More Than 45 of the Most Overrated Musicals

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Paulo Szot and Kelli O'Hara on South Pacific. Google Images

There are many different ways by which a musical might earn the "overrated" dubious distinction. For instance, an overrated musical may include a bloated blockbuster that's been running for decades, despite the fact that many more worthy shows have come and gone in those intervening years. Examples of this consist of musicals like The Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, and Miss Saigon.

Other considerably overrated shows would comprise of the critical success that wins several awards, perhaps based on the admittedly worthy messages these shows might espouse.

Yet, the inherent quality of these shows may not warrant the acclaim. By way of illustration, consider the show South Pacific about two parallel love stories set in paradise during World War II. Also, consider the musical Kinky Boots, a Broadway show with music and lyrics from Cyndi Lauper surrounding a true story about a boy who abandons's his family's shoe factory.

Sentimental and Obscure Overrated Musicals

Other overrated musicals might include nostalgic favorites that were really never all that good, to begin with. Consider shows like Godspell and The Sound of Music. Additionally, overrated musicals may include relatively obscure shows that have nonetheless gained acclaim among theater insiders, without necessarily warranting that acclaim. The latter may include the musical Bare or Andrew Lippa's The Wild Party.

47 of the Most Overrated Musicals in Theater

While these musicals may be considered overrated, they are not labeled as bad or unenjoyable.

In fact, some of the musicals that follow are enjoyed, to a certain extent, by many. Whether a fan or not, the musicals listed below have all receive more success or acclaim than they would seem to deserve.

  1. South Pacific

  2. Hamilton 

  3. Mamma Mia!

  4. Pippin

  5. Miss Saigon

  6. The Sound of Music

  7. Kinky Boots 

  8. Billy Elliot

  9. Spring Awakening

  1. Bye Bye Birdie

  2. Cats

  3. Spamalot

  4. Forever Plaid

  5. Jekyll & Hyde

  6. Les Miserables

  7. Funny Girl 

  8. Grease 

  9. Nunsense

  10. Lazarus

  11. Annie  

  12. In the Heights 

  13. Blood Brothers

  14. Legally Blonde

  15. The Lion King

  16. Man of La Mancha

  17. The Wiz

  18. Mary Poppins

  19. Memphis 

  20. Nunsense

  21. Oliver!

  22. Passion

  23. Promises, Promises 

  24. We Will Rock You

  25. The Wild Party (Lippa) 

  26. Evita 

  27. The Rocky Horror Show 

  28. Jesus Christ Superstar 

  29. Buddy - The Buddy Holly Story 

  30. Starlight Express 

  31. Annie Get Your Gun 

  32. Movin' Out

  33. Sweet Charity

  34. The Magic Show 

  35. Damn Yankees 

  36. Footloose 

  37. Anything Goes 

  38. Godspell

Further Reading From a Musical Theater Critic

Now that the most overrated musicals in theater have been reviewed, discover additional listicles by Christopher Caggiano. Caggiano has over 35 years of experience in musical theater performance, attendance, and personal obsession. He has taught the history of musical theater for 11 years at The Boston Conservatory and has been practicing as a critic and journalist in the genre for nine years. The following includes further insights from him around the subject, including the best musicals of all time, the worst ones, and the most underrated.