Musical Lists

17 Musical Theatre Song Cycles – The Full List

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. Musical theatre song cycles differ a bit from musical revues – which generally showcase a group of songs that are connected by a specific time period or composer.

This list is broken down into two categories – “Musical Song Cycles” and “Song Cycle Mixes” (shows that might be a mix of genres – like a song cycle/revue, for example).

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Musical Song Cycles

35mm: A Musical Exhibition

Music/Lyrics/Book: Ryan Scott Oliver

Musical Type: Contemporary (2012)

Connecting Theme: The human experience

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

Is There Life After High School?

Music/Lyrics: Craig Carnelia  Book: Jeffrey Kindley

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1982)

Connecting Theme: High school experiences

Legacy – Two Song Cycles

Music: Stephen Flaherty  Lyrics: Lynn Ahrens

Musical Type: Contemporary (2020)

Connecting Theme: Unpredictable times and NYC

Myths & 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 (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

Song and Dance

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

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1982)

Connecting Theme: Love and life in NYC

Tell Me on a Sunday

Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber  Lyrics: Don Black

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1979)

Connecting Theme: Love and life 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

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


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