Culture

The Greatest Broadway Stars of All Time  

Buster McDermott
Originally by
47.1k votes 4.6k voters 74.2k 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 Julie Andrews, (born 1 October 1935) is an English actress, singer and author. Andrews, a child actress and singer, appeared in the West End in 1948 and made her Broadway debut in The Boy ...more
2
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age 51
Originated the role of Glinda in Wicked.
Kristin Dawn Chenoweth (; born Kristi Dawn Chenoweth, July 24, 1968) is an American actress and singer, with credits in musical theatre, film and television. In 1999, she won a Tony Award for ...more
3
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typoqueen added Lin-Manuel Miranda age 39

Wrote and starred in Hamilton.

Lin-Manuel Miranda (born January 16, 1980) is an American composer, lyricist, rapper, singer, actor, playwright and producer, widely known for creating and starring in the Broadway musicals In ...more
4
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age 48
Originated the role of Elphaba in Wicked.
Idina Kim Menzel (; née Mentzel; born May 30, 1971) is an American actress, singer, and songwriter. Menzel rose to prominence when she originated the role of Maureen Johnson in the ...more
5
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age 77
Remembered for her Broadway performance in Funny Girl.
Barbara Joan "Barbra" Streisand (; born April 24, 1942) is an American singer, actress, and filmmaker. In a career spanning six decades, she has achieved success in multiple fields of ...more
6
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jadethekilljoy added age 48

Originated the role of Kim in Miss Saigon.

Maria Lea Carmen Imutan Salonga, , (; born February 22, 1971) is a Filipina singer and actress, best known for her roles in musical theatre, for supplying the singing voices of two Disney ...more
7
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age 70
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 work in stage musicals. She has won two Grammy Awards, two Tony Awards, and two Olivier Awards. She ...more
8
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typoqueen added Jonathan Groff age 34

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

Jonathan Drew Groff (born March 26, 1985) is an American actor and singer. Groff rose to prominence in 2006 for his performance in the lead role of Melchior Gabor in the original Broadway ...more
9
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age 71
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, and children's book author. Over the course of a career that has spanned five decades, she has ...more
10
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age 49
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 her work on the Broadway stage, she has won six Tony Awards, more performance wins than any other ...more
11
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age 44
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 known for her work on the Broadway stage, for which she has received two Tony Awards for Best ...more
12
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age 94
Remembered for her Broadway performance in Mame.
Dame Angela Brigid Lansbury (born October 16, 1925) is a British-American-Irish actress who has appeared in theatre, television, and film. Her career has spanned eight decades, much of it 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, and comedian, known for starring in Broadway and film musicals. Her characters usually ...more
14
Phillipa Soo is listed (or ranked) 14 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
15
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age 51
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 is best known for playing Wolverine in the X-Men film series from 2000 to 2018, a role for which he ...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 (; born October 21, 1983) 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 ...more
17
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age 86
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 her roles in musical theatre. She is the first Hispanic woman and the first Latino American to ...more
18
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age 33
Has performed in musicals including Les Misérables and Fiddler on the Roof.
Lea Michele (born Lea Michele Sarfati on August 29, 1986) is an American actress, singer and author. She began her career as a child actress on Broadway, appearing in productions of Les ...more
19
Renée Elise Goldsberry is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Broadway Stars of All Time
age 48
Renée Elise Goldsberry (born January 2, 1971) is an American actress, singer and songwriter, known for originating the role of Angelica Schuyler in the Broadway musical Hamilton, for ...more
20
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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 film, stage, and television, singer, film director, producer, and choreographer. He was known for his ...more
21
Sierra Boggess is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Broadway Stars of All Time
typoqueen added age 37
Sierra Marjory Boggess (born May 20, 1982) is an American theater actress and singer. She is best known for originating the role of Ariel in The Little Mermaid on Broadway and for her multiple ...more
22
Jeremy Jordan is listed (or ranked) 22 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
23
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age 73
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 Academy Award-winning performance in Cabaret (1972), she is known for her energetic stage presence ...more
24
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age 77
Debuted on Broadway in Black Comedy.
Michael Patrick Smith, (born 19 January 1942), known by the professional stage name of Michael Crawford, is an English actor, comedian, singer, voice artist. He has received international ...more
25
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age 63
Won the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his performance in The Producers.
Nathan Lane (born Joseph Lane; February 3, 1956) is an American actor and writer. He has played the roles of Albert in The Birdcage, Max Bialystock in the musical The Producers, Ernie Smuntz in ...more