Top 5 Underrated Musicals

My personal list of five musicals that deserve more props.


There are multiple well-known musicals that have existed throughout the course of Broadway history. Hits such as Hamilton, The Sound of Music, and Fiddler on the Roof have become massive successes winning multiple Tony Awards and being critically beloved. But then there are the more “underground” musicals, ones that didn’t win as many awards or weren’t as critically adored as their contemporaries.

Here is my personal list of five musicals that deserve a lot more attention: 

  • Little Shop of Horrors

This 1982 comedy-horror musical with lyrics and a book from Howard Ashman and music from Alan Menken was very successful on its Off-Broadway run at the Orpheum Theater but remained mostly as a cult classic. Then in 2003, the musical made it to Broadway and it didn’t do as well but still relatively well. I think that this musical has a lot of heart and comedy in every song and the characters are instantly memorable. The songs in this musical also give a nice mid to late-60s vibe with how they are sung and composed. Luckily, this musical has become more popular with school and regional theaters as it is one of the best musicals out there. 

  • Shrek the Musical

I know this might come as a surprise as even existing as a musical, but I personally really enjoy this musical. This 2008 musical with lyrics and book from David-Lindey Abaire and famed Broadway composer Jeanine Tesori was very successful for the first few months of its run but unfortunately ran out of steam when it was just over one year old ending its run on January 3, 2010.  This musical means a lot to me personally as it is the show that got me into musical theater to begin with. I thoroughly enjoy a vast majority of the songs and the humor in this show is one of its strong points. Overall, I would recommend this show to anyone who loves the Shrek movies or just wants a comedic and lighthearted musical. 


  • Chicago

This 1975 musical is by the famous Broadway team Kander and Ebb. This musical is based, in part, on multiple real-life crime cases from 1920s Chicago which is when the musical is set. I feel like this musical is underrated because although the movie and revival are very successful, it still isn’t a super well-known musical compared to all of the newer and older hit musicals that are now on Broadway. I really enjoy this musical because the songs and characters feel like they are straight from the 1920s with the outfits and the manner of speech. The music also has a really genuine jazz feel to it and I personally adore jazz so naturally, I love the music. The choreography is also some of the best and most famous in all of Broadway history created by the late great Bob Fosse. Overall, this musical needs a lot more attention so that newer theater fans can enjoy a jazz-filled musical with only few dull moments. 

  • Big River

This 1985 musical adaptation of Mark Twain’s novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was one of the most successful American musicals of the 80s winning seven Tony Awards. Its music and lyrics were done by famous country and folk singer Roger Miller. This musical seems to have, in recent years, faded into relative obscurity after its original run despite its many awards. This is mostly due to musicals like Les Miserables and The Phantom of the Opera coming out around the same time and becoming instant theater classics. Even though it has been forgotten in recent years, it is a very unique musical with lots of heart and good music. The characters are very faithful to how they were in the book as well so anyone who enjoyed the book and a little country flair with their musicals should check this musical out. 

  • Groundhog Day

The final musical on this list is the 2017 musical adaptation of the 1993 hit movie Groundhog Day starring Bill Murray. This musical was a difficult task to undertake because the creative team had to figure out a way to make the music and script unique given that most of the musical is in an endless loop of one day. I think they succeeded with this as the music feels unique and the script is very funny and fresh with each day repeated. I really have to give props to Tim Minchin and Danny Rubin for delivering a faithful but fresh take on this beloved film. 

Well, those are at least five of my personal picks for more underrated musicals that need more attention. So, take this list, and start listening to those cast albums!