The Sunday Giveaway: 2 Tickets to Follies on Broadway

You read that right.  We’ve giving away two tickets to one of the biggest hits of the fall . . . Follies.

I think everyone knew that this Bernadette Peters and Elaine Paige production of the musical that Ben Brantley calls “One of the greatest musicals ever written” would be good.  But I don’t think everyone knew that the production would be commercial.

One of the greatest surprises of the fall was how many times this Sondheim show partied in the million-dollar club in the weekly Broadway grosses round up.

And with only a few weeks left (it “must close” on January 22nd), I’m sure that the party will be raging once again pretty soon.

But you can go for free!

Here’s how you can win:

Imagine you’re the NY Times Chief Drama Critic and everyone quotes your every word.  Someone asks you, “What is the great musical ever written?”

What would you say?

Not the best of the year or the best of the decade . . . the best ever!

Answer away and I’ll pick a random winner!



(Got a comment?  I love ’em, so comment below!  Email subscribers, click here, then scroll down, to say what’s on your mind!)

  • Reginald says:

    Into The Woods! Magical and moving, full of wisdom and theatricality with some amazing music and storytelling!

  • Morgan says:

    Sweeney Todd

  • Natalie Chernicoff says:

    As a female musical theatre actor, the first thing that comes to mind as the greatest is “Side Show,” because it features two incredibly strong female leads (who aren’t presented as damsels in distress, either).

  • Sarah says:

    West Side Story

  • Allie says:

    It’s difficult to pick just one! I’m going to go with The Music Man, though I’ll admit I’m a little biased as I was in the show in high school 🙂

  • Allison says:

    West Side Story

  • Mike says:

    In my opinion, the greatest musical ever written would have to be Company. The tunes that Sondheim concocted for the show are just so melodic and catchy.

  • James says:

    Add me to the ‘West Side Story’ gang.

  • NineDaves says:

    That’s easy – Gypsy. Not a bad song in the whole show (okay, maybe “Little Lamb,” but at least it’s short), a phenomenal book, and the most developed characters I’ve ever seen on stage. There’s a reason they keep reviving it every few years. Simply the best.

  • South Pacific, all the way.

  • emily says:

    Add me to the Into the Woods bandwagon. It engaged me as a young teenager with the fairy tale stories & I still love being able to analyze the show with friends and singing the songs at piano bars.

  • JV says:

    Gypsy is the perfect musical that has a book and score that is simply superb. The seamless transition from spoken word to song is very natural.

  • Julie Keyes says:

    Id have to say ‘White Christmas’ and not just because of the current holiday season, but because of the purity of the show. It is just so family oriented, it includes how the troops away from home can spend their holidays and the music is perfect. With titles like ‘Count your Blessings’ and ‘Snow’ and of course ‘White Christmas’ it truly is the most perfect musical you can see.

  • Robb Johnston says:

    In my opinion? Sweeney Todd. Epic show. grand sweeping music (when not directed by Doyle). Spectacle without all the mechanics of contemporary blockbusters

  • First I have to clarify that there really can be no such thing as “Best Musical Ever” since it’s all subjective however that being said I would say In The Heights. It’s structurally and, by Irving Berlin’s definition, the best example of Musical theater perfection.

  • Patrick says:

    Man of La Mancha

  • Roger Gindi says:

    I still think GUYS AND DOLLS. Great score, fun story that you can get emotionally involved in.

  • Steven Ullman says:

    I’m asked this question all the time and I struggle to answer it. Inevitably, my answer is “Well, there’s West Side Story and then there’s the rest of musical theatre.”

  • Frank York says:

    Urinetown the musical!

  • Karlan Judd says:

    With appropriate grandiosity, I would say that the best musical ever written is the American story. IMHO, our optimism is what has inspired this art form, and from here it has spread out to all corners of the globe. Dream big, laugh big, cry big, win big, lose big and do it all from within a community that can relate to your journey. All are not only welcome at the musical theatre table, all are critical guests. So Happy Holidays to ALL and lets cheer on this amazing art form next year!

  • I’d like to submit a comedy and a drama.
    Les Miserables
    Sweeney Todd
    You decide which is which.

  • Ellie says:

    Chorus Line
    Guys and Dolls

  • Michael Reed says:


  • Randi says:

    West Side Story!

  • Jake says:

    GYPSY GYSPY GYSPY. I, for one, am ready for the Beth Leavel edition (and the subsequent Donna Murphy, Sherie Rene Scott and (eventually) Sutton Foster ones).

  • Rafi Levavy says:

    My Fair Lady.

  • Lisa V. says:

    Well, since I’m a critic, I can find fault in anything so I will answer the question posed by responding with what I believe to be the musical with the fewest flaws. That show is “South Pacific.” “South Pacific” is “edifying,” inspiring”, and filled with one of the “greatest scores of all time.” Now, go ahead and pick apart my quote for your next marketing campaign….

  • Luci DeVoy says:

    Gypsy, for two facts. One it is one of the first to have seamless transition from word to song, and the book is a wonderful rich stand alone work.

  • Michael Betts says:

    Sunday in the Park with George. It gets right down to the heart of the struggle to create art.

  • Sean says:

    Best show ever written I would say is Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny (although technically an opera). Kurt Weill’s BEST work!! Some of the best musical theater ever. lol

  • Sean says:

    Absolutely “West Side Story”… it changed what we thought of theatre….musically, story, all fantastic! And then you had a career starters with the likes of Chita Rivera….Brilliant!

  • Quantanamo says:

    Seven Brides for Seven Brothers for the line: “Well, I’d have to finish my chores.” (Jane Powell’s answer to Howard Keel’s proposal.) And for Gideon’s unique shade of red.

  • Jerry says:

    Very difficult to answer, however I’ll say that WEST SIDE STORY is best all around.

  • Michael Hodge says:

    Ragtime. This was the 1st grand scale, epic musical of the 20th century that eclipsed all those prior 1980/90 British imports. This musical’s book and score wil stand the test of time and never become dated..Racial inequality, immigration, all pretty relevant today.

  • Z says:

    Sunday in the Park with George.

  • Eric says:

    Everything’s coming up… GYPSY!

  • Sweeney Todd — best work for the stage ever– includes opera, ballet, plays

  • Cam says:

    I’d have to say “Fiddler on the Roof” since it’s still playing around the US even today with the same lead actor! I saw it again last year in Tacoma Washington. Still as great today as it was when I was a little girl. Loved it!

  • David says:

    Though I’ve heard compelling arguments for My Fair Lady, Sweeney, Sunday in the Park, and West Side Story, each moment has a particular energy and specificity in a quality production of Gypsy.

  • Marybeth says:

    Oklahoma. It’s the epitome of the golden age of Broadway.

  • Kate says:

    West Side Story. the best integrated musical

  • Michael DiGaetano says:

    Guys and Dolls. It is perfection.

  • Claire says:

    Sweeney Todd.

  • scott stolzenberg says:


  • Jinay says:

    A Little Night Music is, I think, the best crafted musical of all time.

  • Cameron Burns says:

    Sweeney Todd, hands down.

  • Jordan Levine says:

    South Park: Bigger, Longer, & Uncut

  • Katherine says:

    I’m adding my vote to West Side Story. The night I saw it live for the first time was the best night of my life.

  • Jacob says:

    Many Sondheim musicals are thrown around as being the best musical of all, but for me, “A Little Night Music” takes the cake. The music is better integrated into the show than any other. You really understand why the characters must sing to express themselves. And you cannot beat “Send in the Clowns.”

  • Santa N. says:

    Les Miserables :o)

  • Heather McAllister says:

    I saw Bernadette in Gypsy, amazing!!! She makes everything “the best,” and I’d love to see her Follies!!!

  • Meredith says:

    The artist in me wants to declare the best musical as Sunday in the Park With George, which broke the mold of what a musical could be. (Wait — the characters are all painted images?)
    But from a critical standpoint, I think it’s most definitely Into the Woods. I believe the arts are about holding a mirror up to ourselves to understand who we are as individuals and a society, to laugh at ourselves, grieve with ourselves and find joy in our humanity. Into the Woods is all of that, with the added bonus of incredible music and lyrics. It tells the story of the human experience and all the good and bad in between. Perfection.

  • Ethan Karetsky says:

    Sweeney Todd

  • Scott says:

    With all due respect, Sondheim is great, but he would be nowhere without Jerome Kern and Roger Hammerstein II. Show Boat is the best musical ever written. Why? Because it was the show that opened the door to the modern day musical. It was the first popular musical that had a story into which the songs were woven. It wasn’t just Zigfield Follies or another musical revue. It was also the first show to handle the serious issue of race and slavery, introducing a conflict and a serious issue of the day into a form of entertainment. And the music is wonderful!

  • Elaine Marlowe says:

    The best musical of all time “Gypsy”. It had everything and the music is a fresh as tomorrow

  • Candace says:

    Les Miserables: Beautiful music, great story, and gets me to cry EVERY time, even when watching a dress rehearsal (in T-shirts!) of high schoolers singing it at the Palisades Mall!

  • Tracey says:

    The greatest musical even written is the one that forces us all to give in to the most seductive, dark side of our mind while still yet forcing us to look adversity clearly in the eye: The Phantom of the Opera!

  • Matt Corriel says:

    The greatest musical ever written… has yet to be written! Our theatre writers are learning from the great masters who have come before, adopting new styles, improving the craft, and getting better all the time.

  • Ashley says:

    The Book of Mormon! Avenue Q is an incredibly close second. But Book of Mormon makes two seemingly unlikeable lead characters extremely likeable, has lots of hummable melodies, has a great story with a nice arc, has many slight nods to other great musicals, and brought a resurgence of musical theater fans. It’s funny as all get out and not afraid to take chances.

  • Fran says:

    Carousel is the best musical ever. Beautiful music and compelling story

  • Misti says:

    Les Miserables

  • Jesse says:

    No competition, West Side Story. It’s had many different iterations, many cuts, changes, and reimaginings, yet it always is perfect. It has its own language, in music, dance, and dialogue. Pliable, unique, and perfect. Brilliant.
    Close seconds are Oklahoma, Sweeney Todd, and Guys and Dolls.

  • I’d have to say “Show Boat.” It’s not that great musicals haven’t been written since the ’20s – of course they certainly have – but that one paved the way.

  • Noah B. says:

    Les Miserables. no doubt.

  • Demi Agapitos says:

    Les Mis…the music, the story, the passion…all aspects of the show are magical and untouchable and historical. Theres is aboslutely no contest, this is the greatest musical ever written.

  • John O. says:

    West Side Story

  • Josh Scheer says:

    There’s a reason Gypsy keeps popping on here… It’s the greatest!
    But Follies is pretty damn great too.

  • EllenFD says:

    GUYS AND DOLLS is the most perfect musical ever.

  • gina says:

    This is so tough! But I have to agree with an number of previous posts – I first saw West Side Story when I was 11 and was instantly smitten. I have loved it ever since, the music still sends tingles down my spine.

  • Matt says:

    To all those that picked Les Mis – You are young, go out and see more Musicals. When Ken says “musical”, I assume he’s referring to the great tradition of the American Musical Comedy not European pop operas that masquerade as musical theater. A musical comedy seamlessly combines music, dance, drama and comedy into a glorious piece of theater. For my money, I pick GYPSY. From the first trumpeted notes of that glorious overture to Rose’s final musicalized nervous breakdown GYPSY is a thrilling piece of musical theater. In second and third I’d have to pick Guys and Dolls and Fiddler on the Roof. There’s a good reason why these musicals are revived on Broadway and performed all over the country as often as they are.

  • John Sweeney says:

    Without sounding like I’m begging for the tickets, I would say FOLLIES may be the greatest example of the American musical genre. The score works on so many different levels that the book–unjustly maligned, in my opinion–is almost beside the point.
    FOLLIES. The greatest musical ever written. Period.

  • Laurett says:

    Gypsy! Great story & fantastic score, the overture alone is the best I’ve ever heard — it never gets old.

  • Matt says:

    Zero Mostel still lives?!

  • ran says:

    The BEST musical of all time hasn’t been written and never will be. There’s always something suitable for one person and something for another. The craft of musical will be improved throughout time but there’s always room for development. We just need to keep an open mind.

  • Jason says:

    The best musical of all time is CHICAGO.
    It weaves together clever and catchy tunes with a flawless story and characters. It has heart, edge, wit, and a healthy dose of cynicism and satire. Throw in Fosse’s amazing choreography (legend is more like it) and it’s no surprise that this musical has been revived, turned into a major motion picture and is the 4th longest running Broadway show (and the 1st longest running AMERICAN musical as well!).

  • pappy says:

    The Fantasticks! So charming, so tender, so affecting, so magical…so….!

  • Molly says:

    You can’t beat Chicago. I mean, come on, a musical about female murderesses- that’s gold! Fabulous story, outstanding music and lyrics, and killer choreography! I don’t think ANYONE could walk away disappointed after seeing this show!

  • Ronni says:

    Follies. The score is amazing.

  • Andrea Jill Higgins says:

    I’m not saying that our musical, “Babe: An Olympian Musical”, about the legendary Babe Didrikson, is THE GREATEST musical ever written, but it’s much better than most original musicals today, and will play to a wide audience that appreciates melodic, well sung songs, passionate characters who feel and grow, innovative, staging, dance, direction, etc., etc. Babe premieres March 16th, at the Theatre Artists Studio, Phx., AZ. Hope we can go step by step to Broadway.
    Andrea Jill Higgins and Carolyn Gage
    West Side Story/Carousel for all time, but all Sondheim (especially Sweeney Todd) for me (Jill) anytime.

  • Nathan Kinney says:

    Sweeney Todd. Perfection.

  • Marina says:

    It’s torture to have to pick only one but I have to say unabashedly -SOUTH PACIFIC-
    not only beautiful music but a compelling story line that pushes our buttons on what we think is acceptable – who we should love vs who we do love. A musical ahead of it’s time!

  • Sabrina L says:

    Guys and Dolls!

  • Mondschein says:

    For me, it’s a tie between Carousel and South Pacific.

  • Phylicia Pearl says:

    [title of show]!!!

  • Michael says:

    Porgy and Bess (in which a major character is killed) was produced by the Theatre Guild and directed by Rouben Mamoulian. This was followed by Oklahoma and Carousel (in each of which a major character is killed) and both were produced by the Theatre Guild and directed by Rouben Mamoulian. I would have to say it was Porgy and Bess which changed everything.

  • Brittany S says:


  • Kelly W says:

    This is impossible, but I’m going with Carousel. “If I Loved You” & “Soliloquy” are two of the meatiest pieces in the musical theater canon, & Louise’s ballet and the Carousel Waltz gave us two exquisite examples of extended musical sequences actually moving the plot forward. Throw in a death and redemption for our anti-hero and there won’t be a dry eye at this clambake.

  • Gaby G says:

    West Side Story
    Damn Yankees (I saw the Encores! production and am smitten)

  • Montserrat says:

    The best Musical Ever is just O.K. and then L.A.H.O.M.A.
    It is the original spectacle to end all spectacles, lyrics, orchestrations and book come together to tell a story that is as American As apple pie but as Universal as Love of Land. Epic, Joyous and Sweeping from Curtain up to Dream Ballet and that final Chorus, always raises your heart to the ceiling. And while others may claim it’s decades, Oklahoma can claim it’s place as the BEST MUSICAL OF ALL TIME.

  • Vickie says:

    The bestest is Follies. The lyrics are just perfect to the story line. Loved the score before I saw the show.

  • Tom says:

    I had two gut reactions to this question….and since several people have said Sweeney Todd, I’m going to go with Ragtime. Sumptuous score, compelling characters, epic scale…it’s musical bliss.

  • CABARET, un Cabaret, un Cabaret…

  • Katherine says:

    Kiss Me, Kate!
    It’s clever, witty, & fun!
    Brush up your Shakespeare, everyone!

  • Tony p says:

    Gypsy is terrific, but I think Show Boat sets a very high bar. The music, the richness of the characters, that timeless subtext of self actualization and honesty … Show Boat is the business!

  • Yosi Merves says:

    I’ve always thought of Gypsy and Fiddler on the Roof as being the greatest musicals ever written. Although Beauty and the Beast is my personal favorite.

  • Lindsay B says:

    I will have to go with Rent. Larson captured a time with a lovely score, represented a community, and managed to engage generations in a political and social debate.

  • Sara says:

    GUYS & DOLLS — or Hugh Jackman in OKLAHOMA —

  • Katie O'Brien says:

    To me, Phantom of the Opera.
    There’s a reason it has never left Broadway since it’s opened. It is something every generation can relate to. Its score and its story is timeless. Everyone recognizes Phantom, whether by it’s famous overture, or it’s love triange story, or even by its numerous movie (or book) versions. It’s just touched too many people to not be the greatest Broadway musical ever written.

  • Hey, it’s commercial theater and it’s okay to say the show to run the longest wins: Phantom of the Opera.

  • Andrew says:

    The greatest musical ever written? Before I answer that question, I want to point out that you are asking me to choose the “greatest” and not “the best.” The word “greatest” does not mean superior, but rather being such in an extreme or notable degree.
    Now that it’s clear that you are asking me to choose what I believe to be the “greatest” and not the “best,” I’ll answer the question.
    PASSING STRANGE. Why? Because it’s GREAT! It’s got a brilliant rock score, a compelling journey, it’s current, it makes you laugh, it makes you cry, and I strongly relate to Youth’s quest for life while leaving family behind. So for me, PASSING STRANGE is the greatest musical.

  • Jeryl M. says:

    The best musical every written is every musical ever written because anything that inspires anyone to write a musical and inspires even one person to come to the theater is something worthwhile.

  • Jay Z says:

    I don’t care how many people already said it. The best musical of all time is the most perfectly written musical. A perfect marriage of music with drama, intricately composed and melded with tight plotting of the narrative, spanning from huge laughs to gut-wrenching drama, and endlessly thrilling no matter how many times you see it. Sweeney Todd.
    In the “not-quite-a-musical” category, the most inspiration music theater piece is Guettel’s “Saturn Returns” — though I’ve not seen it in the new form of “Myths and Hymns”. Looking forward to seeing how Prospect Theatre handles it.

  • Bruce says:

    Oklahoma! We read in theatre books that Oklahoma! changed musicals because it was the first time that book, score and dance were integrated to tell a story and move a story forward. Every musical that came after has Oklahoma! to thank. For that reason, it’s the greatest. I think A Chorus Line may have been one of the first “concept” musicals and that dramatically changed musicals as well, but not as important as Oklahoma!

  • Marilyn says:

    It’s a toss up – West Side Story; Sweeney Todd! Naturally, Sondheim involved in both. But then there’s Gypsy! And then there’s Porgy and Bess! And then the musical all the newbies have stood on the shoulders of – the magnificent Showboat!

  • Peter Tear says:

    Hi Ken
    Of course Follies is one of the greatest musicals ever written (and I could see it over and over again!)but finally the best Broadway musical ever written has to be ,,, Guys and Dolls!!!
    Even Stephen Sondheim thinks so!
    All best wishes for the holidays!

  • Tom G. says:

    I’m going to say CHESS. It is still done through out the world on stage and in concert. The music and lyrics are lush, colorful, forceful and witty.

  • RJ Magee says:

    CABARET. I have worked on this show twice–as an actor and as a member of the artistic team (assistant director). It really is one of the FEW musicals where the BOOK and the SCORE are incredibly well written and coexist together within the piece in a perfect way.

  • West Side Story– brilliant!!

  • bobby lee says:

    How can one compare the incomparable? I.E., how can you compare SHOW BOAT and GUYS AND DOLLS? WEST SIDE STORY and CAROUSEL? A CHORUS LINE and SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE/SWEENEY TODD/FOLLIES (my three favorite Sondheims)? And there is a special place in my heart for the original productions of SHE LOVES ME and THE FANTASTICKS.
    So, when you’re challenged to pick only one, it can only be subjective — coupled with some sense of history and a theme that has a certain universality. Going with my gut (and, hopefully, with a bit of my brain as well) I choose CAROUSEL. It’s story IS universal, based on a a beautiful, solidly grounded play (Ferenc Molnar’s LILIOM), which encompasses the many facets and stages of love — including some of the darker aspects. It’s score has some of the most exquisite examples of the perfect wedding of music and lyrics. It also offers the opportunity for some great choreography (whether by Agnes DeMille or Frederick Ashton).
    It gets me every time, and I’ll just have to go with it — while acknowledging the power and/or joy provided by the other musicals mentioned above.

  • Matthew Coyle says:

    4 me, definately, t’would be Into the Woods
    because no other musical mixes fable and truth in such a delightfully evocative way.

  • Doug Braverman says:

    I know some people have called it dated, or even racist, but from the point of view of magnificence of score, entertainment value, and emotional involvement, I have to vote for SOUTH PACIFIC!

  • Ashley VB says:

    Sweeney Todd. Hands down. Anyone who disagrees, heads will roll.

  • WC says:

    I’m not just saying this because of the prize, but I think the greatest musical ever is FOLLIES. It’s the greatest because no production will ever be perfect or definitive; it will always live to be done again and again waiting for the perfect production that only exists in our collective dreams. Which is exactly what the show is about. And which is why it’s the greatest musical ever.

  • Jennifer says:

    Jekyll and Hyde

  • Daniel Miles says:

    West Side Story. The overture alone gives me chills.

  • broadwaybrian says:

    If I were a critic I would say “CAROUSEL, it is a musical that works on both heaven and earth!” I think it is the greatest musical ever written and that quote would be plastered everywhere!

  • The greatest musical ever written is–by far–Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods.” We often lose sight of those who look up to us as role models, but this musical is a true reminder that “children will listen…” 🙂

  • Rick Hinkson says:

    very hard to choose between my two favorite “classics” — MY FAIR LADY and GUYS & DOLLS — and my two favorite “newer” — FOLLIES and NINE. so i’ll somewhat arbitrarily go with my first love, MY FAIR LADY.

  • Kristin D. says:

    I have to agree with the person who said RAGTIME. The characters/their interwoven plots are equal parts engaging, heartbreaking and beautiful. Same can be said for the gorgeous score. Just listening to the opening number reduces me to tears!

  • K chen says:

    Sweeney Todd. Revenge is not what it seems.

  • Elizabeth Parra says:

    Urinetown! A musical written for every kind of person out there, as it delivers comedic relief, a tragic love story, great political jokes and a fun time overall!

  • Kaitlyn says:

    Asking to pick what the greatest musical ever written is like asking me what my favorite color of all time is. That’s the most difficult thing ever.
    I have SO many that I really enjoy, RENT!, Hairspray, Sound of Music…my list is like, miles long.
    But for the best one ever written? I’m going to go with RENT!. What Jonathan Larson did, was nothing short of ingenious. I think he got everyone to recognize something that we were kind of ignoring. And the amount of inspiration he had, from everyone, everything, everywhere. It’s just a beautiful show.
    If you ask me what my favorite musical is, I’m just going to have you hand me a hat full of shows, and I’ll pick one at random and say it’s my favorite show. I just can’t pick one. 🙂

  • Margie says:

    I would have said My Fair Lady, but it was already taken, so I’ll say FIORELLO.

  • “Subjective: A New Musical” …and what I mean by that title is art is subjective and affects people in different ways depending on where they are in life. The greatest musical was written and hasn’t been written 😉

  • says:

    For me I would have to say the greatest musical of all time would have to be “A Chorus Line”. As a musical theatre performer, the story really moves me. It rings true to the struggle and the passion that people in this industry encounter every day. Its moving, it makes me laugh, makes me cry, and makes me leave the theatre singing the score.

  • Joyce says:

    Hi.An impossible question to answer- I love so many! I always return to “A Chorus Line” as my ultimate favorite. The music and lyrics resonate with the passion and desire of all would-be performers. I remember seeing it when it first opened in standing room and being mesmerized.
    Having said that, my most moving moment in the theater was hearing “and I’m telling you…..” from Dreamgirls; a moment that literally gave me goosebumps and brought me to tears. That’s what great theater is all about, right?

  • Deven says:

    I have to agree with others on gypsy! Love follies too though 🙂

  • gj says:

    “What is the great musical ever written?”
    Some musicals don’t “hit” you the first time you see them, but they grow on you over time. Like …

  • Andrew Beck says:

    “Showboat” because it was willing to introduce social themes and other dark topics to musical theater; it was epic in scope (multi-generational), multi-racial in casting while commenting on the racial situation in this country, introduced any number of standards to the popular music vocabulary and is still revived frequently today (ie. Goodspeed Musicals’ outstanding production this past summer)

  • Meg says:

    Les Miserables. Beautiful music, captivating stories, and one of my first true loves.

  • Haley says:

    The best musical is Les Miserables! It tells a tragic story beautifully and timelessly speaks to the heart. And it makes perfect shower-singing material!

  • Jesse North says:

    Greatest musical ever written: Sweeney Todd. The most shocking aspect of this gory, frightening musical is how much beauty there is in bloodshed.

  • This is such a hard question, but I think I have to go with West Side Story. It’s a perfect modern adaptation of a classic tale; the music has inspired and influenced so much to come after it; and the balance of humor, drama and suspense can’t be beat. I mean, it’s Sondheim and Bernstein together. How can you go wrong?

  • Jared W says:

    A very difficult question, but for me, the musical I keep returning to as the greatest of all time is “Sweeney Todd.” I has a dazzlingly theatrical flaire to it while remaining deeply personal and character centric. It is one of those rare shows that is immediately entertaining and thought provoking, and yet rewards repeated viewings by unveiling ever more nuances and insights. Like Shakespeare, it is extremely well written and expertly structured while still allowing plenty of room for interpretation by different actors and directors. And the score is one of the most thrilling ever written for the musical theatre.
    Close runner up: “Ragtime,” for many of the same reasons.

  • Dave A. says:

    This is a tough one! I’m going to go with “Carousel.” During its time, it was revolutionary. “If I Loved You,” and “You’ll Never Walk Alone” remain timeless classics from the show.

  • Taylor says:

    In my opinion, Ragtime. It takes a relatively simple concept, the American dream, and though the score transforms it to a beautifully complex piece of theater.

  • Mark says:

    It’s a tough call between Les Miz and Gypsy, but I will give Les Miz the edge for its encompassing scope.

  • Kelly Barabasz says:

    I don’t believe that there is such thing as “the greatest musical ever written?”. I’ve always viewed musicals, and theatre in general, as dynamic as our lives. What makes a musical great is not just the lyrics, music, plot, and characters but also when we met those characters for the first time. What was going on in our own lives. Maybe there is a favorite role played or it was the first show you had seen (reminiscent of “At the Ballet”). For me, one of a few musicals come to mind. Thoroughly Modern Millie is the most fun I have ever had as a member of the company. In addition to being my first real, non-green glass lead, it was the greatest ensemble I have ever had the opportunity to be a part of. It was a small cast of 22 in which we all became extremely close. There was not one person anybody disliked – which is an actor’s utopia. It makes the experience so much easier and more fun. We worked hard when it was time and had more than enough fun when we were not working or helping each other with a difficult step. There was cast bonding outside of rehearsals and it just strengthened the trust we had for each other. The costumes, script, music, and choreography were just an added very awesome perk. Millie gave me a family – a place to unwind from the stresses of senior year finals as well as familial and fiscal problems. Also, introducing me to the magic of Sutton Foster and Jeanine Tesori have been a godsend.

  • Robert L. says:

    Fiddler on the Roof. Everything there, is there for a reason. It’s a perfect blueprint of a show. Have you ever seen a bad production of it?

  • Eric S says:

    My favorite musical of all time is “Book Of Mormon.” Trey Parker and Matt Stone are geniuses who have defined and redefined a generation and will continue doing so for years to come. Their talents are untouchable and through this masterpiece their greatest strengths are shown. You have a heartwarming coming-of-age story, mixed with unbelievable (or believable, if you believe) music which allows you to leave the theater with a smile on your face (mostly because you’ve been laughing non-stop for 2 1/2 hours.)

  • Brandon says:

    West Side Story!

  • Jaimee says:

    Parade by Jason Robert Brown. I feel this is overlooked by so many people. A powerful story combined with breathtaking music that leaves the audience speechless. This piece is beautifully crafted and deserves more recognition.

  • joe giglio says:

    Damn had written a great response but somehow deleted it trying to post it
    So I will simple state the obvious choice
    The Fantasticks

  • Sarah P. says:

    Looks like some other folks have said it, but ‘Gypsy’…a classic and brilliant from start to finish, a shining example of how strong a Broadway show can be both musically and storytelling-wise. Every song is a gem, and it’s given us some of the most thrilling diva performances in the theatre! Hell, even the *overture* has got to be the best overture of all time…

  • Rich says:

    Follies! Why else am I entering the contest!

  • Lexi says:

    1776! Grew up on this show and absolutely love it. Beautiful, stirring piece that touches deep issues and shows great depth of character. The duets between John and Abigail are gorgeous

  • Hello, Dolly! No special effects! No gimmicks! No message! Just sheer entertainment!

  • Darci F says:

    Bonnie and Clyde, of course!

  • Barb JF says:

    Anything Goes was great!!

  • dAVID eUGENE says:


  • Gabrielle says:

    West Side Story. The music, dancing, and story are all fantastic!

  • Emily says:

    Next to Normal – it’s not necessarily timeless, but it’s written so beautifully – funny yet devastating. I love it.

  • Liel Z says:

    “Company” by Steven Sondheim. Brilliantly written book, outstanding score and first of it’s kind. It reinvented musical theatre, modernized broadway and transformed theatre in to what it is today.

  • Ellen Orchid says:

    We are so blessed that there are so many to choose from. For me, the most perfect musical is “Gypsy!”
    The book is really solid, as solid as any great play.
    The music and lyrics are so powerful in style and so varied.
    I get chills from the opening to the end.
    On a more personal note, it touches me the most because I had a kind of “stage mother’ who would have loved to have been in the spotlight but never got the chance, didn’t have the support from her family, so my choice is a very personal one.
    But how can one compare “Gypsy” to “West Side” to “Cabaret” to “Phantom” to “Wicked” to “Mormon” to “Peter Pan”? Such a great art form, the musical, and how truly blessed we are to have so many choices. I mean, I saw “The Boy from Oz” seven times. Is that the best or my favorite or both? We are so blessed to have them to contemplate and enjoy.

  • Karen Schrempp says:

    Oklahoma, specifically the dream ballet.
    Sweeney Todd – Sondheim at his best.
    West Side Story – dated, but you can’t touch it.

  • This is a tough question, because things can be great for many reasons. For me, purely because of the impact it had on my life, I consider “BARE: The Musical” the greatest musical ever written. But the reasons have much more to do with the chain of events it set in motion, rather than any critical appreciation of the show.

  • John Presutti says:

    I would have to agree with anyone who said
    “A Chorus Line”…. its about the real people who desire and dream to make it on Broadway… Nothing has come close since… Still one of the greatest moments in Broadway history…
    no fancy sets, no gimmicks… Just real story and words from real people…

  • Sue says:

    There are so many great musicals, and each is the best in some way. A special setting, memorable songs, a believable story with some unpredictable twists, and of course a theme of love — since that’s what life really is all about — make it work. One musical that comes to mind is SOUTH PACIFIC. It’s a bit dated but the necessary elements are all there, giving it immortality.

  • Jesse says:

    Structurally? GYPSY.
    My fave? INTO THE WOODS…no wait…WEST SIDE STORY…no wait…BOOK OF MORMON…no wait…WICKED…no wait…I can’t…

  • Brandon says:

    No question about it, for me it’s Sweeney Todd. The first time I heard it, the first time I saw it, the fiftieth time I saw it, every time I listened to the cassette tapes mowing my lawn as a teenager…there isn’t another musical that combines theatrical elements so perfectly. Even after all these years, it still provides intellectual stimulation while provoking a visceral response. (scampers off to listen AGAIN)

  • roxanne says:

    I’d have to say Hello, Dolly. It was my first musical. I did see Follies when it first opened in the’70’s. I enjoyed it. Would love to see the directors interpretation on the current production

  • Corinne says:

    I’m going to have to go with Cabaret. Fantastic music, plot, and combination of theatricality and reality.

  • Jackie says:

    The Sound of Music for several reasons.
    1) It’s beautiful.
    2) The music is memorable
    3) It appeals to a wide audience (children enjoy seeing others their age on stage, parents tend to have a previous familiarity with it)
    4) As my high school English teacher once told her son – “There’s a gunshot at the end. You’ll like it.”
    5) The history. Its own as well as our world’s. Though the accuracy may waver, the historical context of this piece is an important one for us to remember.

  • John says:

    Well I would say it would have to be Peter Pan because isn’t it about the only one that drama critic Dorothy Parker liked?

  • Jeanie B says:

    Such a tough decision! I think I would be quoted as choosing MY FAIR LADY, but CAROUSEL, INTO THE WOODS, and LES MISERABLES would be mentioned in the next breath.

  • Tanya says:

    I would have to say West Side Story and A Chorus Line!

  • Andre says:

    I would say that this actually comes down to the combination of the book, the staging, and the cast.
    Since I am only in my late 30s my choices are limited but I will say that I really enjoyed “La Cage aux Folles” with Douglas Hodge and Kelsey Grammer recently.
    But I heard other productions of the same show were all over the place – nevertheless, this one did it for me!

  • Frank says:

    Sweeney Todd, hands down. Who knew a musical about murder and cannibalism could be so powerful and poignant?

  • Robb Johnston says:

    hmmm. I posted before but it seems to have disappeared.
    Sweeney Todd. Epic score, and epic show (at least when not directed by Doyle) and so epic without the mechanical wonders that became the norm in later decades.

  • Steve says:

    I’d have to say “Wicked” – with its great set design, songs, choreography, etc etc. Could watch it over and over. Was excited to finally win the lottery a few years back (after trying for many many tries.)

  • michael says:

    Sweeney Todd.
    who else could combine horror, glee and write amazing lyrics and music to highlight both!

  • Jillian says:

    Godspell! It’s been proven to stand the test of time even with updates. It’s ultimately the story of the human condition. No one can walk out that that show and not be affected.

  • Adam says:

    Without hesitation, I will say West Side Story..
    For many reasons, some of which include: Sucessfully adapting the general premise of arguably the greatest love story ever told (Romeo and Juliet) into modern times. Adding in some of the most powerful choreography to hit the stage, Beautiful operatic love songs mixed with show stopping comedic numbers, and all set in the only city that everyone in the world can relate to…

  • Porsche says:


  • John Olson says:

    My Fair Lady. Like its source material, it’s a great piece of theatre. Strong character de development, a play of ideas, great songs that further plot and character but also work out of context. It’s perfect!

  • San D says:

    “Company” for me speaks (or sings actually) volumes about what it means to be in an adult relationship, which is a universal concern.

  • Tim R. says:


  • Matthew says:


  • Dave Cackowski says:

    Eventhough I prefer plays to musicals I would have to say “West Side Story”. It’s basic themes still resonate today in 2011.
    Dave C.

  • Laura K says:

    GUYS and DOLLS — That opening number is so “New York” and it leads directly into the great song for the three guys at the track. Memorable characters and memorable songs. Priceless.

  • P. C. Hurewitz says:


  • Diane says:

    It is really difficult to pick one musical as the “Greatest”–it’s all subject to one’s likes & dislikes. There’s old school musicals–South Pacific, West Side Story, Oklahoma and new school–Les Miz, Godspell, & anything Sondheim. My choice would be found un”Popular” by some. But for these criteria I believe it makes the mark (1) Story–The story before the story of one of the most beloved movie musicals of all time. Pure escapism to forget your’s & the world’s problems (2)Music & Lyrics–Music you can leave the theatre singing or humming and story driven lyrics (3) Box Office Sales–Hands down #1, it’s a keep for a very long time. It sells without discounts & at premium price on Broadway & on the tours & without any big name “stars” in it. So my choice is WICKED!!

  • David says:


  • Jessica says:

    I don’t know that they’re the “greatest musicals ever written,” but I left feeling giddy after Billy Elliot, Avenue Q, Spring Awakening and Book of Mormon. I love the music to Wonderful Town and Company, too (and Hairspray!). And 42nd Street is so classic… impossible question to answer.

  • ECP says:

    A Sondheim show–or three–is on the tip of my tongue, but I choose the enduring “Oliver!” Engrossing story, gorgeous music and lyrics, dazzling choreography all seamlessly crafted into a hugely moving and entertaining show. And whether staged by a veteran cast or a high-school drama group, performers seem to give the roles 110 percent and the show soars.

  • karen Thornton says:

    Caroline Or Change

  • Hope says:

    Spring Awakening

  • Morgan Allen says:

    Definitely “A Chorus Line” #perfection 🙂

  • Joseph Seminara says:


  • Andrew says:

    Les Miserables. Was I really the first to single it out? 🙂

  • Anna says:

    West. Side. Story.

  • Kevin McAnarney says:

    GYPSY (part of it is Sondheim)
    but Follies is in the Top 10 and all Sondheim

  • Ragtime, a poignant portrait of life in America and a tribute to our ancestors and everything that they endured for us to have the life and opportunities that we have today.

  • A Chorus Line is by far the best musical…Ever! It changed the face of The American Musical Theatre

  • David says:

    GYPSY. Now and Forever. Sorry, CATS.

  • Yosi Merves says:

    Gypsy and Fiddler on the Roof

  • Alan says:

    As Max and Leo said: “where did we go right?”
    Winning more Tony Tony Awards then any other musical ever proves that “The Producers” is greatest musical ever and this renowned critic agrees.

  • MY FAIR LADY is the greatest musical every written.

  • Clair Sedore says:

    There are so many great musicals, I judge them on the number of times I could see a show, and frontrunners like Wicked, Billy Elliot, Sweeney Todd, Ragtime, come to mind. But The Lion King when I first saw it, standing at the back of the orchestra for 25.00, and hearing the commotion from the rear of the theatre, and then the animals come parading out…I had never experienced gooseflesh like this in theatre, and I went thinking this show was just for kids…I am still a 73 year old kid…and still love the show!

  • James says:

    I am incredibly moved by PARADE.

  • Peter says:

    “Ragtime” is such a beautiful and epic story. The lyrics and the music are so moving. The struggles and triumphs are so sincere and human. This is a story that any audience can connect with, relate with, and fall in love with.

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