Setting the Stage for Love

By: CultureOwl
Visual Arts
Setting the Stage for Love

Our Picks for the Top Ten Most Romantic Shows

February is here, that time when love is in the air, along with the aromas of spring, fresh flowers, and, of course, chocolate hearts. If you’re seeking to enhance the romantic ambience (without all the added calories), there’s a culturally enriching alternative: theater. Whether it’s in the form of a contemporary musical, a magical fairy tale, or a classical opera, live performances are a sure-fire way to stir those emotions, and heat up the blood. We’ve chosen our top ten most romantic shows of all-time to set the stage for a passionate and romantic experience that you won’t soon forget.

Dirty Dancing

Based on the 1987 film starring Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey, this 2004 stage musical premiered in Australia and continues to wow audiences worldwide. We just adore the fab music (who can forget "The Time of My Life?' & "Hungry Eyes?") all the emotion, and yes, the sexy dancing! If you’re looking to spice things up with romance, this tale of a young vacationer who meets a hot dance instructor will definitely heat things up!

West Side Story

The tale of Romeo and Juliet is reimagined in the troubling streets of 50s New York City, as rival street gangs stand in the way of lovers Maria and Tony. With the brilliant music of Leonard Bernstein (music) and Stephen Sondheim (lyrics) setting the romantically tragic tone (the haunting “Somewhere” and “Maria” are show-stoppers), this is the perfect night out for lovers, new and old, to embrace.

Romeo & Juliet

Despite all the tragedy, who can argue against Romeo and Juliet being the quintessential love story of the ages? One of the most popular works of William Shakespeare, it has been adapted to stage and film countless times, including an MTV-inspired musical version in 1996. Chronicling the tale of two star-crossed lovers kept apart by their feuding families, this romantic tale is best seen live on stage with a significant other at your side, both of you basking in the romance and hand-holding through the tears.


A damsel in distress. A handsome price. An enchanting ball that ends at the magical stroke of midnight. Can you say romantic overload? This Rodgers & Hammerstein Tony Award-winning musical has it all. It’s lush, filled with memorable music, and perfect for couples that believe in Happily Ever Afters!

Beauty and the Beast

You may have seen the Disney animated movie. But nothing beats a live performance of this tale as old as time, depicting the unexpected romance between two individuals who learn to look past physical appearances, and embrace love and compassion. Gorgeous costumes and great music make this a must see theatrical experience for couples and families alike. Be our guest, indeed.

South Pacific

Debuting in 1949, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classic continues to woo audiences with its romantic tale of an American nurse stationed in the South Pacific during World War II, and her romance with a middle-aged French plantation owner, amidst issues of racial diversity. Couples will adore the passionate songs, which include the unforgettable “Some Enchanted Evening” and “I’m Gonna Wash that Man Right Outa My Hair.”

Madama Butterfly

Another operatic masterpiece, Giacomo Puccini’s tragedy chronicles the story of U.S. Naval officer Pinkerton, who marries young Japanese geisha “Butterfly,” using her as a placeholder until he can find a proper American wife. Warning. Hankie alert. You’re going to need them big time. This is one of our all time faves and a definite must-see for couples looking for an emotionally resonant experience.

Miss Saigon

Just like West Side Story re-imagined Romeo & Juliet, this show by Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alan Boubill re-interprets "Madama Butterfly". This time the setting has been moved to 1970s Saigon during the Vietnam War. But the romance, passion, and tragedy are all still there, guaranteeing a whirlwind of feeling that casts a spell and touches hearts. There’s a reason this work remains one of Broadway’s longest-running shows.


Nothing says romance like classical opera. French composer, Georges Bizet’s, Carmen tells the torrid love story of naïve soldier, Don Jose, who is seduced by the fiery gypsy, Carmen, who spurns him for the love of toreador, Escamillo. Can you say tragic love triangle? Add to that two of the best-known arias, “Habanera” and “Toreador Song” and you have a recipe for a night of passion!

La Bohème

Another romantic, can’t-miss opera, also by Puccini, focuses on the relationship of young bohemians Rodolfo and Mimi, living in the Latin Quarter of Paris in the 1840s. They’re young. They’re in love. And you guessed it. Tragedy strikes! Such Feels! And yes, the musical smash "Rent" does borrow from this one (it’s no coincidence there’s a Mimi in that show, too). "La Bohème" really makes you appreciate the one that you love. And after the show is over, you can spend some quality time showing them how much!

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