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5 Jukebox Musicals We Need on Broadway Right Now

Category Broadway

|by Marshall W. Mabry IV |


‘Purple Rain: The Musical,’ anyone?

If you look at Broadway since the opening of Mamma Mia!, you’ll notice a significant change in its landscape. From Beautiful: The Carole King Musical and Summer: The Donna Summer Musical, to next season’s The Cher Show and the Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations, and even Jersey Boys and Smokey Joe’s Café Off-Broadway, jukebox musicals are taking over NYC. We’re counting down the top artists whose catalogues are practically screaming to be brought to life onstage.

The cast of the upcoming Temptations musical ‘Ain’t Too Proud’ (Photo: Matthew Murphy)

The cast of the upcoming Temptations musical ‘Ain’t Too Proud’ (Photo: Matthew Murphy)

#5: Guns N’ Roses
Kicking off our list in the most rock n’ roll way possible is Guns N’ Roses. The Guns N’ Roses discography is one of the most easily recognized catalogs in music history. Hits like “Welcome to the Jungle” and “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” could easily be elevated to show-stopping dance numbers. The band’s more-than-eventful career provides the potential for one of the most impressive biographical musicals to date. Keep your eyes peeled, and maybe you’ll see “Welcome to the Jungle” on a marquee soon.

#4: Prince
Now follow me, here…Purple Rain: The Musical. The film could be adapted to house more of his iconic hits, not unlike the Whitney Houston musical The Bodyguard. Although a show bearing this name toured the West last year, this was a “live music and dance celebration” of Prince’s catalog rather than a fully integrated musical. Purple Rain won an Oscar for its music in 1984. Prince’s hits, paired with the film’s story of an artist searching for his big break while also finding love along the way, is a recipe for a great night of theater. It’s also an actor’s dream to originate a role like this, which means they’d be having just as much fun performing as audiences would watching.

#3: Michael Jackson

This is a slight cheat, because there is, in fact, a Michael Jackson musical in development, but no list of this nature would be complete without mention of the King of Pop! Michael has one of the most diverse catalogs in music. His songs range from pop and rock to R&B and Gospel. You could craft an entire show around just one subsection of his catalog, and that is why we need an MJ musical…or two.

#2: Aretha Franklin
Since her passing, there has been serious buzz about the Aretha Franklin story being brought to life onstage. Aretha once said, after seeing Motown: The Musical, that her music should be next to hit the stage, and we think she was right. We’re suckers for a good title, and Natural Woman: The Aretha Franklin Story just sounds right; this show practically writes itself. From her larger-than-life voice to her biggest diva moments, Aretha deserves some R-E-S-P-E-C-T in the form of an epic jukebox musical tribute to her talents.

#1: Boy George
Though it has already been produced on Broadway, I think it’s high time Taboo is revived! Taboo is a musical based on the early life of the British pop star, Boy George. The show originally closed because it “couldn’t find its audience,” but it’s the perfect show for today. The timeless music, coupled with a story of survival, acceptance and love – what more could you ask for? Taboo is the perfect jukebox revival: it’s little-known, extremely underrated and everyone loves a good ‘80s musical.
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For the best of Broadway and Off-Broadway, check out our list of Top Shows in September 2018. 

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