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The Best Broadway Plays of the 70s

Updated June 14, 2019 803 votes 219 voters 17.9k views33 items

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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  • 1
    The Elephant Man
    56
    26

    The Elephant Man

    Bernard Pomerance
  • 2
    California Suite
    38
    11

    CharactersSydney 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... more on Wikipedia
  • 3
    Equus
    34
    14

    Equus

    Peter Shaffer

    CharactersJill Mason, Martin Dysart, Nurse, Hesther Saloman, Dora Strang

    Equus is a play by Peter Shaffer written in 1973, telling the story of a psychiatrist who... more on Wikipedia
  • 4
    Deathtrap
    25
    11

    Deathtrap

    Ira Levin

    CharactersHelga ten Dorp, Porter Milgrim, Clifford Anderson, Sidney Bruhl, Myra Bruhl

    Deathtrap is a play written by Ira Levin in 1978 with many plot twists and which references... more on Wikipedia
  • 5
    For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow Is Enuf
    21
    8

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

    Ntozake Shange
  • 6
    The Sunshine Boys
    17
    9

    CharactersAl Lewis, Willy Clark

    The Sunshine Boys is a play by Neil Simon that was produced on Broadway in 1972 and later... more on Wikipedia
  • 7
    The Gin Game
    14
    5

    The Gin Game

    Donald L. Coburn
  • 8
    Plaza Suite
    22
    16

    Plaza Suite

    Neil Simon

    CharactersRoy Hubley, Muriel Tate, Sam Nash, Norma Hubley, Karen Nash

    Plaza Suite is a comedy play by Neil Simon.
  • 9
    Sleuth
    19
    11

    Sleuth

    Anthony Shaffer
    Sleuth is a 1970 play written by Anthony Shaffer. The Broadway production received the Tony... more on Wikipedia
  • 10
    Butterflies Are Free
    22
    17

    Butterflies Are Free

    Leonard Gershe
    Butterflies Are Free is a 1972 American comedy-drama film based on the play by Leonard Gershe.... more on Wikipedia

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  • 11
    The Ritz
    15
    7

    The Ritz

    Terrence McNally
    The Ritz is a comedic farce by Terrence McNally. Rita Moreno won a Tony Award for her... more on Wikipedia
  • 12
    Gemini
    12
    6

    Gemini

    Albert Innaurato
  • 13
    That Championship Season
    11
    5

    That Championship Season

    Jason Miller
  • 14
    Same Time, Next Year
    19
    16

    CharactersDoris, George Peters

  • 15
    Streamers
    13
    7

    Streamers

    David Rabe

    CharactersCarlyle, Roger, Billy, Martin, Cokes

  • 16
    The Shadow Box
    12
    7

    The Shadow Box

    Michael Cristofer

    CharactersFelicity, Joe, Mark, Maggie, Brian

    The Shadow Box is a book by Michael Cristofer.
  • 17
    Mummenschanz
    14
    9

    Mummenschanz

  • 18
    Yentl
    13
    9

    Yentl

    Leah Napolin, Isaac Bashevis Singer

    CharactersYentl, Avigdor, Hadass

    Yentl is a play by Leah Napolin and Isaac Bashevis Singer. Based on Singer's short story... more on Wikipedia
  • 19
    Sticks and Bones
    8
    4

    Sticks and Bones

    David Rabe
  • 20
    Child's Play
    9
    5

    Child's Play

    Robert Marasco
  • 21
    The Good Doctor
    9
    6

    The Good Doctor

    Neil Simon, Peter Link

    CharactersGeneral's wife, Sexton, Julia, Madame Cherdiakov, Cherdiakov

    The Good Doctor is a comedy with music written by Neil Simon. It consists in a series of short... more on Wikipedia
  • 22
    The Prisoner of Second Avenue
    The Prisoner of Second Avenue is an American black comedy play by Neil Simon, later made into... more on Wikipedia
  • 23
    Chapter Two
    12
    11

    Chapter Two

    Neil Simon
    Chapter Two is a semi-autobiographical play by Neil Simon. The play premiered on Broadway in... more on Wikipedia
  • 24
    Sly Fox
    11
    11

    Sly Fox

    Larry Gelbart
  • 25
    8
    7

    God's Favorite

    Neil Simon

    CharactersSidney Lipton, David, Joe Benjamin, Rose, Sarah

    God's Favorite is a play by Neil Simon, loosely based on the Biblical Book of Job. It was... more on Wikipedia