The Top 20 Broadway Musicals

Broadway musicals have enthralled theater lovers for a long time. Although Broadway theater was founded when live performances by artists in New York way back in 1750, it was the introduction of musical shows that first drew large crowds of people to the theater. Over 100 musicals have been staged since its inception, however some of them are greatly loved by the theater enthusiasts.

The success of Broadway musicals can be judged by the fact that many of them have exceeded 2,500 performances in Broadway or West End theaters. Let’s have a look at some of the historic musicals that have a special place in the hearts of the theater and music lovers.

Les Miserables (1987)

Based on a novel by the same name by Victor Hugo, this musical has had the longest innings in the history of theatre. This musical, performed 6,680 times, depicts the intertwining stories of characters as they struggle for revolution. The show’s fully re-orchestrated Broadway revival opened in November 2006.

The Phantom Of The Opera (1988)

Based on the novel by Gaston Leroux, this Broadway musical by Andrew Lloyd Webberis is the winner of seven 1988 Tony Awards. This haunting love story is one of the longest running with 8723 shows on Broadway.

Cats (1981)

Running for 18 years on Broadway, this musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber is based on Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T S Elliot. The musical has been performed at Broadway 6,138 times and has also been made into a video.

A Chorus Line (1975)

This Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning musical dazzled more than 6 million people during its record-breaking 15-year run on Broadway. A modern classic, A Chorus Line depicts the joy, despair and triumph of 17 dancers appearing for auditions for a Broadway chorus.

Beauty and the Beast (1994)

Based on the 1991 Disney film of the same name, this musical ran on Broadway for 5,464 performances between 1994 and 2007.

Rent (1996)

This Broadway musical presents the story of a group of impoverished young artists and musicians struggling to survive in New York's Lower East Side while being in the shadow of AIDS. This musical ran for 12 years.

Chicago (1996 revival)

One of the most successful international musicals, Chicago is an enticing tale of murder, greed, corruption, violence, exploitation, adultery and treachery.

The Lion King (1997)

Based on the 1994 Disney film, the Lion King was directed the Julie Taymor with music by Elton John and lyrics by Tim Rice.

Miss Saigon (1989)

A West End musical Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil, with lyrics by Boublil and Richard Maltby. This Broadway musical has had 4,092 performances.

Mamma Mia (2001)

Mamma Mia! is a jukebox musical British playwright Catherine Johnson. Based on the songs of ABBA, the play has had over 3000 screenings.

Some other musicals that have created history with excellent performances by actors and moving music include the 42nd Street (1980), Grease (1972), Jesus Christ Superstar (1971), Me and My Girl (1983), Fiddler on the Roof (1964), Evita (1978), Hello Dolly (1964), My Fair Lady (1956), The Producers (2001) and Hairspray (2002). In addition to these shows, a number of other Broadway musicals have been liked and admired by theatre lovers.

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