Culture

The Best Broadway Musicals of the '70s

What were the most popular and greatest Broadway musicals of the 70s? This list ranks the top Broadway musicals that first debuted in the 1970s. From Annie to Godspell, the 1970s produced some of the most groundbreaking shows in musical theater history. This list has the top Broadway musicals from the 1970s as ranked by theater lovers.

The 1970s proved to be a great time for change and growth on Broadway. Gone were the days of Oklahoma! and other conventional Broadway styles. Shows such as A Chorus Line found major success by combining music with dancing and other such theatrics. Musical Broadway in the 70s also saw the rise of two famous composers, Andrew Lloyd Webber (Evita, Jesus Christ Superstar) and Stephen Sondheim (Sweeney Todd).

In the 70s, movie musicals also saw a rise following the success of Grease both on stage and off. Rock music began dominating the stage, over traditional Broadway styles, and thrived in shows such as The Me Nobody Knows and gave birth to the "rock opera," like Jesus Christ Superstar, by combining dialogue and music. 

The 1970s proved to be a decade of innovation and excitement in both musical and Broadway history. Vote up the best 1970s Broadway musical below and see where the musicals you think are the greatest of this era rank.
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list ordered by
  • 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
  • Chicago
    2
    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
  • 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
  • Evita
    4
    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
  • Grease
    5
    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
  • 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
  • Annie
    7
    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
  • Pippin
    8
    Pippin is a 1972 musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and a book by Roger O. Hirson. Bob Fosse, who directed the original Broadway production, also contributed to the libretto. The ...more
  • Company
    9
    Company is a 1970 musical comedy with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by George Furth. The original production was nominated for a record-setting fourteen Tony Awards and won ...more
  • Hair
    10
    Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical is a rock musical with a book and lyrics by Gerome Ragni and James Rado and music by Galt MacDermot. A product of the hippie counterculture and sexual ...more
  • The Wiz
    11
    The Wiz: The Super Soul Musical "Wonderful Wizard of Oz" is a musical with music and lyrics by Charlie Smalls (and others) and book by William F. Brown. It is a retelling of L. Frank Baum's classic ...more
  • Godspell
    12
    Godspell is a musical by Stephen Schwartz and a book by John-Michael Tebelak. It opened off Broadway on May 17, 1971, and has played in various touring companies and revivals many times since, ...more
  • A Little Night Music is a musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by Hugh Wheeler. Inspired by the Ingmar Bergman film Smiles of a Summer Night, it involves the romantic lives of ...more
  • Follies
    14
    Follies is a book by James Goldman and Stephen Sondheim.
  • Ain't Misbehavin' is a musical revue with a book by Murray Horwitz and Richard Maltby Jr., and music by various composers and lyricists as arranged and orchestrated by Luther Henderson. It is named ...more
  • Showboat is a 1999 theater production of the play by Oscar Hammerstein II.
  • The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas is a musical with a book by Texas author Larry L. King and Peter Masterson and music and lyrics by Carol Hall. It is based on a story by King that was inspired by ...more
  • They're Playing Our Song is a musical with a book by Neil Simon, lyrics by Carole Bayer Sager, and music by Marvin Hamlisch. In a story based on the real-life relationship of Hamlisch and Sager, a ...more
  • Side by Side by Sondheim is a musical revue featuring the songs of the Broadway and film composer Stephen Sondheim. Its title is derived from the song "Side by Side by Side" from Company.
  • Dancin'
    20
    Dancin' is a musical revue first produced in 1978, directed and choreographed by Bob Fosse, who won a Tony Award for the choreography. The show is a tribute to the art of dance, and the music is a ...more
  • Pacific Overtures is a musical written by Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman. The show is set in 1853 Japan and follows the difficult Westernization of Japan, told from the point of view of the ...more
  • On the Twentieth Century is a musical with book and lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green and music by Cy Coleman. Part operetta, part farce, part screwball comedy, the story involves the ...more
  • Applause
    23
    Applause is a musical with a book by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, lyrics by Lee Adams, and music by Charles Strouse. The musical is based on the 1950 film All About Eve and the short story on which ...more
  • Shenandoah is a musical that was composed during 1974 with music by Gary Geld, lyrics by Peter Udell, and book by Udell, Philip Rose, and James Lee Barrett. The musical is based on Barrett's original ...more
  • Sugar
    25
    Sugar is a musical with a book by Peter Stone, music by Jule Styne, and lyrics by Bob Merrill. It is based on the film Some Like It Hot, which was adapted by Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond from a ...more