ARTICLESTom Williams

Top 12 Musicals of 2015

Top 12 Musicals of 2015 Picks by Tom Williams

and Jacob Davis


By Tom Williams

12. The Passenger

Stunningly powerful Holocaust opera is a tasteful testimony

to the courage and heroism of the human spirit.

11. Baritones Unbound

A baritone is a type of classical male singing

whose vocal range lies between the bass and the tenor voice types.

It is the most common male voice.

10. The Girl in the Train

Cute operetta well sung and staged

with a fabulous score featuring warm waltzes

9. Oklahoma! at Paramount Theatre

Golden voiced Colte Julian leads

splendid remount of Oklahoma!

8. A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To the Forum

“Tragedy Tomorrow, Comedy Tonight!”

Farce, vaudeville and manic energy fuel

all-time funniest Musical comedy ever!

7. Carousel

Stunning, world class production of Carousel

is a near perfect artistic success

6.  Bel Canto

World premiere sure to become

an opera standard around the world

5. Les Miserables at Paramount Theatre

“To have loved another person is to see the face of God.”

–Victor Hugo from Les Miserables

Yet another fabulous production of the classic

Les Miserables awaits in Aurora

4. Beautiful The Carole King Musical

A tour de force performance by Abby Mueller fuels

terrific Beautiful-The Carole King jukebox musical

3.  A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder


A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder is a tightly woven mystery musical comedy

that is flawlessly staged, with even the smallest detail cleverly designed and superbly executed.

2. Boy From Oz

Pride’s Tribute Combines Intimacy With Glamor-Jacob Davis

1. Loving Repeating

“Rose is a rose is a rose…”
“Very fine is my valentine, very fine and very mine.
Very mine is my valentine very mine and very fine.
Very fine is my valentine and mine,

very fine mine and mine is my valentine.”
–Gertrude Stein

Love and Fun, It’s All There-JD


By Jacob Davis

12. Sense and Sensibility

This new adaptation retains the story and wit of Jane Austen’s 1811 novel, but its use of music allows direct and effective emotional connections between characters and the audience, which streamlines the story into an evening of love and life lessons.

11. Twisted Melodies

Twisted Melodies, which explores the suicide of blues musician Donny Hathaway, is a work that sends us to the darkest place imaginable, but it is one of those plays that has true potential to improve the world.

10. City of Angels

Nick Bowling’s direction makes it one of the rare shows that entertains fans of both traditional musicals and more abstract dramas, a perfect combination for the commercial theatre.

9. Dynamite Divas

Dynamite Divas is the kind of show several generations in a family would enjoy going to together; it passes on knowledge of the living treasures, while respecting the contributions of younger artists.

8. Once

The music is so lovely, and performed so well, that it makes sense Broadway in Chicago would host it where as many people as possible could get a chance to see it…Alex Nee will be a star.

7. The Who’s Tommy

Tommy says his happiness comes from finally experiencing what others take for granted instead of being trapped in his head, and this show will make you glad for everything you can see and hear.

6. The Lion King

The 1997 musical, which features songs by South African musician Lebo M, in addition to Elton John and Tim Rice’s soundtrack to the original 1994 movie, has been running continuously across the world for eighteen years. In that time, the first children who fell in love with The Lion King have grown up and remained loyal to it, and at the opening night, a new generation of children sat mesmerized by director Julie Taymor’s stage concept.

5. Ring of Fire-The Music of Johnny Cash

My third visit to Ring of Fire was amazing! It still has the energy, the polish and the terrific musicianship even after hunfreds of performances. Put this show on your list of “MUST SEE” show this fall. – Tom Williams

4. The Marriage of Figaro

Opulent, hilarious romp about sex, trust and honesty becomes a joyous bedroom farce.-TW

3. A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

The first “Great” musical comedy mystery of the 21st Century is A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder!-TW

2. Ride the Cyclone

If you were an artistic director, and somebody pitched to you the idea of a musical about teenagers who died in a rollercoaster crash, even for the Halloween season, you might be inclined to dismiss it. But if that person was Rachel Rockwell, you would do well to listen.

1. Billy Elliot

I developed a soft spot for Billy Elliot after seeing the Broadway production, and was impressed by director Stephen Daldry, but also annoyed by a few choices that I felt were holding the story back from its full potential. But director Rachel Rockwell’s new production at Drury Lane, the first Chicago regional production of this show, fixes all those problems and raises the musical to a true piece of art.