It has been said that the New York Times theatre critics can make or break a show. Over the last century its six leading critics; Brooks Atkinson, Howard Taubman, Clive Barnes, Walter Kerr, Frank Rich, and Ben Brantley, have offered the most authoritative and influential commentary on musical theatre and documented our love affair with the Broadway musical. This extensive compendium includes the original reviews from the 150 most important musicals, selected by chief theatre critic Ben Brantley and accompanied by archival photographs from the productions and select feature coverage. Organized chronologically, the book begins in the early 1900s, when Gilbert and Sullivan and the Zeigfield Follies laid the groundwork for the flowering of the musical. Traveling into the golden age of theatre, we see divas rise on the stage; Ethel Merman, Julie Andrews, Carol Burnett, as well as legendary directors, lyricists, and choreographers; Rodgers and Hart, Cole Porter, Bob Fosse and Sondheim and Prince, to name a few. Iconic shows that have seen celebrated revivals will include expanded sections to track the show's evolution over time, as in the seminal role of Rose in Gypsy, which has been played by such luminaries as Ethel Merman, Angela Lansbury, Tyne Daly, Bernadette Peter and Patti Lupone. New York Times critic Ben Brantley gives context to the treasure trove of reviews through a thoughtful introduction and essays that guide the reader through each decade, along with some commentary on seminal shows.