With the year drawing to a close, we look back over the musicals that wowed our critics in 2019. It hasn’t been easy to choose, but here we go…


Come From Away (Melbourne)

The cast of  Come From Away. Photograph © Jeff Busby

On the face of it, the diversion of New York-bound planes to Gander in Newfoundland as a result of the September 11 terrorist attack doesn’t sound like the stuff of musical theatre, but Come From Awaycharms your socks off. Canadian husband-and-wife team David Hein and Irene Sankoff have written a joyous, refreshing musical that plays by its own rules. With its toe-tapping, Celtic-infused folk-rock score, and its heartfelt message about the power of community, it raises the spirits and touches the heart. At a time when kindness and compassion often seem to be in short supply, it’s a beautiful, inspiring production.

West Side Story (Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour, Opera Australia)

West Side Story, Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour, HOSH Julie Lea Goodwin and Alexander Lewis in  West Side Story on Sydney Harbour. Photograph © Prudence Upton