The 100 Best Musicals of All Time

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Christopher Caggiano is a theater writer, fanatic, and professor at the Boston Conservatory. Caggiano has taught courses in musical-theater history, art criticism, and other topics since 2004. What follows is his own list of the best musicals of all time. The criteria is based on his unique qualifications and expertise in musical theater, which is as follows:

  • Thirty-five years of performing, attending, and obsessing over musical theater
  • Eleven years of teaching the history of musical theater at The Boston Conservatory 
  • Nine years as a critic and journalistic surveyor of the musical-theater landscape 

A Brief Background on Musical Theater

Musical theater is a performance that has a mix of song, dialogue, acting, and dance. Storytelling is a strong component involved in musicals, ​which often uses emotional cues like passion and anger to communicate the drama. Musicals were originally created by George Edwardes in the style of comedy in the 1890s and early 1900s. Today, there are different types of musicals, including book musicals, revue musicals, concept musicals, jukebox musicals, and rock/pop musicals.

The Top 100 Greatest Stage Musicals According to Caggiano

The following is a list of stage musicals, which explains the absence of The Wizard of Oz, Singing in the Rain, and other such Hollywood fare or movie musicals. There are no specific references to any particular production below, but rather to the inherent quality of the piece itself: the words and the music.


  1. Gypsy
  2. My Fair Lady
  3. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
  4. Fiddler on the Roof
  5. Guys and Dolls
  6. Oklahoma!
  7. Cabaret
  8. West Side Story
  9. The Music Man
  10. A Chorus Line
  11. Chicago
  12. The Fantasticks
  13. Carousel
  14. Company
  15. Show Boat
  16. The King and I
  17. Little Shop of Horrors
  18. Sunday in the Park With George
  19. How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
  1. A Little Night Music
  2. She Loves Me
  3. Nine
  4. Follies
  5. Falsettos
  6. Ragtime
  7. Porgy and Bess 
  8. Kiss Me, Kate
  9. On the Town
  10. Into the Woods
  11. A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
  12. Urinetown
  13. The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
  14. Wicked
  15. Rent
  16. South Pacific
  17. 1776
  18. Hair
  19. Hello, Dolly!
  20. La Cage aux Folles
  21. 110 in the Shade
  22. The Producers
  23. Lady in the Dark
  24. City of Angels
  25. Dreamgirls
  26. Avenue Q
  27. The Book of Mormon
  28. Evita
  29. 42nd Street
  30. Brigadoon
  31. The Cradle Will Rock
  32. Once on This Island
  33. Adding Machine
  34. Les Miserables
  35. Bat Boy
  36. The Pajama Game
  37. The Last Five Years 
  38. The Sound of Music
  39. Hairspray
  40. Hedwig and the Angry Inch
  41. Fun Home 
  42. Jesus Christ Superstar
  43. Violet
  44. The Phantom of the Opera
  45. Assassins
  46. A Man of No Importance
  47. You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown
  48. The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas
  49. Ain't Misbehavin’
  50. Anything Goes
  51. Wonderful Town
  52. The Light in the Piazza
  53. The Drowsy Chaperone
  54. The Full Monty
  55. Damn Yankees
  56. Romance/Romance
  57. The Secret Garden
  58. Pippin
  59. Kiss of the Spider Woman
  60. Finian's Rainbow
  61. Once 
  62. Pal Joey
  63. Annie Get Your Gun
  64. Pacific Overtures
  65. On Your Toes
  66. Candide
  67. Annie
  68. Sweet Charity
  69. Beauty and the Beast
  70. Matilda 
  71. Camelot
  72. Mame
  73. Of Thee I Sing
  74. Bye Bye Birdie
  75. Man of La Mancha
  76. Floyd Collins
  77. Grey Gardens
  78. A Day in Hollywood, A Night in the Ukraine
  79. A New Brain
  80. Bring in 'da Noise, Bring in 'da Funk
  81. The Scottsboro Boys