying with, all of them lead difficult lives. It is easy to sympathize with every character and feel sad when unfortunate events occur. There is a lot of faith/religion, moral, and political questions addressed in this Victor Hugo.

7. Aida: A love story between 2 warring nations in ancient Egypt. Both commit treason just by being with each other. Internal conflicts of duty, love, and family obligation lead to quite a few very difficult situations.

8. West Side Story: Romeo and Juliet in 1950s New York. The Capulets and Montagues are the Puerto Ricans and the Americans.

9. Spring Awakening: This is a very new musical and it is very different. The characters are a bunch of high school students in early 20th century Germany. Lack of sex ed, normal teenage curiosity, suicide and rape lead to quite a bit of pain for every character.

10. King and I: An English teacher/governess to the King of Siam’s 40something children fall in love with eachother. But, with their backgrounds and positions could they ever be together? Other cultural and military dangers also abound.

Both:

These Broadways are classified as maybes, because depending on who the protagonist is the ending is either happy or tragic.

11. Wicked: The Wizard of Oz from a VERY different perspective- The Wicked Witch of the West’s. So it depends on who you are rooting for whether this is happy or tragic.

12. Phantom: Young chorus girl rises to Opera fame with the often disturbing help of a man know only as “The phantom of the opera”- a very real urban myth. She falls in love with her patron and they work to free her from the clutches of the phantom’s obsession. Again, who are you rooting for?

13. Fiddler Little Russian village around the turn of the 20th century. A father goes about his life as each of his 5 daughters come into their own and marry. Some of the daughters’ stories are uplifting and some are very sad. I love this show but can’t decide which category it should be in.

14. Rent This is a very popular show about a group of young people in their various relationships-highs, lows, AIDS, substance abuse, and death. The main question actually depends on which ending you are using. There are 3 for no reason, as far as I can tell: happily ever after, complete tragedy, and somewhere more realistic in between.

15. My Fair Lady: (Pygmalion.) Rich man takes a poor flower girl and teaches/turns her into a Princess. Palpable sexual tension is often present but the professor is completely closed off. Unsatisfying ending in my opinion leads to the wishy-washy category.

So there you have it, my 15 favorite romantic Broadway musicals. Do you agree with my list or are there others you’d recommend?

Photo Credits: Lisa Andres

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Leave a Comment

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Magdalen May 17, 2010 at 7:27 AM

You missed the best romantic musical of all (no, really, The Best) — “She Loves Me,” a remake of the Lubitsch movie “Shop Around the Corner” with James Stewart and Margaret Sullavan.

The hero and heroine work at the same gift store in Budapest. They hate each other at work, but are anonymous pen pals. Of course, they finally fall in love. All the characters are lovely, and while the movie is delightful, the musical is sublime.

Best romantic musical ever. Trust me.

(Oh, and if you’re thinking of the Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan movie “You’ve Got Mail,” forget it — that’s barely a remake of the original, minus all the charm.)

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2 Keira May 17, 2010 at 1:01 PM

I didn’t know that was a musical. I am so uncultured when it comes to Broadway plays. That’s why I asked Zarabeth to blog on it and not me. I take it you really dislike You’ve Got Mail? See, I enjoyed it, but if She Loves Me is so much better, I would like it that much better than YGM. It’s a win-win for me. Was it a book or a play first? The Wikipedia information is a little vague.

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3 Jane May 17, 2010 at 6:48 PM

My cousin saw the original Broadway cast in “Miss Saigon.” I would put this in the tragic category, but it’s also a love story.

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4 Keira May 17, 2010 at 10:43 PM

Miss Saigon does sound tragic. Did it have any really romantic songs?

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5 Magdalen May 18, 2010 at 7:06 AM

I saw Miss Saigon; it was brazenly manipulative, which I recall not liking. I mean, sure, all musicals — all theater, I guess — is manipulative. But Miss Saigon pissed me off. It has some romantic songs, which I’m not recalling immediately because it was 15 years ago and I’m old & mentally feeble.

Well, if you liked You’ve Got Mail, rent Shop Around the Corner and see if you like it better. Then, if you did, get the cast album of She Loves Me. (I don’t think there’s a DVD of the show.) Keep me posted! :-)

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6 Isabel Roman May 22, 2010 at 7:54 AM

Some great musicals here! Course The Sound of Music is an all time favorite! I watch it whenever it’s one (and have a couple friend who do, too, we text each other-no obsession here!)

I loved the opera Aida, not so much the musical. The opera really rips your heart out.

Musicals are a dying (possibly dead) art save for broadway-such a shame.

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7 Keira May 23, 2010 at 10:51 AM

Okay I rented a copy of Shop Around the Corner and I will keep everyone updated. It’ll be a good movie to review and speaking of movie reviews, I need to write a few… lol :)

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8 megg June 20, 2010 at 5:16 AM

- Showboat
– Crazy For You
– Kismet
– Pirate Queen

:)

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9 Punjabi April 6, 2011 at 9:11 PM

In the Phantom of the Opera, personally I wonder how anyone *wouldn’t* root for the Phantom. No explanation necessary. See version w/ Gerard Butler.

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10 Zarabeth April 6, 2011 at 9:52 PM

Mostly because the version with Gerard Butler is far too tame. The phantom is a hideous and violent man. The movie softens him alot, plus Gerard is hot with or without a mask :P!

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11 Debbie November 9, 2013 at 7:16 AM

How about South Pacific? Two romances – my all-time favorite romantic song – “Some Enchanted Evening”. One romance ends in tragedy, the other in joy.

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12 Sherry November 18, 2013 at 8:41 PM

No Grease? Jesus Christ Superstar?

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13 Derek March 12, 2014 at 3:53 PM

Just because it was only “off-broadway” you still cannot leave out the best love story musical I all time. The last 5 years.

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