Culture

The Greatest Broadway Stars of All Time

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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list ordered by
  • 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 Friend ...more
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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 is ...more
  • 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 starred ...more
  • 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 actor, ...more
  • 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 her ...more
  • 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 entertainment and ...more
  • Originated the role of Elphaba in Wicked.
    Idina Kim Menzel (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 Broadway musical Rent. Her ...more
  • 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 Performance ...more
  • Leslie Odom Jr.
    11

    Leslie Odom Jr.

  • Jonathan Groff
    12

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

  • 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 and ...more
  • 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 American actress and singer. Known primarily for her distinctive, powerful voice and leading roles in musical ...more
  • 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 the ...more
  • Won the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his performance in The Producers.
  • 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
  • Ben Platt
    18

    Ben Platt is famous for his role in Pitch Perfect and his role in the Broadway play Dear Evan Hansen.

    Benjamin Schiff Platt (born September 24, 1993) is an American actor, singer, and songwriter. He began his career in theater as a child and has appeared in Broadway productions of The Music Man ...more
  • 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 receive a ...more
  • Remembered for her portrayal of Lola in Damn Yankees.
    Gwyneth Evelyn "Gwen" Verdon (January 13, 1925 – October 18, 2000) was an American actress and dancer. She won four Tony Awards for her musical comedy performances, and served as an uncredited ...more
  • Originated the role of Nellie Forbush in South Pacific.
    Mary Virginia Martin (December 1, 1913 – November 3, 1990) was an American actress, singer, and Broadway star. A muse of Rodgers and Hammerstein's, she originated many leading roles over her career ...more
  • 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 holds ...more
  • Originated the role of Master of Ceremonies in Cabaret.
    Joel Grey (born Joel David Katz; April 11, 1932) is an American actor, singer, dancer, director, and photographer. He is best known for portraying the Master of Ceremonies in the Kander & Ebb musical ...more
  • 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 well known for his portrayal of Inigo Montoya in the 1987 film The Princess Bride. His other film credits ...more
  • 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 radiated a ...more