Culture

The Best Broadway Plays of the 70s

What are the best Broadway plays of the 1970s? This list has been ranked by theater lovers to determine the most greatest plays on Broadway in the 1970s, a decade of progressive change, rooted in politics and popular culture. The list below has all of the top Broadway plays, performed on Broadway during the 70s. 

Butterflies Are Free was one of the longest running shows of the 1970s with 1,128 total performances. Directed by Milton Katselas, the play opened at the Booth Theatre and told the story of a blind man whose controlling mother disapproves of his relationship with a free-spirited hippie. Set in New York City, the play became a hit and was nominated for two Tony Awards.

Another popular Broadway play of the 1970s, Deathtrap, ran for four years with almost 1,800 performances. Today, the play still currently holds the record for longest-running comedy-thriller on Broadway and was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Play.

Other long-running Broadway plays of the 70s include Gemini, Equus, Plaza Suite, and The Prisoner of Second Avenue, each with strong Broadway runs and critical reception. What were the best Broadway shows of the 1970s? Cast your votes below to rank the absolute best Broadway plays of the 70s.


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list ordered by
  • Chapter Two is a semi-autobiographical play by Neil Simon. The play premiered on Broadway in 1977, where it ran for 857 performances.
  • The Sunshine Boys is a play by Neil Simon that was produced on Broadway in 1972 and later adapted for film and television.
  • Equus is a play by Peter Shaffer written in 1973, telling the story of a psychiatrist who attempts to treat a young man who has a pathological religious fascination with horses. Shaffer was inspired ...more
  • Sleuth
    4
    Sleuth is a 1970 play written by Anthony Shaffer. The Broadway production received the Tony Award for Best Play, and Anthony Quayle and Keith Baxter received the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding ...more
  • The Elephant Man
    5

    The Elephant Man

  • Deathtrap is a play written by Ira Levin in 1978 with many plot twists and which references itself as a play within a play. It is in two acts with one set and five characters. It holds the record for ...more
  • Child's Play
    7

    Child's Play

  • That Championship Season
    8

    That Championship Season

  • God's Favorite is a play by Neil Simon, loosely based on the Biblical Book of Job. It was produced on Broadway in 1974.
  • Gemini
    10

    Gemini

  • Plaza Suite is a comedy play by Neil Simon.
  • For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow Is Enuf
    12

    For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow Is Enuf

  • The Gin Game
    13

    The Gin Game

  • California Suite is a 1976 play by Neil Simon. Similar in structure to his earlier Plaza Suite, the comedy is composed of four playlets set in Suite 203-04, which consists of a living room and an ...more
  • The Runner Stumbles
    15

    The Runner Stumbles

  • In early 1970s San Francisco, blind aspiring singer-songwriter Don Baker (Edward Albert) is living away from his overprotective mother (Eileen Heckart) for the first time. Free-spirited actress Jill ...more
  • Neurotic middle-aged New Yorker Mel Edison (Jack Lemmon) is fired from his advertising job, forcing his loving wife, Edna (Anne Bancroft), to become the couple's sole breadwinner. Feeling ...more
  • Travesties is a play by Tom Stoppard. The play centres on the figure of Henry Carr, an elderly man who reminisces about Zürich in 1917 during the First World War, and his interactions with James ...more
  • The Ritz is a comedic farce by Terrence McNally. Rita Moreno won a Tony Award for her performance as Googie Gomez in the 1975 Broadway production, which she and many others of the original cast ...more
  • The Shadow Box is a book by Michael Cristofer.
  • Yentl
    22
    Yentl is a play by Leah Napolin and Isaac Bashevis Singer. Based on Singer's short story "Yentl the Yeshiva Boy," it centers on a young girl who defies tradition by discussing and debating Jewish law ...more
  • Sticks and Bones
    23

    Sticks and Bones

  • Mummenschanz
    24

    Mummenschanz

  • The Good Doctor is a comedy with music written by Neil Simon. It consists in a series of short plays, based on short stories and other works of Russian writer Anton Chekhov, framed by a writer making ...more