President-elect Donald Trump would likely be delighted if Evita got another Broadway revival: It’s his favorite musical, a fact that is hard not to read into. Evita is an interesting litmus test — whether you think it’s ultimately favorable to the Peróns or an unequivocal takedown of their faux-populist, self-promotional tactics depends largely on the beliefs you bring to it. A 2017 revival would be, at the very least, a conversation starter.
“Every now and then the country goes a little wrong.” Assassins does not glorify its titular killers (or would-be killers) in exposing their motivations; it’s actually a searing indictment of American mythology and the limitations of the American dream. Assassins is often bleak and painful, but it’s a fascinating exploration of the righteous anger and despair of those who feel marginalized.
3. Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson
While the original run of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson failed to find its audience, Broadway would likely be a lot more welcoming to it now. Unlike Hamilton, it’s a much more scathing look at its central figure. Both shows do address the idea of legacy, although this one suggests that all Americans are complicit in the subjugation of marginalized people in the name of greed and entitlement.
Yes, Cabaret was just revived, but there’s always room for another interpretation of the show, which depicts the seedy, hedonistic world of 1930s Berlin at the end of the Weimar Republic. With a now constant debate over the rise of global nationalism and fascism, Cabaret is a reminder to stay vigilant, and of how quickly things can change.
With a title like Urinetown, you might be expecting frivolity. And yes, Urinetown is very funny, and it does concern itself with peeing. But it’s also an astute political satire that takes place in a dystopian future where water is scarce. It shows how government corruption and corporate greed work together to subjugate the lower class. But, like, in a fun way.
Parade is based on the true story of Jewish factory manager Leo Frank, who was put on trial in 1913 for the rape and murder of a 13-year-old girl. Parade doesn’t shy away from depicting the anti-Semitism that led to Frank’s conviction and eventual lynching. It’s a powerful, painful piece that serves as a stark reminder of how bigotry complicates the pursuit of justice, a theme that remains at the forefront of many people’s minds in 2017.
7. American Psycho
Yes, already. American Psycho didn’t get its due on Broadway. That’s a pity, especially given how appropriate it feels in the current climate. Patrick’s bloody rampage is shown as the natural progression of his greed and obsession with status. He also name-checks his hero, Donald Trump, several times. So there’s that.
Perhaps the most heartbreaking thing about Ragtime’s stirring Act 1 closer “Till We Reach That Day” is that we’ve still got a long way to go. The musical certainly depicts a less evolved version of the country, but its themes of racial and religious prejudice remain resonant. Ragtime is also worthwhile for anyone interested in resistance, as it grapples with the different ways oppressed people fight back against tyranny.
Allegiance, which closed in early 2016, has been gaining traction with its release in movie theaters — and for its uncomfortably resonant subject matter. Given that Japanese internment camps have been cited as a precedent for a national Muslim registry, Allegiance, which realistically portrays life in the camps, feels like some much-needed education.
10. American Idiot
Another musical that Donald Trump loved, American Idiot arrived on Broadway at an awkward time. It’s very much a protest musical against George W. Bush, but it debuted after Obama was in office. And it might be worth giving it another shot now. While many of its concerns feel very much of the early 2000s, its themes of disillusionment with the government and the media are pretty damn timely.
There has been some backlash over Rent in recent years, and much of it is fair. These characters are kind of pains in the ass. And yet, Rent is a musical about self-expression and protest through art. Even if some of the art they end up producing is less than stellar — “Your Eyes” comes to mind — their commitment to it is admirable. And Rent is also a celebration of queer identity, which we can always use more of.