My Top Ten Musicals

I don't even know about ranking anymore, y'all.  I know the top three and beyond that it's all malarkey. 

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#10. Carousel

shirley jones carousel movie

My love for this musical has abated somewhat over the last little while, but I still think it's excellent.  It examines some weighty, complicated issues that most other stories don't have the guts to do (especially nowadays).  When does a person become "irredeemable"?  Does someone who does genuinely bad ⎼ perhaps even abusive ⎼ things still have value as a human being?  Can they "come back" and be welcomed into society and relationships again?

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to these situations, but this story contains a dialogue on the concept that is refreshingly open-minded. 

#9. Hello, Dolly!

This is such a goofy, light-hearted, oversized musical.  It makes me happy, and I think it'd be fun to experience in lots of different adaptations, not just the Barbra Streisand movie that I've seen.  I'd also get a kick out of playing Dolly Levi, I suspect. 😜

#8. The Music Man

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Again, quite silly and cheesy; but, also again, lots of happiness, lots of low-stakes fun.  And the music is really good.  Marian would be lots of fun to play. 

#7. Les Misérables

This isn't one of those that I'd watch a whole lot, because it's pretty depressing and can also drag a bit if watched beginning to end, in my opinion.  But the score is iconic and the way the creators streamlined Hugo's original story is very effective.  Even though I wouldn't dive into it at a moment's notice, I do love it and it's always kind of "there" at the back of my musical theatre consciousness. 

[Also, y'all need to stop pronouncing it "Les Miserab" or I'm gonna blow a gasket.  Call it Les Mis or stumble ineptly through the full French pronunciation.  Please and thank you.]

#6. Newsies

It took me a while to join the fandom for this musical, but now I love it.  Oodles of fun, gently socioeconomic, pure, invigorating, adorable. 

#5. Mamma Mia!

Mother's Day Movies - Mamma Mia

Once I realized that I was in possession of a remote control that happened to be in possession of a fast-forward button, I was thrilled to rediscover this musical on my own terms.  I can skip some of the overly suggestive bits and still love the gorgeous setting and the wonderful relationships and the surprising lessons and the breezy aesthetic and the joyful music with all my heart. 😊

[Although, if you don't feel comfortable with the musical due to the content, you could always still get a bit of the experience by listening to the original ABBA music.]

#4. The Phantom of the Opera

Final Lair Phantom of the Opera - Ramin Karimloo Sierra Boggess

Again, I can't really watch this very often because it makes me even sadder than Les Misérables, but I do love that score to bitsy pieces.  

[The song stops at about 2:30.]

#3. Evita

Ladies of the Theater Evita

Evita has an almost inexplicable hold on me.  The music is incredible, of course; the story is compelling; I love how it all comes together.  The two main characters make me feel things.  And I also love how Eva's relationship with Peron develops from an opportunistic endeavor to a real devotion. ♥  The political complexities of the story are interesting, too ⎼ made all the better, of course, by Che's stingingly jaded commentary.

#2. Aida


This musical's score floors me.  It's so good.  The lyrics are incredible, the music is amazing . . . ack.  The story plays on the "ill-fated lovers" trope, putting a few legitimate political twists on it and including an actually valid love triangle.  (Well . . . it's not so much a triangle as a conundrum, because the guy is clearly devoted to the one girl, but he has a responsibility to the other . . . kind of a Sense and Sensibility situation.)  Anyway.  It's phenomenal and I love it. 

#1. My Fair Lady

Beautiful Publicity Stills of Audrey Hepburn as Eliza Doolittle in ‘My Fair Lady’ ~ vintage everyday

I've raved about this show quite enough, I think.  Suffice it to say that I almost never tire of it.

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[For context, some runners-up/ones-that-might-be-on-the-list-tomorrow would be: Anastasia, The Sound of Music, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Guys and Dolls, The Greatest Showman, and Peter Pan.]

Which musicals do you like?
Do we share any favorites?


  1. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, musicals. *heart eyes*

    My top 3 faves are Hamilton, Newsies, and Les Mis. Beyond that, it's all . . . well, malarkey. ;-)


  2. I knew that My Fair Lady was going to be #1. :) I haven't listened to Aida or Evita (except "Don't Cry for me Argentina"), so I had better get crackin'!

    I love The Music Man!! It's my favorite musical!!! Have you seen the 1962 movie version with Robert Preston? It is so good!! <3

    Newsies!!! <3 I'm going to be singing "The World Will Know" all day now...

    1. Yeah you did. ;) You definitely should! They're fantastic. (Both tragedies, but, y'know. Who cares.)

      I haven't! I've actually only seen the newer remake. It took a while to grow on me, so I'm wondering how I'd feel about other iterations . . . we'll have to see. ;)

      aNd tHe JoUrNaL tOO!

  3. I'm very particular about musicals, so I can't really call myself a fan of the genre. But when I find one I love, I really LOVE it.

    My Fair Lady is my favorite musical and also one of my favorite films ever. The song lyrics are so bitingly clever, witty and fun. And oh....that costuming!

    I just saw Hello Dolly for the first time this summer on stage and have been meaning to watch the movie for comparison's sake.

    Les Mis and Phantom also made a huge impression on me because I first saw them on Broadway in NYC. The ending of the Phantom literally haunted me for weeks. I couldn't quit thinking about it and was glad the movie eventually provided a more wrapped up ending.

    I made the mistake of watching Evita right after my grandpa died. Not the best timing, but I still loved the songs.

    My mom used to blast ABBA, so we enjoy watching Mamma Mia together.

    Aida is the only one on this list I haven't seen. But I'm also partial to Moulin Rogue, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, The Sound of Music and The Greatest Showman.

    1. I get that. I think I'm kind of that way about Westerns -- I WOULD call myself a fan of the genre as a whole, but I've realized lately that I really am a little picky.

      SAAAAAME. One of my top ten favorite movies of all time, probably in the top three. I ADORE that movie.

      I feel like it'd be interesting to see it on stage and see how they changed certain aspects.

      Exactly, that's the thing -- Phantom is such a haunting story, such a haunting show, that I don't really put myself through it that often. Yes, I liked what they did with the ending of the movie.

      I'm sorry. :( That certainly wouldn't have been the best time. I agree, the songs are fantastic.

      Before we younger ones were old enough to watch the movie, my sister would play the soundtrack over and over while we cleaned up after dinner. It's a great memory. :)

      "Come What May" from Moulin Rouge is one of my favorite musical theatre songs ever, though I'm skeptical of liking the show itself. Still, it's been a while since I've considered it, maybe I should try it anyhow.

  4. Not a big fan of Carousel, adore Hello, Dolly! (Dolly Levi is one of my role models -- she's basically a fairy godmother), love Music Man and Les Mis, dig Newsies, haven't seen the Mamma Mia movies yet (but want to cuz Pierce Brosnan), adore Phantom and Evita, haven't seen any version of Aida but am familiar with some of the opera score, and like My Fair Lady :-)

    1. I'd never thought of Dolly Levi that way but now that you mention it . . .

      I think you'd get a kick out of the Mamma Mia movies. I could be wrong, but I think so. ;)

      I knew you'd back me on Evita. ;) I remember squealing over Che.

      I wonder what I'd think of the Aida opera. I really like the musical, but haven't tried the opera yet, though I've heard of it.

  5. My sister and brother-in-law would be delighted to see Aida on this list, as they played that musical a bunch of times (they're both musicians), and not that many people seem to know it. They love it, but I admit Elton John is not my thing, so even though they gave me a CD of it... I didn't make it through. I love the music in Carousel (If I Loved You is one of my favorite musical songs of all time), but can't say I enjoy the musical itself. I adore Evita, though, and the movie is great. Many of these I haven't seen. I'm not really familiar with Hello Dolly, Les Mis, Newsies, or the Music Man.

    1. Yeah, it's got quite an Elton John feel to it, so that makes sense. ;-P The Carousel music is so good! Evita is wonderful, oh my word. I love it. <3 Which are your favorite musicals? Or do you prefer operas?

  6. Favorite musicals:
    Phantom of the Opera
    The Greatest Showman
    The Sound of Music
    Mamma Mia

    1. Fabulous choices! My sister loves Wicked. What did you think of the Mamma Mia sequel?

  7. My overall favorite musical is probably Newsies, and then I also love many songs from Les Mis & Phantom of the Opera, among others! 😉

    Have you ever listened to Elisabeth das Musical? It's in German, but there is an English subtitled one on Youtube. I think you'd like it, (it has Death personified, which is super cool). It's sad in some ways, but a lot of musicals are.... :)


      I haven't, no! But I'll look into it. Ooh, I haven't really experienced Death as a character apart from The Book Thief, and I can see it being cool in a musical. I really appreciate the rec, thanks! :)

    2. No problem! Here's the link to the first part:
      And part 2:

  9. Ooohh, I love this post!!!! *heart eye emojis*

    You were the one that introduced me to Carousel, actually! I'm not a huge fan of the story line, but I agree, there are definitely some good parts in it for sure! (And some gorgeous songs... I absolutely LOVE "If I Loved You"... it's particularly fun to sing in the shower. ;D) And yes, Deep Thoughts such as when does someone become irredeemable really intrigue me... I often feel like there is a 'point' in the story when I write someone off as irredeemable, but then I feel ashamed of it afterwards because that's seems like such a graceless thing to do. I mean, does God ever write someone off as irredeemable? Would you ever be able to tell someone to their face that no matter what they say, do, how they change, how their heart is turned, they will never be allowed back, or even welcome to do so? I could never. So to think that THAT is what I'm subconsciously saying in my head when I make that judgement is AWFUL. But I will refrain from diving into that any deeper. ;)

    Ohh, yess, Hello, Dolly!! I've only seen the movie once, but I remember thinking it a big ball of fun... I should re-watch that! My library has gotten rid of it since, though. :(

    The Music Man, Mamma Mia and Evita are all high on my to-watch list, as I haven't seen any of them yet. I really must rectify that...

    Ohhh, Les Miserables. *clutches at heart* I think that is still my ultimate favourite musical. It just DOES THINGS for me. It pulls me apart and brings me together all at once. It has so much going on, and every time I watch it I learn something new. It's beautiful and tragic and heartbreaking and I love it so. But yes, also very emotionally exhausting.

    YESYESYES!!! NEWSIES!!! That's definitely up there Very High for me. It's so much FUN and so energetic and gives me all the feeeeels.

    Oh Phantom!! *cries* Yeah, that one leaves me a sobbing mess Every. Single. Time. But it's still so good! It's just such an epic show. I really want to see it live someday - at least once.

    I still haven't listened to Aida! And you're the only person I've heard about it from! I'll have to bookmark the soundtrack on YouTube...

    Ahh yes, My Fair Lady is SUCH a classic. ;) I saw it live this year and my word, it was fantastic!!!

    I'm anticipating going to see Wicked in 2020 live and I am Very Stoked. :D

    1. :D :D

      Well, I feel like ALL of us have that tendency to "write people off," though? I think it's part of the human condition. Which doesn't excuse it, but at least you needn't feel like you're an abnormally ungracious person. :-P No, but in all seriousness, it's really not just you--I can feel that way sometimes too, but, as you said, if God doesn't say it, we shouldn't say it. To claim that there is a limit to someone's capacity for redemption is to claim that there is a limit to the saving power of the blood of Jesus. Something we all need to grow in, for sure. <3

      Isn't it annoying when libraries get rid of things? :-/

      I hope you enjoy them! I feel like you'd quite like Mamma Mia, but I could be wrong. :-P

      Les Mis, Newsies, Phantom . . . all such good ones. :)

      *I'd* certainly recommend bookmarking the soundtrack. ;) It's amazing. Y'know, in my personal opinion.

      Ack, you did?? Wait, maybe I knew that . . . Anywho. That's awesome. ;)

      GIRL YES

  10. I've seen a lot of musicals, mainly film versions, but I'd have to say my favorites are:

    Scrooge 1970
    Jesus Christ Superstar 1973
    The Rocky Horror Picture Show 1975
    The Blues Brothers 1980
    Annie 1982 (also saw the live musical when I lived in St Louis, which starred Rue McClanahan)
    Les Misérables 2012
    The Lorax 2012

    1. I've never heard of Scrooge or The Blues Brothers. Ahh, The Lorax is a really fun movie. I didn't care for it the first time I saw it, but then I re-watched it and really enjoyed it.

  11. Kate again! I love this list because Phantom and Les Mis are some of the most ICONIC musicals and I adore them... but also because I got some fresh recs! I've never even HEARD of Aida -- I'm so excited to give it a listen now!

    1. Huzzah! I hope you love whichever new ones you try (Aida is AMAZING). :)


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