41+ Great Political Musicals – The Full List of Shows

Since politics is probably on everybody’s mind at the moment, I thought it would be an appropriate time to pull together a list of powerful and interesting political musicals. Politics play a very important role in and run in the background of many additional musicals, like Cabaret, Ragtime, The Sound of Music, and Miss Saigon. But the following list is for musicals that center around politics as a theme.

The following list is broken down by time period, and then sorted alphabetically.


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Political Jazz Age Musicals

As Thousands Cheer

Music/Lyrics: Irving Berlin  Book: Moss Hart

Musical Type: Jazz Age/Revue (1933)

Genre: Satire


Dearest Enemy

Music: Richard Rodgers  Lyrics: Lorenz Hart  Book: Herbert Fields

Musical Type: Jazz Age/Operetta (1925)

Genre: Romantic Dramedy


Knickerbocker Holiday

Music: Kurt Weill  Lyrics/Book: Maxwell Anderson

Musical Type: Jazz Age/Operetta (1938)

Genre: Romantic Comedy


Leave It To Me!

Music/Lyrics: Cole Porter  Book: Samuel Spewack, Bella Spewack

Musical Type: Jazz Age (1938)

Genre: Satire


Let ‘Em Eat Cake

Music: George Gershwin  Lyrics: Ira Gershwin  Book: George S. Kaufman

Musical Type: Jazz Age (1933)

Genre: Sequel/Satire


Of Thee I Sing

Music: George Gershwin  Lyrics: Ira Gershwin  Book: George S. Kaufman, Morrie Ryskind

Musical Type: Jazz Age (1931)

Genre: Satire


Pins and Needles

Music/Lyrics: Harold Rome  Book: Various

Musical Type: Jazz Age (1937)

Genre: Revue


Shuffle Along

Music: Eubie Blake  Lyrics: Noble Sissle  Book: F.E. Miller, Aubrey Lyles

Musical Type: Jazz Age (1921)

Genre: Comedy


The Cradle Will Rock

Music/Lyrics/Book: Marc Blitzstein

Musical Type: Jazz Age (1938)

Genre: Drama


Golden Age Political Musicals

Call Me Madam

Music/Lyrics: Irving Berlin  Book: Howard Lindsay, Russel Crouse

Musical Type: Golden Age (1950)

Genre: Satire


Call Me Mister

Music/Lyrics: Harold Rome   Sketches: Arnold Auerbach

Musical Type: Golden Age (1946)

Genre: Revue


Fiorello

Music: Jerry Bock  Lyrics: Sheldon Harnick  Book: Jerome Weidman, George Abbott

Musical Type: Golden Age (1959)

Genre: Biography


Li’l Abner

Music: Gene De Paul  Lyrics: Johnny Mercer  Book: Norman Panama, Melvin Frank

Musical Type: Golden Age (1956)

Genre: Satire


Lock Up Your Daughters

Music: Laurie Johnson  Lyrics: Lionel Bart  Book: Bernard Miles

Musical Type: Golden Age (1959)

Genre: Farce


Louisiana Purchase

Music/Lyrics: Irving Berlin  Book: Morrie Ryskind

Musical Type: Golden Age (1940)

Genre: Satire


Silk Stockings

Music/Lyrics: Cole Porter  Book: George S. Kaufman, Leueen MacGrath, Abe Burrows

Musical Type: Golden Age (1955)

Genre: Satire


Up in Central Park

Music: Sigmund Romberg  Lyrics/Book: Dorothy Fields  Book: Herbert Fields

Musical Type: Golden Age (1945)

Genre: Comedy


Post-Golden Age Political Musicals

1776

Music/Lyrics: Sherman Edwards  Book: Peter Stone

Musical Type: Post-Golden Age (1969)

Genre: Drama


Anyone Can Whistle

Music/Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim  Book: Arthur Laurents

Musical Type: Post-Golden Age (1964)

Genre: Satire


Ben Franklin in Paris

Music: Jerry Herman, Mark Sandrich, Jr.  Lyrics/Book: Sidney Michaels

Musical Type: Post-Golden Age (1964)

Genre: Semi-Biography


Hair

Music: Galt MacDermot  Lyrics/Book: Gerome Ragni, James Rado

Musical Type: Post Golden Age (1967)

Genre: Dramedy


Jimmy

Music: Bill Jacob  Lyrics: Patti Jacob  Book: Melville Shavelson

Musical Type: Post-Golden Age (1969)

Genre: Semi-Biography


Mr. President

Music/Lyrics: Irving Berlin  Book: Howard Lindsay, Russel Crouse

Musical Type: Post Golden Age (1962)

Genre: Dramedy


Pre-Contemporary Political Musicals

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

Music: Leonard Bernstein  Lyrics/Book: Alan Jay Lerner

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1976)

Genre: Metamusical


Assassins

Music/Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim Book: John Weidman

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1990)

Genre: Historical Fiction


Evita

Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber  Lyrics: Tim Rice

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1976)

Genre: Biography


First Lady Suite

Music/Lyrics/Book: Michael John LaChiusa

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1993)

Genre: Historical


Les Misérables

Music/Book: Claude-Michel Schönberg  Lyrics/Book: Alan Boublil  Lyrics: Jean-Marc Natel

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1980)

Genre: Drama


Mayor

Music/Lyrics: Charles Strouse  Book: Warren Leight

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1985)

Genre: Revue


Pacific Overtures

Music/Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim  Book: John Weidman

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1976)

Genre: Drama


Sarafina!

Music/Lyrics/Book: Mbongeni Ngema  Music/Lyrics: Hugh Masakela

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1987)

Genre: Historical


The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas

Music/Lyrics: Carol Hall  Book: Larry L. King, Peter Masterson

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1978)

Genre: Comedy


The Civil War

Music/Book: Frank Wildhorn  Lyrics: Jack Murphy  Book: Gregory Boyd

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1998)

Genre: Drama


The Fix

Music: Dana P. Rowe  Lyrics/Book: John Dempsey

Musical Type: Pre-Contemporary (1997)

Genre: Satire


Contemporary Political Musicals

Allegiance

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

Musical Type: Contemporary (2012)

Genre: Drama


Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson

Music/Lyrics: Michael Friedman  Book: Alex Timbers

Musical Type: Contemporary (2008)

Genre: Biography


Clinton

Music/Lyrics/Book: Paul Hodge  Book: Michael Hodge

Musical Type: Contemporary (2012)

Genre: Satire


Fela!

Music/Lyrics: Fela Kuti  Book: Bill T. Jones, Jim Lewis

Musical Type: Contemporary/Jukebox (2008)

Genre: Biography


Gutenberg! The Musical!

Music/Lyrics/Book: Scott Brown, Anthony King

Musical Type: Contemporary (2005)

Genre: Comedy


Hamilton

Music/Lyrics/Book: Lin-Manuel Miranda

Musical Type: Contemporary (2015)

Genre: Biography


Soft Power

Music/Lyrics: Jeanine Tesori  Book/Lyrics: David Henry Hwang

Musical Type: Contemporary (2018)

Genre: Metamusical


Soho Cinders

Music: George Stiles  Lyrics/Book: Anthony Drewe  Book: Elliot Davis

Musical Type: Contemporary (2011)

Genre: Satire


Spamilton

Music: Various  Lyrics/Book: Gerard Alessandrini

Musical Type: Contemporary (2016)

Genre: Parody


Urinetown

Music/Lyrics/Book: Greg Hollmann, Greg Kotis

Musical Type: Contemporary (2001)

Genre: Comedy


New Contemporary Political Musicals

We Won’t Sleep

Music/Lyrics: Ari Afsar  Book: Lauren M. Gunderson

Musical Type: Contemporary (2020)

Genre: Drama


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Know of any other great political 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 Political Musicals.
Author: Stacy Karyn

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


 

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