arts The Greatest Broadway Stars of All Time

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List Rules Vote up the famous Broadway actors, actresses, and singers who have been shining stars on the main stage.

These Broadway stars have been the biggest audience draws in the past, and many are sure to be in the future. All the theater stars on this list have performed at one of the forty designated Broadway theaters. Many theater actors listed here originated roles that have become beloved by audiences of all ages. From newer names (like Lea Michele) to old favorites who have passed on (such as Sammy Davis, Jr.), you’ll find them all here on this list of the greatest Broadway stars of all time.

Did you know that one amazing Broadway star performed two leading roles in a single day? Howard Keel, who later went on to star on the hit television show “Dallas,” understudied for the lead in Carousel in 1945. After he began performing in Oklahoma!, his understudy skills were needed - and he performed both plays in one night. Not only for his amazing performances, but also for his vigor, Keel has earned his place on this list of the most amazing Broadway stars.

Other Broadway stars are just beginning to make their marks. A prime example is Lea Michele, who is perhaps most widely recognized for her “Glee” character, Rachel Berry. She conquered the Broadway stage when she originated the role of Wendla in Spring Awakening. Audiences responded to her great Broadway performance, as did critics, and she was nominated for a Drama Desk Award. Michele and her cohort of Broadway newcomers are definitely building their names as the most popular Broadway performers.

On this list you’ll find all of the greatest Broadway stars from the past and present. Although some have left the stage, their memories live on and give new generations of Broadway stars something to aspire to. Cast your votes below for the greatest Broadway stars of all time.

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Julie Andrews Walton-on-Thames, United Kingdom - Debuted on Broadway in 1954 in The Boy Friend.

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Chita Rivera Washington, D.C. United States of America - Performed in Broadway shows including Can-Can and Guys and Dolls.

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Robert Preston USA, Massachusetts Newton - Won a Tony Award for his portrayal of Harold Hill in The Music Man.

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Idina Menzel New York City, USA New York - Originated the role of Elphaba in Wicked.

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Kristin Chenoweth Broken Arrow, USA Oklahoma - Originated the role of Glinda in Wicked.

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Gene Kelly Was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 1992.

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Lin-Manuel Miranda is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Broadway Stars of All Time
Lin-Manuel Miranda Manhattan, New York City New York

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Bernadette Peters Ozone Park, New York City New York - Critically acclaimed for her performances in Gypsy, Annie Get Your Gun, and more.

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Patti LuPone USA, Huntington New York - Won a Tony Award for her performance in Evita.

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Carol Channing USA, Washington Seattle - Originated the role of Dolly Levi in Hello, Dolly!

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Angela Lansbury Poplar, London United Kingdom - Remembered for her Broadway performance in Mame.

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Lea Salonga is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Broadway Stars of All Time
Lea Salonga Angeles, Philippines

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Aaron Tveit is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Broadway Stars of All Time
Aaron Tveit USA, Middletown New York

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Sutton Foster Statesboro, Georgia United States of America - Regarded for her performance as Millie Dillmount in Thoroughly Modern Millie.

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Jonathan Groff is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Broadway Stars of All Time
Jonathan Groff Lancaster, Pennsylvania United States of America

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Hugh Jackman Sydney, Australia - Performed in the Royal National Theatre's production of Oklahoma!

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Nathan Lane USA, New Jersey Jersey City - Won the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his performance in The Producers.

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Carol Burnett San Antonio, Texas United States of America - Has performed in musicals including I Do! I Do! and Love Letters.

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Ethel Merman Astoria, New York City New York - Introduced many Broadway standards, including "Anything Goes" and "I Got Rhythm."

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Joel Grey USA, Cleveland Ohio - Originated the role of Master of Ceremonies in Cabaret.

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Lea Michele New York City, New York United States of America - Has performed in musicals including Les Misérables and Fiddler on the Roof.

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Matthew Broderick New York City, Manhattan USA - Known for his portrayal of Leo Bloom in The Producers.

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Phillipa Soo is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Broadway Stars of All Time

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Michael Crawford Salisbury, England - Debuted on Broadway in Black Comedy.

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Audra McDonald Berlin, Germany - Won a Tony Award for her performance in Porgy and Bess.

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Megan Hilty USA, Bellevue Washington - Noted for her performance as Glinda in Wicked.

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Ben Vereen Laurinburg, USA North Carolina - Known for his great performances in Wicked, Pippin, Jesus Christ Superstar, and more.

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Mandy Patinkin Chicago, Illinois USA - Originated the role of George Seurat in Sunday in the Park with George.

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Darren Criss is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Broadway Stars of All Time
Darren Criss California, United States of America

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Shirley Jones Was the first and only singer to be put under contract with Rodgers and Hammerstein.

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Madeline Kahn Boston, Massachusetts United States of America - Nominated for a Tony Award for her performance in In the Boom Boom Room.

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Gregory Hines New York City, New York United States of America - Won a Tony Award for his work in Jelly's Last Jam.

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Jerry Orbach New York City, USA New York - Performed as Billy Flynn in the original production of Chicago.

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Mary Martin Weatherford, Texas United States of America - Originated the role of Nellie Forbush in South Pacific.

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Sierra Boggess is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Broadway Stars of All Time
Sierra Boggess Denver, Colorado United States of America

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Ian McKellen Burnley, United Kingdom - Performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company.

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Glenn Close USA, Connecticut Greenwich - Won a Tony Award for her performance in Sunset Boulevard.

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Yul Brynner Russia, Vladivostok - Remembered for his portrayal of the King of Siam in The King and I.

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Elaine Paige England, London Borough of Barnet - Debuted on Broadway in Sunset Boulevard.

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Zero Mostel New York City, New York USA - Remembered for his performance in Fiddler on the Roof.

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Sammy Davis, Jr. Harlem, New York City New York - Remembered for his role in Mr. Wonderful.

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Jessica Tandy London Borough of Hackney, London United Kingdom - Won a Tony Award for her performance in A Streetcar Named Desire.

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Vivien Leigh Darjeeling, India - Played both Juliet and Cleopatra on the stage.

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Samantha Barks Made her film debut in Les Miserables.

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Laura Osnes is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Broadway Stars of All Time
Laura Osnes Burnsville, Minnesota United States of America

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Liza Minnelli Hollywood, Los Angeles California - Has won four Tony Awards in her illustrious Broadway career.

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Colm Wilkinson Drimnagh, Republic of Ireland - Originated the role of Jean Valjean in Les Miserables.

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Ramin Karimloo is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Broadway Stars of All Time
Ramin Karimloo Tehran, Iran

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Elaine Stritch Detroit, Michigan United States of America - Starred in the original production of Bus Stop.

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Bebe Neuwirth USA, New Jersey Princeton - Debuted on Broadway in A Chorus Line.