My Favorite Sets from Musicals?

As some of you may know, I’m a writer. And as a writer, I get angry at myself when I’m not writing and yet, sometimes, I just need a break. And I’ve had nearly a week-long break from my characters and the need to write has returned and I’ve been racking up my word count. Well… if you can count 7,746 words as a high word count but… I’m only on the fourth chapter, so I’m not too concerned. If you want to know more about this current WIP, you can read this blogpost on my other blog about it: But, at any rate, this book is about a playwright named Mindy Roth and her best friend, Allen Yates (who does set and costume design) who are living in 1912. They get recruited to write and design plays for a travelling theatre troupe. (A lot more happens but that’s all that’s relevant to this post.) So, today, I thought that I would, in spirit of Allen, write about some of my (five, to be exact) favorite set designs from musicals!
1. LES MISÉRABLES (Revival) – I could go on and on about how much I loved seeing LES MIZ on Broadway last April. I was shocked by the near cinematic feel to the set. It was absolutely phenomenal. Man… I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t seen the revival production yet, but let me just tell you that it was awesome.

2. STARLIGHT EXPRESS (Bochum, Germany) – While I’m glad that STARLIGHT EXPRESS had it’s Broadway run, I will never not be disappointed in how the set just didn’t work in the Gershwin theatre. To be honest, it wouldn’t have worked in any normal theatre. And that’s why, in Germany, they built the Starlight Express Stadium. Yep. That’s a thing. It’s a theatre custom-made for STARLIGHT and the set fits perfectly. Like a glove. While really, the set is mostly the stage, the stage is set up in a way that is just unfathomable. The stage is shaped like the “infinity” symbol and people actually can sit where the stage loops around! I’m doing a horrible job at explaining all of this but let me tell you: it is amazing.

3. THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (Tour and Original) – So, I’ve seen both the tour production of PHANTOM and the Broadway production and I will go ahead and say that I do not think that the tour production comes anywhere near how beautiful the original production is, the tour production does definitely have some awesome aspects to it. I love how compact the set is and, during the title song, I loved how the steps appeared. There was just something so magical about it. However, there is something about the original production that is just so much more gorgeous in a way that I can’t even begin to describe.

4. ELISABETH (2015 Wien (Vienna) / German – Austrian Tour) – This set is awesome. Or was. (I’m still in denial that this production’s no longer running.) I get chills just looking at this set. Seriously. And maybe that’s a bit of an extreme reaction, but I just can’t help but love this set. The way in, “Am Deck der Sinkenden Welt” (On the Deck of the Sinking World), the set revolves and just… moves (it’s impossible to describe!) is just awesome. Man… I love this set. Really, really love it.

5. WICKED (Broadway) – There’s something so… Oz-like about the set of WICKED. And really, it’s perfect. Everything, from the map of Oz at the beginning, to the set design for “Defying Gravity” is perfect. Man… I love this set so much. Really, really love it. It has a way of transferring a person to a completely different world. But my personal favorite? Glinda’s “bubble”!


So, that’s it for me! If you’re interested in reading more about my WIP (still no title, unfortunately), you can check the blog post I put a link in for above! Anyways, what are some of your favorite sets that you’ve seen? Tschüss!


16 thoughts on “My Favorite Sets from Musicals?

  1. Yes I’ve never seen a set like Am Deck der Sinkenden Welt, it just blew me away. It’s so cool! Really an improvement from the earlier versions. Have you seen the version of Elisabeth in Thun back in 2004 (i think)? I don’t care much for the set but it was still quite creative how they made it work with minimal pieces.

    I love the Wicked set too! My favorite scene is probably in Thank Goodness, where it’s all green and bright. But I also like Kiamo Ko 🙂

    I haven’t seen the revival production of Les Mis, but I’ve always liked the barricade set!


    1. I definitely agree that “Am Deck der Sinkenden Welt” has improved! I haven’t seen the Thun version, actually but I should check it out! It sounds interesting!
      I also love the set during “Thank Goodness”! Somethjnng about the use of green in Wicked is phenomenal!
      The revivial set is absolutely stunning! I’m sure that you’ll love it if (and hopefully when!) you get to see it!😀


      1. I just love how the set reveals itself. Before the Leader Player comes art, you are already drawn in through that illusion of her. But that moment in “Magic to Do” when the curtain drops, that was such a breathtaking and magical moment


      2. Coming into Pippin, I only knew “Corner of the Sky” and that song is what led me to wanting to see Pippin. I was quite shocked at how dark the Leading Player was, but was so intrigued by the portrayal and it was an understudy. I loved it when we could sing during the chorus in “No Time At All”.


      3. I’d known all of the songs when I first saw Pippin because I had a copy of the CD before going to see it or even buying tickets. I’m glad that my Civics/history teacher gave me that CD because otherwise, I might’ve never went to see Pippin. “No Time at All” is one of my favorite songs from Pippin because of that awesome experience that’s tied to it!


      4. My dad had me listen to “Corner of the Sky” and I automatically fell in love with it and I just knew I had to see Pippin. I didn’t get to see the first time it came to Charlotte, but got to see it the second round. I saw a preview and wanted to see it even more. I decided not to look up any of the other songs to be discover the other songs while actually watching the show. There is something special about discovering the songs for the first time while actually watching the show


      5. I knew that the main character was Pippin and that the antagonist was the leading player and I had understudies for both of them. Literally after the first act, I already wanted the soundtrack even though I hadn’t even heard the songs from the second act.


      6. I knew I would Pippin. Due to already loving Wicked, I knew I would love Pippin and even had potential to tie with it. Sometimes you know a production is really good at the very opening which is clearly shown through Pippin’s opening


      7. Definitely! I felt like such an idiot when I found out Stephen Schwartz had done the music for Pippin as well because I felt like I shoulda known! Ah, well! Pippin definitely has one of the most memorable openings ever!


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