Tony Awards 2013: 5 Broadway Shows That Take On Millennial Issues


The Tony Awards are on tonight at 8:00 p.m. EDT / 7:00 p.m. CST CBS and it is sure to be an award show no Broadway fan wants to miss. But the Tonys are more than just golden statues; they are a chance to spotlight the year’s best shows.

Some of these great stories take on issues that hit close to home for many millennials. Check out our top five and then let us know in the comments what other shows you think tie to the issues facing the millennial generation today.

1. Hands On a Hardbody

This show, which opened in March, is about 10 Texans trying to win a pickup truck. You know the drill; last one with their hand on the truck wins. But it's about more than just a truck for each of them. They’re fighting for the freedom that winning could mean. While the hardships and obstacles each character's story brings to light are things Gen X and boomers faced, they resonate even more so with us because we have to solve them. Millennials may not have the same concept of the American Dream that our parents' generation did, but we are still out there fighting for what we want our lives to be. Hopefully we can show as much heart, hope, and perseverance, even if we take our hands off the Nissan.

2. Matilda

This musical, based on the book of the same name by Roald Dahl, opened at the Shubert Theatre in April. This is the story of a gifted little girl who is often ignored by her family. After a string of outbursts and pranks, Matilda's family finally sends her off to school, where she has a lot of trouble with the principal. But Matilda connects with a teacher, Miss Honey, who sees her potential and helps her with her newly discovered telekinetic powers. Matilda uses these powers to do silly things around the school. Millennials work hard and play just as hard and as often. We need educators and employers who see our potential and encourage us to take breaks from the daily office grind to have a Nerf gun fight or play a round of pool. 

3. Kinky Boots

In this new musical, Tony (Stark Sands) inherits an almost-bankrupt shoe factory after the sudden death of his father. Tony feels the pressure to keep the factory alive, but finds he can't do it by simply trying to be his father or make the same men’s dress shoes his father made. Tony teams up with Lola, a transvestite showgirl, to make shoes for like-employed performers. By daring to reinvent himself, as well as his father's company, Tony learns a lesson that rings true with most of us; no matter in whose footsteps we follow, we must also make our own impact on the world, embrace change and not get lost in the shadows of others.

4. The Trip to Bountiful

This show is set in the spring of 1953 in Houston, Texas. Carrie (Cicely Tyson) is a widow, living in Houston with her son and daughter-in-law who she doesn't get along with. Carrie spends her days dreaming of returning to her hometown of Bountiful and one day takes off on a bus to go there. She meets several people along the way who help her embark on self-discovery. As millennials are facing returning home after graduation, even heading back to their childhood bedrooms while they hunt for work, it's important to know that it isn’t always about the location. Who you meet and the experiences you have are going to teach you a lot about yourself and the world around you, possibly even more than paying rent each month. 

5. Golden Boy

Joe Bonaparte (Seth Numrich) was a promising violinist at a young age and was planning to make this his career until a prizefight promoter offers him a different opportunity. He gives up the violin because he feels he can get more fame and fortune from becoming a boxing superstar. Millennials face many similar choices in both education and employment. Many are skipping college and entering the workforce sooner, in hopes for a quicker route to prosperity. Many millennials are looking to become solopreneurs, find jobs in startups, get crowdfunded, or come up with an app that alleviates the need to work all together. But forgoing formal education all together can end up doing just as much damage to your mind as boxing does to the hands.