More Than 45 of the Most Overrated Musicals

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Paulo Szot and Kelli O'Hara on South Pacific. Google Images

There are many different ways by which a musical might earn the "overrated" dubious distinction. For instance, an overrated musical may include a bloated blockbuster that's been running for decades, despite the fact that many more worthy shows have come and gone in those intervening years. Examples of this consist of musicals like The Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, and Miss Saigon.

Other considerably overrated shows would comprise of the critical success that wins several awards, perhaps based on the admittedly worthy messages these shows might espouse. Yet, the inherent quality of these shows may not warrant the acclaim. By way of illustration, consider the show South Pacific about two parallel love stories set in paradise during World War II. Also, consider the musical Kinky Boots, a Broadway show with music and lyrics from Cyndi Lauper surrounding a true story about a boy who abandons's his family's shoe factory.

Sentimental and Obscure Overrated Musicals

Other overrated musicals might include nostalgic favorites that were really never all that good, to begin with. Consider shows like Godspell and The Sound of Music. Additionally, overrated musicals may include relatively obscure shows that have nonetheless gained acclaim among theater insiders, without necessarily warranting that acclaim. The latter may include the musical Bare or Andrew Lippa's The Wild Party.

47 of the Most Overrated Musicals in Theater

While these musicals may be considered overrated, they are not labeled as bad or unenjoyable. In fact, some of the musicals that follow are enjoyed, to a certain extent, by many. Whether a fan or not, the musicals listed below have all receive more success or acclaim than they would seem to deserve.

  1. South Pacific
  2. Hamilton 
  3. Mamma Mia!
  4. Pippin
  5. Miss Saigon
  6. The Sound of Music
  7. Kinky Boots 
  8. Billy Elliot
  9. Spring Awakening
  10. Bye Bye Birdie
  11. Cats
  12. Spamalot
  13. Forever Plaid
  14. Jekyll & Hyde
  15. Les Miserables
  16. Funny Girl 
  17. Grease
  18. Nunsense
  19. Lazarus
  20. Annie  
  21. In the Heights 
  22. Blood Brothers
  23. Legally Blonde
  24. The Lion King
  25. Man of La Mancha
  26. The Wiz
  27. Mary Poppins
  28. Memphis 
  29. Nunsense
  30. Oliver!
  31. Passion
  32. Promises, Promises 
  33. We Will Rock You
  34. The Wild Party (Lippa)
  35. Evita 
  36. The Rocky Horror Show 
  37. Jesus Christ Superstar 
  38. Buddy - The Buddy Holly Story 
  39. Starlight Express 
  40. Annie Get Your Gun 
  41. Movin' Out
  42. Sweet Charity
  43. The Magic Show 
  44. Damn Yankees 
  45. Footloose 
  46. Anything Goes 
  47. Godspell

Further Reading From a Musical Theater Critic

Now that the most overrated musicals in theater have been reviewed, discover additional listicles by Christopher Caggiano. Caggiano has over 35 years of experience in musical theater performance, attendance, and personal obsession. He has taught the history of musical theater for 11 years at The Boston Conservatory and has been practicing as a critic and journalist in the genre for nine years. The following includes further insights from him around the subject, including the best musicals of all time, the worst ones, and the most underrated.