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5 Jukebox Musicals Featuring Original Story Lines

Category Broadway

|by Marshall W. Mabry IV |


‘Girl From the North Country’ and ‘Jagged Little Pill’ aren’t the only ones

Sometimes, a band’s discography meets a writer’s idea, and sparks something magical. It’s very rare, but sometimes an artist’s music is set to a different story than the one it originally told, and takes on a new life. For every biographical musical like Tina: The Tina Turner Musical – which  tells the story of Tina Turner’s life through her hit songs – there’s a Jagged Little Pill to balance the scales. With Bob Dylan’s The Girl from North Country opening soon, we’re taking a look back at the non-biographical jukebox musicals that have graced Broadway stages.

Lauren Patten and the company of ‘Jagged Little Pill’ perform “You Oughta Know” (Photo: Matthew Murphy)

Lauren Patten and the company of ‘Jagged Little Pill’ perform “You Oughta Know” (Photo: Matthew Murphy)

American Idiot
Titled after Green Day’s seventh studio album and punk rock opera, American Idiot is a musical like no other. The Grammy award-winning album, written by Green Day front man Billie Joe Armstrong, later became a Grammy-Award winning original Broadway cast album. American Idiot tells the story of three young men, and how love, addiction, and loss affect their lives. On the right night, the show featured Armstrong himself as St. Jimmy during its Broadway run.

Jagged Little Pill
With music from Alanis Morrisette’s 1995 album of the same title, Jagged Little Pill has recently flipped Broadway upside down. Right now, Jagged is the new kid on the block with something to say and isn’t afraid to say it! Following its rock musical predecessors like Rent and American Idiot, Jagged talks about the world as it is today. From addiction to mental health issues, the now iconic Morissette album is the driving force behind everyone’s new favorite musical.

Moulin Rouge!
Adapted from the 2001 cult classic directed by Baz Luhrmann, Moulin Rouge is a nonstop pop explosion on Broadway! From Lady Gaga’s biggest hits to “Come What May” it’s a show that isn’t to be missed. With one of the fiercest ensembles on Broadway they’ve become known as ‘Legs: the musical’ because everyone onstage is kicking their face and looking fierce while they do it. It’s one of Broadway top sellers for a reason, it’s because this cast and story are bringing new life to Broadway every time the show opens.

Mamma Mia!
Here we go again! The ABBA musical made history as one of Broadway’s longest running shows, and continues to make history as one of the most produced musicals in the world. With songs like “Dancing Queen” and “Under Attack,” it’s two hours of music you’ve come to know and love. Boasting a stunning 14 years on Broadway, the story penned by Catherine Johnson has become a pop rock classic in the musical landscape. Now Donna, Sophie, and the Dynamos stun audiences virtually every weekend around the country.

The Who’s Tommy
He’s a pinball wizard (and soon to be revived, too). The Who’s Tommy, which is scheduled for a 2021 Broadway revival, is maybe the most iconic and recognizable of the shows on this list! It’s 1993 cast album, featuring Michael Cerveris, Norm Lewis, Sherie Rene Scott, and Alice Ripley, is one of the defining cast recordings of the decade. Tommy tells the story of a deaf, mute, and blind boy’s journey to becoming a pinball champion, and how it frees him from his own trauma and grief. The Des McAnuff-directed musical is a rock concert with a beautiful story and heart. Tommy’s blazing, electric guitar-filled score soars like few others onstage.

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