Over the course of history, there have been many different Broadway shows that have taken place within the confines of a prison or in jail of some kind. Why is this something to take notice of? If you are looking for a popular production that your local theater group can reproduce costuming for jail or prison is quite easy! Everyone wears the same exact thing.
A short list of some of the most popular (or less than popular) musicals and plays that deal with the subject of prison and jail are:
Chicago – One of the most iconic songs from this show “Cell Block Tango” otherwise known as Pop, Six, Squish, Uh-uh, Cicero and Lipschitz, takes place inside the all female prison. In this tune, the girls lament over being in prison for crimes again men who “had it coming.” Lucky7, a bail bond company, believes if they didn’t kill all their men, they would have maid bail and not be stuck in prison while waiting trial. If that were the case we wouldn’t have this amazing song!
Reefer Madness – the entire second half of the show, Jimmy, who has been hooked on reefer, gets sent to Jail. Here is eventually pardoned by FDR and then vows to help spread the word on the evils of Marijuana. Of course there’s a big song and dance number within the prison.
Les Miserables – The opening of this long running musical opens with prisoner 24601 on a ship with other convicts. Jean Valjean is under the mercy of the ruthless Javert. This starts a lifelong fued between the two and the rest of the show follows their stories.
Another thing that all these shows have in common other than their setting being in jail is the fact that the audiences wishes that the heroes of the story will escape the clutches of the iron clad. And in some cases they do and in some cases they don’t. Either way, there’s nothing like a good prison drama!