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The Best Broadway Musicals of the '70s

Updated October 13, 2018 6.1k votes 1.3k voters 96.6k views34 items

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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  • A Chorus Line1
    319
    126

    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...  more
  • Chicago2
    370
    154

    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,...  more

    More Chicago 

    #2 of 87 The Most Popular Broadway Musicals of All Time#11 of 191 The Greatest Musicals Ever Performed on Broadway, Ranked

  • Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street3
    308
    122

    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...  more
  • Grease4
    330
    155

    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...  more

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    #2718 of 3,110 The Greatest Albums of All-Time#58 of 112 Albums You're Guaranteed To Find In Every Parent's CD Collection

  • Evita5
    204
    87

    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...  more

    More 

    #11 of 29 The Very Best Sung-Through Musicals#2 of 17 The Best Musicals by Andrew Lloyd Webber

  • Jesus Christ Superstar6
    226
    114

    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...  more
  • Pippin7
    185
    90

    Pippin

    Stephen Schwartz , Roger O. Hirson

    CharactersCatherine, Berthe, Pippin, Fastrada, Charles

    Pippin is a 1972 musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and a book by Roger O....  more
  • Company8
    172
    82

    Company

    George Furth , Stephen Sondheim

    CharactersJenny, Marta, Harry, Larry, Susan

    Company is a 1970 musical comedy with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by George...  more
  • Annie9
    237
    136

    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...  more

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    Every Song in Annie, Ranked by Singability#6 of 39 The Best Broadway Shows for Kids

  • Hair10
    103
    50

    Hair

    Gerome Ragni , Galt MacDermot

    CharactersSheila Franklin, George Berger, Woof, Claude Hooper Bukowski, Jeannie Ryan

    Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical is a rock musical with a book and lyrics by...  more

    More 

    #9 of 28 The Best Jukebox Musical Plays, Ranked#17 of 45 The Greatest Musicals That Started Off-Broadway

  • The Wiz11
    132
    89

    The Wiz

    Charlie Smalls , William F. Brown

    CharactersWicked Witch of the West, Dorothy Gale, Scarecrow, The Wizard, Good Witch of the North

    The Wiz: The Super Soul Musical "Wonderful Wizard of Oz" is a musical with music and lyrics by...  more
  • Godspell12
    124
    87

    Godspell

    John-Michael Tebelak , Stephen Schwartz

    CharactersJesus, Judas Iscariot, Apostle Peter, John the Baptist

    Godspell is a musical by Stephen Schwartz and a book by John-Michael Tebelak. It opened off...  more
  • A Little Night Music13
    97
    62

    A Little Night Music

    Hugh Wheeler , Stephen Sondheim

    CharactersDesiree Armfeldt, Charlotte Malcolm, Henrik Egerman, Count Carl-Magnus Malcolm, Anne Egerman

    A Little Night Music is a musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by Hugh...  more
  • Follies14
    91
    72

    Follies

    James Goldman , Stephen Sondheim

    CharactersBenjamin, Phyllis Rogers Stone, Buddy, Sally Durant Plummer

    Follies is a book by James Goldman and Stephen Sondheim....  more

    More Follies 

    #48 of 49 The Best Grammy-Nominated Musical Theater Albums of the 1980s#9 of 20 The Best Musicals by Stephen Sondheim

  • Ain't Misbehavin'15
    57
    64

    Ain't Misbehavin'

    Richard Maltby, Jr.
    Ain't Misbehavin' is a musical revue with a book by Murray Horwitz and Richard Maltby Jr., and...  more
  • The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas16
    55
    68

    The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas

    Carol Hall , Larry L. King

    CharactersMelvin, Sheriff, Deputy Fred, Miss Mona Stangley

    The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas is a musical with a book by Texas author Larry L. King and...  more
  • The Magic Show17
    43
    51

    The Magic Show

    Bob Randall , Stephen Schwartz
    The Magic Show is a one-act musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and a book by...  more
  • Seesaw18
    42
    51

    Seesaw

    Michael Bennett , Dorothy Fields
    Seesaw is a 1973 American musical with a book by Michael Bennett, music by Cy Coleman, and...  more
  • Over Here!19
    33
    45

    Over Here!

    Richard M. Sherman , Robert B. Sherman
    Over Here! is a musical with a score by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman and book by...  more
  • They're Playing Our Song20
    40
    57

    They're Playing Our Song

    Marvin Hamlisch , Neil Simon

    CharactersVernon Gersch, Sonia Walsk

    They're Playing Our Song is a musical with a book by Neil Simon, lyrics by Carole Bayer Sager,...  more
  • Side by Side by Sondheim21
    45
    67

    Side by Side by Sondheim

    Richard Rodgers , Mary Rodgers
    Side by Side by Sondheim is a musical revue featuring the songs of the Broadway and film...  more
  • Runaways22
    31
    49

    Runaways

    Elizabeth Swados

    CharactersNikki Kay Kane, Melinda, Eric, Lazar, Mocha

    Runaways is a musical which was written, composed, choreographed and directed by Elizabeth...  more
  • Pacific Overtures23
    24
    41

    Pacific Overtures

    John Weidman , Hugh Wheeler

    CharactersThe Reciter

    Pacific Overtures is a musical written by Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman. The show is set...  more
  • On the Twentieth Century24
    36
    62

    On the Twentieth Century

    Cy Coleman , Adolph Green
    On the Twentieth Century is a musical with book and lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green...  more
  • Dancin'25
    42
    72

    Dancin'

    Bob Fosse,
    Dancin' is a musical revue first produced in 1978, directed and choreographed by Bob Fosse,...  more