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.

  • 1
    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

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  • 2
    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

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  • 3
    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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • 8
    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

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  • 9
    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

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

  • 10

    Jonathan Groff

    Age: 35

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


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  • 11

    Lin-Manuel Miranda

    Age: 40

    Wrote and starred in Hamilton.

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  • 12
    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
    Originated the role of Dolly Levi in Hello, Dolly!
    Carol Elaine Channing (January 31, 1921 – January 15, 2019) was an American actress, singer,...  more

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  • 14

    Originated the role of Kim in Miss Saigon.

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

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  • 15

    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

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

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

  • 17
    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

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  • 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

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  • 19
    Jeremy Michael Jordan is an American actor and singer. He has performed on Broadway and in...  more
  • 20
    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

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

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

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  • 22
    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

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  • 23
    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

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  • 24
    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
    Andrew Scott Rannells (born August 23, 1978) is an American actor, voice actor, and...  more

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