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Readers’ Poll: The 10 Best Musicals of All Time

See which classic Broadway shows beat out newcomer ‘Hamilton’

Original Cast Rent Perform Sing Dance Tony Awards 1996

The cast of 'Rent' on June 2nd, 1996 at the Tony Awards.

Everett Collection

Hamilton made history this year by receiving a grand total of 16 nominations for this year's Tony Awards – ultimately winning a total of 11, including Best Musical. The phenomenon is part of a long lineage of musical theater productions that capture the public's attention and reflects the culture surrounding it. Broadway combines the thrill of live music with the compelling storytelling and drama of watching a movie or TV show and, when done with incredible care and sensitivity, the combination of the two can lead to something transformative. In honor of this week's Tony Awards, we asked our readers to vote for the best musical of all time. Here are the results.

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‘Hamilton’

It's rare for a Broadway show to reach as globally as Hamilton has since premiering in 2015, but the powerful retelling of one of the United States' lesser-known Founding Fathers through the lens of an immigrant narrative starring a cast of mostly non-white performers was unprecedented. Lin-Manuel Miranda seamlessly followed-up his smash debut musical In the Heights with a story even bigger and ended up winning a Pulitzer and a host of awards, including Grammys and Tonys, while seeing the soundtrack become a chart success, another rarity in theater. 

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‘Guys and Dolls’

Set in a gritty underworld of gambling, Guys and Dolls carries an incredible sense of humor and charm. It premiered on Broadway in 1950 originally and has returned almost every decade since, starring everyone from Vivian Blaine in the original production, to Nathan Lane and Peter Gallagher in the 1992 revival and Oliver Platt and Lauren Graham in the 2009 revival.

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‘A Chorus Line’

A Chorus Line is the meta Broadway hit of the Seventies, highlighting the tales of dancers as they prepare for an audition and explore their personal histories. In 1976, the show was a near-sweep at the Tony Awards, winning for Best Musical, Best Choreography and in acting categories as well. It also took home the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Its original run became one of the longest-running shows in Broadway history, beat out only by Cats.

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