Broadway

10 Longest Running Broadway Shows

At the heart of American theatre lies Broadway (AKA The Great White Way). The shows that make their way here have to please both critics and audience members, and should they fail to do so - well, it’s time to drop the curtain.

Here, we have a look at the successes - plays and musicals that have been at Broadway forever. It is notable that when it comes to the top 10 longest running Broadway shows, not a single one is a play. Even in the top 20, the longest running play, Life with Father, makes its debut at #17. The Fantasticks is the longest running Off-Broadway show, having been performed 17,162 times over 42 years, before closing in 2002.

Please note that this list is based on the number of performances till date.

Top 10 Longest Running Broadway Shows of All Time


1

The Phantom Of The Opera

Run Time

Open Run

Price

$50 - $100

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The longest running Broadway show and musical, The Phantom of the Opera made its debut on January 26, 1988. Upon its debut, it won 7 Tony Awards, and has been performed over 12,000 times since then. It is currently running at Majestic Theatre.

2

Chicago

Run Time

Open Run

Price

Under $50

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This revival of the original 1975 production is the longest running Broadway revival, with nearly 9,000 performances. Currently running in Ambassador Theatre, it is also Broadway's longest running American show. This production won 6 Tonys in 1997, and the Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album in 1998.

3

The Lion King

Run Time

Open Run

Price

$50 - $100

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Having won 6 Tony Awards in 1998, The Lion King quickly made its way into the hearts of critics and audiences. Based on the 1994 animated Disney movie of the same name, it is also the longest running Disney Theatrical Productions show. The show is currently running at Minskoff Theatre, and is the highest-grossing Broadway show in history, having made almost $1.5 billion as of June 2018.

4

Cats

CLOSED

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Having won 6 Tony Awards in 1998, The Lion King quickly made its way into the hearts of critics and audiences. Based on the 1994 animated Disney movie of the same name, it is also the longest running Disney Theatrical Productions show. The show is currently running at Minskoff Theatre, and is the highest-grossing Broadway show in history, having made almost $1.5 billion as of June 2018.

5

Les Misérables

CLOSED

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Based on the legendary book by Victor Hugo, Les Misérables made its Broadway debut in 1987 and ran until 2003, covering 6,680 performances. It won eight Tony Awards, and a Grammy for Best Musical Cast Show Album in 1988. It saw two revivals - one in 2004, and another in 2014. Its West End counterpart holds the title of the longest running musical in the West End.

6

A Chorus Line

CLOSED

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A Chorus Line made its Broadway debut in 1975, and after 6,137 performances, closed in 1990. The musical won nine Tony Awards, along with a Special Tony Award in 1984 for becoming Broadway's longest-running musical, and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1976. A revival in 2006 ran for over 700 performances.

7

Wicked

Run Time

Open Run

Price

$50 - $100

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Into its 15th year now, Wicked made its Broadway debut in 2003, and has been running since. The show won three Tonys upon its debut, and has seen over 6,000 performances. The story is an alternative retelling of L. Frank Baum's novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. You can catch the show at Gershwin Theatre.

8

Oh! Calcutta!

CLOSED

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Oh! Calcutta! was a revue that made its Broadway debut in 1971. While the show closed in 1972, its 1976 revival ran for over 5,900 performances, making it the longest running Broadway revue of all time. The show was controversial, as it contained scenes of both male and female nudity, given that it consisted of sketches on sex-related topics.

9

Mamma Mia!

CLOSED

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Based on Swedish pop/dance group ABBA's songs, Mamma Mia! was an instant hit upon its debut in 2001. The show closed in September 2015, after 5,758 performances. The show was also Broadway's longest-running 'jukebox' musical, and was also adapted into a movie starring Meryl Streep and Amanda Seyfried. Its West End counterpart is the eighth longest running show in West End history.

10

Beauty and the Beast

CLOSED

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An adaptation of the 1991 animated Disney film of the same name, Beauty & the Beast opened in 1994. It ran until 2007, with 5,461 performances to its name. The show explores themes of love, appearances, and sacrifice. The show made its debut at Palace Theatre, and then moved to Lunt-Fontanne Theatre where it ran until closing.

Other Longest Running Broadway Shows


Here are some others in the list of Top 50 longest running Broadway shows, ranked based on the number of performances till date.

12. Jersey Boys
Having opened in 2004 and closed in 2017, Jersey Boys ran for 4,642 performances, and won 4 Tony Awards. The show has since transferred Off-Broadway, where you can still catch it.
19. The Book of Mormon
Currently running at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre, The Book of Mormon took home nine Tony Awards upon its debut, including Best Musical. It also won the Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album in 2012.
20. Hello, Dolly!
The show made its debut in 1964, and ran till 1970, with 2,844 performances. You can catch its 2017 revival at Shubert Theatre.
24. Avenue Q
Having made its debut in 2003, Avenue Q ran till 2009 after 2,534 performances. The show won three Tony Awards in 2004, including Best Musical. You can catch its Off-Broadway revival, currently running at New World Stages.
32. Kinky Boots
Based on the British movie of the same name, Kinky Boots made its debut in 2013, and has been running at Al Hirschfield Theatre since. The show won six Tony Awards in 2013, including Best Musical.
38. Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
Beautiful: The Carole King Musical traces the life of American composer and singer-songwriter, Carole King. Upon its debut in 2014, it won two Tony Awards, and a Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album in 2015. You can catch the show at Stephen Sondheim Theatre.
43. Aladdin
Based on the animated Disney film of the same name, Aladdin, made its debut in 2014, and has been lauded by audiences and critics since. You can catch the show at New Amsterdam Theatre.
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