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The Greatest Musicals Ever Performed on Broadway, Ranked

Updated April 22, 2021 307.1k votes 27.9k voters 413.0k views185 items

List RulesOnly staged musicals.

List of the best musicals to ever run on stage, whether on Broadway, the West End, or in smaller fringe theaters around the world. The greatest musicals combine music, dancing, amazing stories, and top casts to take the viewer out of a theatre and into a world they never imagined.

The best Broadway musicals are a cross-section of classic musicals like Les Miserables (now an Oscar winning movie) and Cats as well as new favorites like The Book of Mormon and Wicked. Their casts feature some of the best stars on Broadway from throughout the years, and they are all worthy of more than one viewing. The best thing about musical theater, of course, is that it's never the same show twice.

What are the top Broadway musicals? What are the best musical theater shows? Which shows are the greatest musicals ever to be on stage? That's for all you musical theater fans to decide!

Vote on your favorite musicals and if your favorite Broadway musical show isn't on the list, add it so others can discover a best new Broadway musical to see.
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    970

    The Music Man

    Franklin Lacey , Meredith Willson

    CharactersHarold Hill, Eulalie Mackechnie Shinn, Marcellus Washburn, Mayor George Shinn, Marian Paroo

    The Music Man is a musical with book, music, and lyrics by Meredith Willson, based on a story by Willson and Franklin Lacey. The plot concerns con man Harold Hill, who poses as a boys' band organizer...  more

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  • 27
    2,312
    1,316

    Beauty and the Beast

    Alan Menken , Linda Woolverton

    CharactersBelle, Gaston, Beast, Babette, Wardrobe

    Beauty and the Beast is a musical with music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, and book by Linda Woolverton. Adapted from Walt Disney Pictures' Academy Award-winning 1991 animated...  more

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    #4 of 9 All The Broadway Musicals Based On Disney Movies, Ranked#7 of 14 The Best Musicals by Alan Menken

  • 28
    Come from Away is a musical with book, music and lyrics by Irene Sankoff and David Hein. It is set in the week following the September 11 attacks and tells the true story of what transpired when 38...  more
  • 29
    2,984
    1,839

    Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

    Hugh Wheeler , Stephen Sondheim

    CharactersSweeney Todd, Judge Turpin, Adolfo Pirelli, Mrs. Lovett, Tobias Ragg

    Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is a 1979 musical thriller with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by Hugh Wheeler. The musical is based on the 1973 play Sweeney Todd, the...  more
  • 30
    2,454
    1,340

    Mamma Mia!

    Björn Ulvaeus , Catherine Johnson

    CharactersRosie, Sophie, Harry Bright, Sam Carmichael, Bill Austin

    Mamma Mia! is a jukebox musical written by British playwright Catherine Johnson, based on the songs of ABBA, composed by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, former members of the band. The title of...  more

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  • 31
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    The Rocky Horror Show

    Richard O'Brien

    CharactersColumbia, The Criminologist, Eddie Ex

    The Rocky Horror Show is a musical with music, lyrics and a book by Richard O'Brien. A humorous tribute to the science fiction and horror B movies of the late 1940s through to the early 1970s, the...  more
  • 32
    2,191
    1,327

    Cabaret

    Fred Ebb , John Kander

    CharactersFräulein Schneider, Sally Bowles, Fraulein Kost, Emcee, Clifford Bradshaw

    Cabaret is a 1966 musical with music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb, and book by Joe Masteroff, based on John Van Druten's 1951 play I Am a Camera, which was adapted from the short novel Goodbye...  more
  • 33
    2,191
    1,315

    Jesus Christ Superstar

    Andrew Lloyd Webber , Tim Rice

    CharactersJesus, Pontius Pilate, Judas Iscariot, Apostle Peter, Mary Magdalene

    Jesus Christ Superstar is a 1970 rock opera or rock musical, with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice. The musical started as a rock opera concept album before its first staging on...  more
  • 34
    1,384
    800

    The Producers

    Mel Brooks , Thomas Meehan

    CharactersCarmen Ghia, Roger De Bris, Leo Bloom, Franz Liebkind, Max Bialystock

    The Producers is a musical adapted by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan from Brooks' 1968 film of the same name, with lyrics written by Brooks and music composed by Brooks and arranged by Glen Kelly and...  more
  • 35
    1,223
    688

    Hello, Dolly!

    Jerry Herman , Michael Stewart

    CharactersDolly Levi, Minnie Fay, Barnaby Tucker, Horace Vandergelder, Irene Molloy

    Hello, Dolly! is a musical with lyrics and music by Jerry Herman and a book by Michael Stewart, based on Thornton Wilder's 1938 farce The Merchant of Yonkers, which Wilder revised and retitled The...  more
  • 36
    2,607
    1,631

    Grease

    Warren Casey , Jim Jacobs

    CharactersSandy Olsson, Betty Rizzo, Danny Zuko, Frenchy, Principal McGee

    Grease is a 1971 musical by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey. Named after the 1950s United States working-class youth subculture known as greasers, the musical is set in 1959 at fictional Rydell High...  more

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  • 37
    1,774
    1,090

    Evita

    Andrew Lloyd Webber , Tim Rice

    CharactersChe Guevara, Eva Perón, Juan Perón, Perón's Mistress, Agustín Magaldi

    Evita is a musical with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice. It concentrates on the life of Argentine political leader Eva Perón, the second wife of Argentine president Juan Perón....  more

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    #5 of 35 The Best Broadway Musicals of the '70s#10 of 29 The Very Best Sung-Through Musicals

  • 38
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    Matilda

    Tim Minchin, Dennis Kelly

    CharactersMatilda Wormwood, Harry Wormwood, Michael Wormwood, Zinnia Wormwood, Amanda Thripp

    Matilda the Musical is a stage musical based on the 1988 children's novel of the same name by Roald Dahl. It was adapted by Dennis Kelly, with music and lyrics by Tim Minchin. The musical's narrative...  more
  • 39
    1,664
    1,042

    Guys and Dolls

    Jo Swerling , Abe Burrows

    CharactersSky Masterson, Nathan Detroit, Sister Sarah Brown, Nicely-Nicely Johnson, Miss Adelaide

    Guys and Dolls is a musical with music and lyrics by Frank Loesser and book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows. It is based on "The Idyll of Miss Sarah Brown" and "Blood Pressure" – two short stories by...  more
  • 40
    2,121
    1,332

    Annie

    Martin Charnin , Thomas Meehan

    CharactersAnnie, Oliver "Daddy" Warbucks, Miss Agatha Hannigan, Daniel Francis "Rooster" Hannigan, Lily St. Regis

    Annie is a Broadway musical based upon the popular Harold Gray comic strip Little Orphan Annie, with music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Martin Charnin, and the book by Thomas Meehan. The original...  more
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    Aladdin is a musical based on the 1992 Disney animated film of the same name with music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Howard Ashman, Tim Rice and Chad Beguelin. The story follows the familiar tale of...  more
  • 42
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    oklahoma

    Richard Rodgers , Oscar Hammerstein II

    CharactersCurly McLain, Laurey Williams, Ali Hakim, Aunt Eller, Will Parker

    Oklahoma! is the first musical written by the team of composer Richard Rodgers and librettist Oscar Hammerstein II. The musical is based on Lynn Riggs' 1931 play, Green Grow the Lilacs. Set in farm...  more

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  • 43
    1,492
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    The King and I

    Richard Rodgers , Oscar Hammerstein II

    CharactersKing Mongkut, Anna Leonowens, Louis Leonowens, Tuptim, The Kralahome

    The King and I is the fifth musical by the team of composer Richard Rodgers and dramatist Oscar Hammerstein II. It is based on Margaret Landon's novel, Anna and the King of Siam (1944), which is in...  more

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    Every Song in The King and I, Ranked by Singability#22 of 66 The Best Tony Award Winning Musicals

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    Funny Girl, the film, is a 1968 American biographical romantic musical comedy-drama film directed by William Wyler. The screenplay by Isobel Lennart was adapted from her book for the eponymous stage...  more

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  • 45
    666
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    Beetlejuice

    Eddie Perfect

    CharactersBeetlejuice is a stage musical with music and lyrics by Eddie Perfect and book by Scott Brown and Anthony King. It is based on the 1988 film of the same name, about a deceased couple who try to haunt the new inhabitants of their former home and call for help from a devious bio-exorcist ghost named Betelgeuse (pronounced "Beetlejuice"), who is summoned by saying his name three times.

  • 46
    1,152
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    Kinky Boots

    Cyndi Lauper, Harvey Fierstein
    Kinky Boots is a Broadway musical with music and lyrics by Cyndi Lauper and a book by Harvey Fierstein. Based on the 2005 British film Kinky Boots, written by Geoff Deane and Tim Firth and inspired...  more
  • 47
    1,100
    737

    Anything Goes

    Guy Bolton , P. G. Wodehouse

    CharactersBilly Crocker, Reno Sweeney, Elisha J. Whitney, Mrs. Evangeline Harcourt, Hope Harcourt

    Anything Goes is a musical with music and lyrics by Cole Porter. The original book was a collaborative effort by Guy Bolton and P.G. Wodehouse, heavily revised by the team of Howard Lindsay and...  more
  • 48
    1,015
    634

    South Pacific

    Richard Rodgers , Joshua Logan

    CharactersEmile De Becque, Liat, Luther Billis, Bloody Mary, Capt. Brackett

    South Pacific is a musical composed by Richard Rodgers, with lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II and book by Hammerstein and Joshua Logan. The work premiered in 1949 on Broadway and was an immediate hit,...  more
  • 49
    1,500
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    Spring Awakening

    Steven Sater , Duncan Sheik

    CharactersOtto, Martha, Anna, Thea, Wendla Bergmann

    Spring Awakening is a rock musical with music by Duncan Sheik and a book and lyrics by Steven Sater. It is based on the German play Spring Awakening by Frank Wedekind. Set in late-19th century...  more

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    #6 of 49 Stage Musicals That Would Make Great Movies#12 of 45 The Greatest Musicals That Started Off-Broadway

  • 50
    Something Rotten! is an original musical comedy with a book by John O'Farrell and Karey Kirkpatrick and music and lyrics by Karey and Wayne Kirkpatrick. Set in 1595, the story follows the Bottom...  more