Jersey Boys, Beautiful — The Carole King Musical, and On Your Feet! Broadway is awash in musicals highlighting pop music of the 1960s, '70s, and '80s. As millennials (Americans born between 1982 and 2004) come into adulthood, Broadway producers might want to consider a new crop of jukebox musicals celebrating the glory years of this largest generation in American history. With that in mind, we propose five new jukebox musicals drawn from the turn-of-the-millennium pop renaissance.
1. Stronger—The Britney Spears Musical
Few artists exemplify the pop scene of the late '90s and early 2000s better than Britney Spears, so a bio-musical seems inevitable. "…Baby One More Time," "Oops!…I Did It Again," "Toxic": There are just so many hits to choose from! To accompany the songs, the incredibly talented Ms. Spears just happens to have a compelling story (specifically, her tumultuous marriage to Kevin Federline). We envision a dance spectacular and especially look forward to the "(You Drive Me) Crazy" umbrella rage ballet. As the title suggests, Britney will emerge from this second-act adversity stronger than yesterday to take her place as the reigning queen of pop.
2. Livin' La Vida Loca: Ricky Martin's Crazy Life
Ricky Martin was the face of the Latin pop explosion in the United States. We predict a triumphant return to Broadway by Martin (who starred as Che in the 2012 revival of Evita) to shake his bon bon in the title role of his own bio-musical. This show would have everything: sexy dancers (choreographed by Sergio Trujillo), a driving score, and a celebrity headliner. Also, what book writer wouldn't want to wrap her pen around the incredible dramatic potential presented by a closeted gay man becoming the object of desire for millions of teenage girls and middle-aged women? We smell a Tony!
3. What a Girl Wants…The Christina Aguilera Story
If Britney Spears was the standout dancer of her generation, Christina Aguilera was the voice. We anticipate powerhouse vocal performances and unprecedented glory notes in any Christina musical, a show that would have to include hits like "Genie in a Bottle," "Come on Over," and "Beautiful." We recommend David LaChapelle direct the project, especially if he can make it as sexy as his above music video for "Dirrty." Christina might even consider making her Broadway debut in the show…or she could just do Burlesque Live! We would be happy either way.
4. I Want It That Way: The True Tale of the Backstreet Boys — The Musical!
Backstreet's back…on Broadway! With members of the extended family already making inroads (Brian Littrell's son Baylee recently made his Broadway debut in Disaster!), the theater is the ideal venue for the best-selling boy band of all time to tell their story, from their first performance at SeaWorld to their meteoric rise to international fame. With pop hits like "As Long as You Love Me," "Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely," and "Quit Playing Games," the book could dramatize the group's contentious relationship with villainous record producer Lou Pearlman. Truly, a Backstreet musical would have something for everybody.
5. Now That's What I Call Musical! One Hit Wonders @ the Turn of the Century.
Remember those compilation CDs they used to sell during commercial breaks from Felicity? Imagine one of those, but onstage: "Mmmbop," "Barbie Girl," and "Mambo No. 5" all wrapped into one undeniably insane musical. One anticipates such a show would accompany a magical Broadway season, capped off with a Tony Awards performance of Sisqó's "Thong Song." Of course, it would take a very creative book writer to shoehorn so many disparate songs and styles into a coherent plot, which is why we nominate Seth Rudetsky, who seems to have mastered the special lunacy of the form in his new musical, Disaster!