Culture

The Greatest Broadway Stars of All Time  

Buster McDermott
Originally by
45.3k votes 4.4k voters 69.8k views 129 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.

list ordered by
1
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age 84
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
2
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age 51
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
3
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age 48
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
4
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typoqueen added age 39

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
5
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age 77
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
6
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jadethekilljoy added age 48

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
7
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age 70
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
8
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age 71
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
9
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age 49
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
10
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typoqueen added age 34

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
11
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age 44
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
12
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age 94
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
13
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age 98
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
14
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age 51
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
15
Phillipa Soo is listed (or ranked) 15 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
16
Aaron Tveit is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Broadway Stars of All Time
stella-mahler added age 36
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
17
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age 86
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
18
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age 33
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
19
Sierra Boggess is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Broadway Stars of All Time
typoqueen added age 37
Sierra Marjory Boggess is an American theater actress and singer.
20
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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
21
Jeremy Jordan is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Broadway Stars of All Time
age 35
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
22
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age 73
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
23
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age 77
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
24
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age 63
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
25
Renée Elise Goldsberry is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Broadway Stars of All Time
age 48
Renée Elise Goldsberry is an American actress, singer and songwriter.