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Types Of Musical: Genres Of Musicals Explained

Is there a common thread running across all musicals? Is that all there is to musicals? Tragedies and romance, drama and satire. For more than a century, musicals have been a popular option among theatergoers. If they want to engage their audience in their tale or stage play, musical artists need to be able to sing, dance, and act well.

The soundtrack should also be enjoyable and have major leitmotifs that aid in character development. The fact that musicals include a wide range of story kinds and musical genres is one of the reasons why they continue to remain popular. So let’s take a quick look at some of the various types of musicals that are presented on stage or in movies.


Revue Musicals

A revue is a genre of musical theater that incorporates singing, dancing, music, and skits into one performance. A revue’s contents are usually tied together by a similar topic. Although a revue might include a plot, it is generally weak and is viewed as secondary to the content of individual pieces and performers.

Revues are a popular type of entertainment among student theatre clubs because they provide members the opportunity to demonstrate a variety of skills.

Revue Musicals
Revue Musicals

It is considered a difficult type of musical because, while it may appear to be as simple as blending songs and getting the audience to reminisce, the authors must avoid the audience fading out after a couple of acts by establishing some form of structure or theme to hold the audience’s attention.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, the revue had evolved into a showcase of a single composer or songwriting team’s work. There is usually no plot and no acting nonetheless, these programs sometimes have a narrator who introduces each song or song set.


Book Musicals

A book musical is a show in which musical pieces and dances are properly interwoven into a proper story with well-defined theatrical purposes. Music, lyrics, and narrative are the three main components of a book musical (book).

In the vast majority of situations, the screenplay or story is written first, followed by the score (music and lyrics) as a method to flesh out the characters and advance the plot. There are some requirements for this type of musical, such as how many tracks are included in the story, when the music is added, and so on.

Book Musicals
Book Musicals

This type of musical places a strong focus on the storyline and music, seamlessly blending songs, dance, and dialogue to create a tale. A Book Musical, such as Les Miserables, is an example. It is a timeless masterwork based on Victor Hugo’s novel that initially appeared in 1985 and is one of the longest-running musicals in the world.

The play is still regarded as groundbreaking today, thanks to its iconic score and countless prizes.

Expert Tip: A book musical is a theatrical play that is led by a narrative (the book) as well as supporting music and lyrics.


Jukebox Musical

A jukebox musical is made out of songs that have already been written. This collection of songs is meant to tell a tale. Although the songs may all be from the same artist or group, a jukebox musical can also be made by combining music by many performers. The songs can be sung as is, but the words or music can be tweaked to better match the tale.

This type of musical is built on a collection of songs by a single singer or group. These songs are frequently included in the greatest hits collection by a well-known musician or band. The plot is also based on the songs’ narratives. There are a few different types of jukebox musicals today.

Jukebox Musical
Jukebox Musical

Some are merely tributes to the singer or band, with little to no narrative. Also, musicals are based on true stories. Others have a narrative with music from a variety of artists added to help the story progress. Boogie Nights, which was written by Jon Conway, is an example of a Jukebox Musical.

It covers the tale of Roddy and Debs’ life, with the majority of the plot centered on the Boogie and Disco scene of the 1970s.


Concept Musical

A concept musical is one in which the overall storyline and featured songs are equally vital to the topic, metaphor, or concept. During the 1960s. when directors and authors wanted to abandon traditional theatrical forms in favor of experimentation and freedom of expression, the concept of music became particularly popular.

Concept Musical
Concept Musical

A lot of the time, directors and playwrights will utilize their premise to make a societal statement. Some critics claim that commercial success is more difficult for concept musicals since the concept or topic isn’t always evident. As a result, the substance of contemporary musicals is frequently more contentious than that of conventional musicals.

The message, aesthetic, and topic of a narrative are prioritized over the storyline in this form of musical. Rather than focusing on the storyline, the program is frequently tied together by a single theme or concept.

It’s more about the symbolism and viewpoints of programs like these, where the storyline is often secondary or non-existent, than it is about storytelling, implying that most of this work comes from an experimental background.

The play’s essential elements are structured and employed with the plot, themes, characters, and songs serving as the primary distinguishing features. The musical was set in the 1920s and told the story of a cabaret singer, an American writer, and the people of Berlin, all of whom were caught up in the turbulence of a changing society.


Rock/Pop Musical

The pop and rock genres exploded onto the stage in the 1960s, ushering in a new era of musical theater. In these musicals, the narration changes, but the music tells the majority of the story. Its status as a rock/pop musical is due to this.

Rock Musical
Rock Musical

Since its beginnings, this kind of music has remained popular, as seen by the number of rock/pop musicals that have been published in recent years. A Rock/Pop Musical is Grease, for example. This American high school musical, written by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey, incorporates rock and roll tunes from the 1950s.

Expert Tip: Rock musicals, sometimes known as rock operas, are musical performances that portray a tale using more contemporary musical genres. Although the music for the show is typically unique, it may be influenced or written by well-known rock musicians. The Who’s Tommy is a classic example of a rock musical written by rock musicians.

Spring Awakening is an example of a contemporary rock musical that was written to present a narrative that already existed. The musical’s rock music elements have been expertly employed to assist represent the main characters’ emotional distress. The usage of rock-style music also helps to bring an 18th-century narrative closer to current listeners.


Autobiographical Musical

Autobiographical Musical
Autobiographical Musical

Autobiographical musicals are stories, events, or a biography of a person that are based on influenced by or drawn from them. This type of musical will cover the life and career of a certain person by integrating songs into a carefully built plot for the musical.

While an artist’s discography can be utilized to create a tale, the themes and plot are unrelated to the music’s original meaning. The elements of a personal tale are used in these musicals to assist the audience to rethink their life and their influence on others.

Furthermore, these plays are intensely engrossing, they delight, amuse, and maybe terrifying at times. Chaplin is an example of an autobiographical musical.

Beginning in 1913. when he arrived in Hollywood, the musical by Thomas Meehan and Christopher Curtis explores the life and shifting fortunes of Charlie Chaplin, the renowned silent cinema actor.


Non-Autobiographical Musical

Frequently, an artist’s discography collides with a writer’s vision, sparking something new. As a result, an artist’s or band’s music is paired with a tale that is different from the one they originally conveyed, and it takes on new significance.

Non-autobiographical musicals are plays that employ the music of a certain artist or band to set the tone for the rest of the story. Musicals frequently feature popular songs by a certain artist, although these songs do not need to be tied to the plot or storyline.

Mamma Mia is a Non-Autobiographical Musical that incorporates songs from the popular Swedish pop/dance group ABBA from the 1970s. There is no connection between the narrative and the Swedish rock band.


Film Musical

Film Musical
Film Musical

This is one of the most popular types of musicals. Film musicals are well-known across the world, and they feature music, song, and dance in many forms, often with a happy ending plot. Film musicals include songs into the story rather than making them contrast to the plot. These musicals are frequently adapted from the movie to the stage.

The songs usually advance the plot or develop the story’s characters, although in certain cases, they serve solely as narrative breaks, frequently as lengthy “production numbers.” A wonderful example of a Film Musical is The Lion King. Since its Broadway premiere in 1997, it has been the most popular musical in history.

The performance continues to touch audiences to this day because of the fantastic plot conveyed with stunning images.


Are there different types of musicals?

Because there are so many different sorts of individuals in the world, there are so many distinct forms of music. Discover how many different forms of music there are in the world, from music genres to lists of music styles.

Because there is no globally agreed manner of defining styles of music, compiling an entire list of musical genres from throughout the world is practically difficult. These are different types of music we have in the world;

  • Classical
  • Country
  • Hip-hop
  • Rhythm & Blues (R&B)
  • Jazz
  • K-pop
  • Metal
  • Pop
  • Rap
  • Rock band performing on stage
  • Techno
  • Indie rock
  • Oldies

Drums, musical bows, xylophones, and rattles are typical instruments in African music, which vary greatly by area. Many African civilizations combine music and dance to commemorate significant life events and bring people together.

  • Afrobeats
  • Chimurenga
  • Hiplife
  • Juju
  • Majika
  • Mbalax
  • Palm wine
  • Rababah
  • Inkiranya
  • Shaabi
  • Somali jazz
  • Soukou/Congolese rumba
  • Ubongo
  • Zilin
  • Benga
  • Ndombolo

Expert Tip: Musicals, unlike movies or novels, offer immersive live presentations that bring storylines and tales to life. They can construct the scene and mood needed to convey a tale so that the spectator does not have to.

Many individuals prefer musicals to movies or literature because of the stage presence. It’s always a thrill to find and recognize new types of musicals that you could appreciate. Modern musicals have grown into so many diverse genres that there is one for everyone. We hope that this introduction to the many sorts of musicals has been helpful.


What are 5 examples of a musical?

You may ask yourself what is a musical? Chances are you’ve seen or heard of at least one in your lifetime. A Musical is a form of performance art that includes elements such as singing, dancing, spoken dialogue, and acting. This artistic style is an emotionally driven performance that focuses on anger, love, comedy, and pathos.

Let’s take a look at what are 5 examples of a musical?

  • Phantom of The Opera
  • West Side Story
  • Grease
  • Little Shop of Horrors
  • Cats

Now you know what are 5 examples of a musical are. Chances are you’ve heard of at least of few of these on this list. Each of these was also adapted for the big screen throughout the years.

If you’re the type of person that’s into performance art such as this then these are some excellent examples. If you’ve never seen any of them before, check them out now.


Final Thought

Musicals, unlike movies or novels, create immersive live presentations that bring storylines and tales to life. They may build the setting and mood for a tale such that the audience does not have to envision it. Many individuals prefer musicals to watch movies or read books because of the stage presence.

Discovering and identifying new types of musicals that you could appreciate is usually a thrilling experience. There is a form of modern music that everyone can identify with since it has grown and blossomed into so many various types. I hope that this overview of the many types of musicals has been helpful.

About Jayden Buckley

Hi, my name is Jayden and I am author/editor for PlayTheTunes. I remember the first time I hopped on the drums, I was hooked. Music has played an enormous part of my life, and I'm honored I get to share my experiences with you!