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The Greatest Broadway Stars of All Time

Updated April 26, 2020 61.0k votes 5.9k voters 97.5k views125 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.

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  • 1
    Julie Andrews is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Broadway Stars of All Time
    1,730
    581

    BirthplaceWalton-on-Thames, United Kingdom

    Country of nationalityUnited Kingdom, England

    Debuted on Broadway in 1954 in The Boy Friend.

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  • 2
    Patti LuPone is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Broadway Stars of All Time
    1,016
    431

    BirthplaceNorthport, Huntington, New York, United States of America

    Country of nationalityUnited States of America

    Won a Tony Award for her performance in Evita.
  • 3
    Bernadette Peters is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Broadway Stars of All Time
    1,006
    476

    BirthplaceNew York City, USA, New York, Ozone Park

    Country of nationalityUnited States of America

    Critically acclaimed for her performances in Gypsy, Annie Get Your Gun, and more.
  • 4
    Idina Menzel is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Broadway Stars of All Time
    1,494
    743

    BirthplaceNew York City, New York, United States of America

    Country of nationalityUnited States of America

    Originated the role of Elphaba in Wicked.
  • 5
    Barbra Streisand is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Broadway Stars of All Time
    1,030
    503

    BirthplaceWilliamsburg, New York City, New York, United States of America

    Country of nationalityUnited States of America

    Remembered for her Broadway performance in Funny Girl.

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  • 6
    Kristin Chenoweth is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Broadway Stars of All Time
    1,280
    673

    BirthplaceBroken Arrow, Oklahoma, United States of America

    Country of nationalityUnited States of America

    Originated the role of Glinda in Wicked.

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  • 7
    Angela Lansbury is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Broadway Stars of All Time
    802
    373

    BirthplacePoplar, London, United Kingdom

    Country of nationalityUnited States of America, England

    Remembered for her Broadway performance in Mame.

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  • 8
    Carol Channing is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Broadway Stars of All Time
    558
    298

    BirthplaceSeattle, Washington, United States of America

    Country of nationalityUnited States of America

    Originated the role of Dolly Levi in Hello, Dolly!

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  • 9
    Liza Minnelli is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Broadway Stars of All Time
    585
    291

    BirthplaceHollywood, Los Angeles, California, United States of America

    Country of nationalityUnited States of America

    Has won four Tony Awards in her illustrious Broadway career.
  • 10
    Jonathan Groff is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Broadway Stars of All Time
    1,087
    462

    Jonathan Groff

    Age: 34

    BirthplaceLancaster, Pennsylvania, United States of America

    Country of nationalityUnited States of America

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

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  • 11
    Lin-Manuel Miranda is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Broadway Stars of All Time
    1,519
    763

    Lin-Manuel Miranda

    Age: 39

    BirthplaceManhattan, New York City, New York, United States of America

    Country of nationalityUnited States of America

    Wrote and starred in Hamilton.

  • 12
    Sutton Foster is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Broadway Stars of All Time
    810
    420

    BirthplaceStatesboro, Georgia, United States of America

    Country of nationalityUnited States of America

    Regarded for her performance as Millie Dillmount in Thoroughly Modern Millie.
  • 13
    Lea Salonga is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Broadway Stars of All Time
    1,381
    449

    BirthplaceAngeles, Philippines

    Country of nationalityPhilippines

    Originated the role of Kim in Miss Saigon.

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  • 14
    Audra McDonald is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Broadway Stars of All Time
    767
    382

    BirthplaceBerlin, Germany

    Country of nationalityUnited States of America

    Won a Tony Award for her performance in Porgy and Bess.
  • 15
    Ethel Merman is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Broadway Stars of All Time
    461
    277

    Ethel Merman

    Dec. at 76 (1908-1984)

    BirthplaceAstoria, New York City, New York, United States of America

    Country of nationalityUnited States of America

    Introduced many Broadway standards, including "Anything Goes" and "I Got Rhythm."

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  • 16
    Nathan Lane is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Broadway Stars of All Time
    510
    300

    BirthplaceJersey City, New Jersey, United States of America

    Country of nationalityUnited States of America

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

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  • 17
    Jeremy Jordan is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Broadway Stars of All Time
    749
    344

    BirthplaceCorpus Christi, Texas, United States of America

    Country of nationalityUnited States of America

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  • 18
    Gene Kelly is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Broadway Stars of All Time
    Was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 1992.

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  • 19
    Carol Burnett is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Broadway Stars of All Time
    413
    303

    BirthplaceSan Antonio, Texas, USA

    Country of nationalityUnited States of America

    Has performed in musicals including I Do! I Do! and Love Letters.
  • 20
    Chita Rivera is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Broadway Stars of All Time
    697
    446

    BirthplaceWashington, D.C., United States of America

    Country of nationalityUnited States of America

    Performed in Broadway shows including Can-Can and Guys and Dolls.

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  • 21
    Michael Crawford is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Broadway Stars of All Time
    446
    319

    BirthplaceSalisbury, England

    Country of nationalityEngland

    Debuted on Broadway in Black Comedy.

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  • 22
    Hugh Jackman is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Broadway Stars of All Time
    830
    521

    BirthplaceSydney, Australia

    Country of nationalityAustralia

    Performed in the Royal National Theatre's production of Oklahoma!

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  • 23
    Mandy Patinkin is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Broadway Stars of All Time
    328
    247

    BirthplaceChicago, Illinois, United States of America

    Country of nationalityUnited States of America

    Originated the role of George Seurat in Sunday in the Park with George.
  • 24
    Ben Platt is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Broadway Stars of All Time
    518
    203

    Ben Platt

    Age: 24

    BirthplaceLos Angeles, CA

    Country of nationalityAmerica

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

  • 25
    Colm Wilkinson is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Broadway Stars of All Time
    329
    252

    BirthplaceDrimnagh, Republic of Ireland

    Country of nationalityIreland

    Originated the role of Jean Valjean in Les Miserables.
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