Top 100 Greatest Musicals Poll – Number 1 – Les Miserables

Les Miserables 30th Aniversary - Queens Theatre London

Les Miserables has topped our 100 Greatest Musicals Poll by several thousand votes. The epic musical retelling of Victor Hugo’s classic novel has music by Claude-Michel Schonberg and French lyrics by Alain Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel translated into English by Herbert Kretzmer and additional lyrics by James Fenton. The musical which was produced by Cameron Mackintosh in association with the Royal Shakespeare Company was carefully crafted by co-directors John Caird and Trevor Nunn. Few suspected when it opened to less than gushing reviews at London’s Barbican Centre that it would become the blockbuster sensation that it did, but the public warmed to its humanity and story of triumph over adversity. The show transferred to London’s Palace Theatre in 1985 and opened on Broadway in 1987. Included in the show’s original London cast were Colm Wilkinson, Roger Allam, Patti LuPone, David Burt, Micheal Ball, Frances Ruffelle, Alan Armstrong, Susan Jane Tanner … Read more

Top 100 Greatest Musicals Poll – Number 3 – The Phantom Of The Opera – Miss Saigon

Miss Saigon and The Phantom Of The Opera ties for 3rd place in the Top 100 Greatest musicals poll

It was perhaps inevitable when you open up a public vote like this one that there is a chance of a tie somewhere along the line and such was the case with our Number 3 position when The Phantom Of The Opera and Miss Saigon recieved exactly the same number of votes. The Phantom Of The Opera features music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Charles Hart with additional lyrics by Richard Stilgoe. Phantom is based on Le Fantome del l’Opera by Gaston Leroux. Opening in London’s West End in 1986, on Broadway in 1988 and in Melbourne in 1990, The Phantom Of The Opera won the 1986 Olivier Award and the 1988 Tony Award for Best Musical. In London and on Broadway the show featured Michael Crawford in the title role with Sarah Brightman playing Christine Daae. Phantom’s incredible direction and design brilliance were down to Harold Prince … Read more

Top 100 Greatest Musicals Poll – Number 4 – The Lion King

The Lion King Lyceum Theatre

Based on the 1994 Disney animated film of the same name, The Lion King features music by Elton John, lyrics by Tim Rice, musical score by Hans Zimmer and choral arrangements by Lebo M. Under the direction of visionary director Julie Taymor, who combined puppetry, with ground-breaking stagecraft, The Lion King soon became of the most popular stage musicals around the world. Opening on Broadway in 1997, it is now Broadway’s third-longest running show in history and the highest grossing Broadway production of all time. The London production opening in 1999 and is still running. The show became the highest earning show in box-office history for both stage and film in 2014 when it surpassed The Phantom Of The Opera. The Broadway Production of The Lion King won 6 Tony Awards including Best Musical and 8 Drama Desk Awards. Productions of The Lion King have now been seen across the … Read more

Top 100 Greatest Musicals Poll – Number 6 – West Side Story

Top 100 Greatest Musicals - West Side Story - Number 6

West Side Story with book by Arthur Laurents, music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by a then-aspiring young lyricist (although he wanted to write both music and lyrics) Stephen Sondheim is one of the truly great musicals of all time. In taking Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and transposing its story to the gang culture and conflicts of 1950’s New York, its composers created a musical which is as timeless as its source material. Originally directed and choreographed by the legendary Jerome Robbins, West Side Story opened on Broadway in 1957 where it ran for 732 performances. Surprisingly, when you look back the show only won two Tony Awards in 1958 for Choreography and Scenic Design. The big winner that year was The Music Man! There is little doubt that the popularity of West Side Story grew as a result of the movie adaptation made in 1961 which was co-directed by … Read more

Top 100 Greatest Musicals Poll – Number 7 – Billy Elliot

Top 100 Musicals - Number 7 - Billy Elliot

It’s not often that a British film captures the imagination of the world but Billy Elliot did just that. Released in 2000 the film was a sensation worldwide thanks to its honesty, sincerity and humour.  The story of a boy who favoured ballet shoes over boxing gloves, it was set against the background of the UK Miner’s strike. Billy Elliot features music by Elton John with book and lyrics by Lee Hall who had also written the film’s screenplay. The production was directed by Stephen Daldry and choreographed by Peter Darling. Billy Elliot premiered at London’s Victoria Palace Theatre in May 2005, having abandoned plans to open in Newcastle Upon Tyne. Billy Elliot played 4600 performances in London and is now undergoing its first UK national tour. Further productions opened in Australia in 2007 and on Broadway in 2008. In Australia, the show won seven Helpmann Awards including Best Musical … Read more

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