Musical Lists

Musicals of the 1980s – The Full List of Shows

The musicals of the 1980s were a bit grander and more ambitious than those of the previous decade. Popular trends at the time included dramatic storylines, the rise of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s shows, romantic love stories, productions set in the 19th century, and continued cultural diversity.

The 1980s mark the middle of the pre-contemporary musical theatre time period. Here’s the full list of musicals that premiered during the decade. And to enhance your researching experience, you can pop on Theatre Trip’s Spotify playlist while scrolling – “The Best Musical Songs of the 1980s”➝.


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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  Concept: Sheldon Epps

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1980)


Les Misérables

Music/Lyrics: Claude-Michel Schönberg  Lyrics: Alan Boublil, Herbert Kretzmer, Jean-Marc Natel

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1980)


Marry Me a Little

Music/Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim  Concept: Craig Lucas, Norman Rene

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1980)


The Biograph Girl

Music/Lyrics: David Heneker  Lyrics/Book: Warner Brown

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1980)


Tomfoolery

Music/Lyrics: Tom Lehrer  Adaptation: Cameron Mackintosh, Robin Ray

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1980)


1981 Musicals

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: John Foley, Mark Hardwick, Debra Monk, Cass Morgan, John Schimmel, Jim 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)


Charlotte Sweet

Music: Gerald Jay Markoe  Lyrics: Michael Colby

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/Lyrics: Gene de Paul, Al Kasha, Joel Hirschhorn  Lyrics: Johnny Mercer  Book: Lawrence Kasha, David 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: Garry 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 (1983)


Singin’ in the Rain

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

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


The Human Comedy

Music: Galt MacDermot  Libretto: 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  Book: Richard Nelson

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1984)


How to Eat Like a Child

Music/Lyrics/Book: John Forster  Book: Delia Ephron, Judith Kahan

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1984)


Just So

Music: George Stiles  Lyrics/Book: Anthony Drewe

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1984)


Leader of the Pack

Music/Lyrics: Ellie Greenwich & Friends  Book: Anne Beatts

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1984)


Starlight Express

Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber, Alistair Lloyd Webber  Lyrics: Richard Stilgoe, David Yazbek, Nick Coler

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)


1985 Musicals

3 Guys Naked from the Waist Down

Music: Michael Rupert  Lyrics/Book: Jerry Colker

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1985)


Beehive: The 60’s Musical

Music/Lyrics: Various  Book: Larry Gallagher

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1985)


Big River

Music/Lyrics: Roger Miller  Book: William Hauptman

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1985)


Black and Blue

Music/Lyrics: Various

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1985)


Goblin Market

Music: Polly Pen  Lyrics: Peggy Harman

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1985)


Grind

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

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1985)


Jerry’s Girls

Music/Lyrics: Jerry Herman  Concept: Larry Alford, Wayne Cilento

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1985)


Mayor

Music/Lyrics: Charles Strouse  Book: Warren Leight

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (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)


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 (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: Charles Hart  Lyrics/Book: Richard Stilgoe

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1986)


1987 Musicals

Birds of Paradise

Music/Book: David Evans  Lyrics/Book: Winnie Holzman

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1987)


Late Nite Comic

Music/Lyrics: Brian Gari  Book: Allan Knee

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 Masekela

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1987)


Starmites

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

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1987)


The Wizard of Oz

Music/Lyrics: Harold Arlen, E.Y. Harburg  Music: Herbert Stothart  Book: L. Frank Baum, 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  Book: José Fernandez

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

A Slice of Saturday Night

Music/Lyrics/Book: The Heather Brothers

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1989)


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 (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 (1989)


Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens

Music: Janet Hood  Lyrics/Book: Bill Russell

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1989)


Forever Plaid

Music/Lyrics: Various  Book: Stuart Ross

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (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 (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: Claude-Michel Schönberg  Lyrics: Alain Boublil, Richard Maltby, Jr.

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1989)


Sherlock Holmes – The Musical

Music/Lyrics/Book: Leslie Bricusse

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 holds a BA in theatre, a TESOL drama certificate, and has worked and interned with Broadway and Off-Broadway theaters.


 

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