The Greatest Musicals That Started Off-Broadway

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List Criteria: Vote up the best musicals that first debuted off-Broadway.

Although many people might not be aware - it’s true. Some of the greatest, most beloved Broadway musicals started out as off-Broadway productions. This includes fan favorites such as Rent, Godspell, and Hair, which have all seen multiple production runs and revivals. This list contains the greatest shows to make the jump from off-Broadway to Broadway.

What is the difference between Broadway and off-Broadway? At the most basic level, Broadway shows are staged in theaters with 500 or more seats, while off-Broadway shows are staged in theaters with between 100 and 499 seats. Of course, there’s more to it than that, but essentially, off-Broadway productions are smaller. It doesn’t mean, however, that off-Broadway productions aren’t as good, and as this list proves, many off-Broadway productions do make it to Broadway, due to their great success.

A fantastic example of a great musical that started off-Broadway is Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. A favorite show among musical theater fans, the show first ran off-Broadway in 1981, then moved to Broadway the next year. It also received multiple Tony Award nominations, giving it a place on this list of the most celebrated musicals that got their beginnings off-Broadway.

This list comprises those musicals for which off-Broadway jut wasn't enough. From hugely successful shows such as A Chorus Line to lesser-known but still deserving productions such as Starmites, they’re all here. Cast your votes below to rank this list of the greatest musicals that started off-Broadway.

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  1. 1
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    Little Shop of Horrors is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Musicals That Started Off-Broadway


    Alan Menken, Howard Ashman

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  2. 2
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    A Chorus Line is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Musicals That Started Off-Broadway


    Edward Kleban, Nicholas Dante, Marvin Hamlisch

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  3. 3
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    Grease is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Musicals That Started Off-Broadway


    Warren Casey, Jim Jacobs

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  4. 4
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    Hair is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Musicals That Started Off-Broadway


    Gerome Ragni, Galt MacDermot, James Rado

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  5. 5
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    Rent is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Musicals That Started Off-Broadway


    Jonathan Larson

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  6. 6
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    Godspell is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Musicals That Started Off-Broadway

    most listed
    John-Michael Tebelak, Stephen Schwartz

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  7. 7
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    Joseph and the Amazing Technic... is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Musicals That Started Off-Broadway


    Andrew Lloyd Webber, Tim Rice

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    added by FranaBlaylock

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  9. 9
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    Avenue Q is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Musicals That Started Off-Broadway


    Jeff Marx, Jeff Whitty, Robert Lopez

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  10. 10
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    Spring Awakening is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Musicals That Started Off-Broadway


    Steven Sater, Duncan Sheik

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    No image

    added by PaulJ.Hernandez
    Hamilton

  12. 12
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    The 25th Annual Putnam County ... is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Musicals That Started Off-Broadway


    William Finn, Rachel Sheinkin

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  13. 13
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    Rock of Ages is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Musicals That Started Off-Broadway


    Chris D'Arienzo

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  14. 14
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    Next to Normal is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Musicals That Started Off-Broadway


    Tom Kitt, Brian Yorkey

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  15. 15
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    Once Upon a Mattress is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Musicals That Started Off-Broadway


    Mary Rodgers, Marshall Barer, Dean Fuller

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  16. 16
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    Heathers the Musical is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Musicals That Started Off-Broadway

    added by heathertheatre
    Heathers the Musical

  17. 17
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    In the Heights is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Musicals That Started Off-Broadway


    Lin-Manuel Miranda, Quiara Alegría Hudes

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  18. 18
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    added by PaulJ.Hernandez
    Lisa Kron, Jeanine Tesori

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    Urinetown is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Musicals That Started Off-Broadway


    Mark Hollmann, Greg Kotis

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    added by 18markj
    Stephen Trask ^! John Cameron Mitchell

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  21. 21
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    Sunday in the Park with George is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Musicals That Started Off-Broadway


    James Lapine, Stephen Sondheim

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  22. 22
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    Grey Gardens is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Musicals That Started Off-Broadway


    Scott Frankel, Michael Korie, Doug Wright

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  23. 23
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    Once on This Island is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Musicals That Started Off-Broadway


    Stephen Flaherty, Lynn Ahrens

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  24. 24
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    The Life is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Musicals That Started Off-Broadway


    Cy Coleman, Ira Gasman, David Newman

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  25. 25
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    The Me Nobody Knows is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Musicals That Started Off-Broadway


    The Me Nobody Knows Gary William Friedman, Will Holt

  26. 26
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    Caroline, or Change is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Musicals That Started Off-Broadway


    Jeanine Tesori, Tony Kushner

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    James Lapine, William Finn

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    Jeff Barry, Jeff Kent, Ellen Foley

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    A Class Act is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Musicals That Started Off-Broadway


    A Class Act Edward Kleban

  30. 30
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    Reg E. Gaines, Zane Mark, George C. Wolfe

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  31. 31
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    James Joyce's the Dead is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Musicals That Started Off-Broadway


    James Joyce's the Dead Shaun Davey, Richard Nelson

  32. 32
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    A Year with Frog and Toad is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Musicals That Started Off-Broadway


    Willie Reale, Robert Reale

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    Runaways is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Musicals That Started Off-Broadway


    Elizabeth Swados

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  34. 34
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    Passing Strange is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Musicals That Started Off-Broadway


    Heidi Rodewald, Stew

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  35. 35
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    Romance/Romance is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Musicals That Started Off-Broadway


    Romance/Romance Barry Michael Harman, Keith Harman

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    No image


    Blues in the Night Sheldon Epps

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    Contact John Weidman

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    Tintypes Mel Marvin, Gary Pearle

  39. 39
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    Ain't Supposed to Die a Natura... is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Musicals That Started Off-Broadway


    Ain't Supposed to Die a Natural Death Melvin Van Peebles

  40. 40
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    Starmites is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Musicals That Started Off-Broadway


    Starmites Barry Keating, Stuart Ross

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