Boublil and Schönberg's epic version of Victor Hugo's French revolution novel topped the list of 100 musicals chosen by JemmThree's listeners, beating off strong competition from Wicked. Stephen Schwartz's musical, which will celebrate its 10th anniversary on Broadway in October, came second.
Andrew Lloyd Webber claimed bronze with The Phantom of the Opera, one of the composer's nine entries to feature in the list. Both Jesus Christ Superstar and Starlight Express made the top 20, while his infamous flop Love Never Dies came in at 40.
However, Lloyd Webber's tally was trumped by Stephen Sondheim's – though only if his work as a lyricist is included, which increases the American's total from nine to 12. Sondheim's highest entry was at No 4 with Sweeney Todd, though Into the Woods, currently being made into a feature film, placed eighth.
Overall, the 1980s cemented its reputation as the decade of musical theatre, with more than a fifth of entries. The noughties followed closely with 18 shows, while the 1970s managed 13. Broadway premieres outnumbered West End debuts by 45 to 26.
"Reaction to the Top 100 Musicals of All Time has been incredible," said Robin Crowley, managing director of JemmThree, which launched in May.
"Listeners were fiercely discussing and arguing over the results throughout the seven-hour countdown on Twitter, Facebook and the JemmThree chat room. It was great to see musical theatre such a hot topic and shows just how passionate people are about musicals."
However, there were a few surprise choices. Ghost: the Musical snuck into the top 10, a vast 71 places higher than Jule Styne and Sondheim's classic Gypsy, while Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark (81) trumped both My Fair Lady and Hair. Viva Forever did not make the list.
This article was written by Matt Trueman, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 28th August 2013 12.00 Europe/London
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