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Broadway’s Longest-Running Shows and Biggest Hits

Here are some of the longest-running and most popular shows on Broadway, listed alphabetically, with brief descriptions that include my take, and links where available to my initial reviews.

To buy tickets to these shows, check out their websites, go to their box offices, or purchase on this page.

The Book of Mormon

The Book of Mormon

The Eugene O’Neill Theater

Opened: March 24, 2011
Director: Jason Moore and Trey Parker
Twitter feed: @BookofMormonBWY
This musical by Trey Parker and Matt Stone (book), the creators of South Park, and Robert Lopez, one of the composer-lyricists for “Avenue Q” (music and lyrics) and Frozen (both movie and musical), is about both the founder of the Church of Latter-Day Saints and modern disciples. It is outrageous, irreverent in one way, but also deeply reverent to (even while parodying) the best traditions of the Broadway musical.

My review of The Book of Mormon: Ridiculing Religion, Worshiping The Great White Way

Tickets to The Book of Mormon

 

Chicago

Chicago

Ambassador Theater (219 West 49th Street)

Opened: November 14, 1996

Twitter: @ChicagoMusical

A chorus girl in 1920′s Chicago murders her lover and becomes a star. This cynical, tuneful 1975 musical adaptation by John Kander and Fred Ebb (“Cabaret” team) of a 1926 play was revived to great acclaim by director Walter Bobbie and choreographer Ann Reinking in homage to original choreographer Bob Fosse. But it has gone through many, many cast changes since then. Some say this is the production that invented the modern Broadway practice of “stunt casting.”

Beginning in November, 2014, it became the second-longest running musical on Broadway.

 

Buy Tickets to Chicago The Musical

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hamilton

Richard Rodgers Theater

Opened: August 6, 2015

Twitter: @HamiltonMusical

The story of the first Secretary of the Treasury, told as a rap opera, is groundbreaking and breathtaking. It has become a phenomenon on Broadway — and elsewhere! I’ve seen it four times, and have written about it so many times that I’ve put together a post called Everything Hamilton

Hamilton tickets


Hamilton tickets

 

Kinky Boots

Kinky Boots

Al Hirschfeld

Opened: April 4, 2013

Twitter: @KinkyBootsBway

Cyndi Lauper’s Broadway songwriting debut, and the winner of the 2013 Best Musical Tony, adapts a 2005 British film about a traditional shoemaker who partners with a drag queen to make footwear sturdy enough for a man but fabulous enough for a woman. The show is familiar and safe, with a stand-out performance by Billy Porter as Lola/Simon.

My review of Kinky Boots

Kinky Boots Tickets

 

The Lion King

The Lion King

Minskoff Theater (200 West 45th Street)

Opened: November 13, 1997

Twitter: @TheLionKing

Based on the 1994 Disney animated film about the coming-of-age of a young lion in the African jungle, this musical offers African-inflected music by Elton John, lyrics by Tim Rice and the visual magic of Julie Taymor. Taymor is the director, and composer and lyricist for some of the songs. But above all, she is the designer of the costumes, masks, and puppets — and it is these visuals that make this show a good first theatrical experience — and worthwhile for any theatergoer no matter how experienced.

Buy tickets to The Lion King

 

 

The Phantom of the Opera
The Phantom of The Opera

Majestic Theater (247 West 44th Street)

Opened: January 26, 1988

Twitter: @TheOperaGhosts

The Phantom of the Opera, based on a 1911 French novel by Gaston Leroux, is about a disfigured genius named Erik who lives in the catacombs of the Paris Opera House and falls in love with Christine, an aspiring singer whom he helps…until an old flame of Christine’s named Raoul steps back into the picture.

However, the story in the musical, written and composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber — with more than its share of 1980′s heavy power ballads — is starting to take second place to the story of the musical, which is the longest-running Broadway musical of all time, and probably the most profitable.

Webber has written a “sequel,” entitled “Love Never Dies,” which was set for Broadway in the 2010-2011 season, but, after scathing reviews in London, may never appear there. It is, however, on national tour.

Phantom Of The Opera Tickets

 

Wicked
Wicked

Gershwin Theater (222 West 51st Street)

Opened: October 30, 2003

Twitter: @WICKED_Musical

The musical tells the story of “The Wizard of Oz” from the witches’ perspective, more specifically from the Wicked Witch of the West, who was not, as a child, wicked at all, but just green-tinted, taunted, and misunderstood. There is so much to like about this musical, the clever twists on the familiar tale, the spectacular set, and music that is a lot more appealing in context (such as the song “Defying Gravity”) that I will forgive the contortions necessary to tack on a happy ending.


Buy Wicked tickets!

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About New York Theater
Jonathan Mandell is a 3rd generation NYC journalist, who sees shows, reads plays, writes reviews and sometimes talks with people.

2 Responses to Broadway’s Longest-Running Shows and Biggest Hits

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