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A Timeline of Broadway Music

1937 – Musical comedy Babes in Arms opened on Broadway in 1937 with music, lyrics, and book by Rogers and Hart.  My Funny Valentine is a show tune from the musical that became a popular jazz standard, appearing on over 1300 albums performed by over 600 artists.

1944 – Did you know that the musical On The Town was based on Jerome Robbins’ idea for a  ballet called Fancy Free? The musical introduced several popular songs of the era, including “New York, New York”, “Lonely Town”, and Some Other Time.

1962 – A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum opened on Broadway at the Alvin Theater with opening number, Comedy Tonight by Stephen Sondheim. It won the Tony for Best Musical that year.

1964 – Anyone Can Whistle opened on Broadway in 1964 at the Majestic Theater and closed after only 9 performances. This musical was Angela Lansbury’s first stage musical role.

1975 – The original Broadway production of Chicago opened in 1975 and ran until 1977. The 2002 film adaptation, featuring Catherine Zeta Jones as Velma Kelly singing the opening number, All That Jazz, won the Academy Award for Best Picture.

1976 – Although Godspell was off-Broadway in 1971, it didn’t make it to its Broadway opening until 1976. The song Beautiful City was written for and first included in the 1973 film. Godspell first started as a college project at Carnegie Mellon University!

1978 – Ain’t Misbehavin, the musical revue celebrating black musicians during the Harlem Renaissance, premiered on Broadway at the Longacre Theater in 1978 after a brief cabaret run at the Manhattan Theater Club. It was named after the song by Fats Waller, Ain’t Misbehavin.”

2011 – Matilda The Musical received its West End debut in 2011, and moved to Broadway in April 2013. “When I Grow Up” is sung by the children, Matilda, and Miss Honey and tackles overcoming life’s challenges as adults.

2012 – Although “Let Me Be Your Star” was never featured in a real Broadway musical, it appeared on the TV series SMASH about the New York City theater community starring Katherine McPhee, Debra Messing, Megan Hilty, and Angelica Huston.

2014 – The Bridges of Madison County went to Broadway in 2014 and won two Drama Desk Awards for Outstanding Music and Outstanding Orchestrations. Written and composed by Jason Robert Brown, “Wondering” was originally sung by actor Steven Pasquale.

2015 – In the musical Hamilton, “Burn” is sung by Elizabeth Schuyler, one of the Schuyler Sisters and wife of Alexander Hamilton. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s masterpiece, Hamilton, opened on Broadway in 2015. Fun fact: Hamilton set a Broadway box office record for the most money grossed in a single week in New York City.

2015 – School of Rock is a rock musical with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber based on the 2003 film of the same name. All the young students in the musical play their instruments live, including the song “If Only You Would Listen” a number sung exclusively by the youngsters.

2016 – “Opening Up”, from 2016 Broadway musical Waitress was written and composed by pop sensation Sara Bareilles. Fun fact, LAMusArt students have a recording of Sara Bareilles’ “Brave” on Youtube!

2017 – Originally premiering in London’s West End in 2013, the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory musical will open in Broadway in April 2017. Based on Roald Dahl’s beloved children’s novel, the Broadway production will feature songs like “The Candy Man,” and of course, “Pure Imagination”.

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