I already did a post on the world’s worst musicals, and as I recall, In My Life filled out the entire top five. But what are the absolute best? Not necessarily my personal faves (like The Sound of Music and Annie), but the most important, powerful, influential, and downright fun to watch. Here are my choices:
(1) Gypsy. A Cinderella story, a vaudeville romp, a dark character study, and a meditation on the overwhelming need to be accepted. And there’s lots of tittie!
(2) Oklahoma!. Groundbreaking in its use of music and narrative flow, this has always been pure Americana at its least corny.
(3) Guys and Dolls. A perfect show–which I guess makes choices 1 and 2 BETTER than perfect. The ’90s revival was a giddy gift that will live forever in the mind. Let’s pray they don’t rock the boat with the new version.
(4) Chicago. Underrated in its time, it’s come to be accepted as a briliant statement on celebrity justice and all that jazz.
(5) Company. A joltingly innovative relationship romp which helped change the modern musical. Then again practically all of Sondheim’s works did. OMG, I forgot West Side Story, which he did lyrics for!
And other people’s shows like My Fair Lady, Fiddler on the Roof, Showboat…Let me shut up now.