Culture

The Best Broadway Plays of the 80s 

Buster McDermott
Updated October 13, 2018 740 votes 175 voters 14.3k views 31 items

What are the best Broadway plays from the 1980s? This list has been ranked by theater lovers to determine the best plays performed on Broadway in the '80s, a decade of industrialization, war and the birth of Millenials. These themes and other current events would find themselves on Broadway in the 80s, in plays such in Brighton Beach Memoirs, Biloxi Blues, and many more. What are the top 80s Broadway plays?

Though the 1980s is often known for significant fashion trends such as ripped jeans and teased hair that often found their way to the stage, the Broadway play Amadeus was based on the lives of composers Salieri and Mozart and had nothing to do with popular 1980s imagery but was instead a period piece dating back to the 18th century. The show later won the1981  Tony Award for Best Play.

Still, other plays such as Children of a Lesser God focused on stories that resonated deeply with 80s audiences. Written by Mark Medoff, the 1980 play revolved around a relationship between a deaf student and her teacher and won the Tony Award for Best Play that year, running for 887 performances.

What are the best non-musical Broadway shows that opened in the 80s? Cast your votes below on this is a list of the top Broadway plays from the 1980s.
list ordered by
1
Amadeus is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Broadway Plays of the 80s
Peter Shaffer
2
The Search for Signs of ... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Broadway Plays of the 80s
The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe Jane Wagner
3
Fences is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Broadway Plays of the 80s
Fences August Wilson, Branford Marsalis
4
The Real Thing is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Broadway Plays of the 80s
The Real Thing Tom Stoppard
5
Brighton Beach Memoirs ... is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Broadway Plays of the 80s
6
Torch Song Trilogy is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Broadway Plays of the 80s
Harvey Fierstein
7
Agnes of God is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Broadway Plays of the 80s
John Pielmeier
8
Noises Off is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Broadway Plays of the 80s
Noises Off Michael Frayn
9
Burn This is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Broadway Plays of the 80s
Burn This Lanford Wilson
10
Biloxi Blues is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Broadway Plays of the 80s
Neil Simon
11
Master Harold...and the ... is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Broadway Plays of the 80s
Master Harold...and the Boys Athol Fugard
12
'night, Mother is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Broadway Plays of the 80s
'night, Mother Marsha Norman
13
Glengarry Glen Ross is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Broadway Plays of the 80s
Glengarry Glen Ross David Mamet
14
The Elephant Man is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Broadway Plays of the 80s
AprilSimnel added Bernard Pomerance

David Bowie famously played John Merrick in 1980 during part of its original Broadway run.

15
Crimes of the Heart is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Broadway Plays of the 80s
Crimes of the Heart Beth Henley
16
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom... is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Broadway Plays of the 80s
August Wilson
17
Betrayal is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Broadway Plays of the 80s
Betrayal Harold Pinter
18
Fifth of July is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Broadway Plays of the 80s
Fifth of July Lanford Wilson
19
Children of a Lesser God... is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Broadway Plays of the 80s
Children of a Lesser God Mark Medoff
20
Speed-the-Plow is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Broadway Plays of the 80s
Speed-the-Plow David Mamet
21
The House of Blue Leaves... is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Broadway Plays of the 80s
The House of Blue Leaves John Guare
22
Broadway Bound is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Broadway Plays of the 80s
Broadway Bound Neil Simon
23
As Is is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Broadway Plays of the 80s
William M. Hoffman
24
Hurlyburly is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Broadway Plays of the 80s
Hurlyburly David Rabe
25
Talley's Folly is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Broadway Plays of the 80s
Talley's Folly Lanford Wilson