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The Top 10 Tony-Nominated Musicals to See Now

Category Broadway

|by Mark Robinson |

Catch these shows before Broadway’s big night on June 9th

As we make a mad dash toward the Tony Awards on June 9, 2019, time is starting to run out to see all the nominated shows in time for the Tony telecast. Most people will probably not see every nominated Broadway musical before the big night, but here are ten Tony-nominated musicals that should be on your list this awards season. 

‘Tootsie,’ ‘Hadestown’ and ‘Beetlejuice’ are among this year’s Tony-nominated musicals (Photos: Matthew Murphy)

‘Tootsie,’ ‘Hadestown’ and ‘Beetlejuice’ are among this year’s Tony-nominated musicals (Photos: Matthew Murphy)

If you like great musical comedy, full of infectious melody, then the musical Tootsie is the show for you. Tootsie is, of course, adapted from the 1982 film that starred Dustin Hoffman as a down-on-his-luck actor who reinvents himself as an actress, finding himself becoming a star but also experiencing life from a woman’s point of view. For the stage production, Santino Fontana dazzles in the dual role of Michael/Dorothy, a tour-de-force performance that is Tony-nominated in its own right. Then there is the delightful score by David Yazbek (The Band’s Visit) that harkens-back to the days of good, old-fashioned musical comedy.

Mayhem and the macabre are currently on tap at the Winter Garden Theatre, where the musical stage adaptation of the 1988 Tim Burton film Beetlejuice recently opened. The story follows morose teenage girl decides to help two frustrated ghosts drive her family out of their New England home. When their efforts fail, they call about the maniacal title character, who takes death and haunting to a whole new level. The show also features two bravura comedic performances in the forms of Tony nominees Leslie Kritzer and Alex Brightman.

Kiss Me, Kate!
Is classic musical comedy your preference? Look no further than the Roundabout Theatre’s revival of the Cole Porter and Sam and Bella Spewack musical Kiss Me, Kate! What happens when as ex-husband-and-wife star opposite each other in a musical version of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew? Why, the backstage shenanigans begins to mirror the story unfolding onstage. Packed to the brim with such iconic showtunes as “Too Darn Hot,” “Another Op’nin, Another Show,” “So In Love,” “Wunderbar,” “Brush Up Your Shakespeare” and plenty of others, Kiss Me, Kate! is guaranteed to please.

The Prom
A musical that feels refreshingly relevant by celebrating the differences among us, with a story that shows us how to overcome our prejudices, The Prom is the musical comedy with heart this season. A teenage girl from Indiana wants to take her girlfriend to the prom, but her conservative community would rather cancel the shindig than let her do so. Enter: four Broadway performers whose careers could use resuscitating, utilizing the conflict as a publicity stunt. Can they move past their selfish needs and come to this girl’s rescue?

The Cher Show
What do you do when a music superstar has just too much personality for one person? You create a splashy, colorful musical about her life, use her canon of hit songs to score the show, and hire not one but three actresses to play her at different junctures in her career. The Cher Show is an explosive jukebox musical with dynamic performances from Micaela Diamond, Teal Wicks and Tony nominee Stephanie J. Block, who gloriously fill the title character’s shoes.

Last-year, the game-changing Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Oklahoma! celebrated its 75th Anniversary. This year, that classic has made its way back to Broadway in a deftly reimagined production that takes a contemporary viewpoint on the story. The Daniel Fish-directed revival at the Circle in the Square Theatre is Oklahoma! like you’ve never seen it before, with an immersive staging and re-orchestrated music that gives the show more of a modern country feel. 

King Kong
King Kong is being given a special Tony Award for the unprecedented way it uses puppetry in a Broadway musical. The title character of the show requires eleven puppeteers to operate the elaborate conglomeration of parts and pieces that come together to create a towering ape. If that isn’t enough to get you into the theater, then just consider the opportunity to see a tried-and-true tale of epic proportions unfold before your eyes on a Broadway stage.

Be More Chill
To what lengths would you have been willing to go in order to be popular in high school? If you could take a pill and become a part of the “in” crowd, would you do it? Be More Chill endeavors to explore such a notion in this musical, which has proven to be enormously popular with teenagers. Of special note is Joe Iconis’ Tony-nominated score, which captures all the emotion and neurosis of being a teenager.

Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations
The Cher Show is not the only jukebox musical thrilling Broadway this season. Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations tells of the trials and tribulations of the young black men who came together to become one of the hottest Motown acts of the ‘60s and ‘70s. You will also have an opportunity to see the Tony-nominated performances of Derrick Baskin, Jeremy Pope and Ephraim Sykes.

You’d have to go to hell and back to find a musical like Hadestown, a dystopian twist on the myths of Orpheus and Eurydice, with Hades, Persephone and Hermes popping in for the fun. Brilliantly staged with an atmosphere that brings the audience into the show by Rachel Chavkin (Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812), the musical features book and score written by Anais Mitchell, one of only four women in the history of Broadway musicals to do so. Here’s to breaking down barriers while simultaneously creating awe-inspiring art.

Mark Robinson is the author of the two-volume encyclopedia The World of Musicals, The Disney Song Encyclopedia and The Encyclopedia of Television Theme Songs. He maintains a theater and entertainment blog at

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