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The Greatest Musicals Ever Performed on Broadway, Ranked

Updated September 20, 2021 304k votes 28.8k voters 430.4k views186 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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  • 1
    chris-michael added
    10,764
    4,311
    Hamilton: An American Musical is a sung- and rapped-through musical about the life of American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, with music, lyrics and book by Lin-Manuel Miranda, inspired by the...  more
  • 2
    Claude-Michel Schönberg , Jean-Marc Natel
    8,834
    3,635

    CharactersJean Valjean, Javert, Fantine, Éponine, Monsieur Thénardier

    Les Misérables, colloquially known as Les Mis or Les Miz is a sung-through musical based on the novel Les Misérables by French poet and novelist Victor Hugo. It has music by Claude-Michel Schönberg,...  more
  • 3
    Stephen Schwartz , Winnie Holzman
    7,599
    3,227

    CharactersWicked Witch of the West, The Wizard, Glinda the Good Witch, Boq, Doctor Dillamond

    Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz is a musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and book by Winnie Holzman. It is based on the 1995 Gregory Maguire novel Wicked: The Life and...  more

    The Best Songs in Wicked, Ranked by Singability#1 of 49 Stage Musicals That Would Make Great Movies

  • 4
    Charles Hart , Richard Stilgoe
    7,007
    3,700

    CharactersErik, Christine Daaé, Carlotta, Viscount Raoul de Chagny, Madame Giry

    The Phantom of the Opera is a musical with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Charles Hart. Richard Stilgoe and Lloyd Webber wrote the musical's book together. Stilgoe also provided...  more

    #3 of 29 The Very Best Sung-Through Musicals#7 of 49 The Best Grammy-Nominated Musical Theater Albums of the 1980s#1 of 17 The Best Musicals by Andrew Lloyd Webber

  • 5
    Leonard Bernstein , Arthur Laurents
    4,796
    2,547

    CharactersMaria, Tony, Anita, A-rab, Bernardo

    West Side Story is an American musical with a book by Arthur Laurents, music by Leonard Bernstein, libretto/lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, and conception and choreography by Jerome Robbins. It was...  more
  • 6
    danman082200 addedPasek and Paul
    4,985
    1,988

    CharactersEvan Hansen, Heidi Hansen, Cynthia Murphy, Larry Murphy, Connor Murphy

    Dear Evan Hansen is a musical with music and lyrics by Pasek and Paul, and a book by Steven Levenson. The title character, Evan Hansen, is a high school senior with a social anxiety disorder who...  more
  • 7
    Richard Rodgers , Russel Crouse
    4,652
    2,474

    CharactersFraulein Maria, Louisa von Trapp, Marta von Trapp, Gretl von Trapp, Kurt von Trapp

    The Sound of Music is a multiple Tony Award-winning musical by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II and a book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse. It is based on the memoir of Maria von...  more
  • 8
    Bob Fosse , Fred Ebb
    4,094
    2,193

    CharactersVelma Kelly, Billy Flynn, Roxie Hart, Amos Hart, Matron "Mama" Morton

    Chicago (Chicago: A Musical Vaudeville) is an American musical with music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb, and book by Ebb and Bob Fosse. Set in Jazz-age Chicago, the musical is based on a 1926...  more

    #7 of 71 The Best Musicals Based on Movies#1 of 35 The Best Broadway Musicals of the '70s#9 of 26 The Best Broadway Shows Right Now

  • 9
    Sheldon Harnick , Jerry Bock
    3,287
    1,784

    CharactersTevye, Chava, Lazar Wolf, Tzeitel, Golde

    Fiddler on the Roof is a musical with music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, and book by Joseph Stein, set in the Pale of Settlement of Imperial Russia in 1905. It is based on Tevye and his...  more
  • 10
    Mark Mancina , Elton John
    4,835
    2,617

    CharactersScar, Simba, Mufasa, Pumbaa, Nala

    The Lion King is a musical based on the 1994 Walt Disney Animation Studios' animated feature film of the same name with music by Elton John, lyrics by Tim Rice, and book by Roger Allers and Irene...  more
  • 11
    Frederic Loewe , Alan Jay Lerner
    2,531
    1,370

    CharactersEliza Doolittle, Professor Henry Higgins, Alfred Doolittle, Mrs Higgins, Mrs. Pearce

    My Fair Lady is a musical based on George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion, with book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner and music by Frederick Loewe. The story concerns Eliza Doolittle, a Cockney flower girl who...  more

    #3 of 15 The Best Short Stage Monologues#4 of 15 The Best Stage Monologues For Men

  • 12
    Elieli addedLin-Manuel Miranda , Quiara Alegría Hudes
    2,550
    1,122

    CharactersClaudia, Graffiti Pete, Camila Rosario, Benny, Kevin Rosario

    In the Heights is a musical with music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda, and a book by Quiara Alegría Hudes. The story is set over the course of three days, involving an ensemble cast of characters...  more
  • 13
    AneeshaCasilli addedAlan Menken , Jack Feldman
    2,866
    1,546
    Newsies The Musical is a Disney Theatrical Productions stage musical based on the 1992 film Newsies, which in turn was inspired by the real-life Newsboys Strike of 1899 in New York City. The show has...  more
  • 14
    Alan Menken , Howard Ashman
    2,702
    1,468

    CharactersOrin Scrivello, DDS, Seymour Krelborn, Audrey II, Crystal

    Little Shop of Horrors is a comedy horror rock musical, by composer Alan Menken and writer Howard Ashman, about a hapless florist shop worker who raises a plant that feeds on human blood and flesh....  more
  • 15
    James Lapine , Stephen Sondheim
    3,628
    2,013

    CharactersRapunzel, Snow White, Princess Aurora, Cinderella, Big Bad Wolf

    Into the Woods is a musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by James Lapine. The musical intertwines the plots of several Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault fairy tales, exploring...  more

    #3 of 33 The Best Broadway Musicals of the 80s#19 of 45 The Greatest Musicals That Started Off-Broadway#8 of 38 The Best Plays Based on Books

  • 16
    Chloefletcher9 addedNacio Herb Brown, Arthur Freed
    1,896
    984
    Singin' in the Rain is a musical with a book by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, lyrics by Arthur Freed, and music by Nacio Herb Brown. Adapted from the 1952 movie of the same name, the plot closely...  more
  • 17
    Matt Stone , Trey Parker
    4,447
    2,486

    CharactersArnold Cunningham, Kevin Price, Nabulungi, General Butt-Fucking Naked, Elder McKinley

    The Book of Mormon is a musical comedy. First staged in 2011, the play is a satirical examination of Mormon beliefs and practices that ultimately endorses the positive power of love and service. The...  more
  • 18
    Edward Kleban , Nicholas Dante
    2,278
    1,241

    CharactersZach, Sheila Bryant, Greg Gardner, Mike Costa, Don Kerr

    A Chorus Line is a musical with music by Marvin Hamlisch, lyrics by Edward Kleban and a book by James Kirkwood, Jr. and Nicholas Dante. Centred on seventeen Broadway dancers auditioning for spots on...  more
  • 19
    ChloeFletcher added
    1,664
    842
    Waitress is a musical with music and lyrics by Sara Bareilles, and a book by Jessie Nelson. Based on the 2007 film of the same name, written by Adrienne Shelly, the musical tells the story of Jenna...  more
  • 20
    Richard M. Sherman , Robert B. Sherman
    2,243
    1,204

    CharactersMary Poppins, Michael Banks, Jane Banks, Bert, George Banks

    Mary Poppins is a musical with music and lyrics by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman (the Sherman Brothers) and additional music and lyrics by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, and a script by...  more

    #6 of 9 All The Broadway Musicals Based On Disney Movies, Ranked#2 of 39 The Best Broadway Shows for Kids

  • 21
    Scott Wittman , Marc Shaiman
    3,153
    1,748

    CharactersVelma Von Tussle, Edna Turnblad, Little Inez, Seaweed J Stupps, Motormouth Maybelle

    Hairspray is an American musical with music by Marc Shaiman, lyrics by Scott Wittman and Shaiman and a book by Mark O'Donnell and Thomas Meehan, based on John Waters’s 1988 film of the same name. The...  more
  • 22
    Jonathan Larson
    4,268
    2,482

    CharactersMimi Marquez, Angel Dumott Schunard, Joanne Jefferson, Maureen Johnson, Tom Collins

    Rent is a rock musical with music and lyrics by Jonathan Larson loosely based on Giacomo Puccini's opera La bohème. It tells the story of a group of impoverished young artists struggling to survive...  more

    #11 of 87 The Most Popular Broadway Musicals of All Time#5 of 66 The Best Tony Award Winning Musicals#1 of 43 The Best Broadway Musicals of the 90s

  • 23
    Franklin Lacey , Meredith Willson
    1,728
    964

    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

    #5 of 9 The Musicals You're Most Excited To See In 2020#73 of 101 The Best Books With Man in the Title

  • 24
    Fred Ebb , John Kander
    2,189
    1,285

    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
  • 25
    Alan Menken , Linda Woolverton
    2,285
    1,306

    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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List Rules: Only staged musicals.