The 48 Most Underrated Musicals of all Time

This is a very personal list compared to most of the other lists I’ve created for Theater Trip. Most of my other blog posts are fact-based and objective. And this one is an absolute opinion piece! This is the list of what I believe to be the most underrated musicals.

The following musicals are ones that I believe deserve more attention from musical thespians. Also, most of these musicals are also on my personal lists of favorite cast albums and top musicals!


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Underrated Jazz Age Age Musicals

Nymph Errant

Music/Lyrics: Cole Porter Book: Romney Brent

Musical Info ➝


The New Moon

Music: Sigmund Romberg Lyrics/Book: Oscar Hammerstein II, Frank Mandel, Laurence Schwab

Musical Info ➝


The New Yorkers

Music/Lyrics: Cole Porter Book: Herbert Fields

Musical Info ➝


Underrated Golden Age Musicals

Allegro

Music: Richard Rodgers Book/Lyrics: Oscar Hammerstein II

Musical Info ➝


House of Flowers

Music/Lyrics/Book: Harold Arlen, Truman Capote

Musical Info ➝


Underrated 1960s Musicals

Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris

Music/Lyrics: Jacques Brel Book: Eric Blau, Mort Shuman

Musical Info ➝


Robert and Elizabeth

Music: Ron Grainer Lyrics/Book: Ronald Millar

Musical Info ➝


She Loves Me

Music: Jerry Buck Lyrics: Sheldon Harnick Book: Joe Masteroff

Musical Info ➝


The Zulu and the Zayda

Music/Lyrics: Harold Rome Book: Howard De Silva, Felix Leon

Musical Info ➝


Zorba

Music: John Kander Lyrics: Fred Ebb Book: Joseph Stein

Musical Info ➝


Underrated 1970s Musicals

The Robber Bridegroom

Music: Robert Waldman Lyrics/Book: Alfred Uhry

Musical Info ➝


Working

Music/Lyrics/Book: Schwartz, Carnelia, Grant, M. Rodgers, Taylor, Birkenhead, Faso

Musical Info ➝


Underrated 1980s Musicals

Chess

Music: Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus Lyrics: Tim Rice, Ulvaeus Book: Richard Nelson, Rice

Musical Info ➝


La Cage aux Folles

Music/Lyrics: Jerry Herman Book: Harvey Fierstein

Musical Info ➝


Merrily We Roll Along

Music/Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim Book: George Furth

Musical Info ➝


Pump Boys and Dinettes

Music/Lyrics/Book: Foley, Hardwick, Monk, Morgan, Schimmel, Wann

Musical Info ➝


Underrated 1990s Musicals

A New Brain

Music/Lyrics/Book: William Finn Book: James Labine

Musical Info ➝


Floyd Collins

Music/Lyrics: Adam Guettel Book: Tina Landau

Musical Info ➝


Parade

Music/Lyrics: Jason Robert Brown Book: Alfred Uhry

Musical Info ➝


Ragtime

Music: Stephen Flaherty Lyrics: Lynn Ahrens Book: Terrence McNally

Musical Info ➝


Ruthless!

Music: Marvin Laird Lyrics/Book: Joel Paley

Musical Info ➝


Sunset Boulevard

Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber Lyrics/Book: Don Black, Christopher Hampton

Musical Info ➝


Titanic

Music/Lyrics: Maury Yeston Book: Peter Stone

Musical Info ➝


The Life

Music: Cy Coleman Lyrics: Ira Gasman Book: Coleman, Gasman, David Newman

Musical Info ➝


Underrated 2000s Musicals

A Year with Frog and Toad

Music: Robert Real Lyrics/Book: Willie Reale

Musical Info ➝


Bare

Music/Book: Damon Intrabartolo Lyrics/Book: Jon Hartmere

Musical Info ➝


Bernarda Alba

Music/Lyrics/Book: Michael John LaChiusa

Musical Info ➝


Closer to Heaven

Music/Lyrics: Pet Shop Boys Book: Jonathan Harvey

Musical Info ➝


Gray Gardens

Music: Scott Frankel Lyrics: Michael Korie Book: Doug Wright

Musical Info ➝


Passing Strange

Music/Lyrics/Book: Stew, Heidi Rodewald

Musical Info ➝


Sweet Smell of Success

Music: Marvin Hamlisch Lyrics: Craig Carnelia Book: John Guard

Musical Info ➝


The Lord of the Rings

Music: Rahman, Nightingale, Värttinä Lyrics/Book: Matthew Warchus, Shaun McKenna

Musical Info ➝


The Story of My Life

Music/Lyrics: Neil Bartram Book: Brian Hill

Musical Info ➝


The Wild Party (LaChiusa)

Music/Lyrics/Book: Michael John LaChiusa Book: George C. Wolfe

Musical Info ➝


Underrated 2010s Musicals

Alice by Heart

Music: Duncan Sheik Lyrics/Book: Steven Sater, Jessie Nelson

Musical Info ➝


Allegiance

Music/Lyrics: Jay Kuo Book: Marc Acito, Jay Kuo

Musical Info ➝


American Psycho

Music/Lyrics: Duncan Sheik Book: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa

Musical Info ➝


An American in Paris

Music: George Gershwin Lyrics: Ira Gershwin Book: Craig Lucas

Musical Info ➝


Doctor Zhivago

Music: Lucy Simon Lyrics: Michael Korie, Amy Powers

Musical Info ➝


Fangirls

Music/Lyrics/Book: Yve Blake

Musical Info ➝


Honeymoon in Vegas

Music/Lyrics: Jason Robert Brown Book: Andrew Bergman

Musical Info ➝


Hundred Days

Music/Lyrics: The Bengsons Book: The Bengsons, Sarah Gancher

Musical Info ➝


Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812

Music/Lyrics/Book: Dave Malloy

Musical Info ➝


Preludes

Music/Lyrics/Book: Dave Malloy

Musical Info ➝


Rags Parkland Sings the Songs of the Future

Music/Lyrics/Book: Andrew R. Butler

Musical Info ➝


Ride the Cyclone

Music/Lyrics/Book: Brooke Maxwell, Jacob Richmond

Musical Info ➝


The Bridges of Madison County

Music/Lyrics: Jason Robert Brown Book: Marsha Norman

Musical Info ➝


The Dolls of New Albion

Music/Lyrics/Book: Paul Shapera

Musical Info ➝


Other blog posts you might like:

Classic Musicals

Obscure Musicals

Popular Musicals

Musicals Based on Books

Musicals Based on Movies


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Which of these underrated musicals is your favorite?

Or have you ever played a role in any of the above underrated musicals? Feel free to share in the comments below! And if you like these types of lists, check out the musical database. That’s where you’ll find musicals sorted by composer, theme, setting, and more!


Stacy Karyn, author of Underrated Musicals.
Author: Stacy Karyn

Stacy Karyn is the founder of Theater Trip, author of The Thespian’s Bucket List, and creator of The Cast Album List. She has a TESOL drama certificate, a BA in theater, and has worked and interned with Broadway and Off-Broadway theaters.


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