The Best Broadway Plays of the 70s

Over 200 Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of 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.

Most divisive: Mummenschanz
Ranked by
  • The Sunshine Boys
    35 votes
    • Characters: Al Lewis, Willy Clark
    The Sunshine Boys is a play by Neil Simon that was produced on Broadway in 1972 and later adapted for film and television.
  • Chapter Two
    Neil Simon
    25 votes
    Chapter Two is a semi-autobiographical play by Neil Simon. The play premiered on Broadway in 1977, where it ran for 857 performances.
  • That Championship Season

    That Championship Season

    Jason Miller
    21 votes
  • Sleuth


    Anthony Shaffer
    36 votes
    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 Performance. The play was adapted for feature films in 1972, 2007 and 2014.
  • The Elephant Man

    The Elephant Man

    Bernard Pomerance
    69 votes
  • California Suite
    27 votes
    • Characters: Sydney Nichols, Diana Nichols, Marvin Michaels, Hannah Warren, Beth Hollender
    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 adjoining bedroom with an ensuite bath, in The Beverly Hills Hotel.