Top 8 Special Effects in Musicals

DISCLAIMER: This blog is not for profit. I do not claim ownership of this material – all images and footage used are property of their respective companies unless stated otherwise.

Impressive special effects are a great part of musical theatre, so I thought I would list my top 8 best from various musicals.

1. Amanda Thripp in Matilda

This is one of the few non-musical scenes that I’ve ever seen get its own spectacular round of applause. The famous part of both the book and the film where the Trunchbull throws Amanda Thripp into the horizon by her pigtails is also pulled off spectacularly in the stage version, though I won’t reveal how for fear of spoiling it.

2. The chandelier in Phantom

Combined with the music of the moment, the effect at the beginning of Phantom of the Opera where the old dusty Chandelier rises to the stage to send the audience back in time is truly a sight to behold.

3. Elphaba flying in Wicked

Probably the most famous effect on this list, this looks just as amazing as it sounds – the fact that it occurs at the emotional high point of the show (as well as during what many people consider to be the best and most well-known song) probably also helps.

4. Boq’s transformation in Wicked

Due to its integration with the plot, this is definitely one of the less talked about moments of Wicked, but the part where Boq transforms into the Tin-Man is certainly a fantastic trick, especially considering it’s achieved so simply. I really don’t want to spoil it, but the answer is all over Google.

5. The transformation in Beauty and the Beast

The first of many Disney scenes on this list, I’m still unable to work out how on earth they achieved this effect, having seen the show at the age of about 5. Either way, it always looks incredible.

6. The magic carpet in Aladdin

Do I even need to say why this one is on the list? It’s another one that elicits cheers from audiences and for a good reason. The moment where the carpet rises up against a spectacular starry background is one of the most impressive moments in the show and that’s really saying a lot!

7. The helicopter in Miss Saigon

One of the most famous parts of a generally more music-based show, the helicopter in Miss Saigon isn’t really one of the effects that needs explaining, but it looks incredible on stage.

8. Costume changes in Legally Blonde

The last ones on this list is are probably lesser, but the two costume changes in the opening number of Legally Blonde sure do look amazing!


1 thought on “Top 8 Special Effects in Musicals”

  1. I love all the different special effects that I have seen on stage. The chandelier- I remember seeing Phantom on tour and not taking my eyes of the chandelier during the overture.

    The flying during Defying Gravity- unfortunately, last time I saw I saw Wicked, I was in the last three rows, the dragon’s claw was blocking Elphaba that I couldn’t really see it, but because it was the 4th time, I knew the special effect that was happening. I went with Gardner Webb, which is about one hr away from Charlotte. Due to going with school, we had to get the cheap seats, which is why we were so far back.

    The special effects in musicals are part of the power of live theatre

    Liked by 1 person

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