Rent [Original Broadway Cast]: 'Seasons of Love'
'Rent' was influenced by Giacomo Puccini's opera 'La Bohème,' that focuses on the lives of five artists trying to make it during the Tuberculosis plague. Rent's storyline version tells a heartfelt story of a group of broke young artists and musicians struggling to survive in the '80s living in New York City's Lower East Side while coping with the spread of AIDS. 'Seasons of Love' is our favorite track: How many minutes in a year? "525,600 minutes."
West Side Story [Broadway Revival]: 'America'
A modern 'Romeo and Juliet,' the Broadway musical is set in New York City during the mid '50s, exploring the rivalry between two teenage street gangs of different ethnic and cultural backgrounds. It's hard to believe that Columbia Records initially declined to record the cast album, stating that the score was too depressing.
Avenue Q: 'Everyone's a Little Bit Racist'
Mostly inspired by 'Sesame Street,' Avenue Q's wit and humor openly addresses racism, pornography, and homosexuality. Notable musical numbers are the iTunes favorite 'Everyone's a Little Bit Racist,' and the Internet-leaked 'The Internet is For Porn,' which became an overnight sensation thanks to its YouTube fan club. Remember Gary Colemen? Well, he's the building's superintendent. Enough said.
Beauty and the Beast [Original Broadway Cast Recording]: 'Home'
Based on the unforgettable tale of Disney's animated flick 'Beauty and the Beast,' this Broadway adaptation was packed with seven new songs composed by Alan Menken and co-written by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice. In 2007 the musical became the sixth longest running production in history.
A Chorus Line [Original Broadway Cast]: 'I Hope I get It'
'A Chorus Line' opened off Broadway in 1975, selling out immediately. Due to its success, it was moved to Broadway just 2 Months later. This Musical -- about seventeen Broadway dancers trying to make it on Broadway -- won nine out of 12 Tony Award nominations and earned the 1976 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. 'I Hope I get it,' composed by Marvin Hamlisch, is considered one of the best opening numbers of all time.
Mamma Mia!: 'Mamma Mia!'
'Mamma Mia' deals with the all too common "I don't know who my father is" scenario, yet, is more entertaining and catchy than an episode of the daytime talk show 'Maury.' A Greek wedding, a mother's diary, three possible fathers and some ABBA on top? Now, that's a show!
Chicago [Original Broadway Cast]: 'Cell Block Tango '
Set in prohibition era, 'Chicago' is based on a 1926 play about actual crimes covered by the 'Chicago Tribune.' The 1975 original musical of 'Chicago' ran for a total of 936 performances. However the revival of the musical in 1996 entitled 'Chicago: The Musical' is currently the longest running musical revival in history, having played over 5,400 performances. The musical (still running on Broadway) was even adapted into an Academy Award-winning film, staring Richard Gere, Renee Zellweger and Catherine Zeta-Jones.
Les Misérables: 'I Dreamed a Dream'
Even if you're not a theater junkie, you've probably heard this song before. Who can forget that Susan Boyle's breathtaking audition number for UK's version of 'American Idol' 'Britain's Got Talent?' Extraordinarily composed in 1980 by French composer Claude-Michel Schönberg, this musical stage adaptation continues to be among the favorites.
The Phantom of the Opera [Original Cast]: 'The Phantom of the Opera'
Goosebumps galore! Staring an obsessed, disfigured musical genius (the phantom of the Opera), a beautiful first soprano, and Andrew Lloyd Webber composed-numbers, and you've got a musical deemed for success. This Broadway musical even earned the status of being the longest running Broadway show (beating 'Cats').
Wicked: 'Defying Gravity'
'Wicked' is a perfect example of hard work paying off -- the plot's outline alone took over a year. From the best-selling novel to a Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, it's no surprise that this musical -- with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz -- has broken box office records around the globe.