The Last 20 Years of Best Musical Winners: A By The Numbers Infographic

Admit it.

If you’re a Writer or Producer of musicals, I’d bet that you’ve stood in front of a mirror, imagining yourself collecting your Best Musical Tony Award.  You’ve probably even created your list of who to thank, who not to thank, and who to publicly tell to “Shove this Tony up your a$$!”  (I’d advise against that last part if you make it to the podium.  Save it for your shrink.)

And why wouldn’t you want a Tony Award for Best Musical?  It’s the Grand Poobah of awards in our business.

But how do you get one?  Sure, you need to produce/write a great show, right . . . but are there certain things that Best Musical winners have in common that make them “Best Musicals?”

If you want something in this business life, it’s important to study the patterns of that thing that you desire, to see how others have achieved it.  That’s why people read biographies of successful business folks, or political leaders, etc.  We learn from the paths trodden by others.

And the Best Musical Tony Award is no different.

Over the past week, my trusty intern Dylan and I have dug through the last twenty years of Best Musical Tony Award winners to see if we could discover any patterns.

And boy oh boy did we.

Some patterns were exciting (recoupment stats).  Some were scary (the story of the sexes).

But all were enlightening.

We’ve presented the data for you in the infographic below.  Enjoy it and learn.  And then guess what the next twenty years of winners will be.  Maybe your show will be one of them.



Fun stuff, right? And educational.

Please share this infographic! Just click here to share on Facebook or click here to share on Twitter.

And then you can get back to writing your 4th draft of your acceptance speech.


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

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  • Carvanpool says:

    No insights here.

    Hope it was fun.

  • Scott Kirschenbaum says:

    Which 4 didnt recoup?
    Sunset, Titanic, Gentleman’s Guide, Millie(??)

  • marc says:

    I’d also like to know which 4 didn’t recoup and which musicals over the same time period recouped that did not win best musical

  • J says:

    That statistic about Sondheim was really unneeded and misleading, considering he hasn’t even HAD a new musical on Broadway in the last 20 years! Road Show was Off-Broadway, and the rest were revivals. Including that statistic makes it sound like he has had tons of new musical on Broadway and all of them got snubbed for Best Musical.

    • David Rigano says:

      Was The Frogs considered a new musical or a revival? The book was almost entirely new and Sondheim wrote a good 60% more new music for that production. In any event, even if The Frogs was considered a new musical, that makes only one in the last 20 years, so not much opportunity for a nom or a win.

  • Rich Mc says:

    Thanks Ken for presenting some very interesting b-Way Musical facts. I found this fascinating!

  • Duane Poole says:

    The biggest surprise was the Sondheim statistic — realizing he had no original shows on Broadway in the past 20 years was not only shocking, it was depressing. Sure, after all those classics he deserves some time off, a vacation or two to recharge the batteries and all…but 20 years?!

  • J says:

    @Duane Poole

    He wasn’t taking time off for 20 years. Sondheim worked on the show “Road Show” from the late nineties to like around 2008. However, it was Off-Broadway, so it wasn’t eligible for best musical.

    • David Rigano says:

      There were also a few productions and workshops of the various incarnations in other cities, so he was working and new material was being produced during that time, just not mainly in New York.

  • g says:

    15% had puppets? That’s 2 1/2 shows. I get Lion King and Avenue Q – is Spamalot the 1/2?
    And the three “stars” shows: Sunset Blvd; The Producers and Spamalot? I want to include Hairspray with Harvey Fierstein, but that would make four.

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