If you aren’t a frequenter of musical theater, the first mental picture you may have when hearing the word “musical” is a bunch of actors dancing and singing merrily on stage to tell a story. It all sounds pretty fun, and it often is! However, you can’t have a story without a setting, and it turns out some of these settings revolve around topics which are actually quite… depressing.
The following musicals have all had Broadway success, and have given us glimpses of the human experience through story, music and dance. However, if you knew nothing more about it than the topic, you might wonder “can I sit through two hours of such sadness?”
A group of poor artists struggle to survive in New York City during the AIDS epidemic.
2. Les Misérables
Translation: The Miserables. Almost everyone dies. Enough said.
3. Beauty and the Beast
A motherless girl is captured by a large beast (Amber Alert, anyone?) and is forced to live with him until he can fall in love with her. Kids, that’s not how love works.
4. The Phantom of the Opera
A woman deals with an unrelenting stalker. No restraining orders were given.
5. Fiddler on the Roof
A community of Jews deals with expulsion from anti-Semitic Russia. Ah, another cheery tale.
A little orphan girl goes through a long adoption process and somehow has fun along the way.
7. Billy Elliot
A poor boy’s dreams are quashed by his family.
A cheating woman murders her lover in a rage. Gets acquitted with a good lawyer. And the moral is…?
A country decides to go to war. So begins America’s second deadliest conflict.
10. The Sound of Music
A family runs from Nazi Germany.
11. Miss Saigon
An interracial love story ends in betrayal and suicide.
An orphan boy has the absolute worst childhood ever.
As I keep telling you, Nazis ruin lives!
14. Hedwig and the Angry Inch
A boy is forced to have a sex operation. It fails. Obviously struggles with it the rest of his life.