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.

3
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Idina Menzel New York City, New York, United States of America - Originated the role of Elphaba in Wicked.

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Kristin Chenoweth Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, United States of America - Originated the role of Glinda in Wicked.

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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.

6
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Lin-Manuel Miranda is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Broadway Stars of All Time
Lin-Manuel Miranda New York City, Manhattan, USA

7
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Lea Salonga is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Broadway Stars of All Time
Lea Salonga Angeles, Philippines

8
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Patti LuPone Northport, Huntington, New York - Won a Tony Award for her performance in Evita.

9
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Angela Lansbury London Borough of Tower Hamlets, Poplar, London - Remembered for her Broadway performance in Mame.

10
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Gene Kelly Was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 1992.

11
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Robert Preston Newton, Massachusetts, United States of America - Won a Tony Award for his portrayal of Harold Hill in The Music Man.

12
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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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Carol Channing Seattle, Washington, United States of America - Originated the role of Dolly Levi in Hello, Dolly!

14
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Jonathan Groff is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Broadway Stars of All Time
Jonathan Groff Lancaster, Pennsylvania, United States of America

15
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Phillipa Soo is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Broadway Stars of All Time

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

17
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Aaron Tveit is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Broadway Stars of All Time
Aaron Tveit Middletown, New York, United States of America

18
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Ethel Merman Astoria, New York City, New York - Introduced many Broadway standards, including "Anything Goes" and "I Got Rhythm."

19
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Nathan Lane Jersey City, New Jersey, United States of America - Won the Tony Award  for Best Actor in a Musical for his performance in The Producers.

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

21
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Joel Grey Cleveland, Ohio, United States of America - Originated the role of Master of Ceremonies in Cabaret.

22
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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.

23
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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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Mandy Patinkin Chicago, Illinois, United States of America - Originated the role of George Seurat in Sunday in the Park with George.

25
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Renée Elise Goldsberry is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Broadway Stars of All Time
Renée Elise Goldsberry San Jose, California, United States of America

26
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Liza Minnelli Hollywood, Los Angeles, California - Has won four Tony Awards in her illustrious Broadway career.

27
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Matthew Broderick Manhattan, New York City, New York - Known for his portrayal of Leo Bloom in The Producers.

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

29
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Mary Martin Weatherford, Texas, USA - Originated the role of Nellie Forbush in South Pacific.

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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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Barbra Streisand Williamsburg, New York City, New York - Remembered for her Broadway performance in Funny Girl.

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

33
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Ben Vereen Laurinburg, North Carolina, United States of America - Known for his great performances in Wicked, Pippin, Jesus Christ Superstar, and more.

34
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Glenn Close Greenwich, Connecticut, United States of America - Won a Tony Award for her performance in Sunset Boulevard.

35
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Michael Crawford Salisbury, England - Debuted on Broadway in Black Comedy.

36
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Colm Wilkinson Drimnagh, Republic of Ireland - Originated the role of Jean Valjean in Les Miserables.

37
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Darren Criss is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Broadway Stars of All Time
Darren Criss San Francisco, California, USA

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

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

40
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Sierra Boggess is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Broadway Stars of All Time
Sierra Boggess USA, Denver, Colorado

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Madeline Kahn Boston, USA, Massachusetts - Nominated for a Tony Award for her performance in In the Boom Boom Room.

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

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

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

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

48
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Laura Osnes is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Broadway Stars of All Time
Laura Osnes Burnsville, Minnesota, United States of America

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Megan Hilty Bellevue, Washington, United States of America - Noted for her performance as Glinda in Wicked.

50
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Ramin Karimloo is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Broadway Stars of All Time
Ramin Karimloo Tehran, Iran