Do you miss the lights, sights, and sounds of Broadway theaters? We do too! While we might not be able to see musicals and plays right now, that does not mean we can’t celebrate our passion for musical theater. Now, most of us stay rather in-the-closet about our love for them and that can still be the case. Names from musicals can be a subtle nod to the arts without being an obvious indicator that you were a drama club nerd in high school.
We decided to take a deep dive into the world of musical theater and highlight some names you would commonly hear on a Broadway stage. From the classic works of Gilbert & Sullivan to the new heights achieved by Lin-Manuel Miranda, we will take a look at some of the world’s favorite musicals and pull some of the most thrilling character names from them along with other creatives including composers and choreographers to bring you fully inspired musical theater baby names for boys. Without further ado, let’s light the lights, here are 25 baby names for boys inspired by musicals! Break a leg!
Grease became one of the world’s most beloved musicals after it arrived in 1971. It’s one of the longest-running shows of all time. The lead in the show is Danny and his counterpart, Sandy, have a complicated high school relationship. The movie musical version became a hit and most of us grew up watching it. Danny has been a popular name in the US since 1900 as a form of Daniel which has Hebrew origins giving it the meaning “God is my judge.”
The proprietor of a Hay & Feed store and a client of Dolly Gallagher Levi’s, Horace Vandergelder, is gruff and rather set in his ways but he softens by the end of Hello, Dolly! Horace is an ancient Latin clan name meaning “timekeeper.” This name fell from use in the US by the nineties and it is ripe for a comeback!
One of the most celebrated American musicals of all time only debuted five years ago. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton is a miracle that has garnered just about every award possible. The man behind the show’s name Alexander Hamilton makes for an interesting option and inspiration. Alexander has Greek origins and means “defender of men.” It’s one of the world’s most popular names.
For adventurous parents, Link would make for an unusual choice. It has a groovy, retro, Mod Squad vibe to it. As it did for the character, Link Larkin in the campy musical, Hairspray. He’s a teenage heartthrob and one of The Corny Collins Show Council Members, who unexpectedly falls in love with Tracy. Link is a shortened form of Lincoln (also great!) which means “town by the pool.”
You can’t go wrong with this choice as it has been one of America’s most beloved names since record-keeping began. Dr. Henry Higgins is a professor of phonetics who is taken by a young woman with a curious accent named Eliza Doolittle. My Fair Lady is a true classic and so is the name Henry! The name has German origins and means “estate ruler.”
Sky Masterson delivers one of our favorite musical numbers of all time in Guys and Dolls with “Luck Be a Lady.” The song became a huge hit in its own right! Sky is an ambigender nature name that was first legitimized as the character of Sky Masterson in 1950. However, the name has never truly taken off in the US and we would love to see that change!
Amos Hart is a tragically lovable character in Kander and Ebb’s Chicago. Roxie convinces her Amos that the victim was a burglar, and Amos agrees to take the blame which gets him involved in the whole ordeal! Not just a name for “Mister Cellophane,” Amos has been a fairly popular choice in the US and it is on the rise! Amos has Hebrew origins and it means “carried by God.”
Chances are you have seen The Phantom of the Opera at least once. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s most popular musical and one of the most well-known in the world premiered in 1986. The protagonist of the musical is Raoul de Chagny which sounds very French! Raoul is simply the French form of Ralph and it means “wolf-counsel.”
Sticking with the French theme for a moment, Jean Valjean from Les Misérables, stole a loaf of bread and that was all it took to send his life into a tailspin. One of the world’s longest-running musicals chances are you have probably caught this one too. The music from the show is some of the most romantic and compelling out there! Jean is simply the French form of John, meaning “God is gracious.”
Ain’t Misbehavin’ is a love letter to the artists and musicians of the Harlem Renaissance. The show celebrates some of the most accomplished jazz musicians of all time. While the song is comprised of music from various composers it was arranged and orchestrated by Luther Henderson, a legendary composer, who won a Tony for Jelly’s Last Jam. Luther is a name with German origins and means “army people.”
Well, aside from being the name for prestigious theatrical awards, Tony is also the name of the lead from West Side Story. Our veritable Romeo falls for Maria, his ill-fated lover. Tony is a staple as a baby name in the US. However, its popularity in this form has slipped in recent years with parents preferring the full Antony or Anthony. Tony has Latin origins and means “priceless one.”
Leopold “Leo” Bloom helped cook up a scheme to create a broadway flop that actually turned out to be a hit musical in this meta musical comedy from Mel Brooks. The Producers is one of the funniest shows we have ever seen! We love the name Leo which means “lion” from Latin on its own. Leopold, however, gives you a different meaning from a Germanic origin that means “brave people.”
The baddie from Oklahoma! Jud Fry was a vile brut. But, we are soft for his beautiful and blunt name. Jud comes from the English surname Judson which means “son of Jordan.” Now, “Poor Jud Is Daid” can be stuck in your head forever.
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Stephen Joshua Sondheim is an American composer and lyricist known for his work in musical theatre. One of the most important figures in 20th-century musical theatre, Sondheim has been praised for having reinventing the modern, American musical by bringing complexity and depth to the genre like never before. Stephen has been a popular name in the US for very a long while and it hit the height of its popularity in the 1950s. The name has Greek origins that mean “garland” or “crown.”
Clifford “Cliff” Bradshaw did not know what hit him when he met Sally Bowles shortly after arriving in Berlin in Cabaret. We have always been fond of the name Clifford, an English topographical name that refers to someone who “lives near the ford by the cliff.” This name began falling from favor in the fifties and it has altogether left the US top 1000 now. Bring it back and you’ll give your son a “Perfectly Marvelous” life.
If Raoul is a step too far for you, consider the agreeable Ralph. You will encounter this name in Gilbert and Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore as a name for an able-bodied seaman. Gilbert and Sullivan are credited with inventing the musical as we know it. Ralph should be pronounced rafe and you would be wise to do so as they do in the UK. The name has English and German origins that mean “wolf-counsel.”
Sure, a teacup from Beauty and the Beast but also the name of a gregarious sailor in On the Town. Leonard Bernstein brought us this one and songs from the show like “New York, New York” are still popular today even though the show premiered in 1944! Chip is pet form of Charles that was popular in its own right in the US in the seventies. Charles has French origins and means “free man.”
From our icon, Stephen Sondheim, we were gifted the amazing and somewhat scary Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street in 1979. Sweeney Todd makes for good inspiration for parents with a great sense of humor. “A Little Priest” remains one of the most subversive songs from the show performed by Todd and the odd Ms. Lovett. Todd is a blunt little English name that means “fox.” It fell out of the US top 1000 for the first time in a very long while a few years ago.
Fans of Spring Awakening will recognize the name Moritz as it belongs to Moritz Stiefel in the show, a tormented young man who is deathly afraid of failure. Moritz is a German name that’s considered another form of Maurice which means “dark skin.” This name is scarcely heard in the US, but we think it’s welcome!
The gleeful musical adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic, Oliver! is a favorite for many people. The title character of this one inspires this pick. Oliver Twist finds a home with Fagin and the Artful Dodger but soon learns the world he has entered is darker than it appears. Oliver is more popular today than it has ever been before in the US. It was the third most chosen baby name last year. Oliver has Latin origins and does, indeed, refer to the olive tree.
Sid Sorokin, the handsome new factory superintendent who falls in love with Babe, despite their being on opposite sides of the labor dispute central to the plot of The Pajama Game. Unfortunately, the name Sid took a hit after Sid Vicious arrived on the scene. But, Sid is a great name even if parents have not used it much in the 21st century! Sid is a French name that’s a form of Sidney which means “Saint-Denis.”
Emile can also be spelled Emil, a Latin name that means “rival” that has fallen from fashion. Emile de Becque in South Pacific did this name proud. “Some Enchanted Evening,” his romantic song, has become a cliche at this point. Ezio Pinza originated this role and lent his gorgeous voice to the production.
Probably Rogers and Hammerstein’s biggest musical, The Sound of Music tells the story of a nun who comes to look after children but things do not go at all as planned! One of the seven Von Trapp children, Kurt was given a handsome name. You do not hear the name Kurt often these days and we would love for babies to start getting it again. Kurt is a German name and shortened form of Kurtis, which means “polite.”
Notorious director Julian Marsh takes lead of the imaginary show in the jukebox musical, 42nd Street. Julian is an English name with Latin origins that relate to the name Julius which means “youthful.” It is the most popular today in the US than it ever has been before. Julian famously leads the company in the classic “Lullaby of Broadway.”
The rock ‘n’ roll superstar Conrad Birdie had throngs of fans in the musical Bye Bye Birdie. We have always enjoyed this name for both boys and girls. The name was extremely common in the 1880s in the US and was mostly given to baby girls. We think this one is versatile! The name has both English and Swedish origins as a name and it absolutely means “bird.”
We hope you enjoyed these baby names for boys inspired by musicals and musical theater. These names are subtle enough that most will not know you plucked one from a musical! If you have a passion for the arts and a love of fine performances, you could do no better!
Andrew is a Chicago-based writer who enjoys finding the best of the internet, obsessively making lists, and cooking for friends. After studying Film and Art History, he developed a deep love for both topics. Celebrity news, pop culture, and stories that bring people together are his passions.
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