re: Who is the second best composer and lyricist?
Last Edit: Chazwaza 03:03 am EST 11/23/23
Posted by: Chazwaza 02:48 am EST 11/23/23
In reply to: re: Who is the second best composer and lyricist? - EvFoDr 07:37 pm EST 11/20/23

I'm assuming the OP meant composer/lyricist, as in one person who does both. Besides this being its own rare distinction for one person with enough success in musical theater to be in this conversation (making it a more unique topic than just "who is the best"), I also assume we'd have seen teams mentioned in the list of contenders, but none were.

If teams are included, I think the 3 top slots for my taste go to Sondheim, Rodgers & Hammerstein, and Kander & Ebb.

As for Composer/Lyricists, one person doing it all, my list includes (but isn't ranked here):

Michael John LaChiusa
Adam Guettel
William Finn
Frank Loesser
Jerry Herman
Maury Yeston
Stephen Schwartz
Cole Porter
Irving Berlin
Jason Robert Brown
David Yazbek
Lin Manuel Miranda
Dave Malloy

*Bob Merrill is notable, I know, but I don't know his scores well and the ones I've heard didn't stick with me

Others who only had one notable show I love:
Lionel Bart
Sherman Edwards
Jonathan Larson
Meredith Willson
Tim Minchin (I loved Matilda but not so much Groundhog)

And the non-theater people who wrote one amazing theater score:
Richard O'Brien
Stephen Trask
Anaïs Mitchell
Charlie Smalls
Boy George
Carol Hall
Roger Miller
Pete Townshead
Sara Bareilles

and... special shout out to Rupert Holmes, despite never coming close again, his astoundingly good work as composer and lyricist AND book writer for Drood... one of my favorite shows and scores, and a musical that is a showcase for all 3 elements unlike most shows are.
And especially fun to observe that he was first a hit songwriter/singer in pop music, but then when he turned to broadway he didn't write a pop score at ALL but went very far from that into British Music Hall and traditional/legit sound, and he's not even British to explain it! Easily the biggest surprise of a score/show coming from a pop artist than any of the others listed.

Of course the of people who do all 3 elements, and do them all well, and in the same show, is much smaller. And I would be hesitant to even put LMM in it for Hamilton, since it's such a specific kind of book writing, and his only show he's done the book for alone (or at least getting sole credit), and doesn't do books for musicals he hasn't written the score for (whereas Holmes has done several).

Please write another Broadway score Rupert!!
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