Theater The Best Broadway Plays of the 80s  

Buster McDermott
552 votes 123 voters 10.6k 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
32 11
Amadeus is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Broadway Plays of the 80s
Peter Shaffer

2
20 5
Fences is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Broadway Plays of the 80s
Fences August Wilson, Branford Marsalis

3
25 10
The Search for Signs of Intell... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Broadway Plays of the 80s
The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe Jane Wagner

4
18 6
The Real Thing is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Broadway Plays of the 80s
The Real Thing Tom Stoppard

5
14 8
Biloxi Blues is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Broadway Plays of the 80s
Neil Simon

6
16 10
Brighton Beach Memoirs is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Broadway Plays of the 80s

7
15 10
Torch Song Trilogy is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Broadway Plays of the 80s
Harvey Fierstein

8
11 6
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Broadway Plays of the 80s
August Wilson

9
5 0
The Elephant Man is listed (or ranked) 9 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.

10
14 9
Glengarry Glen Ross is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Broadway Plays of the 80s
Glengarry Glen Ross David Mamet

11
13 9
Noises Off is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Broadway Plays of the 80s
Noises Off Michael Frayn

12
12 8
Agnes of God is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Broadway Plays of the 80s
John Pielmeier

13
10 8
Children of a Lesser God is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Broadway Plays of the 80s
Children of a Lesser God Mark Medoff

14
10 8
Crimes of the Heart is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Broadway Plays of the 80s
Crimes of the Heart Beth Henley

15
9 7
Betrayal is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Broadway Plays of the 80s
Betrayal Harold Pinter

16
8 6
'night, Mother is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Broadway Plays of the 80s
'night, Mother Marsha Norman

17
8 6
Burn This is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Broadway Plays of the 80s
Burn This Lanford Wilson

18
6 5
The House of Blue Leaves is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Broadway Plays of the 80s
The House of Blue Leaves John Guare

19
7 7
Speed-the-Plow is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Broadway Plays of the 80s
Speed-the-Plow David Mamet

20
7 7
Fifth of July is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Broadway Plays of the 80s
Fifth of July Lanford Wilson

21
7 7
Master Harold...and the Boys is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Broadway Plays of the 80s
Master Harold...and the Boys Athol Fugard

22
5 5
Hurlyburly is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Broadway Plays of the 80s
Hurlyburly David Rabe

23
7 9
Broadway Bound is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Broadway Plays of the 80s
Broadway Bound Neil Simon

24
5 7
Benefactors is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Broadway Plays of the 80s
Michael Frayn

25
4 6
Talley's Folly is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Broadway Plays of the 80s
Talley's Folly Lanford Wilson

26
6 9
The Nerd is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Broadway Plays of the 80s
The Nerd Larry Shue

27
5 8
As Is is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Broadway Plays of the 80s
William M. Hoffman

28
3 8
Coastal Disturbances is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Broadway Plays of the 80s
Coastal Disturbances Tina Howe

29
5 11
I Ought to Be in Pictures is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Broadway Plays of the 80s

30
3 10
I'm Not Rappaport is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Broadway Plays of the 80s
Herb Gardner

31
3 13
Social Security is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Broadway Plays of the 80s
Social Security Andrew Bergman