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
  • The Sunshine Boys is a play by Neil Simon that was produced on Broadway in 1972 and later adapted for film and television.
  • The Elephant Man
    2

    The Elephant Man

  • Sleuth
    3
    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
  • Chapter Two is a semi-autobiographical play by Neil Simon. The play premiered on Broadway in 1977, where it ran for 857 performances.
  • Equus
    5
    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
  • 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
  • God's Favorite is a play by Neil Simon, loosely based on the Biblical Book of Job. It was produced on Broadway in 1974.
  • For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow Is Enuf
    8

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

  • Plaza Suite is a comedy play by Neil Simon.
  • 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 Gin Game
    11

    The Gin Game

  • Child's Play
    12

    Child's Play

  • Gemini
    13

    Gemini

  • The Runner Stumbles
    14

    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
  • That Championship Season
    16

    That Championship Season

  • 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
  • The Shadow Box is a book by Michael Cristofer.
  • Yentl
    20
    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
  • 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
    22
    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
  • Mummenschanz
    23

    Mummenschanz

  • Sticks and Bones
    24

    Sticks and Bones

  • The River Niger
    25

    The River Niger