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February 9, 2021

Great Romances: Plays and Musicals About Love


In the mood for romance? Here’s a list of great plays and musicals about love and relationships. From raucous comedies to heartbreaking dramas, this collection has something for everyone to love!

A Tale of Two Cities: The Musical (Broadway Version) by Jill Santoriello and Charles Dickens (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Drama / 5w, 9m, 1 girl)
Two men in love with the same woman. Two cities swept up in revolution. One last chance for a man to redeem his wasted life and change the world. Based on Charles Dickens’ masterpiece, A Tale of Two Cities: The Musical focuses on a passionate love triangle during the French Revolution.

Alabaster by Audrey Cefaly (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Drama / 4w)
The romance at the heart of this all-female, darkly comic southern drama explores the meaning and purpose of art and the struggle of the lost and tortured souls who seek to create it. Alabaster asks: What does it mean to be truly “seen?” How do we pick up the pieces, move forward, and truly heal?

Amélie by Craig Lucas, Nathan Tysen, Daniel Messé, Jean Pierre Jeunet and Guillaume Laurant (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Comedy / 5w, 7m, 1 girl)
Amélie is an extraordinary but shy young woman who covertly improvises small, surprising acts of kindness that bring joy and mayhem. When a chance at love comes her way, Amélie realizes that to find happiness she’ll have to risk everything and say what’s in her heart.

An American in Paris by Ira Gershwin, George Gershwin and Craig Lucas (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Dramatic Comedy / 4w, 5m)
Set in the French capital in the wake of World War II, An American in Paris tells the romantic story of a young American soldier, a beautiful French girl, and an indomitable European city – each yearning for a new beginning in the aftermath of international conflict.

Anastasia: The Musical by Terrence McNally, Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Dramatic Comedy / 4w, 5m, 1 girl)
This dazzling Broadway travels from the twilight of the Russian Empire to the euphoria of Paris in the 1920s, as a brave young woman sets out to discover the mystery of her past. Pursued by a ruthless Soviet officer, Anya enlists the help of con artist Dmitry, with whom she develops a deep connection. Could it be love?

As You Like It by Shaina Taub and Laurie Woolery (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Dramatic Comedy / 5w, 6m)
A ravishing new musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic story of chance encounters and self-discovery, As You Like It is an immersive dream-like tale of faithful friends, feuding families and lovers in disguise. Featuring an original folk-pop score by Shaina Taub, with a flexible-sized cast and 90-minute running time, As You Like It is appropriate for all audiences and groups. Fall under love’s spell with this magical story!

Barefoot in the Park by Neil Simon (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Comedy / 2w, 4m)
Neil Simon’s blockbuster rom-com set the standard for decades of onstage love and laughter. Straight-as-an-arrow Paul and free-spirited Corie Bratter are newlyweds gamely struggling to meet life’s challenges. Despite a barrage of hilarious obstacles, they remain steadfastly in love.

Blood Wedding by Federico García Lorca, Carmen Zapata and Michael Dewell (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Drama / 9w, 9m)
This translation of García Lorca’s landmark 1932 play is a classic and passionate lover’s tragedy. In this earthy and poetic drama, a grieving mother arranges the marriage of her only surviving son, setting off a series of conflicts and adventures for the story’s young lovers.

Brief Encounter by Noël Coward and Emma Rice (US)
(Full-Length Play with Music, Drama / 3w, 7m)
Laura, a respectable suburban wife, and Alec, an idealistic, married doctor, meet in a station buffet and fall passionately in love, but they are doomed never to find fulfillment. Emma Rice brilliantly adapted Coward’s timeless tale of love and heartache for the stage, interspersing the romantic action with nine Coward ditties.

Celebrated Virgins by Katie Elin-Salt and Eleri B. Jones (UK)
(Full-Length Play, Drama / 3w, 1m)
This powerful and touching play is based on the true story of Lady Eleanor Butler and Miss Sarah Ponsonby, who were cast out by society and forced to leave their homes in Ireland. They took up residence in Llangollen, Wales and found solace in each other.

Chapter Two by Neil Simon (US)
(Full-Length Play, Comedy / 2w, 2m)
Recent widower and writer George Schneider is encouraged to start dating again. After a series of bad matches, George spirals into depression… until he meets Jennie Malone, who’s definitely a keeper. Still, it’s a bumpy trip on the road to Dreamland for these not-so-young lovers.

Constellations by Nick Payne (UK)
(Full-Length Play, Drama / 1w, 1m)
“Let’s go for a drink. I don’t know what I’m doing here anyway. One drink. And if you never want to see me again you never have to see me again.” One relationship. Infinite possibilities. Nick Payne’s Constellations is a play about free will and friendship; it’s about quantum multiverse theory, honey, and love.

Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand and Martin Crimp (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Drama / 4w, 10m)
In Martin Crimp’s radical new adaptation of Edmond Rostand’s masterwork, Cyrano seduces in raps and rhymes, using his linguistic brilliance to help another man win the heart of his one true love. This theatrical tour-de-force captures timeless passion through spoken word, contemporary poetry and raw physicality.

Doctor Zhivago by Michael Weller, Michael Korie, Amy Powers, Lucy Simon and Boris Pasternak (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Drama / 3w, 5m)
A heartbreaking epic romance set during the final days of Czarist Russia. Raised as an aristocrat, Zhivago is a political idealist, physician and poet whose life is tossed by the tides of history as he is torn between a life with his close childhood friend and wife, and the passionate and mysterious Lara.

Dog Opera by Constance Congdon (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Comedy / 2w, 5m)
A piece about the unbreakable love between two dear friends. Though more devoted than most couples, Peter and Madeline are incompatible: He’s gay, and she’s drawn to men who treat her badly. Leaning on their steadfast friendship, Maddie and Peter rollick with wit through life’s twists and turns.

Familiar by Danai Gurira (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Comedy / 5w, 3m)
In this heartwarming family comedy, an emigrant Zimbabwean family in Minnesota prepares for a family wedding. But tensions flare and identities clash when an aunt arrives from Zimbabwe to perform a very traditional wedding ceremony in which the groom barters for the bride.

Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy and Jessica Swale (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Drama / 4w, 5m)
In Hardy’s classic romance, Bathsheba Everdene masters the challenges of sheep farming, but the trials of the heart are harder to overcome. Courted by three suitors – kind and dependable shepherd Gabriel Oak, prosperous bachelor William Boldwood and dashing Sergeant Troy – whom will she choose?

First Date by Austin Winsberg, Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Comedy / 4w, 3m)
When blind date newbie Aaron is set up with serial-dater Casey, a casual drink at a busy New York restaurant turns into a hilarious high-stakes dinner. In a delightful and unexpected twist, Casey and Aaron’s inner critics take on a life of their own when other restaurant patrons transform into a singing and dancing ensemble.

From Okra to Greens by Ntozake Shange (US)
(Short Play / 1w, 1m, 6 any gender)
From the author of For Colored Girls… comes this humorous and poignant work capturing the poetic cadences of the Black experience. As an archetypal Black couple recounts their poignant story, a chorus of dancers weaves in and out to the beat of contemporary music in a compelling celebration of the human heart.

Hadestown by Anaïs Mitchell (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Drama / 5w, 3m)
This intriguing and beautiful folk opera delivers a deeply resonant and defiantly hopeful theatrical experience. Following two intertwining love stories — that of young dreamers Orpheus and Eurydice, and that of immortal King Hades and Lady Persephone — Hadestown invites audiences on a hell-raising journey to the underworld and back.

Homos, or Everyone in America by Jordan Seavey (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Drama / 1w, 3m)
“Love is love” – but is navigating it any less complicated today? Told through interweaving glimpses into the life of an everyday couple unexpectedly confronted by a vicious crime, this fearless, funny, heart-on-its-sleeve play examines the moments that can bring two people together – or pull them apart.

Huck & Holden by Rajiv Joseph (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Comedy / 2w, 3m)
A romantic comedy that wrestles with cultural stereotypes, racism, The Kama Sutra, The Catcher in the Rye, and how losing our innocence doesn’t always make us wiser. When Navin, a newly arrived Indian college student, falls for Michelle, a young African-American woman, his perceptions of the world begin to expand—and crumble.

In Love and Warcraft by Madhuri Shekar (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Dramatic Comedy / 3w, 3m)
Evie Malone – gamer girl, college senior, and confirmed virgin – commands a top-ranked guild in Warcraft with her online boyfriend while making some cash on the side writing love letters for people who’ve screwed up their relationships. Love is like Warcraft, after all. It’s all about strategies, game plans, and not taking stupid risks.

Ken Ludwig’s Dear Jack, Dear Louise by Ken Ludwig (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Dramatic Comedy / 1w, 1m)
When two strangers meet by letter during World War II, a love story begins. Tony Award-winning playwright Ken Ludwig tells the joyous, heartwarming story of his parents’ courtship and the results are anything but expected.

Kodachrome by Adam Szymkowicz (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Dramatic Comedy / 3w, 2m)
In the small town of Colchester, Suzanne, the town photographer, captures glimpses of her neighbors’ lives, revealing romance in all its stages of development. A play about love, nostalgia, the seasons and how we learn to say goodbye.

Leonard Bernstein’s New York by Leonard Bernstein, Betty Comden, Adolph Green and Stephen Sondheim (US/UK)
(Musical Revue / 1w, 1m)
This charming two-hander explores Bernstein’s relationship with NYC, his famous New York friends (Sondheim, Comden & Green, Robbins & Copland), and the way that New York City informed Bernstein’s music, life and relationships.

Love Person by Aditi Brennan Kapil (US)
(Full-Length Play, Dramatic Comedy / 3w, 1m)
Love Person, structured around four Sanskrit love poems, is a four-part love story in Sanskrit, ASL and English, in which love transcends sexual orientation, physical attraction, and social structure and rests instead on the ways in which we communicate and how communication bonds or breaks us.

Love Songs: A Musical by Steven Cagan (US)
(Full-Length Musical, Dramatic Comedy / 3w, 3m)
Believe in the healing power of love and romance once again! This inspiring love story follows the lives of three couples as they deal with the ins and outs of relationships and commitment. Marvin Hamlisch said of Love Songs, “How wonderful… it really is terrific!”

Lovers and Other Strangers by Joseph Bologna and Renee Taylor (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Comedy / 6w, 6m)
A hit on Broadway and later on film, Lovers and Other Strangers was created by the married team of Renee Taylor and Joseph Bologna, whose real-life Jewish/Italian wedding inspired chaos, romance and hilarity. This collection of vignettes captures love, old and new, in all its glory and wackiness.

My Big Gay Italian Wedding by Anthony Wilkinson (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Comedy / 5w, 8m)
Andrew and Anthony are getting married – and everyone wants to “help”! My Big Gay Italian Wedding spins into a hysterical fiasco as everyone tries to have their way. From a saboteur ex-boyfriend to a loud, opinionated, outspoken Italian mother, personalities and culture collide in a music and dance-filled extravaganza.

No More Sad Things by Hansol Jung (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Dramatic Comedy / 1w, 2m)
A girl catches a last-minute flight to Maui. A boy finds girl on the shores of Ka’anapali. Something strange and something familiar pulls them closer. They have sex on the beach. They are surprised. They spend the week together. But eventually girl catches the flight back home to Akron, Ohio. The girl is thirty-two. The boy is fifteen.

Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story by Hannah Moscovitch, Ben Caplan and Christian Barry (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Drama / 1w, 2m)
A humorously dark folk tale woven together with a high-energy concert, this music/theatre hybrid is inspired by the true stories of Jewish Romanian refugees coming to Canada in 1908. It’s about how to love after being broken by the horrors of war. It’s about looking into the eyes of God.

Persuasion by Jane Austen, Jeff James and James Yeatman (UK)
(Full-Length Play / 5w, 4m, 1 boy)
Director Jeff James and dramaturg James Yeatman created this bold new adaptation of the bicentenary of Jane Austen’s classic Persuasion’s publication. Due to family pressure, Anne Elliot rejected her first love – Captain Wentworth’s proposal. Eight years later, Wentworth returned and transformed himself into a serious catch. As old wounds reopen, will Wentworth’s resentment keep him away, and will Anne finally decide what she really wants?

Porgy and Bess® by George Gershwin, DuBose Heyward, Dorothy Heyward and Ira Gershwin (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Drama / 4w, 4m)
Gershwin’s “American Folk Opera” features one of the greatest romances ever presented on stage. Jaded, troubled and beautiful, Bess considers herself unworthy of love from decent, honest Porgy. Their deep but turbulent relationship leads to tragedy, heartbreak and, possibly, redemption.

Plot Points in our Sexual Development by Miranda Rose Hall (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Drama / 1w, 1 any gender)
Theo and Cecily want to be honest about their sexual histories, but what happens when telling the truth jeopardizes everything? A contemporary queer love story, Plot Points in Our Sexual Development explores gender, intimacy, and the dangers of revealing yourself to the person you love.

Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen and Helen Jerome (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Comedy / 16w, 10m)
A great success in New York and London, this adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic romance glitters with wit and sophistication. Mrs. Bennett is determined to find husbands for her daughters Jane, Elizabeth, and Lydia. Of course, love wins out in this timeless and delightful comic romance.

Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen and Sara Pascoe (UK)
(Full-Length Play, Drama / 6w, 4m)
British comedian Sara Pascoe adapted Jane Austen’s classic romance with fizzy and accessible dialogue, whilst interweaving contemporary scenes. The Bennett family frantically tries to get their daughters to marry a new eligible bachelor moved to the neighbourhood at any cost.

Private Lives by Noël Coward (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Comedy / 3w, 2m)
Elyot and Amanda, once married and now honeymooning with new spouses at the same hotel, meet by chance, reignite the old spark and impulsively elope. Their aggrieved spouses appear and a roundelay of affiliations ensues as the women first stick together, then apart, and new partnerships are formed.

Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella (Broadway Version) by Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II and Douglas Carter Beane (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Comedy / 5w, 4m + Ensemble)
Is there a more iconic romance than the tale of Cinderella and her prince? This contemporary take on the beloved tale features some of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s most romantic songs, alongside an up-to-date, hilarious and romantic libretto by Tony Award nominee Douglas Carter Beane.

Romance/Romance by Barry Harman and Keith Herrmann (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Dramatic Comedy / 2w, 2m)
This delightful pairing of one-act musicals, one classic and one modern, takes a comical and moving look at the mysteries of love. The Broadway hit, a charming and tuneful small-cast gem, explores love in turn-of-the century Vienna and late-20th-century New York.

Same Time, Next Year by Bernard Slade (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Comedy / 1w, 1m)
One of the most popular romantic comedies of the century, Same Time, Next Year ran four years on Broadway. The plot follows the 25-year love affair between Doris and George, married to others, who comically and heartbreakingly rendezvous once a year.

Shadowlands by William Nicholson (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Drama / 2w, 6m, 1 boy)
This West End and Broadway hit is the love story of C.S. Lewis, Oxford don and author of The Chronicles of Narnia, and American poet Joy Davidman. Smug in his convictions about God and His plan for the world, Lewis is bewildered when Joy and her young son enter his life.

Shakespeare in Love by Lee Hall, Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Dramatic Comedy / 6w, 18m)
Young Will Shakespeare has writer’s block… the deadline for his new play is fast approaching, but he’s in desperate need of inspiration. That is, until he finds his muse – Viola. This beautiful young woman is Will’s greatest admirer and will stop at nothing (including breaking the law) to appear in his next play.

Skylight by David Hare (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Drama / 1w, 2m)
This intensely clear-sighted and compassionate play about reconnected lovers won The Guardian‘s coveted Best New Play Award in 1996. In her London slum apartment, Kyra is surprised by the visits of her former lover and his son. Is the gap between them unbridgeable, or can they resurrect their relationship?

Stage Kiss by Sarah Ruhl (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Comedy / 3w, 4m)
When two actors with a history are thrown together as romantic leads in a forgotten 1930s melodrama, they quickly lose touch with reality as the story onstage follows them offstage. Sarah Ruhl’s comedy is a charming tale about what happens when lovers share a stage kiss—or when actors share a real one.

The Goodbye Girl by Neil Simon, Marvin Hamlisch and David Zippel (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Comedy / 12w, 9m, 3girls)
Based on the Oscar-winning 1977 film, this charming rom-com musical from Neil Simon, Marvin Hamlisch and David Zippel explores the rollercoaster romance between a single mother and the eccentric actor who claims rights to her New York City apartment.

The Grinning Man by Carl Grose, Tom Morris, Tim Phillips and Marc Teitler (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Dark Comedy / 5w, 7m)
A fairy-tale love story streaked with pitch-black humour, lashings of Gothic horror and swashbuckling adventure. With the help of an old puppeteer, his pet wolf and a blind girl, Grinpayne’s tale is told. Desperate to know the terrible secrets of his mysterious past, Grinpayne leaves his true love behind and embarks on a journey into an even crueller world – the aristocracy.

The Hatmaker’s Wife by Lauren Yee (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Comedy / 3w, 3m)
In Lauren Yee’s whimsical and touching play, a young woman moves in with her boyfriend expecting domestic bliss, but instead has trouble getting comfortable, as the walls soon begin talking. This sweet and surreal story bends time and space to redefine the idea of family, home and true love itself.

The Late Wedding by Christopher Chen (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Drama / 6 any gender)
Inspired by the writings of Italo Calvino (Invisible Cities and If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler), The Late Wedding is a fractured portrait of a fractured marriage, as told through a series of interconnected fables, including an anthropological tour of fantastical tribes and their marital customs.

The Light by Loy A. Webb (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Drama / 1w, 1m)
A surprise proposal gift puts the future of Genesis and Rashad’s relationship at risk when they are forced to confront a devastating secret from the past. The Light is a 70-minute, real-time roller coaster ride of laughter, romance, and despair that uncovers how the power of radical love can be a healing beacon of light.

The Phantom of the Opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Charles Hart, Richard Stilgoe and Gaston Leroux (US)
(Full-Length Musical, Drama / 4w, 6m)
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s romantic masterwork is the longest-running musical in Broadway history. The story of a masked figure who lurks beneath the catacombs of the Paris Opera House, based on one of the most famous love stories ever written, remains a passionate and breathtaking portrait of unrequited love.

The River Bride by Marisela Treviño Orta (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Drama / 3w, 3m)
Three days before a wedding in a fishing village along the Amazon, a mysterious stranger emerges from the river. This man with no past offers two sisters an alluring, possibly dangerous future. Brazilian folklore and lyric storytelling blend into a heartrending tale of true love, regret and transformation.

The Sound of Music by Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II, Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Dramatic Comedy / 7w, 4m, 5 girls, 2 boys)
Part coming-of-age story, part wartime adventure and part domestic family comedy, this beloved Rodgers & Hammerstein classic is, at its heart, a love story. Maria and the Captain may come from two different worlds, but their attraction is undeniable.

The Swearing Jar by Kate Hewlett (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Dramatic Comedy / 2w, 2m)
Kate Hewlett’s intricately-constructed dramedy, peppered with acoustic guitar songs, explores what a couple will do for love… from swearing off swearing to keeping life-changing secrets to holding on to feelings longer than most would expect.

They’re Playing Our Song by Neil Simon, Marvin Hamlisch and Carole Bayer Sager (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Comedy / 1w, 1m + Small Ensemble)
America’s premier funny man and the Tony Award-winning composer of A Chorus Line collaborated on this hit musical; a comic, romantic show about an established composer, like Marvin Hamlisch, and his relationship with an aspiring young female lyricist, not unlike Carole Bayer Sager.

Things My Mother Taught Me by Katherine DiSavino (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Comedy / 3w, 3m, 1 any gender)
Olivia and Gabe have driven halfway across the country to start a new life together in Chicago. Their moving day doesn’t go exactly as planned, though, and things become slightly more complicated when all of their parents show up to help! Can a two-bedroom apartment contain all of this love, laughter, worry and wisdom?

This Bitter Earth by Harrison David Rivers (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Drama / 2m)
Intimate, romantic and devastating, this gripping new play about a young Black writer and his white lover, a Black Lives Matter activist, asks, “What is the real cost of standing on the sidelines?” With history unfolding around them every day, Jesse and Neil must contend with their response, personal and political, to social turmoil.

Twelfth Night by Kwame Kwei-Armah and Shaina Taub
(Full-Length Musical, Comedy / 4w, 7m)
Named one of the best theatrical productions of 2018 by Time, The Hollywood Reporter and The Washington Post, Twelfth Night is a rousing contemporary musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic romantic comedy about mistaken identity and self-discovery. Featuring an original jazz-funk score by Shaina Taub, with a flexible-sized cast and running 90 minutes long, Twelfth Night is appropriate for all audiences and groups.

Vietgone by Qui Nguyen (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Comedy / 2w, 3m)
An all-American love story about two very new Americans. It’s 1975. Saigon has fallen. He lost his wife. She lost her fiancé. But now in a new land, they just might find each other. Playwright Qui Nguyen gets up close and personal to tell the story that led to the creation of… Qui Nguyen.

Wedding Band by Alice Childress (US)
(Full-Length Play, Drama / 8w, 3m)
It is the summer of 1918, there is a war in Europe, and a smaller war in South Carolina. Julie is an African-American seamstress. Herman is a white man who has kept company with her for years. As their growing attraction accelerates into an affair, they must deal with the prejudices and wrath of ignorance in early 20th-century America.

Willie & Esther by James Graham Bronson (US)
(Full-Length Play, Comedy / 1w, 1m)
Two middle-aged African American lovers fantasize about robbing a branch of the Bank of America on a sunny afternoon in Los Angeles. This hilarious and emotional daydream triggers unexpected examination into the nature of their own commitment.

For more lovely plays and musicals, visit Concord Theatricals in the US or UK.

Header Image: 2018 English National Opera production of Porgy and Bess® (Tristram Kenton)