When we asked you to vote for Theatre’s greatest tearjerkers we were stunned by the results! Shows we expected to make the top ten didn’t get a look in while Musicals which hadn’t been in the West End in years gave the big names a close run for the top spot. So which shows made your top ten? Grab a box of tissues and see if your favourite made the list:
Warning. This blog post contains SPOILERS. If you don’t want to know how various shows end, PLEASE STOP READING NOW.
The Lion King
The tale of Simba from Orphaned Lion Cub to King of the Pride is one of Disney’s great classics. From the show’s incredible opening The Circle of Life to its moving Finale, there are any number of moments we could choose to demonstrate why it reduces audiences to tears. We’ve chosen Rafiki singing He Lives in You, because it speaks to everyone who has lost someone.
West Side Story
The enduring classic tale of rival New York gangs, based on Romeo and Juliet first came to the West End stage in 1958. A 1961 film ensured the show’s legacy. The dramatic conclusion sees Tony, who believes Maria has been killed, shot before they can be reunited – he dies in her arms. We’ve chosen the moment Anita and Maria share which touches the hardest heart – A Boy Like That/I Have A Love.
Ghost The Musical
When the film starring Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore opened in 1990 it was nominated for five academy awards including a Best Supporting Actress win for Whoopi Goldberg. A musical in 2011 opened to mixed reviews in the West End but the show touched hearts with its moving portrayal of the journey through grief of Molly following the murder of her lover, Sam and featured breathtaking illusions by Paul Kieve.
The Phantom of the Opera
Phantom has now chalked up a supernatural 30 years in the West End – little surprise with a score packed full of Andrew Lloyd Webbers very best songs. It’s a combination of an outstanding score and unconventional love story that ensures the show will run and run. From the show’s many highlights, we’ve chosen this moment from the 2004 film version:
At the heart of Wicked is a simple and beautiful story of friendship triumphing over almost insurmountable odds. The show’s central character, Elphaba, much like Phantom, is treated as an outsider and demonised by the society she inhabits. For us, the moment that brings a lump to the throat is one of the show’s gentler moments shared, for good, between Elphaba and Glinda:
Incredibly it’s 20 years since Rent opened on Broadway. In those 20 years, it has become one of Broadway’s most successful exports with productions opening around the world and a movie release. Based on La Boheme, it tells the story of a group of friends and artists struggling to survive in New York at the height of the AIDS crisis. The show helped to bring the story of those living with HIV into mainstream culture.
There are so many moments in Billy Elliot that stir emotion, that it’s hard to know where to begin. Most people mention Billy’s Letter, but we’ve opted for the moment where he duets with his adult-self in the Pas de Deux from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. The scene is especially moving as it features Liam Mower, one of the original Billys.
It’s very nearly four years since Blood Brothers closed in the West End after more than 10,000 performances. The story of the Johnstone twins, separated as babies but who grow up to become friends unaware of their secret, is one of Musical Theatre’s great tragedies. Forget Mel C – the moment we’ve chosen is Barbara Dixon singing Easy Terms…showing how it should be done.
It’s no co-incidence that two of your top 10 Tearjerking Musicals are based on Operas. This time, Madame Butterfly emerges from her cocoon as Miss Saigon. The Operatic form deals with the depths of despair and the heights of human emotion, and Miss Saigon’s heroine, Kim, goes through just about every emotion you can imagine. Here is Miss Saigon’s original Kim, Lea Salonga breaking our hearts.
Do you hear the people sing? Well you’re about to…we couldn’t just choose one moment from everyone’s favourite weepy. Here, with just a piano, is the song no theatre lover hasn’t secretly sung in the shower imagining they were in a Paris street in the rain…
…and we still think you can’t beat the 10th Anniversary cast for a finale guaranteed to make you tear up!
If you need to lighten the mood, take a look at our funny beginners guide to the world’s most tear-jerking musical. The stunning original production is still running in London’s West End – buy tickets for Les Miserables today!
A total of 39.79% of votes were cast for other shows resulting in top 11-25 placings as follows:
11 = Spring Awakening
12 = Titanic
13 = Carousel
= Jesus Christ Superstar
15 = Moulin Rouge
= Love Never Dies
17 = Into The Woods
19 = Evita
20 = Showboat
= Fiddler on the Roof
= The Bodyguard
25 = Matilda
A total of 676 votes were cast. Only Musicals shown in UK Theatres or Cinemas were counted in the vote.