In my opinion, there are multiple things that make a musical successful. For starters, it has to have a storyline that an audience can care about and connect to. It also has to have characters that people can relate to. On top of that, the songs need to be incredible and the songs need to feel like they are part of the same show.
The characters, plot, and songs all connect to each other in a unique way. The main emotions are coming from the songs. The songs help an audience connect more to the characters because the songs help develop the characters and push the storyline along. The songs help tell the emotional journey of a musical. All of the musicals that I love have songs that I love listening to. Sometimes a show becomes successful because it was perfect timing when they came out.
Another key component are the different special effects, dance, and spectacle. They allow a story to come to life and add more joy to the experience. For example, “Wicked” needs the different special effects, dance, and spectacle because the show takes place in OZ and to make it work, those elements need to be twisted and looked at differently. However some successful musicals are not big on dance or spectacle, but they still have elements that are close enough. For example, “Les MIs” may not be big on spectacle or dance, but it has elements that are close enough such as the different smoke effects and the special effects that happen during the barricade scenes.
Connecting to the storyline helps make feeling the emotions worth it. True, there are lots of negative emotions, but they are worth feeling. That only can happen when you feel connected to the material. The more complex the characters the more interesting they become. I prefer the more emotional storylines because they are ones that have a true heart and soul. When I care about what happens to the characters, I want to go on their journey. The emotions I am feeling belong to the characters, but at the same time, my emotions are being felt at the same time. Those are the excitement, joy, and love I am feeling while watching the show even when I am feeling a negative emotion.