The Types of Musical Theatre


Before getting into the types of musical theatre, let us first understand what is musical theatre. It is a form of performance that includes music, dance, dialogues and acting skills as well. Musical theatre was popularly called Musical in the 20th century and is now a popular form of theatre performance. Musical theatre can often be confused with other types of art like Opera, Dancing etc., but the main difference is the emphasis laid on the importance of dialogues and music. Musical theatre lays equal insistence to dialogues, music, dance as well as acting.

These musicals have been a popular choice for all the theatre lovers, for over a century and the performers need to be able to sing, dance and act to entertain the audience. The primary reason for the popularity is because of the type of music used and the genre. In this article, let’s take a look at some of the different kinds of musical theatre choices.

Musical theatre

Book Musical

This form of musical theatre performance is the one where the music and the dancers are integrated into proper costumes to narrate a story with a dramatic ending. It mainly consists of three elements:

  • Lyrics
  • Music
  • Script

The script is created first, followed by the music and lyrics. In a simple world, it is music with a story, enacted by the characters on the stage. For example, CATS, RENT, Annie and many more.

Book Musical

Jukebox musical

A jukebox musical is the one that is created by mixing pre-existing songs either from the same artist or a collection from different albums. The music is collected and turned into a jukebox, depending on the storyline and the dialogues and narration. The song collection itself might not impose a storyline, but they’re used to depict a performance. For example We Will Rock You (Queen) and Mamma Mia(Abba).


A revue is a collection of different songs based on a particularly common theme. It includes singing, dancing, sketching and many more forms of art. Most times, revue can have a storyline, but it is not recommended because the concentration is based on the songs more than the story and the performance of the artists. This type of musical theatre is popular among the student’s drama societies as they have a chance to showcase an array of different talents. For example Side by Side and Tom Foolery.


Concept Musicals

As the name suggests, a concept musical emphasizes the theme or the concept of the play. The popularity of this genre grew in the 1960s when directors and playwrights experimented with the freedom of expression. They always made use of this opportunity to direct a message to society. It can also be called a musical theatre where the concept of the play is equally important as the music in the play. Some of the categories include:

  • Allegro
  • Love Life
  • The Last Five Years
  • Cabaret
  • Avenue Q

Rock Musical

Rock musicals are a modern-day form of performance that tells a particular story. The music can be original, created especially for the performance or written by rock musicians. This genre of music is rightly used to express the angst among the main characters in the play. They’re a form of a musical that is used by the 18th-century musicians to express modern-day audience, without dialogues. A few examples are The Little Shop of Horrors, The Phantom of the Opera, Next to Normal, and many more.

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