The Tony Award provides an annual snapshot of Broadway theater by highlighting the best achievements of the year. The Tony Award was founded in 1947, and two years later debuted the award for best musical.
The list of shows that have won the prestigious best musical award includes classics such as “Guys and Dolls,” “My Fair Lady,” and “Fiddler on the Roof.” Newer winners highlight the evolution of theater toward more adaptations of television and film. This year’s nominees include “Frozen,” “Mean Girls,” and “SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical.”
In honor of the 2018 Tony Awards – scheduled for Sunday, June 10 and being broadcast on CBS – 24/7 Wall St. is taking a look back at the best musical from each year, going back to 1949. In addition to each year’s winner, we include the musical and lyrical composers as well as the person or people responsible for the “book” – the script and narrative of the musical.
The Tony Award has recognized some of the most talented men and women in theater. Those songwriters responsible for the shows awarded the best musical award include Oscar Hammerstein II for his work on “South Pacific,” “The King and I,” and “The Sound of Music;” Stephen Sondheim for “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” “Company,” “A Little Night Music,” among others; and Andrew Lloyd Webber for “Evita,” “Cats,” “The Phantom of the Opera,” and more.
Other talented artists to find more recent success at the Tony awards include Mel Brooks, whose smash hit “The Producers,” won 12 Tonys – the most of any musical production. Lin-Manuel Miranda has also skyrocketed to fame for “Hamilton,” which he wrote. The musical set the record for most Tony nominations for a musical production – 16 in total – in 2016.
All of this year’s nominees, including “The Band’s Visit,” are productions based on previously released films and television series. This Sunday’s ceremony will reveal which one will make musical history by joining the 69 Tony Award-winning best musicals.
All data for the Best Musical at the Tony Award the Year You Were Born comes from the official website of the American Theatre Wing’s Tony Award. The term “book” refers to the narrative structure of the musical. Credits for music and lyrics, while denoting distinct roles, were combined for convenience.