Musicals of the 1980s – A Complete Ordered List

The musicals of the 1980s were a bit bigger and more epic than the shows of the previous decade. A few of the popular trends at the time included dramatic plots, Andrew Lloyd Webber shows, love stories, shows set in the 1800s, and continued cultural diversity.

The 1980s mark the middle of the pre-contemporary musical theatre time period. And the most notable musicals of the decade are included below.


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Contents:

1980 Musicals

1981 Musicals

1982 Musicals

1983 Musicals

1984 Musicals

1985 Musicals

1986 Musicals

1987 Musicals

1988 Musicals

1989 Musicals


1980 Musicals

42nd Street

Music: Harry Warren  Lyrics: Al Dubin, Johnny Mercer  Book: Michael Stewart, Mark Bramble

Musical Type: 1933 Film/Pre-Contemporary Musical (1980)


Barnum

Music: Cy Coleman  Lyrics: Michael Stewart  Book: Mark Bramble

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1980)


Blues in the Night

Music/Lyrics: Various

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary/Revue (1980)


Les Misérables

Music/Book: Claude-Michel Schönberg  Lyrics/Book: Alan Boublil  Lyrics: Jean-Marc Natel

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1980)


Marry Me a Little

Music/Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary/Revue (1980)


The Biograph Girl

Music/Lyrics/Book: David Heneker, Warner Brown

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1980)


Tomfoolery

Music/Lyrics: Tom Lehrer  Book: Cameron Mackintosh

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary/Revue (1980)


1981 Musicals

Bring Back Birdie

Music: Charles Strouse  Lyrics: Lee Adams  Book: Michael Stewart

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1981)


Cats

Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber  Lyrics: T.S. Eliot, Trevor Nunn, Richard Stilgoe

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1981)


Dreamgirls

Music: Henry Krieger  Lyrics/Book: Tom Eyen

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1981)


March of the Falsettos

Music/Lyrics/Book: William Finn

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1981)


Merrily We Roll Along

Music/Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim  Book: George Furth

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1981)


Pump Boys and Dinettes

Music/Lyrics/Book: Foley, Hardwick, Monk, Morgan, Schimmel, Wann

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1981)


Woman of the Year

Music: John Kander  Lyrics: Fred Ebb  Book: Peter Stone

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1981)


1982 Musicals

A Doll’s Life

Music: Larry Grossman  Lyrics/Book: Betty Comden, Adolph Green

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1982)


Is There Life After High School?

Music/Lyrics: Craig Carnelia  Book: Jeffrey Kindley

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1982)


Little Shop of Horrors

Music: Alan Menken  Lyrics/Book: Howard Ashman

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1982)


Nine

Music/Lyrics: Maury Yeston  Book: Arthur Kopit

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1982)


Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

Music: De Paul, Kasha, Hirschhorn  Lyrics: Mercer, Kasha, Hirschhorn  Book: Kasha, Landay

Musical Type: 1954 Film/Pre-Contemporary Musical (1982)


Song and Dance

Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber  Lyrics: Don Black, Richard Maltby Jr.

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1982)


1983 Musicals

Baby

Music: David Shire  Lyrics: Richard Maltby, Jr.,  Book: Sybille Pearson

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1983)


Blood Brothers

Music/Lyrics/Book: Willy Russell

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1983)


Dance a Little Closer

Music: Charles Strouse  Lyrics/Book: Alan Jay Lerner

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1983)


Doonesbury

Music: Elizabeth Swados  Lyrics/Book: Gary Trudeau

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1983)


La Cage aux Folles

Music/Lyrics: Jerry Herman  Book: Harvey Fierstein

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1983)


My One and Only

Music: George Gershwin  Lyrics: Ira Gershwin  Book: Peter Stone, Timothy S. Mayer

Musical Type: Jazz Age/Pre-Contemporary (1983)


Return to the Forbidden Planet

Music/Lyrics: Various  Book: Bob Carlton

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary/Jukebox (1983)


Singin’ in the Rain

Music: Nacio Herb Brown  Lyrics: Arthur Freed  Book: Adolph Green, Betty Comden

Musical Type: 1952 Film/Pre-Contemporary Musical (1983)


The Human Comedy

Music: Galt MacDermot  Lyrics/Book: William Dumaresq

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1983)


The Tap Dance Kid

Music: Henry Krieger  Lyrics: Robert Lorick  Book: Charles Blackwell

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1983)


1984 Musicals

Chess

Music: Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus  Lyrics: Tim Rice, Ulvaeus  Book: Richard Nelson, Rice

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1984)


Diamonds

Music/Lyrics/Book: Various

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary/Revue (1984)


Just So

Music: George Stiles  Book/Lyrics: Anthony Drewe

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1984)


Kuni-Leml

Music: Raphael Crystal  Lyrics: Richard Engquist  Book: Nahma Sandrow

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1984)


Leader of the Pack

Music/Lyrics: Ellie Greenwich  Lyrics: Jeff Barry, Phil Spector, Shadow Morton, Jeff Kent, Ellen Foley  Book: Anne Beatts

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary/Jukebox (1984)


Starlight Express

Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber, Alistair Lloyd Webber  Lyrics: Various

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1984)


Sunday in the Park with George

Music/Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim  Book: James Lapine

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1984)


The Rink

Music: John Kander  Lyrics: Fred Ebb  Book: Terrence McNally

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1984)


What About Luv?

Music: Howard Marren  Lyrics: Susan Birkenhead  Book: Jeffrey Sweet

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1984)


1985 Musicals

Beehive

Music/Lyrics: Various  Book: Larry Gallagher

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary/Revue (1985)


Big River

Music/Lyrics: Roger Miller  Book: William Hauptman

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1985)


Black and Blue

Music: W.C. Handy, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Fats Waller, Eubie Blake, Big Maybelle

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary/Revue (1985)


Grind

Music: Larry Grossman  Lyrics: Ellen Fitzhugh  Book: Fay Kanin

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1985)


Mayor

Music/Lyrics: Charles Strouse  Book: Warren Leight

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary/Revue (1985)


Nunsense

Music/Lyrics/Book: Dan Goggin

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1985)


The Mystery of Edwin Drood

Music/Lyrics/Book: Rupert Holmes

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1985)


Yours, Anne

Music: Michael Cohen  Lyrics/Book: Enid Futterman

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1985)


1986 Musicals

Hot Mikado

Music: Rob Bowman  Lyrics/Book: David H. Bell

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1986)


Into the Woods

Music/Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim  Book: James Lapine

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1986)


Jerome Kern Goes to Hollywood

Music: Jerome Kern  Lyrics: Various  Book: Dick Vosburgh

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary/Revue (1986)


Rags

Music: Charles Strouse  Lyrics: Stephen Schwartz  Book: Joseph Stein, David Thompson

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1986)


Smile

Music: Marvin Hamlisch  Lyrics/Book: Howard Ashman

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1986)


The Phantom of the Opera

Music/Book: Andrew Lloyd Webber  Lyrics/Book: Richard Stilgoe  Book: Charles Hart

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1986)


1987 Musicals

Late Nite Comic

Music/Lyrics: Brian Gari  Book: Allan Knee

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1987)


No Way to Treat a Lady

Music/Lyrics/Book: Douglas J. Cohen

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1987)


Romance/Romance

Music: Keith Herrmann  Lyrics/Book: Barry Harman

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1987)


Sarafina!

Music/Lyrics/Book: Mbongeni Ngema  Music/Lyrics: Hugh Masakela

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1987)


Starmites

Music/Lyrics/Book: Barry Keating  Book: Stuart Ross

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1987)


Ten Percent Revue

Music/Lyrics: Tom Wilson Weinberg

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary/Revue (1987)


The Wizard of Oz

Music: Harold Arlen, Herbert Stothart  Lyrics:  E.Y. Harburg  Book: John Kane

Musical Type: 1939 Film/Pre-Contemporary Musical (1987)


1988 Musicals

Carrie

Music: Michael Gore  Lyrics: Dean Pitchford  Book: Lawrence D. Cohen

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1988)


Fame

Music: Steve Margoshes  Lyrics: Jacques Levy

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1988)


Legs Diamond

Music/Lyrics: Peter Allen  Book: Harvey Fierstein, Charles Suppon

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1988)


Lucky Stiff

Music: Stephen Flaherty  Lyrics/Book: Lynn Ahrens

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1988)


1989 Musicals

Aspects of Love

Music/Book: Andrew Lloyd Webber  Lyrics: Don Black, Charles Hart

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1989)


Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story

Music/Lyrics: Buddy Holly, Various  Book: Alan Janes

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary/Jukebox (1989)


City of Angels

Music: Cy Coleman  Lyrics: David Zippel  Book: Larry Gelbart

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1989)


Closer Than Ever

Music: David Shire  Lyrics: Richard Maltby Jr.

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary/Revue (1989)


Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens

Music: Janet Hood  Lyrics/Book: Bill Russell

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary/Song Cycle (1989)


Forever Plaid

Music/Lyrics: Various  Book: Stuart Ross

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary/Revue (1989)


Grand Hotel

Music/Lyrics: Robert Wright, George Forrest, Maury Yeston  Book: Luther Davis

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1989)


Jerome Robbins’ Broadway

Music/Lyrics: Various

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary/Revue (1989)


Meet Me in St. Louis

Music/Lyrics: Hugh Martin, Ralph Blane  Book: Hugh Wheeler

Musical Type: 1944 Film/Pre-Contemporary Musical (1989)


Miss Saigon

Music/Book: Claude-Michel Schönberg  Lyrics/Book: Alain Boublil  Lyrics: Richard Maltby Jr.

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1989)


Sherlock Holmes – The Musical

Music/Lyrics/Book:  Leslie Bricusse

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1989)


The Baker’s Wife

Music/Lyrics: Stephen Schwartz  Book: Joseph Stein

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1989)


Other Decades

Musicals of the 1920s

Musicals of the 1930s

Golden Age Musicals (1940 – 1959)

Post-Golden Age Musicals (1960 – 1969)

Musicals of the 1970s

• Musicals of the 1980s → You are here!

Musicals of the 1990s

Musicals of the 2000s

Musicals of the 2010s

Musicals of the 2020s


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Which of these musicals of the 1980s is your favorite?

Or have you ever played a role in any of these 1980s musicals? Feel free to share in the comments below! And if you like these types of lists, check out the musical database. That’s where you’ll find musicals sorted by composer, theme, setting, and more!


Stacy Karyn, author of Musicals of the 1980s.
Author: Stacy Karyn

Stacy Karyn is the founder of Theatre Trip, author of The Thespian’s Bucket List, and creator of The Cast Album List. She has a TESOL drama certificate, a BA in theatre, and has worked and interned with Broadway and Off-Broadway theaters.


 

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