The Tony Awards aired Sunday, June 12, 2016 and brought to the forefront the beauty of Broadway. Unlike the Oscars, the Tonys were full of melanin and received a bump in ratings. Many people thank the ratings jump to the acclaimed musical Hamilton. 

If you’re one of the many people who listened to Hamilton and thought “Wow, I can twerk to this! What else does Broadway have to offer?,” I recommend the following:


Photo: Giphy

In 1972, Pippin debuted on Broadway with Ben Vereen as the lead. Vereen won a Tony for his role and the show went on to be a staple in musical theater. In the 2013 revival, Patina Miller won a Tony for the same role. These shows, which portray black excellence, are filled with gymnastics, traveling troupes and killer dance moves.


Photo: Giphy

In 1985, Kander & Ebb’s Chicago debuted on Broadway. In the original production, Chita Rivera and Gwen Verdon (and later Liza Minelli) dazzled audiences with their sultry dance moves and vocals. In 2002, the movie production (with Queen Latifah and Taye Diggs) won an Academy Award. In the years to follow, many black actors actors, including Brandy and Usher, have had numerous roles in thousands of productions.

Phantom of the Opera

Source: Tumblr
Photo: Tumblr

Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera opened London in 1986. Phantom is an international success and the longest running show on Broadway. Telling the story of love and bravery, Norm Lewis made history by being the first African American to play the lead character, the Phantom. This negro got pipes!

The Wiz

Photo: Giphy

Many are well-acquainted with the movie The Wiz (1978) starring Diana Ross and Michael Jackson. In December of last year, the NBC production was super black and excited Twitter. The musical, which is an African-American retelling of The Wizard of Oz, always has an all-black cast. Check out the video below to be slayed by Amber’s vocals.


Photo: Giphy

Rent is arguably one of the most popular musicals of all time. The very diverse cast tells a story of love, HIV/AIDS, New York City, the LGBTQIA community, death and friendship. Check out the video below to see Vanessa Hudgens, Nicole Scherzinger and Wayne Brady perform “La Vie Boheme.”

In the Heights

Photo: Giphy

Lin Manuel-Miranda’s first major hit was In the Heights. The hip-hop musical portrays a multiracial Latino community in New York City. Check out the video below to see the cast perform at the 2008 Tony Awards.


Photo: Giphy

Based on T.S. Elliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber brings to audiences a musical without a plot. Opened in the West End in 1981, audiences have enjoyed this musical for decades. Check out the video below to see Ken Page give us life.

The Color Purple

musicals full of black excellence
Photo: Giphy

Many are well acquainted with the novel and film versions of The Color Purple. But, in my opinion, the musical is greatly under-appreciated. Cynthia Erivo slays in the lead role. She won a Tony Award for her incredible performance. Check out the video below.

The Little Mermaid

Photo: Giphy

By now, most millennials have seen Disney’s film The Little Mermaid. But not many have seen the stage adaptation. Titus Burgess plays Sebastian in the original production. Check out his vocals in the video below.

The Book of Mormon

Photo: Giphy

The Book of Mormon is not for those who are easily offended. This hilarious musical won the Tony Award for Best Musical in 2011. Nikki M. James played Nabulungi in the 2011 Broadway production.


Photo: Giphy

I grew up watching this movie until the VCR tape broke, affectionally calling it ‘Black Cinderella.’ Brandy, Whitney, Bernadette Peters and Whoopi Goldberg appeared in Rogers & Hammerstein’s musical retelling of Cinderella. Since debuting on TV in 1957 with Julie Andrews as Cinderella, this musical has touched the hearts of many. In 2013, a new production hit Broadway and audiences loved it. Check out Brandy singing in the 1997 film version of a song below.

Loving Erin Logan’s articles? Sign up for our daily newsletter and never miss a headline.