Last Updated on 29th September 2018
Welcome to our latest instalment of results from our Top 100 Greatest Musicals of all time poll. There are a few new entries and some bona fide classics in this part of the list. Congratulations to all those who are listed in our roll call of truly great musicals.
Did your favourites make the Top 100? Don’t forget to let us know your thoughts in the Comments section below.
Parade is a musical by Jason Robert Brown (music and lyrics) and Alfred Uhry (book). Premiering on Broadway in 1998, it won the Tony Awards for Best Book and Best Original Score and won six Drama Desk Awards. Based on the trial in 1913 of a Jewish factory manager accused of raping and murdering a thirteen-year-old employee, the project was brought to Jason Robert Brown by Harold Prince. There have been several successful productions of Parade in the UK at London’s Donmar Warehouse and most recently at the Hope Mill Theatre in Manchester.
59. South Pacific
South Pacific is a musical based on James A Michener’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Tales Of The South Pacific, combining elements from those stories. The musical has music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II and book by Hammerstein and Josh Logan. South Pacific opened on Broadway in 1949 to immediate acclaim and ran for 1925 performances, becoming Broadway’s second longest running musical at that time. Starring Ezio Pinza and Mary Martin in the lead roles, the show won ten Tony Awards including Best Musical, Best Score and Best Libretto. The show also won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1950. The show has been revived many times around the world winning numerous awards including the 2008 Tony Award for Best Musical Revival.
Phone rings, Door chimes, In comes company… The 1970 musical comedy with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by George Furth was a game changer when it opened on Broadway directed by Harold Prince. Company was a concept musical arranged in a series of short vignettes but without a linear plot. The score features numbers that have become theatrical standards including Being Alive, The Ladies Who Lunch and Another Hundred People. Nominated for a record-breaking fourteen Tony Awards, the show won six including Best Musical and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Music. Revived and produced around the world, the show continues to win awards and gaining fans.
With music and lyrics by David Bryan and lyrics and book by Joe DiPietro, Memphis the musical is loosely based on the life of disc jockey Dewet Phillips, the first white Dj to play black music in the 1950’s. Memphis ran on Broadway from 2009 to 2012 winning four Tony Awards including Best Musical. The show recently played in London, starring Beverley Knight and Killian Donnelly.
56. Moulin Rouge
Baz Luhrmann’s 2001 musical film, Moulin Rouge bought the MTV generation back to musicals in an exuberant, colourful musical starring Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor. Nominated for eight Oscars, it won two for Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design. It was the first musical nominated for Best Picture in 10 years. Luhrmann has recently announced that Moulin Rouge is bound for the stage with a Broadway production to be staged soon.
Based on John Carney’s 2007 film of the same name, the musical has music and lyrics by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová, with a book by Edna Walsh. Premiering at the New York Theatre Workshop in 2011, the show transferred to Broadway in 2012 where it received eleven 2012 Tony Award nominations, winning eight including Best Musical. With a minimalist set, the cast of Once also serve as the show’s orchestra. Once is a genuinely moving musical without the fairytale ending that one might imagine from a musical theatre love story.
54. Dirty Dancing
Starting its life as a film starring Patrick Swayze, Jennifer Warne and Jerry Orbach, Dirty Dancing is a coming of age story set in 1963 in the fictitious Kellerman’s, a holiday resort in the Catskill Mountains. The film featured a soundtrack of popular hits of the period and an Academy Award Winning song I’ve Had The Time Of My Life. The film became a surprise hit earning more than $214 million worldwide, becoming the first home video to sell more than a million copies. Dirty Dancing was subsequently launched as a stage musical which has played to sell-out crowds worldwide, nowhere more so than in the UK where it has played the Aldwych Theatre in the West End with the biggest box office advance in London history. It has since returned to the West End with a third visit due in December 2016 as part of its latest UK Tour. UK Tour Details
Based on Federico Fellini’s semi-autobiographical film 8 1/2, Nine is the story of film director Guido Contini and the women in his life. Dreading his 40th birthday and finding himself in the middle of a mid-life crisis, his world falls apart saved only by advice from his younger self. With a book by Arthur Kopit and music and lyrics by Maury Yeston, the show was initially created as a project for Lehman Engel’s BMI workshop. Opening on Broadway in 1982, Nine was directed and choreographed by Tommy Tune, in a highly stylised production which won five Tony Awards including Best Musical. In 1992 the musical was produced in concert form at the Royal Festival Hall with a cast including Jonathan Price, Elaine Paige and Ann Crumb, directed by Andrew MacBean. A recent Broadway revival featured Antonio Banderas, Chita Rivera, Laura Benati and Jane Krakowski won the Tony Award for Best Revival and Best Actress for Jane Krakowski.
52. The Producers
Based on Mel Brooks’ 1968 film of the same name which starred Gene Wilder and Zero Mostel, the musical version of The Producers made it to Broadway in 2001 starring Nathan lane and Matthew Broderick. The musical with lyrics written by Brooks and music composed by Brooks and arranged by Glen Kelly and Doug Besterman, quickly became a smash hit, winning a record-breaking twelve Tony Awards and running for 2502 performances. The London production which also featured Nathan Lane alongside Lee Evans ran for just over two years winning the Olivier award for Best Musical. The musical was directed and choreographed by award-winner Susan Stroman who also helmed the 2005 film. Recently the show toured the UK again in a production which featured Jason Manford.
51. Calamity Jane
Using the historical association between the real Wild Bill Hickock and Calamity Jane, this classic musical features music by Sammy Fain and lyrics by Paul Frances Webster and a book by Ronald Hanmer and Phil Park, debuted in 1961 following the film version of the musical which starred Doris Day in 1953. The stage version of the musical features six songs not heard in the original film. The musical recently undertook a UK tour starring Jodie Prenger. In the UK actresses as diverse as Prenger, Gemma Craven, Louise Gold, Toyah Wilcox and Barbara Windsor have played Calamity.
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