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Music History Events: Musicals

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January 31, 2016 Fox airs a live version of Grease, the hit Broadway musical-turned-movie, starring Julianne Hough.More

December 3, 2015 A live adaptation of The Wiz airs on NBC. Based on the book (but not the film) The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The Wiz began as a stage production in 1975, and was made into a movie (with Michael Jackson and Diana Ross) in 1978.More

August 6, 2015 Hamilton, a hip-hop-infused musical based on the life of Alexander Hamilton, opens on Broadway at the Richard Rodgers Theatre six months after a sold-out Off-Broadway debut.More

June 5, 2012 Tom Cruise stars as rocker Stacee Jaxx in the film adaptation of the Broadway hit Rock of Ages, an homage to '80s rock and glam metal that features songs from Bon Jovi, Twisted Sister, Pat Benatar, and Journey. More

April 20, 2010 The stage adaptation of Green Day's American Idiot rock opera officially opens on Broadway, a year after its debut at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre.

July 4, 2008 The movie Mamma Mia!, featuring the music of ABBA and based on the musical, opens in Sweden where the group attends the screening, briefly reuniting Benny Andersson, Bjorn Ulvaeus, Anni-Frid Lyngstad, and Agnetha Faltskog.More

January 9, 2006 The Phantom of the Opera becomes the longest-running Broadway show when it marks its 7,486th performance at the Majestic theater, breaking the record held by Cats, another Andrew Lloyd Webber musical.

November 6, 2005 The Four Seasons musical Jersey Boys opens on Broadway to rave reviews.

June 8, 2003 Billy Joel wins a Tony Award for the orchestration of his Broadway musical Movin' Out.

January 29, 1997 The Paul Simon musical The Cape Man opens on Broadway. It lasts only 68 performances.

June 23, 1994 The stage musical Copacabana (based on Barry Manilow's song) opens in London.

July 14, 1993 The US Postal Service introduces four new stamps honoring classic Broadway musicals: My Fair Lady, Porgy and Bess, Show Boat, and Oklahoma!

January 26, 1988 Andrew Lloyd Webber's blockbuster musical The Phantom of the Opera debuts on Broadway at the Majestic Theatre two years after a successful run on London's West End.More

August 8, 1980 The fantasy musical Xanadu, starring Olivia Newton-John and Gene Kelly, debuts to scathing reviews ("In a word, Xana-don't.") and inspires the Golden Raspberry Awards for the worst films of the year. But it has a killer soundtrack thanks to "Magic."More

September 25, 1979 Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical Evita makes its debut on Broadway with Patti LuPone after a successful year on London's West End.More

June 16, 1978 The movie adaptation of the hit Broadway musical Grease, starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, opens in US theaters, becoming the smash hit of the year.More

April 26, 1977 Jim Steinman's play Neverland opens at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. Five months later, three of the songs he wrote for the production appear on Meat Loaf's seminal album Bat Out Of Hell, which would become one of the 10 best-selling albums of all time.

July 25, 1975 The musical A Chorus Line debuts on Broadway, the first of 6,137 performances in a 15-year run.

January 5, 1975 The Wiz premieres at the Majestic Theatre on Broadway. An adaptation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz with an all-black cast, it stars future disco diva Stephanie Mills ("Never Knew Love") as Dorothy. In 1978, the production is turned into a movie starring Michael Jackson and Diana Ross.

June 7, 1972 The musical Grease opens on Broadway.More

October 12, 1970 Jesus Christ Superstar opens on Broadway, telling the story of the last seven days in the life of Jesus.More

September 22, 1964 The musical Fiddler on the Roof makes its Broadway debut at the Imperial Theatre.More

August 27, 1964 Disney releases Mary Poppins, a Sherman Brothers musical featuring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke. It's the first movie role for Andrews, who is already a Broadway star. Her portrayal of the title character earns her the Academy Award for Best Actress.More

October 18, 1961 Mirisch Pictures releases the film version of the Broadway musical West Side Story, starring Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer, and Rita Moreno. The soundtrack features music by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim - including the song "Somewhere," later recorded by Tom Waits, Aretha Franklin, Josh Groban, Kylie Minogue, and others.

April 14, 1960 The Broadway musical Bye Bye Birdie (inspired by the drafting of Elvis Presley) opens.

April 11, 1952 Singin' In The Rain, starring Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor and newcomer Debbie Reynolds, is released in the US, but barely makes a splash.More

December 28, 1944 Leonard Bernstein scores his first big hit when his musical On The Town, featuring the song "New York, New York" opens on Broadway.

December 27, 1927 Show Boat opens at the Ziegfeld Theatre on Broadway, changing the paradigm for modern musicals.More

December 29, 1880 The opera La Mascotte opens in Paris, introducing the word "mascot."More

April 7, 2009 The jukebox musical Rock of Ages, a celebration of glam metal and classic rock of the '80s, opens at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre.
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