Welcome to our second instalment of votes 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.
90. Sweet Charity
One of the first Fellini movies to be adapted as a musical, Sweet Charity brought together some of the greatest musical theatre talent of all time, starting with music by Cy Coleman, lyrics by Dorothy Fields and book by Neil Simon. Sweet Charity was directed and choreographed by Bob Fosse and starred his then wife Gwen Verdon. The show was nominated for 9 Tony Awards and is well know for showstoppers including Big Spender, If My Friends Could See Me Know, The Rhythm Of Life and There’s Gotta Be Something Better Than This. The musical was turned into a film starring Shirley Maclaine.
Based on the 2007 film of the same name, Waitress hit Broadway in 2016 with music and lyrics by Sara Bareilles and a book by Jessie Nelson. It was nominated for four Tony Awards. Jenna Hunterson is a waitress who is in an unhappy marriage, she becomes pregnant and starts an affair with her gynaecologist. Looking for ways out she sees a pie contest and its grand prize as a way out.
Footloose is the 1998 musical based on the 1994 film of the same name. The music is by Tom Snow and others, the lyrics by Dean Pitchford and Kenny Loggins and has a book by Walter Bobbie and Dean Pitchford. When rebellious teenager Ren moves to the town of Bomont with his mother, he fights against city elders to abolish a ban against dancing. Nominated for four Tony Awards the show ran on Broadway for 709 performances and has since enjoyed success around the world particularly in the UK where it has toured multiple times. The show features popular hits including Footloose, Let’s Hear It For The Boy and Holding Out For A Hero.
Follies has music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and a book by James Goldman. It tells the story of a group of Follies girls who have a reunion shortly before their former theatre is due for demolition. Focusing on two couples, the show has themes of regret, memories and lost opportunities. It ran for 522 performances on Broadway and was nominated for eleven Tony Awards winning seven. Follies was directed by Harold Prince and Michael Bennett and choreographed by Michael Bennet. Fans of the show should read Everything Was Possible by Ted Chapin, who was then a production assistant on the original production (now head of the Rodgers and Hammerstein Organisation for a fascinating fly on the wall account of this iconic Broadway show.
86. Hello Dolly!
With music and lyrics by Jerry Herman and a book by Michael Stewart, Hello Dolly! ran for 2844 performances on Broadway and won a record-breaking ten Tony Awards (a record that was only broken by The Producers 37 years later). Originally starring Carol Channing it became an iconic musical that was made into a 1969 film starring Barbra Streisand that was nominated for seven Oscars winning three. Many iconic peformer have played Dolly Levi including Ginger Rogers, Betty Grable, Phyllis Diller, Ethel Merman, Dorothy Lamour, Alice Faye, Yvonne De Carlo, Mary Martin and Pearl Bailey (who starred in an all-black version with Cab Calloway and a young Morgan Freeman)
Adapted from the 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, the musical comedy Spamalot premiered on Broadway in 2005 directed by Mike Nicholls where it won three Tony Awards including Best Musical. The original Broadway production starred Tim Curry, Hank Azaria, David Hyde Pierce, Christopher Sieber and Christian Borle. The show has since repeated its success around the world.
84. Top Hat
Top Hat is a musical first presented in 2011 based on the 1935 film of the same name. Top Hat features a score by legendary composer and lyricist Irving Berlin. Top Hat won three Olivier Awards in 2013 including Best Musical. The show features fourteen songs by Irving Berlin and was choreographed by Bill Deamer and directed by Matthew White. The West End production starred Tom Chambers and Summer Strallen.
Barnum is a musical based on P T Barnum, the celebrated American showman who would go on to create the Barnum and Bailey Circus. With music by Cy Coleman, lyrics by Michael Stewart and a book by Mark Bramble, the show combined traditional musical theatre with performance elements from the world of circus. The original Broadway production opened in 1980 and ran for 854 performances starring Jim Dale and Glenn Close. The show opened in the West End in 1981 at the London Palladium where it ran for 655 performances starring Michael Crawford, who won the 1981 Olivier Award for Best Actor In A Musical.
82. High Society
High Society started life as a 1956 film musical starring Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly and Frank Sinatra with music and lyrics by Cole Porter. Later the stage musical was developed with a book by Arthur Kopit. Based on the 1939 stage comedy The Philadelphia Story by Philip Barry the score featured Porter classics including Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, True Love, Well Did You Evah! and Samantha. It’s Broadway premiere in 1998 featured Ana Kendrick in an eraly role.
81. Sister Act
Based on the 1992 hit film, Sister Act has a book written by Bill and Cheri Steinkellner with additional material by Douglas Carter Beane, lyrics by Glenn Slater and music by Alan Menken. Sister Act had a few out of town try outs in Pasadena and Atlanta before opening in June 2009 at the London Palladium starring Patina Miller who revised the role in the subsequent Broadway production.
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