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The Very Best Sung-Through Musicals

Updated November 5, 2020 4.3k votes 817 voters 9.3k views29 items

List RulesVote up the best sung-through musicals.

You may consider yourself a fan of musical theater, or musicals in general, but are you truly? While many of the most popular musicals of the day - like Phantom of the Opera, Ragtime, and Sunset Boulevard - are musicals, they’re not on this list. Why? Because this is a list of sung through musicals. 

Sung through musicals are exactly what they seem – they are musicals with no spoken dialogue at all. The musicals are all singing. And if a musical is on this sung-through musical list, it is only singing.

Some of the most popular Broadway smash hits have been all song musicals. Les Miserables is a shining example, and arguably one of the greatest musicals of all time. Rent is another outstanding all singing musical, as is Evita and Miss Saigon. These shows all had incredibly long runs on Broadway, and in London’s West End (many are still running today).

But in August 2015, one of the greatest sung-through musicals hit the Great White Way: Hamilton. Since it hit the stage, it’s been an ongoing phenomenon – a musical juggernaut that shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

What do you believe is the best musical with no spoken dialogue? Is it Hamilton? Les Mis? Vote up your favorites below. 

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  • 1
    Claude-Michel Schönberg , Jean-Marc Natel
    360
    90

    CharactersJean Valjean, Javert, Fantine, Éponine, Monsieur Thénardier

    Les Misérables, colloquially known as Les Mis or Les Miz is a sung-through musical based on the novel Les Misérables by French poet and novelist Victor Hugo. It has music by Claude-Michel Schönberg,...  more
  • 2
    Lin-Manuel Miranda
    458
    135
    Hamilton: An American Musical is a sung- and rapped-through musical about the life of American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, with music, lyrics and book by Lin-Manuel Miranda, inspired by the...  more
  • 3
    AnneForever addedCharles Hart , Richard Stilgoe
    157
    76

    CharactersErik, Christine Daaé, Carlotta, Viscount Raoul de Chagny, Madame Giry

    The Phantom of the Opera is a musical with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Charles Hart. Richard Stilgoe and Lloyd Webber wrote the musical's book together. Stilgoe also provided...  more
  • 4
    Jonathan Larson
    189
    110

    CharactersMimi Marquez, Angel Dumott Schunard, Joanne Jefferson, Maureen Johnson, Tom Collins

    Rent is a rock musical with music and lyrics by Jonathan Larson loosely based on Giacomo Puccini's opera La bohème. It tells the story of a group of impoverished young artists struggling to survive...  more
  • 5
    AnneForever addedLeonard Bernstein , Arthur Laurents
    127
    64

    CharactersMaria, Tony, Anita, A-rab, Bernardo

    West Side Story is an American musical with a book by Arthur Laurents, music by Leonard Bernstein, libretto/lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, and conception and choreography by Jerome Robbins. It was...  more
  • 6
    James Lapine , William Finn
    141
    82

    CharactersMarvin, Trina, Whizzer Brown, Mendel, Jason

    Falsettos is a musical with a book by James Lapine and William Finn and music and lyrics by Finn. The musical consists of March of the Falsettos and Falsettoland, the last two in a trio of one-act...  more
  • 7
    Richard Maltby, Jr.
    120
    64

    CharactersChristopher Scott, Kim, John Thomas, Tam, Gigi Van Tranh

    Miss Saigon is a musical by Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil, with lyrics by Boublil and Richard Maltby, Jr. It is based on Giacomo Puccini's opera Madame Butterfly, and similarly tells the...  more
  • 8
    Andrew Lloyd Webber , Tim Rice
    129
    71

    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 and lyrics by Tim Rice. The musical started as a rock opera concept album before its first staging on...  more

    #6 of 35 The Best Broadway Musicals of the '70s#2 of 17 The Best Musicals by Andrew Lloyd Webber

  • 9
    115
    70
    Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 is a 2012 theater production of the musical by Dave Malloy....
  • 10
    Andrew Lloyd Webber , Tim Rice
    97
    56

    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 on the life of Argentine political leader Eva Perón, the second wife of Argentine president Juan Perón....  more

    #46 of 87 The Most Popular Broadway Musicals of All Time#34 of 186 The Greatest Musicals Ever Performed on Broadway, Ranked#19 of 66 The Best Tony Award Winning Musicals

  • 11
    AnneForever added
    139
    98
    Dear Evan Hansen is a musical with music and lyrics by Pasek and Paul, and a book by Steven Levenson. The title character, Evan Hansen, is a high school senior with a social anxiety disorder who...  more
  • 12
    Andrew Lloyd Webber , Tim Rice
    89
    62

    CharactersPotiphar, Potiphar's Wife, Joseph, Pharaoh, Reuben

    Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is a musical or operetta with lyrics by Tim Rice and music by Andrew Lloyd Webber. The story is based on the "coat of many colors" story of Joseph from...  more

    #7 of 33 The Best Broadway Musicals of the 80s#20 of 49 Stage Musicals That Would Make Great Movies#6 of 45 The Greatest Musicals That Started Off-Broadway

  • 13
  • 14
    Richard Stilgoe , Andrew Lloyd Webber
    94
    98

    CharactersRum Tum Tugger, Jellylorum, Bombalurina, Old Deuteronomy, Bustopher Jones

    Cats is a musical composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber, based on Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot, and produced by Cameron Mackintosh. The musical tells the story of a tribe of cats...  more

    Every Song in Cats, Ranked by Singability#18 of 39 The Best Broadway Shows for Kids#24 of 49 The Best Grammy-Nominated Musical Theater Albums of the 1980s

  • 15
    DeborahTragasz addedDavid Henry Hwang , Elton John
    17
    18

    CharactersAida, Amneris, Amonasro, Radames, The King of Egypt

    Aida (also known as Elton John and Tim Rice's Aida) is a musical based on the opera of the same name written by Antonio Ghislanzoni with music by Giuseppe Verdi. It has music by Elton John, lyrics by...  more

    #6 of 9 The Best Soundtracks and Scores by Elton John#6 of 25 The Best Italian Operas

  • 16
    Riccardo Cocciante , Luc Plamondon
    29
    50

    CharactersClaude Frollo, Esméralda, Quasimodo, Clopin Trouillefou, Captain Phoebus

    Notre-Dame de Paris is a sung-through French musical which debuted on 16 September 1998 in Paris. It is based upon the novel Notre-Dame de Paris (The Hunchback of Notre-Dame) by the French novelist...  more
  • 17
  • 18
    Stephen Sondheim
    21
    43
    Marry Me a Little is a musical with lyrics and music by Stephen Sondheim, conceived by Craig Lucas and Norman René. The revue sets songs cut from Sondheim's better-known musicals, as well as songs...  more
  • 19
  • 20
    Don Black , Richard Stilgoe
    28
    56

    CharactersPearl the Observation Car, Ashley the Smoking Car, Flat-Top the Brick Truck, Dustin the Big Hopper, Buffy the Buffet Car

    Starlight Express is a rock musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Richard Stilgoe and Arlene Phillips, with revisions by Don Black, David Yazbek and Alistair Lloyd Webber & Nick Coler. The story follows a...  more
  • 21
    Casey Bennetto
    17
    39

    CharactersGareth Evans, Paul Keating, John Howard, Alexander Downer, Bob Hawke

    Keating! is a sung-through musical which portrays the political career of former Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating. Keating was Prime Minister between 1991 and 1996; the musical follows him...  more
  • 22
  • 23
  • 24
    Don Black , Andrew Lloyd Webber
    19
    43

    CharactersSheldon Bloom, Emma

    Tell Me on a Sunday is a musical with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Don Black. A one-act song cycle, it tells the story of an ordinary English girl from Muswell Hill, who journeys to the...  more
  • 25
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List Rules: Vote up the best sung-through musicals.