Musicals That Changed Broadway (and Where It’s Headed Next)

Kaufman Music Center

Sean Hartley is the director at the Kaufman Music Center’s Theater Wing,  He is the Producer/Host of Broadway Close Up as well as Broadway Playhouse. Sean is also a playwright, composer, and lyricist. He is in residence at the Hermitage Artist Retreat in Sarasota.


Hamilton made history not long ago by receiving a grand total of 16 nominations at the Tony Awards – ultimately winning a total of 11, including Best Musical. The phenomenon is part of a long lineage of musical theater productions that capture the public’s attention and reflect the culture surrounding them. This class will explore a few of those in depth. Broadway combines the thrill of live music with the compelling storytelling and drama of watching a movie or TV show. When done with incredible care and sensitivity, the combination of the two can lead to something transformative.

Looking over the past decade and the history of Broadway, one readily sees that a new phenomenon has developed. Many theaters are presenting hits that occupy Broadway stages for longer than shows ever had previously. Some say this change has turned the New York theater district into more of an adult amusement park than an evolving cultural center. For most of the Coronavirus pandemic, all Broadway theaters were closed, but they’re starting to reopen. Will Broadway be changed permanently as a result? In fact, has it already been transformed in the modern era?



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