Culture The Best Broadway Musicals of the 80s  

Buster McDermott
3.2k votes 688 voters 44.6k views 33 items

There's nothing quite like a live Broadway musical. But what are the best Broadway musicals from the 80s? From Cats to the Phantom of the Opera, the 1980s produced some the most iconic Broadway musicals known today. This list has been ranked by theater fans to determine the best Broadway musicals from the 1980s. 

The 1980s was an exciting time for musical theater with seasoned composers such as Andrew Lloyd Webber and Stephen Sondheim redefining Broadway history with hits such as Cats, The Phantom of the Opera, Sunday in the Park with George, and Into the Woods. The 80s was about innovation and spectacle, as seen in shows such as Barnum, a raucous, circus-themed show that delighted audiences with hits such as "The Colors of My Life."

Today, we still owe credit to the 1980s for introducing audiences the longest running Broadway show, Cats, a dazzling and revolutionary musical that brought memorable ballads such as "Memory" and a story that won't soon be forgotten.

Still, the 80s also saw its fair share of disasters, such as the musical flop of Carrie. However, the mega-success of shows like Les Miserables, Dreamgirls, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat would win audiences over for decades to come. Some have described the 1980s as the last great era of Broadway that brought some of the best musical theater talent to stardom.

Cast your votes below for the best 1980s Broadway musicals.
list ordered by

1
287 58
Les Misérables is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Broadway Musicals of the 80s
Claude-Michel Schönberg , Jean-Marc Natel , Herbert Kretzmer

2
250 77
The Phantom of the Opera is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Broadway Musicals of the 80s
Charles Hart , Richard Stilgoe , Andrew Lloyd Webber

3
201 57
Into the Woods is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Broadway Musicals of the 80s
James Lapine , Stephen Sondheim

4
129 53
Singin' in the Rain is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Broadway Musicals of the 80s
Betty Comden, Adolph Green, Arthur Freed

5
160 90
Cats is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Broadway Musicals of the 80s
Richard Stilgoe , Andrew Lloyd Webber , Trevor Nunn

6
108 53
Dreamgirls is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Broadway Musicals of the 80s
Tom Eyen , Henry Krieger

7
114 67
Joseph and the Amazing Technic... is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Broadway Musicals of the 80s
Andrew Lloyd Webber , Tim Rice

8
78 39
Sunday in the Park with George is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Broadway Musicals of the 80s
James Lapine , Stephen Sondheim

9
67 39
La Cage aux Folles is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Broadway Musicals of the 80s
Jerry Herman , Harvey Fierstein

10
75 47
42nd Street is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Broadway Musicals of the 80s
Mark Bramble , Al Dubin , Harry Warren

11
74 49
Chess is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Broadway Musicals of the 80s
Björn Ulvaeus , Benny Andersson , Richard Nelson

12
39 37
Carrie is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Broadway Musicals of the 80s
Dean Pitchford , Lawrence D. Cohen

13
33 33
Nine is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Broadway Musicals of the 80s
Maury Yeston , Arthur Kopit

14
48 52
Starlight Express is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Broadway Musicals of the 80s
Don Black , Richard Stilgoe , Andrew Lloyd Webber

15
33 34
Amadeus is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Broadway Musicals of the 80s
Peter Shaffer

16
8 4
A Funny Thing Happened on the ... is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Broadway Musicals of the 80s
Ellis2ca added Burt Shevelove , Larry Gelbart , Stephen Sondheim

17
30 32
Grand Hotel is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Broadway Musicals of the 80s
George Forrest , Maury Yeston , Robert Wright

18
21 24
City of Angels is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Broadway Musicals of the 80s
David Zippel , Larry Gelbart , Cy Coleman

19
29 35
Barnum is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Broadway Musicals of the 80s
Mark Bramble , Cy Coleman , Michael Stewart

20
23 28
Song and Dance is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Broadway Musicals of the 80s
Richard Maltby, Jr. , Don Black

21
22 27
Torch Song Trilogy is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Broadway Musicals of the 80s
Harvey Fierstein

22
19 23
Me and My Girl is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Broadway Musicals of the 80s
Noel Gay , Douglas Furber , L. Arthur Rose

23
20 26
Baby is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Broadway Musicals of the 80s
Richard Maltby, Jr. , Sybille Pearson

24
19 26
Rags is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Broadway Musicals of the 80s
Rags Stephen Schwartz , Joseph Stein , Charles Strouse

25
19 26
Brighton Beach Memoirs is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Broadway Musicals of the 80s