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The 2022-2023 season marks a resurrection of the big Broadway musical

From “New York, New York” to “& Juliet” to “Sweeney Todd” and more, grand-scale productions have made a comeback.

The company of “Some Like It Hot” on Broadway (Credit: Matthew Murphy)

“Some Like It Hot” boasts no fewer than six tap numbers. “& Juliet” presents an extravaganza of 29 Max Martin pop hits — with pyrotechnics to match. “New York, New York” features 10,000 pounds worth of iron fire escapes sliding around the stage. “Bob Fosse’s Dancin’” used an LED screen the size of the theater’s entire back wall to light up the stage. “Sweeney Todd” features an orchestra of 26 and “Camelot” one of 30. Between these musicals and more, the 2022-2023 season felt like a throwback to the giant, splashy musicals of bygone Broadway. Indeed, the numbers show that big shows have reclaimed their territory.

Over the five most recent Broadway seasons, an average of 5.2 musicals featured a cast of 20 onstage performers or more. Compare that to the five seasons prior, when an average of just 10 musicals included that same size company. The 2022-2023 season had only seven musicals of this size.

Broadway’s back in such a bold brassy way,” said J. Harrison Ghee, one of the Tony Award-nominated stars of “Some Like It Hot.” “People go to theater to escape, to feel, to see a spectacle, and they wanna see something beyond normalcy sometimes.”

“People long for it,” added Jordan Donica, a Tony nominee for his turn as Lancelot in “Camelot.” “I think everyone wants to be swept up in something and that’s what these musicals provide.”

But it’s not only that audiences generally crave that feeling; these spectacular musicals meet the post-pandemic moment. “People have been in their homes for two years,” said Josh Groban, a Tony nominee for his title turn in “Sweeney Todd.” “They’ve been watching things on a screen that’s very small, and they want to come and absolutely be immersed in something larger than life.”

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