Musical Theatre Song Cycles – A Full List of Shows

Whether you’re putting on a show 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! The most notable musical theatre song cycles are included below.

A musical song cycle is a group of songs that are designed to be performed together without the incorporation of a traditional plot. The songs are usually connected by some sort of theme. This differs a bit from musical revues – which generally showcase a group of songs that are connected by a specific time period or composer.


Please note: This post contains affiliate links. This means that if you choose to make a purchase through one of the following links, we may earn a small commission on the sale at no additional cost to you. See our disclosure for more info.


Musical Song Cycles

35mm

Music/Lyrics/Book: Ryan Scott Oliver

Musical Type: Contemporary/Song Cycle (2012)

Connecting Theme: The human experience


Alphabet City Cycle

Music: Georgia Stitt  Book/Lyrics: Marcy Heisler

Musical Type: Contemporary (2009)

Connecting Theme: Poem-inspired songs


Edges

Music/Lyrics/Book: Benj Pasek, Justin Paul

Musical Type: Contemporary (2005)

Connecting Theme: Young adults/coming-of-age


Elegies: A Song Cycle

Music/Lyrics: William Finn

Musical Type: Contemporary (2003)

Connecting Theme: Remembrance of departed friends


Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens

Music: Janet Hood  Lyrics/Book: Bill Russell

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1989)

Connecting Theme: Lives lost to AIDS


Fugitive Songs

Music: Chris Miller  Lyrics: Nathan Tysen

Musical Type: Contemporary (2008)

Connecting Theme: A journey across America


Ghost Quartet

Music/Lyrics/Book: Dave Malloy

Musical Type: Contemporary (2014)

Connecting Theme: Love, death and whiskey


Legacy – Two Song Cycles

Music: Stephen Flaherty  Lyrics: Lynn Ahrens

Musical Type: Contemporary/Song Cycle (2020)

Connecting Theme: Unpredictable times and NYC


Myths and Hymns

Music/Lyrics: Adam Guettel

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1998)

Connecting Theme: Faith, spirituality, and enlightenment


See Rock City and Other Destinations

Music: Brad Alexander  Lyrics/Book: Adam Mathias

Musical Type: Contemporary (2010)

Connecting Theme: Connections made at USA tourist destinations


Songs for a New World

Music/Lyrics: Jason Robert Brown

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1995)

Connecting Theme: Self-discovery


The Theory of Relativity

Music/Lyrics: Neil Bartram  Book: Brian Hill

Musical Type: Contemporary (2014)

Connecting Theme: The interconnectedness of humans


We Aren’t Kids Anymore

Music/Lyrics: Drew Gasparini

Musical Type: Contemporary (2019)

Connecting Theme: The realities of growing up


Song Cycle Mixes

The following shows are more of a mix between song cycles and other genres (musicals, revues, etc.). Some may consider the following to be “song cycles” while may not.


Closer Than Ever

Music: David Shire  Lyrics: Richard Maltby Jr.

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary/Revue (1989)

Connecting Theme: Modern-day love struggles


I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change

Music: Jimmy Roberts  Lyrics/Book: Joe DiPietro

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1996)

Connecting Theme: Dating and relationships


In Pieces

Music/Lyrics: Joey Contreras

Musical Type: Contemporary (2021)

Connecting Theme: Romantic journeys


Tell Me on a Sunday

Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber  Lyrics: Don Black

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1979)

Connecting Theme: Being new in NYC


Things to Ruin

Music/Lyrics/Book: Joe Iconis

Musical Type: Contemporary (2008)

Connecting Theme: Humans in need of commotion


Related Posts:

• Jukebox Musicals

Musical Revues

Musicals Based on Books

Musicals Based on Movies


Want a weekly list of stagey surprises?!

Sign up for Theatre Thursday.


Which of these song cycles is your favorite?

Or have you ever played a role in any of the above musical song cycles? 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 Musical Song Cycles.
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.


 

Leave a Reply

Skip to content