Through the first 6 years of a legendary, Hall of Fame career that would last just 12, the great Dodgers pitcher Sandy Koufax had won a total of 36 games.
Over the next 6 years, Koufax won 129 more.
I've never had much of a fastball, but my affinity for--and prolific attendance of--Broadway musicals is a somewhat similar case of belated blooming.
In the first 12 years after I turned 18--i.e. the age at which my entertainment choices began being solely of my volition--I attended a total of four Broadway musicals. Two of these were actually on Broadway in New York, and another in London's West End, but I'm counting all musicals seen anywhere, at any level.
In the subsequent 12 years, bringing me to my present age of 42, I've attended 309 musical theater performances of more than 200 different shows.
These have primarily been in Chicago, but also on Broadway, in London and everywhere from Seattle to Melbourne to Copenhagen to Sullivan, IL (home of The Little Theatre on the Square, a great summer stock showcase).
This past week in Chicago, I saw a new production of the show I consider the best Broadway musical ever created, but in my review (which can be read here) I noted that it was only my second favorite musical. Then yesterday, I wrote a remembrance celebrating the 10th anniversary of first seeing my all-time favorite musical.
So it seemed like a good time to compile a list of my 10 favorite Broadway musicals, but of course, at Booth Reviews our lists "go to 11." And since I had trouble whittling my list down to the 11 shown in the slide show below, first I'll announce the next 11:
12. Evita 13. Wicked 14. The Lion King 15. Sweeney Todd 16. Billy Elliot 17. Spring Awakening 18. The Visit (a show that has yet to play Broadway) 19. A Chorus Line 20. Man of La Mancha 21. A Little Night Music 22. Mamma Mia
Certainly, any list can fluctuate, and I'm sure when I next see great productions of Guys & Dolls or Gypsy, for instance, they may well move up in my rankings. But I made a similar list back in 2005 and, in unearthing it from a backup hard drive, discovered that my tastes have remained pretty static, at least near the very top.
So without any further ado...drumroll please...here are My 11 Favorite Broadway Musicals: