Musical Lists

Musicals Set in the 1980s – A Full List

Whether you’re auditioning for musicals, setting up your rep book, or simply looking for some new musicals to get into, it’s good to get familiar with what’s out there. And that’s why we’ve put together this list for you! Here’s the full list of musicals set in the 1980s.

The following list is broken down into three categories – “Musicals Fully Set in the 1980s”, “Musicals Partially Set in the 1980s”, and “Musicals Set Around the 1980s”. Each category is sorted alphabetically.


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Musicals Fully Set in the 1980s

3 Guys Naked from the Waist Down

Music: Michael Rupert  Lyrics/Book: Jerry Colker

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1985)

When It’s Set: The 1980s


A VHS Christmas Carol

Music/Lyrics: Clark Baxtresser

Musical Type: Contemporary (2020)

When It’s Set: The 1980s


American Psycho

Music/Lyrics: Duncan Sheik  Book: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa

Musical Type: Contemporary (2013)

When It’s Set: The 1980s


Billy Elliot

Music: Elton John  Lyrics/Book: Lee Hall

Musical Type: Contemporary (2005)

When It’s Set: The 1980s


Bright Lights, Big City

Music/Lyrics/Book: Paul Scott Goodman

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1999)

When It’s Set: The 1980s


Doonesbury

Music: Elizabeth Swados  Lyrics/Book: Garry Trudeau

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1983)

When It’s Set: The 1980s


Eugenius!

Music/Lyrics/Book: Ben Adams, Chris Wilkins

Musical Type: Contemporary (2016)

When It’s Set: The 1980s


Falsettoland

Music/Lyrics/Book: William Finn  Book: James Lapine

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1990)

When It’s Set: The 1980s


Fame

Music: Steve Margoshes  Lyrics: Jacques Levy  Book: José Fernandez

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1988)

When It’s Set: The 1980s


Flashdance

Music/Lyrics: Robbie Roth  Lyrics/Book: Robert Cary  Book: Tom Hedley

Musical Type: Contemporary (2008)

When It’s Set: The 1980s


Heathers

Music/Lyrics/Book: Laurence O’Keefe, Kevin Murphy

Musical Type: Contemporary (2010)

When It’s Set: The 1980s


Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Music/Lyrics: Stephen Trask  Book: John Cameron Mitchell

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1998)

When It’s Set: The 1980s


La Cage aux Folles

Music/Lyrics: Jerry Herman  Book: Harvey Fierstein

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1983)

When It’s Set: The 1980s


Mayor

Music/Lyrics: Charles Strouse  Book: Warren Leight

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1985)

When It’s Set: The 1980s


Our House

Music/Lyrics: Madness  Book: Tim Firth

Musical Type: Contemporary (2002)

When It’s Set: The 1980s


Pretty Woman

Music/Lyrics: Bryan Adams, Jim Vallance  Book: Garry Marshall, J.F. Lawton

Musical Type: Contemporary (2018)

When It’s Set: The 1980s


Rock of Ages

Music/Lyrics: Various  Book: Chris D’Arienzo

Musical Type: Contemporary/Jukebox (2005)

When It’s Set: The 1980s


Sing Street

Music/Lyrics: Gary Clark, John Carney  Book: Enda Walsh

Musical Type: Contemporary (2019)

When It’s Set: The 1980s


Smile

Music: Marvin Hamlisch  Lyrics/Book: Howard Ashman

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1986)

When It’s Set: The 1980s


Stranger Sings! The Parody Musical

Music/Lyrics/Book: Jonathan Hogue

Musical Type: Contemporary (2021)

When It’s Set: The 1980s


Taboo

Music/Lyrics: Boy George  Music: Kevan Frost, John Themis, Richie Stevens  Book: Mark Davies Markham, Charles Busch

Musical Type: Contemporary (2002)

When It’s Set: The 1980s


The Life

Music/Book: Cy Coleman  Lyrics/Book: Ira Gasman  Book: David Newman

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1990)

When It’s Set: The 1980s


The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4

Music/Lyrics: Pippa Cleary  Lyrics/Book: Jake Brunger

Musical Type: Contemporary (2015)

When It’s Set: The 1980s


The Tap Dance Kid

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

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1983)

When It’s Set: The 1980s


The Wedding Singer

Music: Matthew Sklar  Lyrics/Book: Chad Beguelin  Book: Tim Herlihy

Musical Type: Contemporary (2006)

When It’s Set: The 1980s


Trevor

Music: Julianne Wick Davis  Lyrics/Book: Dan Collins

Musical Type: Contemporary (2022)

When It’s Set: The 1980s


Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

Music/Lyrics: David Yazbek  Book: Jeffrey Lane

Musical Type: Contemporary (2010)

When It’s Set: The 1980s


Xanadu

Music/Lyrics: Jeff Lynne, John Farrar  Book: Douglas Carter Beane

Musical Type: Contemporary (2007)

When It’s Set: The 1980s


Musicals Partially Set in the 1980s

A Class Act

Music/Lyrics: Edward Kleban  Book: Linda Kline, Lonny Price

Musical Type: Contemporary (2000)

When It’s Set: 1950s-1980s


Allegiance

Music/Lyrics/Book: Jay Kuo  Book: Marc Acito, Lorenzo Thione

Musical Type: Contemporary (2012)

When It’s Set: 1940s-2000s


Back to the Future

Music/Lyrics: Alan Silvestri, Glen Ballard  Book: Robert Zemeckis, Bob Gale

Musical Type: Contemporary (2020)

When It’s Set: 1980s/1950s


Blood Brothers

Music/Lyrics/Book: Willy Russell

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1983)

When It’s Set: 1960s-1980s


Chess

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

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1984)

When It’s Set: 1950s/1980s


Diana

Music/Lyrics: David Bryan  Lyrics/Book: Joe DiPietro

Musical Type: Contemporary (2019)

When It’s Set: 1980s-1990s


Falsettos

Music/Lyrics/Book: William Finn  Book: James Lapine

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1992)

When It’s Set: 1970s-1980s


First Daughter Suite

Music/Lyrics: Michael John La Chiusa

Musical Type: Contemporary (2015)

When It’s Set: 1970s/1980s/2000s


Fun Home

Music: Jeanine Tesori  Lyrics/Book: Lisa Kron

Musical Type: Contemporary (2013)

When It’s Set: 1970s-2010s


Get Up Stand Up!

Music/Lyrics: Bob Marley  Book: Lee Hall

Musical Type: Contemporary (2021)

When It’s Set: 1950s-1980s


John & Jen

Music/Book: Andrew Lippa  Lyrics/Book: Tom Greenwald

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1995)

When It’s Set: 1950s-1990s


Leader of the Pack

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

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary/Jukebox (1984)

When It’s Set: 1960s/1980s


MJ: The Musical

Music/Lyrics: Michael Jackson, Various  Book: Lynn Nottage

Musical Type: Contemporary/Jukebox (2022)

When It’s Set: 1960s-1990s


Motown: The Musical

Music/Lyrics: Various  Book: Berry Gordy

Musical Type: Contemporary/Jukebox (2013)

When It’s Set: 1950s-1980s


On Your Feet!

Music/Lyrics: Gloria & Emilio Estefan, Miami Sound Machine  Book: Alexander Dinelaris

Musical Type: Contemporary/Jukebox (2015)

When It’s Set: 1980s-1990s


Rent

Music/Lyrics/Book: Jonathan Larson

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1996)

When It’s Set: 1980s-1990s


Romance/Romance

Music: Keith Herrmann  Lyrics/Book: Barry Harman

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1987)

When It’s Set: 1800s/1980s


Summer: The Donna Summer Musical

Music/Lyrics: Donna Summer, Giorgio Moroder, Paul Jabra, Various  Book: Colman Domingo, Robert Cary, Des McAnuff

Musical Type: Contemporary/Jukebox (2017)

When It’s Set: 1960s-1980s


Sunday in the Park with George

Music/Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim  Book: James Lapine

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1984)

When It’s Set: 1800s/1980s


The Boy From Oz

Music/Lyrics: Peter Allen  Book: Nick Enright, Martin Sherman

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary Jukebox (1998)

When It’s Set: 1960s-1990s


The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin

Music/Lyrics/Book: Kirsten Childs

Musical Type: Contemporary (2000)

When It’s Set: 1960s-1990s


The Cher Show

Music/Lyrics: Various  Book: Rick Elice

Musical Type: Contemporary Jukebox (2018)

When It’s Set: 1960s-1990s


Tina: The Tina Turner Musical

Music/Lyrics: Various  Book: Katori Hall, Frank Ketelaar, Kees Prins

Musical Type: Contemporary/Jukebox (2018)

When It’s Set: 1950s-1980s


Musicals Set Around the 1980s

Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens

Music: Janet Hood  Lyrics/Book: Bill Russell

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1989)

When It’s Set: Around the 1980s


More Musicals by Setting

Musicals set in the 1800s

Musicals set in the 1900s

Musicals set in the 1910s

• Musicals set in the 1920s

Musicals set in the 1930s

Musicals set in the 1940s

Musicals set in the 1950s

Musicals set in the 1960s

Musicals set in the 1970s

• Musicals set in the 1980s → You are here!

Musicals set in the 1990s


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

Or have you ever played a role in any of the above musicals set in the 1980s? 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 Set in 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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