Culture

The Greatest Musicals Ever Performed on Broadway, Ranked 

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
Updated April 29, 2020 248.8k votes 23.1k voters 347.1k views 204 items

List Rules Only 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.
list ordered by
1
Hamilton is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Musicals Ever Performed on Broadway, Ranked
chris-michael added
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 ...more
2
Les Misérables is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Musicals Ever Performed on Broadway, Ranked
Claude-Michel Schönberg , Jean-Marc Natel , Herbert Kretzmer

Characters: Jean Valjean, Javert, Fantine, Éponine, Monsieur Thénardier, + more

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 ...more
3
Wicked is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Musicals Ever Performed on Broadway, Ranked
Stephen Schwartz , Winnie Holzman

Characters: Wicked Witch of the West, The Wizard, Glinda the Good Witch, Boq, Doctor Dillamond, + more

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 ...more
4
The Sound of Music is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Musicals Ever Performed on Broadway, Ranked
Richard Rodgers , Russel Crouse , Howard Lindsay

Characters: Fraulein Maria, Louisa von Trapp, Marta von Trapp, Gretl von Trapp, Kurt von Trapp, + more

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 ...more
5
The Lion King is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Musicals Ever Performed on Broadway, Ranked
Mark Mancina , Elton John , Jay Rifkin

Characters: Scar, Simba, Mufasa, Pumbaa, Nala, + more

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 ...more
6
Chicago is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Musicals Ever Performed on Broadway, Ranked
Bob Fosse , Fred Ebb , John Kander

Characters: Velma Kelly, Billy Flynn, Roxie Hart, Amos Hart, Matron "Mama" Morton, + more

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 ...more
7
Into the Woods is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Musicals Ever Performed on Broadway, Ranked
James Lapine , Stephen Sondheim

Characters: Rapunzel, Snow White, Princess Aurora, Cinderella, Big Bad Wolf, + more

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, ...more
8
The Phantom of the Opera... is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Musicals Ever Performed on Broadway, Ranked
Charles Hart , Richard Stilgoe , Andrew Lloyd Webber

Characters: Erik, Christine Daaé, Carlotta, Viscount Raoul de Chagny, Madame Giry, + more

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
9
The Book of Mormon is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Musicals Ever Performed on Broadway, Ranked
The Book of Mormon Matt Stone , Trey Parker , Robert Lopez

Characters: Arnold Cunningham, Kevin Price, Nabulungi, General Butt-Fucking Naked, Elder McKinley, + more

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. ...more
10
Dear Evan Hansen is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Musicals Ever Performed on Broadway, Ranked
danman082200 added Pasek and Paul

Characters: Evan Hansen, Heidi Hansen, Cynthia Murphy, Larry Murphy, Connor Murphy, + more

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
11
Newsies is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Musicals Ever Performed on Broadway, Ranked
AneeshaCasilli added Alan Menken , Jack Feldman , Harvey Fierstein
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 ...more
12
West Side Story is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Musicals Ever Performed on Broadway, Ranked
West Side Story Leonard Bernstein , Arthur Laurents , Stephen Sondheim

Characters: Maria, Tony, Anita, A-rab, Bernardo, + more

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
13
Mary Poppins is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Musicals Ever Performed on Broadway, Ranked
Richard M. Sherman , Robert B. Sherman , George Stiles

Characters: Mary Poppins, Michael Banks, Jane Banks, Bert, George Banks, + more

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 ...more
14
Hairspray is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Musicals Ever Performed on Broadway, Ranked
Scott Wittman , Marc Shaiman , Thomas Meehan

Characters: Velma Von Tussle, Edna Turnblad, Little Inez, Seaweed J Stupps, Motormouth Maybelle, + more

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 ...more
15
In the Heights is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Musicals Ever Performed on Broadway, Ranked
Elieli added Lin-Manuel Miranda , Quiara Alegría Hudes

Characters: Claudia, Graffiti Pete, Camila Rosario, Benny, Kevin Rosario, + more

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 ...more
16
Rent is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Musicals Ever Performed on Broadway, Ranked
Jonathan Larson

Characters: Mimi Marquez, Angel Dumott Schunard, Joanne Jefferson, Maureen Johnson, Tom Collins, + more

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 ...more
17
Beauty and the Beast is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Musicals Ever Performed on Broadway, Ranked
Alan Menken , Linda Woolverton , Howard Ashman

Characters: Belle, Gaston, Beast, Babette, Wardrobe, + more

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 ...more
18
Little Shop of Horrors ... is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Musicals Ever Performed on Broadway, Ranked
Alan Menken , Howard Ashman

Characters: Orin Scrivello, DDS, Seymour Krelborn, Audrey II, Crystal, + more

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 ...more
19
Singin' in the Rain is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Musicals Ever Performed on Broadway, Ranked
Chloefletcher9 added Nacio Herb Brown, Arthur Freed, Betty Comden Adolph Green
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 ...more
20
My Fair Lady is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Musicals Ever Performed on Broadway, Ranked
My Fair Lady Frederic Loewe , Alan Jay Lerner

Characters: Eliza Doolittle, Professor Henry Higgins, Alfred Doolittle, Mrs Higgins, Mrs. Pearce, + more

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 ...more
21
A Chorus Line is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Musicals Ever Performed on Broadway, Ranked
Edward Kleban , Nicholas Dante , Marvin Hamlisch

Characters: Zach, Sheila Bryant, Greg Gardner, Mike Costa, Don Kerr, + more

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 ...more
22
Sweeney Todd: The Demon ... is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Musicals Ever Performed on Broadway, Ranked
Hugh Wheeler , Stephen Sondheim

Characters: Sweeney Todd, Judge Turpin, Adolfo Pirelli, Mrs. Lovett, Tobias Ragg, + more

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, ...more
23
Fiddler on the Roof is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Musicals Ever Performed on Broadway, Ranked
Sheldon Harnick , Jerry Bock , Joseph Stein

Characters: Tevye, Chava, Lazar Wolf, Tzeitel, Golde, + more

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 ...more
24
The Music Man is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Musicals Ever Performed on Broadway, Ranked
Franklin Lacey , Meredith Willson

Characters: Harold Hill, Eulalie Mackechnie Shinn, Marcellus Washburn, Mayor George Shinn, Marian Paroo, + more

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 ...more
25
Cabaret is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Musicals Ever Performed on Broadway, Ranked
Fred Ebb , John Kander , Joe Masteroff

Characters: Fräulein Schneider, Sally Bowles, Fraulein Kost, Emcee, Clifford Bradshaw, + more

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 ...more