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The Best Tony Award Winning Musicals

Updated April 14, 2021 8.6k votes 918 voters 25.6k views

List RulesBest musicals to have won a Tony Award for Best Musical, not just any award.

This list ranks the greatest musicals that have won the Tony Award for Best Musical, though many of these Broadway musicals have garnered multiple additional Tony Awards in other categories as well. Broadway musicals that’ve been honored with the Best Musical award include many that are instantly recognizable by fans around the world, including My Fair Lady and Annie. Thanks to their accolades and their recognizability, each musical on this list deserves a spot as one the best Tony Award winning musicals.

The Tony Awards were introduced in 1947, but it wasn’t until 1949 that the Best Musical category was introduced. That year, the show many people consider to be one of the greatest Broadway musicals of all time took the award: Kiss Me, Kate, based on Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew and with music by Cole Porter. Since then, many amazing Broadway musicals have been handed the award, including Kinky Boots, which debuted on Broadway in 2013.

With so many great Broadway musicals, however, it isn’t always easy to choose the winner of the Tony each year. That was certainly the case in 1960, when The Sound of Music and Fiorello! tied for the top spot. Both Tony Award winning productions were so popular that they’ve subsequently been staged on Broadway multiple times, earning them each a spot on this list of the best Broadway musicals that have won the Tony.

This list contains all of the greatest winners of the Tony for Best Musical. If you’ve yet to see a few of these productions, don’t worry, they’re so popular that they’re sure to make it back to Broadway, and this list includes videos from these top Broadway musicals. Vote up the best Broadway musicals on the list below.

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    South Pacific

    Richard Rodgers, Joshua Logan

    CharactersEmile De Becque, Liat, Luther Billis, Bloody Mary, Capt. Brackett

    South Pacific is a musical composed by Richard Rodgers, with lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II and book by Hammerstein and Joshua Logan. The work premiered in 1949 on Broadway and was an immediate hit,...  more
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    Heathers

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    Guys and Dolls

    Jo Swerling, Abe Burrows

    CharactersSky Masterson, Nathan Detroit, Sister Sarah Brown, Nicely-Nicely Johnson, Miss Adelaide

    Guys and Dolls is a musical with music and lyrics by Frank Loesser and book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows. It is based on "The Idyll of Miss Sarah Brown" and "Blood Pressure" – two short stories by...  more
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    Beauty and the Beast

    Alan Menken , Linda Woolverton

    CharactersBelle, Gaston, Beast, Babette, Wardrobe

    Beauty and the Beast is a musical with music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, and book by Linda Woolverton. Adapted from Walt Disney Pictures' Academy Award-winning 1991 animated...  more

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    Kinky Boots

    Cindy Lauper, Harvey Fierstein
    Kinky Boots is a Broadway musical with music and lyrics by Cyndi Lauper and a book by Harvey Fierstein. Based on the 2005 British film Kinky Boots, written by Geoff Deane and Tim Firth and inspired...  more
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    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

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    Every Song in Cats, Ranked by Singability#5 of 33 The Best Broadway Musicals of the 80s

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    Billy Elliot the Musical

    Elton John, Lee Hall

    CharactersBilly Elliot, Debbie Wilkinson, Tony Elliot, Mr. Braithwaite, George Watson

    Billy Elliot the Musical is a musical based on the 2000 film Billy Elliot. The music is by Elton John, and the book and lyrics are by Lee Hall, who wrote the film's screenplay. The plot revolves...  more
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    Annie

    Martin Charnin, Thomas Meehan

    CharactersAnnie, Oliver "Daddy" Warbucks, Miss Agatha Hannigan, Daniel Francis "Rooster" Hannigan, Lily St. Regis

    Annie is a Broadway musical based upon the popular Harold Gray comic strip Little Orphan Annie, with music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Martin Charnin, and the book by Thomas Meehan. The original...  more
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    Hello, Dolly!

    Jerry Herman, Michael Stewart

    CharactersDolly Levi, Minnie Fay, Barnaby Tucker, Horace Vandergelder, Irene Molloy

    Hello, Dolly! is a musical with lyrics and music by Jerry Herman and a book by Michael Stewart, based on Thornton Wilder's 1938 farce The Merchant of Yonkers, which Wilder revised and retitled The...  more
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    Anything Goes

    Guy Bolton , P. G. Wodehouse

    CharactersBilly Crocker, Reno Sweeney, Elisha J. Whitney, Mrs. Evangeline Harcourt, Hope Harcourt

    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...  more
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    CharactersHedy LaRue, Rosemary Pilkington, Jasper B. Biggley, Smitty, J. Pierrepont Finch

    How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying: The Dastard's Guide to Fame and Fortune is a humorous 1952 book by Shepherd Mead. It inspired a successful 1961 musical of the same name, which was...  more
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    Hair

    Gerome Ragni , Galt MacDermot

    CharactersSheila Franklin, George Berger, Woof, Claude Hooper Bukowski, Jeannie Ryan

    Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical is a rock musical with a book and lyrics by Gerome Ragni and James Rado and music by Galt MacDermot. A product of the hippie counterculture and sexual...  more

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    Legally Blonde: The Musical

    Heather Hach , Laurence O'Keefe

    CharactersElle Woods, Professor Callahan, Serena McGuire, Paulette Bonafonté, Margot

    Legally Blonde is a musical with music and lyrics by Laurence O'Keefe and Nell Benjamin and book by Heather Hach. The story is based on the novel Legally Blonde by Amanda Brown and the 2001 film of...  more
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    Jersey Boys

    Marshall Brickman, Rick Elice

    CharactersJoe Pesci, Bob Crewe, Tommy DeVito, Nick Massi, Frankie Valli

    Jersey Boys is a jukebox musical with music by Bob Gaudio, lyrics by Bob Crewe, and book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice. It is presented in a documentary-style format that dramatizes the...  more
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    Dreamgirls

    Tom Eyen , Henry Krieger

    CharactersEffie White, Deena Jones, C. C. White, James Early, Curtis Taylor

    Dreamgirls is a Broadway musical, with music by Henry Krieger and lyrics and book by Tom Eyen. Based upon the show business aspirations and successes of R&B acts such as The Supremes, The Shirelles,...  more
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    Kiss Me, Kate

    Sam Spewack, Cole Porter

    CharactersBill Calhoun, Lilli Vanessi, Lois Lane, Frederick C. Graham, Paul

    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...  more
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    Kiss of the Spider Woman

    Terrence McNally, Fred Ebb

    CharactersLuis Molina, Valentin Arregui Paz, Gabriel, Spider Woman

    Kiss of the Spider Woman is a musical with music by John Kander and Fred Ebb, with the book by Terrence McNally. It is based on the Manuel Puig novel El Beso de la Mujer Araña. Directed by Harold...  more
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    The Music Man

    Franklin Lacey, Meredith Willson

    CharactersHarold Hill, Eulalie Mackechnie Shinn, Marcellus Washburn, Mayor George Shinn, Marian Paroo

    The Music Man is a musical with book, music, and lyrics by Meredith Willson, based on a story by Willson and Franklin Lacey. The plot concerns con man Harold Hill, who poses as a boys' band organizer...  more

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    CharactersMiles Gloriosus, Senex, Hero, Marcus Lycus, Philia

    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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    #581 of 925 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films#12 of 20 The Best Musicals by Stephen Sondheim

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    Spamalot

    Neil Innes, John Du Prez

    CharactersPatsy, Sir Bors, Brother Maynard, Sir Bedevere, The Strangely Flatulent

    Monty Python's Spamalot is a musical comedy adapted from the 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Like the film, it is a highly irreverent parody of the Arthurian Legend, but it differs from...  more

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    Every Song in Spamalot, Ranked by Singability#45 of 87 The Most Popular Broadway Musicals of All Time

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    Thoroughly Modern Millie

    Jeanine Tesori, Richard Morris

    CharactersMiss Dorothy Brown, Mrs. Meers, Oriental #2, Millie Dillmount, Jimmy Smith

    Thoroughly Modern Millie is a musical with music by Jeanine Tesori, lyrics by Dick Scanlan, and a book by Richard Morris and Scanlan. It is based on the 1967 film of the same name, which itself was...  more
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    Pippin

    Stephen Schwartz , Roger O. Hirson

    CharactersCatherine, Berthe, Pippin, Fastrada, Charles

    Pippin is a 1972 musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and a book by Roger O. Hirson. Bob Fosse, who directed the original Broadway production, also contributed to the libretto. The...  more

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    #8 of 35 The Best Broadway Musicals of the '70s#11 of 49 Stage Musicals That Would Make Great Movies

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    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

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    #21 of 39 The Best Broadway Shows for Kids#4 of 17 The Best Musicals by Andrew Lloyd Webber

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    The Who's Tommy

    Des McAnuff , Pete Townshend

    CharactersUncle Ernie, Tommy, The Lover, The Hawker, Sally Simpson

    The Who's Tommy is a rock musical with music and lyrics by Pete Townshend and book by Townshend and Des McAnuff, based on The Who's 1969 rock opera Tommy....  more
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    A Little Night Music

    Hugh Wheeler, Stephen Sondheim

    CharactersDesiree Armfeldt, Charlotte Malcolm, Henrik Egerman, Count Carl-Magnus Malcolm, Anne Egerman

    A Little Night Music is a musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by Hugh Wheeler. Inspired by the Ingmar Bergman film Smiles of a Summer Night, it involves the romantic lives of...  more
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List Rules: Best musicals to have won a Tony Award for Best Musical, not just any award.