Monday, October 16, 2023

40 Years of Broadway: Creative Influencers: 36 Composers & Lyricists

40 Years of Broadway:
Creative Influencers: 35 Composers & Lyricists

Over the past 40 years, I was able to be there to witness many of the later works of Golden Age composers and lyricists, and watch the next generation of them blossom into icons themselves. Most recently, it has been exciting over the last decade to see the new generation lend their voices, perspectives and talents to the Broadway canon.

Below is a list of those artists that had the biggest impact on my four decades of theater-going experience, and is not really complete. There are many others I could add, but I feel confident that these are a solid representation.

The Masters

Most of the names on this part of the list were major composers and lyricists well before the early to mid 1980s, but who still contributed new works and revivals. Their works influenced culture during their time and continue to do so today - some are still contributing new shows today. I'm confident that far into the future, these writers will continue to be studied, performed, and revered. More importantly, they will continue to influence generations of writers seeking new ways of human expression.

Cy Coleman        Marvin Hamlisch        

Jerry Herman        John Kander & Fred Ebb        Jonathan Larson

Alan Menken & Howard Ashman        Tim Rice

Stephen Schwartz        Stephen Sondheim        Andrew Lloyd Webber

The Contemporary Composers & Lyricists

Here is a group of writers who really came into their own over the past 40 years. They became reliable voices in the cultural conversation. Each had critical praise and their share of popular success. Perhaps just as importantly, they also had their failures, and they learned from those, emerging stronger. Most of these artists continue to create, and we are all the better for it - these are masters in the making.

Don Black        Jason Robert Brown

William Finn        Stephen Flaherty & Lynn Ahrens        Elton John

Tom Kitt        Michael John LaChiusa

Richard Maltby, Jr.        Lin-Manuel Miranda        Marc Shaiman & Scott Wittman

Claude Michel Schönberg & Alain Boublil        Jeanine Tesori

Frank Wildhorn        David Yazbek        David Zippel

New Voices

Finally, these are the current generation of writers who have already made a name for themselves. Their modern perspectives represent a new wave of style, themes and politics. We are all the richer for their diverse, important voices. Several of them have achieved remarkable success - Tony Awards, Pulitzer Prizes. And they are just getting started. We needn't worry about the future - it is very bright.

Sara Bareilles        Brandy Clark & Shane McAnally

Adam Guettel        Joe Iconis        Michael R. Jackson

Cyndi Lauper        Dave Malloy        Toby Marlow & Lucy Moss

Anaïs Mitchell        Helen Park        Benj Pasek & Justin Paul

Contest Question #15:
Of "The Masters" listed above, how many of them have shows currently running in New York City?

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