The Best Musicals by Cole Porter

Over 100 Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of The Best Musicals by Cole Porter
Voting Rules
Vote up the most iconic Cole Porter musicals.

Any fan of great musicals can probably rattle off every single Cole Porter musical by heart. What are the best Cole Porter musicals? That’s what we’re going to try to decide here.

Cole Porter was a once in a lifetime talent, penning and composing some of the greatest songs of all time. Imagine going back in time to see the opening of Paris in 1928, and hearing the world debut of “Let’s Do It, Let’s Fall in Love." Or picture seeing Out of This World in 1950 and hearing “From This Moment On.” Thrilling to think about, isn’t it?

Each one of the entries on this Cole Porter musical list could easily morph right into a Cole Porter play list, with classic, romantic songs that are truly timeless. These plays and musicals by Cole Porter are among the best of all time – not just in Porter’s prolific era. Many of the best Cole Porter plays went on to be adapted into major motion pictures. For instance, Gay Divorce became the 1934 musical film The Gay Divorcee, starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.

Cole Porter’s legacy of music is incomparable. What is your favorite Cole Porter musical? Time to decide with your votes!

Ranked by
  • Anything Goes
    Anything Goes is a musical with music and lyrics by Cole Porter. The original book was a collaborative effort by Guy Bolton and P.G. Wodehouse, heavily revised by the team of Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse. The story concerns madcap antics aboard an ocean liner bound from New York to London. Billy Crocker is a stowaway in love with heiress Hope Harcourt, who is engaged to Lord Evelyn Oakleigh. Nightclub singer Reno Sweeney and Public Enemy #13 Moonface Martin aid Billy in his quest to win Hope. The musical introduced such songs as "Anything Goes", "You're the Top", and "I Get a Kick Out of You." Since its 1934 debut at the Alvin Theatre on Broadway, the musical has been revived several times in the United States and Britain and has been filmed twice. The musical has long been a popular choice for school and community productions.
  • Kiss Me, Kate
    Kiss Me, Kate is a musical written by Bella and Samuel Spewack with music and lyrics by Cole Porter. The story involves the production of a musical version of William Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew and the conflict on and off-stage between Fred Graham, the show's director, producer, and star, and his leading lady, his ex-wife Lilli Vanessi. A secondary romance concerns Lois Lane, the actress playing Bianca, and her gambler boyfriend, Bill, who runs afoul of some gangsters. The original production starred Alfred Drake, Patricia Morison, Lisa Kirk and Harold Lang. Kiss Me, Kate was Porter's response to Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma! and other integrated musicals; it was the first show he wrote in which the music and lyrics were firmly connected to the script. The musical premiered in 1948 and proved to be Porter's only show to run for more than 1,000 performances on Broadway. In 1949, it won the first Tony Award for Best Musical.
  • Silk Stockings is a musical with a book by George S. Kaufman, Leueen MacGrath, and Abe Burrows and music and lyrics by Cole Porter. The musical is loosely based on the Melchior Lengyel story Ninotchka and the 1939 film adaptation it inspired. It ran on Broadway in 1955. This was the last musical that Porter wrote for the stage.
  • Gay Divorce

    Gay Divorce

    24 votes
    Gay Divorce is a musical with music and lyrics by Cole Porter and book by Dwight Taylor, adapted by Kenneth Webb and Samuel Hoffenstein. It was Fred Astaire's last Broadway show and featured the hit song "Night and Day" in which Astaire danced with co-star Claire Luce. It was made into a musical film by RKO Radio Pictures in 1934, starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, and renamed The Gay Divorcee.
  • Can-Can
    33 votes
    Can-Can is a musical with music and lyrics by Cole Porter, and a book by Abe Burrows. The story concerns the showgirls of the Montmartre dance halls during the 1890s. The original Broadway production ran for over two years beginning in 1953, and the 1954 West End production was also a success. Gwen Verdon, in only her second Broadway role, and choreographer Michael Kidd won Tony Awards and were praised, but both the score and book received tepid reviews, and revivals generally have not fared well. The 1960 film of the musical starred Shirley MacLaine, Frank Sinatra, Louis Jourdan, Maurice Chevalier and introduced Juliet Prowse in her first film role. It incorporated songs from other Porter musicals and films in addition to the original stage production.
  • Jubilee


    20 votes
    Jubilee is a musical comedy with a book by Moss Hart and music and lyrics by Cole Porter. It premiered on Broadway in 1935 to rapturous reviews. Inspired by the recent silver jubilee of King George V of Great Britain, the story is of the royal family of a fictional European country. Several of its songs, especially "Begin the Beguine" and "Just One of Those Things", became independently popular and have become part of the American Songbook. The musical opened on Broadway in October 1935, in the midst of the Great Depression. It had strong reviews and was considered "one of the great theatrical events of the 1930s." It ran for 169 performances. Although the original arrangements were lost after 1948, beginning in 1986 the musical was reconstructed. It has been produced by several companies in New York, London and elsewhere.