Culture
6.6k voters

The Greatest Broadway Stars of All Time

Updated March 26, 2021 64.0k votes 6.6k voters 113.2k views140 items

List RulesVote up the famous Broadway actors, actresses, and singers who have been shining stars on the main stage.

These Broadway stars have been the biggest audience draws in the past, and many are sure to be in the future. All the theater stars on this list have performed at one of the forty designated Broadway theaters. Many theater actors listed here originated roles that have become beloved by audiences of all ages. From newer names (like Lea Michele) to old favorites who have passed on (such as Sammy Davis, Jr.), you’ll find them all here on this list of the greatest Broadway stars of all time.

Did you know that one amazing Broadway star performed two leading roles in a single day? Howard Keel, who later went on to star on the hit television show “Dallas,” understudied for the lead in Carousel in 1945. After he began performing in Oklahoma!, his understudy skills were needed - and he performed both plays in one night. Not only for his amazing performances, but also for his vigor, Keel has earned his place on this list of the most amazing Broadway stars.

Other Broadway stars are just beginning to make their marks. A prime example is Lea Michele, who is perhaps most widely recognized for her “Glee” character, Rachel Berry. She conquered the Broadway stage when she originated the role of Wendla in Spring Awakening. Audiences responded to her great Broadway performance, as did critics, and she was nominated for a Drama Desk Award. Michele and her cohort of Broadway newcomers are definitely building their names as the most popular Broadway performers.

On this list you’ll find all of the greatest Broadway stars from the past and present. Although some have left the stage, their memories live on and give new generations of Broadway stars something to aspire to. Cast your votes below for the greatest Broadway stars of all time.

Photo:
...more
  • 1
    1,863
    623
    Debuted on Broadway in 1954 in The Boy Friend.
    Dame Julie Andrews, (born 1 October 1935) is an English actress, singer and author. Andrews, a...  more

    More Julie Andrews 

    #64 of 739 The Best Singers Of All Time#1169 of 2,753 The Most Influential People of All Time

  • 2
    1,112
    457
    Won a Tony Award for her performance in Evita.
    Patti Ann LuPone (born April 21, 1949) is an American actress and singer, best known for her...  more

    More Patti LuPone 

    #307 of 316 The Greatest Singers of the Past 30 Years#15 of 50 50 Snubs From The 2020 Emmy Nominations

  • 3
    1,093
    481
    Critically acclaimed for her performances in Gypsy, Annie Get Your Gun, and more.
    Bernadette Peters (born Bernadette Lazzara; February 28, 1948) is an American actress, singer,...  more

    More Bernadette Peters 

    #38 of 281 The Funniest Female Comedians of All Time#991 of 1,883 The Greatest Actors & Actresses in Entertainment History

  • 4
    906
    372
    Remembered for her Broadway performance in Mame.
    Dame Angela Brigid Lansbury (born October 16, 1925) is a British-American-Irish actress who...  more

    More Angela Lansbury 

    #11 of 77 The Best English Actresses of All Time#32 of 185 The Best Living English Actresses

  • 5
    1,363
    657
    Originated the role of Glinda in Wicked.
    Kristin Dawn Chenoweth (; born Kristi Dawn Chenoweth, July 24, 1968) is an American actress...  more

    More Kristin Chenoweth 

    #192 of 602 The Best Female Vocalists Ever#214 of 272 The Best American Actresses Working Today

  • 6
    1,591
    766
    Originated the role of Elphaba in Wicked.
    Idina Kim Menzel (born May 30, 1971) is an American actress, singer, and songwriter. Menzel...  more

    More Idina Menzel 

    #30 of 40 Actors Who Are Having Their Best Year In 2019#9 of 60 The Most Iconic Celebrity First Names

  • 7
    1,108
    536
    Remembered for her Broadway performance in Funny Girl.
    Barbara Joan "Barbra" Streisand (born April 24, 1942) is an American singer, actress, and...  more

    More Barbra Streisand 

    The Best Barbra Streisand Songs#283 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

  • 8
    669
    317
    Has won four Tony Awards in her illustrious Broadway career.
    Liza May Minnelli (born March 12, 1946) is an American actress and singer. Best known for her...  more

    More Liza Minnelli 

    #290 of 904 Celebrity Death Pool 2021#297 of 349 The Best Actresses In Film History

  • 9
    866
    363
    Won a Tony Award for her performance in Porgy and Bess.
    Audra Ann McDonald (born July 3, 1970) is an American actress and singer. Primarily known for...  more

    More Audra McDonald 

    #123 of 214 The Greatest Black Actresses Of All Time#45 of 54 The 30+ Greatest Soprano Singers in Music History

  • 10
    1,207
    483

    Jonathan Groff

    Age: 35

    Originated starring roles in Spring Awakening and as King George III in Hamilton.

    More 

    #193 of 250 The Hottest Men Of 2021, Ranked#163 of 242 The Hottest Men Of 2019, Ranked

  • 11
    1,626
    769

    Lin-Manuel Miranda

    Age: 40

    Wrote and starred in Hamilton.

    Lin-Manuel Miranda (born January 16, 1980) is an American composer, lyricist, rapper, singer,...  more
  • 12
    871
    415
    Regarded for her performance as Millie Dillmount in Thoroughly Modern Millie.
    Sutton Lenore Foster (born March 18, 1975) is an American actress, singer and dancer. She is...  more
  • 13
    580
    328
    Originated the role of Dolly Levi in Hello, Dolly!
    Carol Elaine Channing (January 31, 1921 – January 15, 2019) was an American actress, singer,...  more

    More Carol Channing 

    #248 of 416 Celebrities Whose Deaths Will Be the Biggest Deal#41 of 66 The Greatest Gay Icons In Music

  • 14
    1,523
    429

    Originated the role of Kim in Miss Saigon.

    Maria Lea Carmen Imutan Salonga, , (; born February 22, 1971) is a Filipina singer and...  more

    More Lea Salonga 

    #34 of 188 The Best Original Pilipino Music Bands/Artists of All Time#47 of 59 Famous People with Long Names

  • 15
    529
    274

    Ethel Merman

    Dec. at 76 (1908-1984)
    Introduced many Broadway standards, including "Anything Goes" and "I Got Rhythm."
    Ethel Merman (born Ethel Agnes Zimmermann, January 16, 1908 – February 15, 1984) was an...  more

    More Ethel Merman 

    #343 of 525 Which Artist Would You Bring Back From The Dead To Write One More Song?#255 of 362 The Greatest Entertainers Of All Time

  • 16
    570
    288
    Won the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his performance in The Producers.

    More Nathan Lane 

    #679 of 1,017 The Best Actors In Film History#39 of 115 The Best Short Actors

  • 17
    467
    293
    Has performed in musicals including I Do! I Do! and Love Letters.
    Carol Creighton Burnett (born April 26, 1933) is an American actress, comedian, singer and...  more

    More Carol Burnett 

    #20 of 233 The Funniest Stand Up Comedians Of All Time#17 of 339 The Funniest People Of All Time

  • 18
    Was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 1992.
    Eugene Curran Kelly (August 23, 1912 – February 2, 1996) was an American dancer, actor of...  more

    More Gene Kelly 

    Incredible Ways Gene Kelly Changed Movie Musicals Forever#269 of 753 People We Wish Were Still Alive

  • 19
    822
    354
    Jeremy Michael Jordan is an American actor and singer. He has performed on Broadway and in...  more
  • 20
    759
    420
    Performed in Broadway shows including Can-Can and Guys and Dolls.
    Chita Rivera (born January 23, 1933) is an American actress, dancer, and singer best known for...  more

    More Chita Rivera 

    #53 of 121 The Best Living Actresses Over 80#24 of 122 The Best Hispanic Actresses of All Time

  • 21
    483
    318
    Debuted on Broadway in Black Comedy.
    Michael Patrick Smith, (born 19 January 1942), known by the professional stage name of...  more

    More Michael Crawford 

    #92 of 173 The Funniest British and Irish Comedians of all Time#356 of 467 Celebrities You Didn't Know Use Stage Names

  • 22
    887
    515
    Performed in the Royal National Theatre's production of Oklahoma!
    Hugh Michael Jackman (born 12 October 1968) is an Australian actor, singer, and producer. He...  more

    More Hugh Jackman 

    22 Hugh Jackman Tweets That Showcase Just How Entertaining Wolverine Is On Twitter#10 of 264 The Best (Male) Actors Working Today

  • 23
    374
    248
    Originated the role of George Seurat in Sunday in the Park with George.
    Mandy Bruce Patinkin (; born November 30, 1952) is an American actor and singer.Patinkin is...  more

    More Mandy Patinkin 

    #191 of 349 The Best TV Actors And Actresses Of All Time#107 of 111 The Funniest Jewish Comedians And Actors

  • 24
    369
    247
    Originated the role of Jean Valjean in Les Miserables.
    Colm Wilkinson (born 5 June 1944), also known as C. T. Wilkinson, is an Irish tenor and actor,...  more
  • 25
    466
    261
    Andrew Scott Rannells (born August 23, 1978) is an American actor, voice actor, and...  more

    More Andrew Rannells 

    #17 of 43 Dreamcasting Celebrities We Want To See On Lip Synch Battle#10 of 161 Every Single Celebrity Who Has Guest Starred on Drunk History