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The Greatest Musicals Ever Performed on Broadway, Ranked

Updated April 22, 2021 307.0k votes 27.8k voters 412.4k 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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  • 1
    10,891
    4,167
    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
    8,812
    3,655

    Les Misérables

    Claude-Michel Schönberg , Jean-Marc Natel

    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
    7,647
    3,243

    Wicked

    Stephen Schwartz , Winnie Holzman

    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
  • 4
    5,049
    1,849

    Dear Evan Hansen

    Pasek and Paul

    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
  • 5
    4,795
    2,576

    West Side Story

    Leonard Bernstein , Arthur Laurents

    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
    6,997
    3,774

    The Phantom of the Opera

    Charles Hart , Richard Stilgoe

    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

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    #4 of 29 The Very Best Sung-Through Musicals#2 of 49 The Best Grammy-Nominated Musical Theater Albums of the 1980s

  • 7
    4,659
    2,497

    The Sound of Music

    Richard Rodgers , Russel Crouse

    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
    4,068
    2,209

    Chicago

    Bob Fosse , Fred Ebb

    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

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    #1 of 35 The Best Broadway Musicals of the '70s#7 of 71 The Best Musicals Based on Movies

  • 9
    4,861
    2,652

    The Lion King

    Mark Mancina , Elton John

    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
  • 10
    2,878
    1,527

    Newsies

    Alan Menken , Jack Feldman
    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
  • 11
    2,501
    1,073

    In the Heights

    Lin-Manuel Miranda , Quiara Alegría Hudes

    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
  • 12
    1,884
    949

    Singin' in the Rain

    Nacio Herb Brown, Arthur Freed
    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
  • 13
    3,644
    2,021

    Into the Woods

    James Lapine , Stephen Sondheim

    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

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    #3 of 33 The Best Broadway Musicals of the 80s#13 of 45 The Greatest Musicals That Started Off-Broadway

  • 14
    1,655
    798
    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
  • 15
    2,722
    1,484

    Little Shop of Horrors

    Alan Menken , Howard Ashman

    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
  • 16
    2,535
    1,381

    My Fair Lady

    Frederic Loewe , Alan Jay Lerner

    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

    More 

    #4 of 15 The Best Short Stage Monologues#7 of 15 The Best Stage Monologues For Men

  • 17
    3,255
    1,814

    Fiddler on the Roof

    Sheldon Harnick , Jerry Bock

    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
  • 18
    2,243
    1,199

    Mary Poppins

    Richard M. Sherman , Robert B. Sherman

    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

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    #6 of 9 All The Broadway Musicals Based On Disney Movies, Ranked#5 of 39 The Best Broadway Shows for Kids

  • 19
    4,499
    2,535

    The Book of Mormon

    Matt Stone , Trey Parker

    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

    More 

    Every Song In 'The Book Of Mormon,' Ranked By Singability#3 of 49 Stage Musicals That Would Make Great Movies

  • 20
    2,276
    1,251

    A Chorus Line

    Edward Kleban , Nicholas Dante

    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
  • 21
    1,620
    760

    Heathers

    Scott Benson , Bernard Abrams

    CharactersHeather Chan

  • 22
    3,188
    1,790

    Hairspray

    Scott Wittman , Marc Shaiman

    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
  • 23
    1,459
    733

    Legally Blonde

    Heather Hach , Laurence O'Keefe

    CharactersElle Woods, Professor Callahan, Serena McGuire, Paulette Bonafonté, Margot

    Legally Blonde is a musical with music and lyrics by Laurence O'Keefe and Nell Benjamin and book by Heather Hach. The story is based on the novel Legally Blonde by Amanda Brown and the 2001 film of...  more
  • 24
    4,348
    2,541

    Rent

    Jonathan Larson

    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

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    #11 of 87 The Most Popular Broadway Musicals of All Time#4 of 66 The Best Tony Award Winning Musicals

  • 25
    1,998
    1,073

    Miss Saigon

    Richard Maltby, Jr.

    CharactersChristopher Scott, Kim, John Thomas, Tam, Gigi Van Tranh

    Miss Saigon is a musical by Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil, with lyrics by Boublil and Richard Maltby, Jr. It is based on Giacomo Puccini's opera Madame Butterfly, and similarly tells the...  more