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The Best Musicals by George Abbott

Updated December 21, 2017 59 votes 8 voters15 items

List RulesVote up the best George Abbot musicals.

This list of George Abbott musicals is impressive, and for good reason. During his over 70 years in theater, Abbott directed, wrote, and produced some of the most memorable hits ever to grace the Great White Way. He earned, and deserved, the nickname “Mr. Broadway.”

George Abbott musicals are among the most storied to ever hit the stage. His career was so long in American theater that he lived to see multiple revivals of shows he’d either written, directed, or produced. In 1986, Damn Yankees enjoyed a revival, and 99-year-old Abbott revised and directed it. What are the best George Abbott musicals or plays ever made? The aforementioned Damn Yankees certainly would be a contender, as would The Pajama Game, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, On the Town, and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. The caliber of musicals by George Abbott are simply in another stratosphere.

During his lifetime, George Abbott had a hand in over 100 Broadway productions. Many of them were musicals, and some of the top George Abbott musicals and plays are listed here. Now, it’s your turn to decide: What was his greatest work of all? Vote for all of your favorites, and let’s see what everyone thinks!

  • 1
    The Pajama Game is a musical based on the 1953 novel 7½ Cents by Richard Bissell. The book is by George Abbott and Richard Bissell; the music and lyrics are by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross. The...  more
  • 2
    A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum is a musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart. Inspired by the farces of the ancient Roman...  more

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  • 3
    Call Me Madam is a musical with a book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse with music and lyrics by Irving Berlin. A satire on politics and foreign policy that spoofs America's penchant for lending...  more
  • 4
    Damn Yankees is a musical comedy with a book by George Abbott and Douglass Wallop, music and lyrics by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross. The story is a modern retelling of the Faust legend set during...  more

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  • 5
    Fiorello! is a musical about New York City mayor Fiorello H. LaGuardia, a reform Republican who took on the Tammany Hall political machine. The book is by Jerome Weidman and George Abbott, drawn...  more
  • 6

    High Button Shoes

    High Button Shoes is a musical with music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Sammy Cahn and book by George Abbott and Stephen Longstreet. It was based on the semi-autobiographical 1946 novel The Sisters Liked...  more
  • 7
    Once Upon a Mattress is a musical comedy with music by Mary Rodgers, lyrics by Marshall Barer, and book by Jay Thompson, Dean Fuller, and Marshall Barer. It opened off-Broadway in May 1959, and then...  more
  • 8
    On the Town is a musical with music by Leonard Bernstein and book and lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, based on Jerome Robbins' idea for his 1944 ballet Fancy Free, which he had set to...  more
  • 9

    On Your Toes

    On Your Toes is a musical with a book by Richard Rodgers, George Abbott, and Lorenz Hart, music by Rodgers, and lyrics by Hart. It was adapted into a film in 1939. While teaching music at...  more
  • 10

    The Boys from Syracuse

    The Boys from Syracuse is a musical with music by Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Lorenz Hart, based on William Shakespeare's play, The Comedy of Errors, as adapted by librettist George Abbott. The...  more
  • 11

    Too Many Girls

    Too Many Girls is a Broadway musical comedy and a 1940 film version of the show, starring Lucille Ball....  more
  • 12


    Jumbo is a musical produced by Billy Rose, with music and lyrics by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart and book by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur....  more
  • 13
    Pal Joey is a musical with a book by John O'Hara and music and lyrics by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart. The musical is based on a character and situations O'Hara created in a series of short...  more
  • 14

    A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

  • 15

    Flora The Red Menace