Find your nearest venue :

Celebrating 20 years of Jigsaw with our top 20 Musicals of all time!

top 20 musicals

As we’re busy making plans for our 20th anniversary celebrations over the next coming weeks, we have been discussing our top 20 musicals of all time! We have asked a number of our Jigsaw managers and teachers to share with us their all time favourites and here is our final top 20 list!

Top 20 musicals of all time

1. Les Miserables – Danny, Jigsaw Harrow Manager

Set against the backdrop of 19th-century France, Les Misérables tells an enthralling story of broken dreams and unrequited love, passion, sacrifice and redemption – a timeless testament to the survival of the human spirit.


2. Billy Elliot – Nicola, Company Director

Set in a northern mining town, against the background of the 1984/’85 miners’ strike, Billy Elliot is the inspirational story of a young boy’s struggle against the odds to make his dreams come true.


3. Miss Saigon – Andrew, General Manager

This epic musical love story, from the creators of Les Misérables, tells the tragic tale of young bar girl Kim, orphaned by war, who falls in love with an American GI called Chris – but their lives are torn apart by the fall of Saigon.


4. Sound of Music – JB, Accounts Manager

A tuneful, heartwarming story, it is based on the real life story of the Von Trapp Family singers, one of the world’s best-known concert groups in the era immediately preceding World War II.


5. Chicago – Hayley, Jigsaw Broxbourne Manager

Nightclub sensation Velma murders her philandering husband, and Chicago’s slickest lawyer, Billy Flynn, is set to defend her. But when Roxie ) also winds up in prison, Billy takes on her case as well — turning her into a media circus of headlines. Neither woman will be outdone in their fight against each other and the public for fame and celebrity.


6.  CATS – Hayley, Jigsaw Stevenage Manager

This musical tells the story of a tribe of cats called the Jellicles and the night they make what is known as “the Jellicle choice” and decide which cat will ascend to the Heaviside Layer and come back to a new life.


7. Matilda – Jade, Jigsaw Sevenoaks Manager

Matilda is the captivating musical masterpiece from the Royal Shakespeare Company that revels in the anarchy of childhood, the power of imagination and the inspiring story of a girl who dares to change her destiny.


8. Funny Girl – Michael, Jigsaw Balham, Croydon and Wimbledon Manager

The musical is set in and around New York City just prior to and following World War I. Ziegfeld follies star Fanny Brice, awaiting the return of her husband, Nick Arnstein, from prison, reflects on their life together, and their story is told as a flashback.

9. West Side Story – Debbie, Jigsaw Crouch End and Hendon Manager

West Side Story is the award-winning adaptation of the classic romantic tragedy, “Romeo and Juliet”. The feuding families become two warring New York City gangs- the white Jets and the Puerto Rican Sharks. Their hatred escalates to a point where neither can coexist with any form of understanding. But when Former Jet Tony and Bernardo’s (Shark) younger sister Maria meet at a dance, no one can do anything to stop their love.


10. Lion King – Colette, Jigsaw Finchley Manager

This Disney animated feature follows the adventures of the young lion Simba, the heir of his father, Mufasa. Simba’s wicked uncle, Scar plots to usurp Mufasa’s throne by luring father and son into a stampede of wildebeests. But Simba escapes, and only Mufasa is killed. Simba returns as an adult to take back his homeland from Scar with the help of his friends Timon and Pumba.

11. Finding Neverland – Kelly-Anne, Jigsaw Edmonton Manager

This charming account of a period in the life of author J.M. Barrie (Johnny Depp) reveals the real relationships and events that served as the basis for the author’s most iconic work, “Peter Pan.”


12. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes – Amy, Jigsaw Ealing Manager

Lorelei Lee is a beautiful showgirl engaged to be married to the wealthy Gus Esmond, much to the disapproval of Gus’ rich father, Esmond Sr., who thinks that Lorelei is just after his money. When Lorelei goes on a cruise accompanied only by her best friend, Dorothy Shaw, Esmond Sr. hires Ernie Malone, a private detective, to follow her and report any questionable behavior that would disqualify her from the marriage.


13. Gypsy – Terri, Jigsaw Camden teacher

Rose Hovick pushes her two young daughters into the entertainment industry, traveling and promoting them with minimal success. After years in the business, younger daughter June quits and elopes, leaving Rose searching for work for her other, less talented daughter, Louise. The only offer is at a burlesque house, but Louise takes to it and transforms herself into the popular Gypsy Rose Lee. As Louise gains notoriety, she grows tired of her mother’s influence.


14. Memphis – Alice, Jigsaw Stevenage and Ware teacher

Inspired by true events from the underground dance clubs of 1950s Memphis, Tennessee, ‘Memphis’ follows the fame and forbidden love of a radio DJ who wants to change the world and a club singer who is ready for her big break.


15. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

When Charlie wins a golden ticket to the weird and wonderful Wonka Chocolate Factory, it’s the chance of a lifetime to feast on the sweets he’s always dreamed of. But beyond the gates astonishment awaits, as down the sugary corridors and among the incredible edible delights, the five lucky winners discover not everything is as sweet as it seems.


16. Mary Poppins – Nicola, Jigsaw Finchley teacher

Mary Poppins is the story of the Banks family who live in a big house in London on Cherry Lane. Things are not going well for the family, the children, Jane and Michael, are out of control and are in need of a new nanny. Jane and Michael have their own ideas about what sort of caretaker they should have, while their parents—and in particular Mr. Banks—are insistent on someone strict for the job. When a mysterious young woman named Mary Poppins appears at their doorstep, the family finds that she’s the answer to their prayers, but in the most peculiar way.


17. Lord of the Rings – Tahra, Jigsaw Camden Manager

The Lord of the Rings tells the tale of a humble hobbit who is asked to play the hero and undertake a treacherous mission to destroy an evil, magic ring without being seduced by its power. The show was first performed in 2006 and will be revived for a world tour in 2015.

18. Phantom of the opera – Kate, Jigsaw Chislehurst & Bexleyheath Manager

From his hideout beneath a 19th century Paris opera house, the brooding Phantom schemes to get closer to vocalist Christine Daae. The Phantom, wearing a mask to hide a congenital disfigurement, gives the budding starlet key roles but Christine instead falls for arts benefactor Raoul. Terrified at the notion of her absence, the Phantom enacts a plan to keep Christine by his side, while Raoul tries to foil the scheme.


19. Made in Dagenham – Katie, Jigsaw Ware Manager

Rita O’Grady works for the Ford Motor Co. plant in Dagenham, England. Despite performing the specialized task of sewing upholstery for car seats, women are classified as unskilled labor and paid much less than men. Encouraged by a sympathetic union representative, Rita agrees to bring the women’s grievances to Ford. The meeting goes badly and, outraged by the company’s lack of respect for them, Rita leads her colleagues to strike.


20. A Chorus Line – Jo, Jigsaw Enfield and Winchmore Hill Manager

Hundreds of hopefuls congregate at a cattle call for Broadway dancers. A sour director, Zach, and his brusque assistant whittle down the ranks until they’re left with 16 dancers. All tell their life stories – some tragic, some comic -and explain their love of dance. Tension mounts when Cassie, once both a big star and the director’s lover but now desperate for a part auditions. But Zach must choose only the best for his show.


There’s our top 20 musicals of all time – what would you include? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook!

Jigsaw Performing Arts is dedicated to developing performance skills, promoting self-expression and building confidence. We offer performing arts classes for children aged between 3 – 18. Find your nearest school by entering your postcode into the search on our home page