35+ Great Political Musicals – A 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

Dearest Enemy  (1925)

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

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Knickerbocker Holiday  (1938)

Music: Kurt Weill  Lyrics/Book: Maxwell Anderson

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Leave It To Me!  (1938)

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

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Let ‘Em Eat Cake  (1933)

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

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Of Thee I Sing  (1931)

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

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Pins and Needles  (1937)

Music/Lyrics: Harold Rome  Book: Various

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Shuffle Along (1921)

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

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The Cradle Will Rock  (1938)

Music/Lyrics/Book: Marc Blitzstein

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Golden Age Political Musicals

Call Me Madam  (1950)

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

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Call Me Mister  (1946)

Music/Lyrics: Harold Rome   Sketches: Arnold Auerbach

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Fiorello  (1959)

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

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Li’l Abner  (1956)

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

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Lock Up Your Daughters  (1959)

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

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Louisiana Purchase  (1940)

Music/Lyrics: Irving Berlin  Book: Morrie Ryskind

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Silk Stockings  (1955)

Music/Lyrics: Cole Porter  Book: Kaufman, MacGrath, Burrows

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Up in Central Park  (1945)

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

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Post-Golden Age Political Musicals

1776  (1969)

Music/Lyrics: Sherman Edwards  Book: Peter Stone

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Anyone Can Whistle  (1964)

Music/Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim  Book: Arthur Laurents

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Ben Franklin in Paris  (1964)

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

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Hair  (1967)

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

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Jimmy  (1969)

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

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Mr. President  (1962)

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

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Pre-Contemporary Political Musicals

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue  (1976)

Music: Leonard Bernstein  Lyrics/Book: Alan Jay Lerner

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Assassins  (1990)

Music/Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim Book: John Weidman

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Evita  (1976)

Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber  Lyrics: Tim Rice

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Fela!  (2008)

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

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Les Misérables  (1980)

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

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Mayor  (1985)

Music/Lyrics: Charles Strouse  Book: Warren Leight

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Pacific Overtures  (1976)

Music/Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim  Book: John Weidman

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The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas  (1978)

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

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The Civil War  (1998)

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

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The Fix  (1997)

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

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Contemporary Political Musicals

Allegiance  (2012)

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

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Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson  (2008)

Music/Lyrics: Michael Friedman  Book: Alex Timbers

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Clinton  (2012)

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

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Gutenberg! The Musical!  (2005)

Music/Lyrics/Book: Scott Brown, Anthony King

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Hamilton  (2015)

Music/Lyrics/Book: Lin-Manuel Miranda

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Soft Power  (2018)

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

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Soho Cinders  (2011)

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

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Spamilton  (2016)

Music: Various  Lyrics/Book: Gerard Alessandrini

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Urinetown  (2001)

Music/Lyrics/Book: Greg Hollmann, Greg Kotis

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New Contemporary Political Musicals

We Won’t Sleep  (2020)

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

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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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