Top Ten Broadway Plays And Musicals To Premiere In The Last Decade - Between The Years Of 2010 And 2020. The 2010s Brought A Wide Variety Of Theatrical Fare To Broadway That Included Many Amazing Broadway Plays and Musicals
Top Ten Broadway Shows in The 2nd Decade 2010-2020
A global pandemic shut down Broadway in 2020, but the preceding decade was chock full of vibrant, visionary theatrical fare. From plays ignited by history textbooks to musicals putting their own fresh spin on familiar stories. This top ten list counts down the top 10 Broadway offerings of the 2010's all the way up to 2020 - the second decade of this century.
10. Oslo (2017)
Playwright J.T. Rogers has a knack for dramatizing historical events in a way that brings them to sparkling life in the present. His 3-hour epic about Norwegian diplomats whose covert operations culminated in the signing of the historic 1993 titular Accords, swept virtually all of the accolades (including the Tony Award for Best Play) during the 2017 season and deservedly so. The rich, engrossing play gives its audience a backstage pass to politics and high drama.
9. The Inheritance (2019)
In this grand two-part post-AIDS epidemic drama (running almost 7 hours in total), author Matthew Lopez attempts to reconcile with the past, present and future through the vessels of three generations of gay men. The in-depth meditation grapples with the complex intersection of social class, survival, healing and the various nuances of home. Inspired by Howard’s End, The Inheritance won several high honors including the 2020 Tony Award for Best Play.
8. Matilda (2013)
Revolting? More like the opposite. The dark undertones— and let’s be honest, overtones!— of this whimsical musical won over the hearts and minds of children and adults alike. With a quirky score including hummable classics like When I Grow Up, by Tim Minchin, and a well-conceived Tony Award winning book by Dennis Kelly, the story of a magical, telekinetic girl reclaiming her life, ran for more than 1500 performances on Broadway.
7. Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (2013)
Don’t let the laughs fool you. Christopher Durang’s hilarious domestic play riffing on Chekovian themes digs into the meat of serious issues like ageism, identity, family rivalries and the potential loss of an ancestral home. The razor sharp, insightful creation deservedly took home the Tony Award for Best Play in 2013 but major kudos must also be given to David Hyde Pierce, Sigourney Weaver and Kristine Neilsen who elevated the material to sheer excellence.
6. War Horse (2011)
Nick Stafford adapted the play from Michael Morpurgo’s best-selling novel of the same name. Morpurgo had major doubts about the viability of his book as a theatrical property but was quickly proven wrong by its major success. The show that became synonymous with life-size horse puppets claimed the 2011 Tony Award for Best Play. So embedded into the Zeitgeist, even Saturday Night Live did a parody of the equine extravaganza!
5. Hadestown (2019)
In retrospect, Hadestown seems like a recipe for success as Greek mythology often serves as fertile ground for theatricalization. But the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice had been dramatized many times and Anaïs Mitchell, who wrote the musical’s book, music and lyrics, was completely unknown at the time. Mitchell’s concept album and the enlisting of director Rachel Chavkin catapulted the show to success proving that the road to hell is paved with good inventions.
4. What The Constitution Means To Me (2019)
One-person shows are challenging, even more so when the one person on stage is also the writer. In 2019, Heidi Schreck shared her searing deconstruction of the titular sacred document through the lens of her own experience on the debate team. Schreck’s charisma and urgency came through the text and the performance. Funny, acerbic, depressing, timely— this literal page out of American History sheds light on immigration, women’s rights and domestic abuse.
3. Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 (2016)
Based on Leo Tolstoy, written by Dave Malloy and shaped by go-to director of the avant-garde Rachel Chavkin, The Great Comet focuses on the section of War and Peace chronicling Natasha’s love affair and Pierre’s quest for deeper meaning. The innovative Broadway production featured flying pierogi, dancing in the aisles and a smashing Broadway debut by global pop superstar Josh Groban, who inhabited the role of Pierre like a pro.
2. Come From Away (2017)
Why do all the best things seem to come from Canada? Leave it to the land of the maple leaf to spawn a musical response to the attacks of 9/11 without really being about the attacks of 9/11. Uplifting, folksy, funny and filled with that trademark Canadian character and ethos, Irene Sankoff and David Hein’s theatrical paean to community and kindness celebrates the power of generosity. The score’s Celtic vibe provides a unique sonic landscape to the beautiful story.
1. Hamilton (2015)
The top entry on this list will be a surprise to no one as Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s ode to the most famous duel loser in the history of the world is easily one of the biggest Broadway influencers of all time, let alone the decade in which it premiered. With an infectious score and a poignant, pointed thesis question “Who lives/Who dies/Who tells your story?, Hamilton’s legacy has been cemented several times over.