The musical was well-received by critics and audiences, though Sondheim's score went largely unnoticed. In Howard Taubman's New York Times review, he likened the farce to "the days when comedians were hearty and comedy was rough and tumble...an ancient and honorable style of fooling" but deemed Sondheim's songs "accessories."
Zero Mostel won a Tony for his starring role as Pseudolus, and David Burns earned a Tony for his featured performance as Senex. Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart shared a Tony for the book, George Abbott won for his direction, and the production won for Best Musical of 1963. Sondheim was not nominated.