What differences are there between musical theater today and musical theater 20 years ago?

Answer by Peter J Casey:

If we look specifically at Broadway twenty years ago, we can see that a new stage version of a Disney animated film (Beauty and the Beast), with a score by Alan Menken, Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, was enjoying good box office despite mixed reviews.

This year, a new stage version of a Disney animated film (Aladdin), with a score by Alan Menken, Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, is enjoying good box office despite mixed reviews.

Twenty years ago, a musical with a lush, romantic score (Cyrano) closed after only 137 performances, but was still nominated for the Tony Award for Best Original Score.

This year, a musical with a lush, romantic score (The Bridges of Madison County) closed after only 137 performances, but was still nominated for the Tony Award for Best Original Score.

Twenty years ago, Audra McDonald was Tony-nominated.

This year, Audra McDonald is Tony-nominated.

(OK, I cheated on that last one, because she’s in a play.)

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