Throughout the 2010s, more and more audiences were attracted to the illustrious Great White Way thanks to a diverse array of new productions. In fact, the 2018-19 Broadway season was the highest-grossing and best-attended of all time.
While there are certainly many other shows that have contributed to Broadway’s surge in popularity, the two that have been the most prominent this decade are “Hamilton” and “Dear Evan Hansen.”
“Hamilton” is a biographical musical written by Lin-Manuel Miranda that premiered in a workshop performance in 2013 at the Richard Rogers Theatre on Broadway. The production is entirely sung through, but the score of the show blends almost every musical style from hip-hop to jazz to create what director Thomas Kail calls “the story of America then, told by America now.”
Subsequently, the musical has spent every day playing to sold-out audiences at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in New York, and, to attract even more audiences, it has also opened a Chicago production, a West End production and two national tours.
Its Broadway production was nominated for a record-breaking 16 Tony Awards and won 11. Also, for conveying history through music in a way never seen before, Miranda was given the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and a MacArthur Genius Grant.
In 2018, Miranda, Kail, Andy Blankenbuehler and Alex Lacamoire, the four creators of “Hamilton,” were awarded a prestigious Kennedy Center Honor for being the “trailblazing creators of a transformative work that defies category.”
“Dear Evan Hansen” is another musical, which also premiered in 2015 at the Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., that defined the decade. The story, by composers Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, revolves around a socially awkward and shy teenager, Evan, who lies about his friendship with an outcast at school, Connor, who committed suicide.
The spectacular production has been critically praised throughout its development. From the pop musical score by Pasek and Paul to the stunning performance of its lead, Ben Platt, this production has proven that it is one of Broadway’s best.
For its 2016 Broadway production, “Dear Evan Hansen” won six of the nine Tony Awards it was nominated for, as well as a Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album.
Along with other groundbreaking productions like “The Book of Mormon” and “Newsies,” these two musicals proved that the 2010s was arguably the best decade for Broadway by shattering box office and overall attendance records.