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789 voters

The Very Best Sung-Through Musicals

Updated November 5, 2020 4.3k votes 789 voters 8.7k 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
    467
    131

    Hamilton

    Lin-Manuel Miranda
    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
  • 2
    354
    93

    Les Misérables

    Claude-Michel Schönberg , Jean-Marc Natel

    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
  • 3
    195
    108

    Rent

    Jonathan Larson

    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

    More Rent 

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  • 4
    154
    79

    The Phantom of the Opera

    Charles Hart , Richard Stilgoe

    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
  • 5
    126
    65

    West Side Story

    Leonard Bernstein , Arthur Laurents

    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
    142
    80

    Falsettos

    James Lapine , William Finn

    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
    119
    64

    Miss Saigon

    Richard Maltby, Jr.

    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
    128
    72

    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 and lyrics by Tim Rice. The musical started as a rock opera concept album before its first staging on...  more
  • 9
    117
    71

    Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812

    Janet Kagan , Howard Kagan
    Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 is a 2012 theater production of the musical by Dave Malloy....
  • 10
    99
    57

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

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    #46 of 87 The Most Popular Broadway Musicals of All Time#5 of 35 The Best Broadway Musicals of the '70s

  • 11
    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
    93
    59

    Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

    Andrew Lloyd Webber , Tim Rice

    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

    More 

    #55 of 185 The Greatest Musicals Ever Performed on Broadway, Ranked#46 of 66 The Best Tony Award Winning Musicals

  • 13
    67
    53

    The Last 5 Years

  • 14
    95
    96

    Cats

    Richard Stilgoe , Andrew Lloyd Webber

    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

    More Cats 

    Every Song in Cats, Ranked by Singability#27 of 49 Stage Musicals That Would Make Great Movies

  • 15
    17
    17

    Aida

    David Henry Hwang , Elton John

    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

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    #7 of 9 The Best Soundtracks and Scores by Elton John#5 of 25 The Best Italian Operas

  • 16
    30
    48

    Notre-Dame de Paris

    Riccardo Cocciante , Luc Plamondon

    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
    21
    40

    Ordinary Days

  • 18
    28
    53

    Repo! The Genetic Opera

  • 19
    21
    42

    Marry Me a Little

    Stephen Sondheim
    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
  • 20
    29
    56

    Starlight Express

    Don Black , Richard Stilgoe

    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
    17
    37

    Keating!

    Casey Bennetto

    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
    17
    37

    Art Thief Musical!

  • 23
    19
    42

    Tell Me on a Sunday

    Don Black , Andrew Lloyd Webber

    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
  • 24
    17
    38

    Starmania

  • 25
    12
    35

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