“Music deserves to be the mandatory second language of all schools in the world.” - Paul Carvel
Some of us have the musical bug. We dream of taking to the stage and singing songs worthy of Broadway in New York City or the West End in London. Life is much better when set to some wonderful music so it's hardly surprising that so many people love the musicals and want to get involved.
But rather than dream a dream, why not live it?
You can take lessons in musical theatre and learn to sing, dance, and act like your John Travolta in Grease or Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music.
But before you start learning more about musical theatre, here's a quick introduction to the best musicals from Broadway to the West End, the songs you might recognise, why you should study musical theatre, and where you can get lessons.
The 10 Best Musicals
It’s pretty difficult to pick just 10 great musicals. Sometimes you're in the mood for an American musical direct from Broadway and other times you're happy to watch the movie or film adaptation.
Agree or disagree, here are our 10 favourites:
- West Side Story: We love the rivalry between the Jets and the Sharks.
- Chicago: You should watch the movie with Catherine Zeta-Jones and Renée Zellweger.
- La La Land: One of the best musical films in recent years.
- The Blues Brothers: If you love the music of Aretha Franklin, James Brown, or Ray Charles, this is the one to watch. The characters originated from a sketch in Saturday Night Live (SNL).
- Mamma Mia: This is one for fans of the music of ABBA and features Meryl Streep as the star.
- Mary Poppins: A mix of animation and film, this musical was hugely successful on release. It’s one of Disney’s most popular films.
- Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street: The 1979 musical based on the Victorian Sweeney Todd serial killer character. This musical won the Tony Award for best musical, best book, and best score and the director Harold Prince took home the Tony for Best Direction of a Musical!
- Grease: The success of Grease as a stage show led to the creation of the successful movie adaptation starring Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta.
- Hamilton: The story of one the United State’s founding fathers blends hip hop, R&B, pop, soul, and traditional show tunes. Debuting in 2015, it’s a modern classic.
- Moulin Rouge: You have to watch this movie which was nominated for several Oscars and took home Best Costume Design and Best Art Direction.
Which is your favourite musical? The Wizard of Oz? The Lion King? The Phantom of the Opera?
Even if it’s not in the list, you can add any musicals you like. The world would be boring if we all liked the same things!
The Best Songs from Musicals
After our favourite musicals, there are also the tunes featured in them that we love. There are so many amazing songs to choose from.
Here are 15 of our favourites:
- All That Jazz, Chicago: It’s hard not to want to throw on a cabaret dress and sing along to this one.
- Any Dream Will Do, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat: This song is performed at the start and end of the musical. It was famously sung by Jason Donovan and released as a single.
- You’re The One That I Want, Grease. Did you know that this one wasn’t originally featured in the original musical?
- Memory, Cats: This is by far the most popular song from the musical and was recorded by Barbra Streisand for her 1981 album.
- Let The Sun Shine In, Hair: This is a rousing number from the 1967 musical.
- Suddenly, Seymour, Little Shop of Horrors: This is an excellent song from the horror comedy rock musical about an extraterrestrial plant that feeds on human blood. If that doesn’t sell you on it, I don’t know what will!
- Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, Mary Poppins: This is a song that sticks in your head. If you think that saying the word is tricky, try writing it!
- Don’t Cry for Me Argentina, Evita: The song was from a concept album in 1976 before featuring in the 1978 musical. The song was popularised in the 90s after Madonna’s rendition of it in the film.
- Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes: Marilyn Monroe’s charm is undeniable. The song is also featured in Moulin Rouge.
- I Dreamed a Dream, Les Misérables: In a musical full of powerful and rousing numbers, this is arguably the most moving.
- Singin’ in the Rain, Singin’ in the Rain: The song from the namesake musical is instantly recognisable.
- Everybody Needs Somebody, The Blues Brothers: Even if you haven’t seen the movie or film, you’ll probably know this song.
- City of Stars, La La Land: The song won the Oscar for Best Original Song. Need we say more?
- America, West Side Story: This song was #35 in the 100 best songs of American cinema.
- Shallow, A Star Is Born: The Lady Gaga version from the film. You might be sick of hearing it by this point.
Your favourite song not listed?
Let us know about it in the comments, we’d love to check them out!
10 Reasons to Take Musical Theatre Lessons
After studying musicals and their songs, you’ll probably want to learn how to perform them. Whether you’re attending auditions or just starting, there are a lot of advantages to learning the performing arts:
- Increased self-confidence: You’ll have fewer problems taking to the stage.
- Improved knowledge of music and musicals.
- Make new friends with a shared passion. If you only knew what a cast goes through putting on a show. The work and effort create bonds between friends.
- Teamwork: the next time someone asks if you can work in a team, tell them about working together in a musical!
- Writing music: A teacher could teach about writing music and you could write a musical.
- Relaxing: Singing and dancing is a great way to unwind and alleviate stress.
- Improved language skills: Having to sing will improve your diction and pronunciation of words.
- Improved well-being: Singing and dancing, like doing sport, releases endorphins, making you happier.
- Become a well-rounded artist. Do you know singers that can’t dance? Dancers who can act? Actors who can sing? You’ll be able to do all three.
- Learn to sing in a group: You can sing as a soloist, in a duet, or as part of a chorus.
Are you ready to take musical theatre lessons?
Where Can You Get Musical Theatre Lessons?
Now you just need to find musical theatre lessons. There are quite a few acting and singing classes around for you to try out. However, it’s becoming more common for lessons to offer both for musical theatre.
Of course, with its history of musical theatre and the West End, London. You can look at music schools. There are also music, drama, and theatre schools all over the country. It depends where you are, your level, age, etc., but the cost can end up in the hundreds of pounds for a year.
You can also learn more about musical theatre, acting, singing, and dancing with a private tutor. In this case, check out the tutors from Superprof!
Whether you dream of moving to New York City and finding success on Broadway or just fancy joining a local community theatre, you can find various suitable private tutors to help you.
You can also find tutors working in all facets of the dramatic arts including set design, sound design, movies, drama, acting, scriptwriting, etc. Whether you want to become a director, actor, dancer, or musician, there are plenty of options for those who love musicals.
On Superprof, you can find tutors offering face-to-face tutorials, online tutorials, and group tutorials. Each type of tutorial comes with advantages and disadvantages in terms of learning approach and cost so you'll need to think carefully and choose the right tutor and tutorial for you.
Don't forget that a lot of the tutors on Superprof offer the first session for free. Before you start booking tonnes of sessions with a tutor, see if they offer a free session and if they're available when you are. It's also important that you ask them about their professional experience, teaching styles, and the level they prefer to teach.