Theater The Greatest Broadway Stars of All Time  

Buster McDermott
Originally by
28.8k votes 3.2k voters 50.7k views 125 items

List Rules Vote 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.

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990 229
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age 83 Debuted on Broadway in 1954 in The Boy Friend.
Dame Julia "Julie" Elizabeth Andrews, DBE, is an English film and stage actress, singer, author, theatre director and dancer. Andrews, a former child actress and singer, appeared on ...more

601 299
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age 50 Originated the role of Glinda in Wicked.
Kristin Dawn Chenoweth is an American actress and singer, with credits in musical theatre, film and television. In 1999, she won a Tony Award for her performance as Sally Brown in You're a Good ...more

630 304
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typoqueen added age 38

Wrote and starred in Hamilton.

Lin-Manuel Miranda is an American composer, rapper, lyricist, and actor. He wrote the Broadway musical In the Heights, for which he won numerous accolades, including a Tony and a Grammy Award. ...more

638 309
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age 47 Originated the role of Elphaba in Wicked.
Idina Menzel is an American actress and singer. She rose to prominence when she originated the role of Maureen Johnson in the Broadway musical Rent, a role which she reprised for the 2005 ...more

532 212
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age 70 Critically acclaimed for her performances in Gypsy, Annie Get Your Gun, and more.
Bernadette Peters is an American actress, singer and children's book author. Over the course of a career that has spanned five decades, she has starred in musical theatre, films and television, ...more

461 181
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age 69 Won a Tony Award for her performance in Evita.
Patti Ann LuPone is an American actress and singer, best known for her work in stage musicals. She is a two-time Grammy Award winner and a two-time Tony Award winner. She is also a 2006 American ...more

522 191
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jadethekilljoy added age 47

Originated the role of Kim in Miss Saigon.

Maria Lea Carmen Imutan Salonga KLD, better known as Lea Salonga, is a Filipina singer and actress who starred in the lead role of Kim in the musical Miss Saigon, for which she won the Olivier, ...more

457 202
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age 76 Remembered for her Broadway performance in Funny Girl.
Barbra Joan Streisand is an American singer, songwrighter, actress, director, writer, composer, producer, designer, author, photographer, and activist. During a career spanning six decades, she ...more

365 152
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age 48 Won a Tony Award for her performance in Porgy and Bess.
Audra Ann McDonald is an American actress and singer. She has appeared on the stage in both musicals and dramas, such as Ragtime, A Raisin in the Sun, and Porgy and Bess. She maintains an active ...more

367 153
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age 43 Regarded for her performance as Millie Dillmount in Thoroughly Modern Millie.
Sutton Lenore Foster is an American actress, singer and dancer. Foster is best known for her work on the Broadway stage, for which she has received two Tony Awards for Best Performance by a ...more

438 178
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typoqueen added age 33

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

Jonathan Drew Groff is an American actor and singer. At the age of 22, Groff received a Tony Award nomination for his performance as Melchior Gabor in the Broadway rock musical Spring Awakening. ...more

407 161
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age 93 Remembered for her Broadway performance in Mame.
Dame Angela Brigid Lansbury, DBE is an Anglo-Irish-American actress and singer who has appeared in theatre, television, and films. Her career has spanned seven decades, much of it based in the ...more

386 208
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age 50 Performed in the Royal National Theatre's production of Oklahoma!
Hugh Michael Jackman is an Australian actor, producer, and singer who is involved in film, musical theatre and television. Jackman has won international recognition for his roles in major films, ...more

286 106
Jeremy Jordan is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Broadway Stars of All Time
age 34 Jeremy Michael Jordan is an American actor and singer. He has performed on Broadway and in television and film, as well as in other theatrical productions. He is best known for the roles of Jack ...more

247 116
Sierra Boggess is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Broadway Stars of All Time
typoqueen added age 36 Sierra Marjory Boggess is an American theater actress and singer.

251 145
Aaron Tveit is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Broadway Stars of All Time
stella-mahler added age 35 Aaron Kyle Tveit is an American actor and singer. He is known for originating the roles of Gabe in Next to Normal and Frank Abagnale Jr. in the stage version of Catch Me If You Can on Broadway. ...more

601 305
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age 85 Performed in Broadway shows including Can-Can and Guys and Dolls.
Chita Rivera is an American actress, dancer, and singer best known for her roles in musical theatre. She is the first Hispanic woman and the first Latino American to receive a Kennedy Center ...more

294 180
Phillipa Soo is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Broadway Stars of All Time
Anna Wray added

Originated role of Eliza in Hamilton.

Phillipa Soo (born May 31, 1990) is an American actress and singer. Soo is perhaps best known for originating the role of Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton in the Broadway musical Hamilton, a ...more

227 130
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age 76 Debuted on Broadway in Black Comedy.
Michael Crawford, CBE is an English actor and singer. He has received great critical acclaim and won numerous awards during his career, which covers radio, television, film, and stagework on ...more

300 162
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Was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 1992. Eugene Curran "Gene" Kelly was an American dancer, actor, singer, film director, producer and choreographer. He was known for his energetic and athletic dancing style, his good looks ...more

271 142
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age 97 Originated the role of Dolly Levi in Hello, Dolly!
Carol Elaine Channing (January 31, 1921 - January 15, 2019) was an American actress, singer, dancer, comedian, and voice artist. She won the Golden Globe Award and was nominated for the Academy ...more

292 217
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age 32 Has performed in musicals including Les Misérables and Fiddler on the Roof.
Lea Michele Sarfati, known professionally as Lea Michele, is an American singer, songwriter, actress, dancer, and author, best known for her performance as Rachel Berry on the Fox television ...more

276 118
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age 62 Won the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his performance in The Producers.
Nathan Lane is an American actor and writer. He is known for his roles as Albert in The Birdcage, Max Bialystock in the musical The Producers, Ernie Smuntz in MouseHunt, Nathan Detroit in Guys ...more

274 119
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age 72 Has won four Tony Awards in her illustrious Broadway career.
Liza May Minnelli is an American actress and singer best known for her portrayal of Sally Bowles in the 1972 musical film Cabaret which won her an Academy Award for Best Actress. Born to film ...more

264 118
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Died at 76 (1908-1984) Introduced many Broadway standards, including "Anything Goes" and "I Got Rhythm."
Ethel Merman was an American actress and singer. Known primarily for her belting voice and roles in musical theatre, she has been called "the undisputed First Lady of the musical comedy ...more