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The Greatest Musicals That Started Off-Broadway  

Buster McDermott
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3.6k votes 418 voters 31.5k views 46 items

List Rules Vote up the best musicals that first debuted off-Broadway.

Although many people might not be aware - it’s true. Some of the greatest, most beloved Broadway musicals started out as off-Broadway productions. This includes fan favorites such as Rent, Godspell, and Hair, which have all seen multiple production runs and revivals. This list contains the greatest shows to make the jump from off-Broadway to Broadway.

What is the difference between Broadway and off-Broadway? At the most basic level, Broadway shows are staged in theaters with 500 or more seats, while off-Broadway shows are staged in theaters with between 100 and 499 seats. Of course, there’s more to it than that, but essentially, off-Broadway productions are smaller. It doesn’t mean, however, that off-Broadway productions aren’t as good, and as this list proves, many off-Broadway productions do make it to Broadway, due to their great success.

A fantastic example of a great musical that started off-Broadway is Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. A favorite show among musical theater fans, the show first ran off-Broadway in 1981, then moved to Broadway the next year. It also received multiple Tony Award nominations, giving it a place on this list of the most celebrated musicals that got their beginnings off-Broadway.

This list comprises those musicals for which off-Broadway jut wasn't enough. From hugely successful shows such as A Chorus Line to lesser-known but still deserving productions such as Starmites, they’re all here. Cast your votes below to rank this list of the greatest musicals that started off-Broadway.

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heathertheatre added Heathers the Musical
2
Hamilton is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Musicals That Started Off-Broadway
PaulJ.Hernandez added Hamilton
3
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Alan Menken, Howard Ashman
4
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Edward Kleban, Nicholas Dante, Marvin Hamlisch
5
Dear Evan Hansen is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Musicals That Started Off-Broadway
JadenReyes added
6
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Warren Casey, Jim Jacobs
7
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Jonathan Larson
8
Wicked is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Musicals That Started Off-Broadway
KhushiRathi added Stephen Schwartz , Winnie Holzman
9
Hamilton is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Musicals That Started Off-Broadway
10
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Steven Sater, Duncan Sheik
11
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John-Michael Tebelak, Stephen Schwartz
12
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Lin-Manuel Miranda, Quiara Alegría Hudes
13
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Gerome Ragni, Galt MacDermot, James Rado
14
The Rocky Horror Picture Show is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Musicals That Started Off-Broadway
FranaBlaylock added
15
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Andrew Lloyd Webber, Tim Rice
16
Into the Woods is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Musicals That Started Off-Broadway
Tom Islava added James Lapine , Stephen Sondheim
17
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Jeff Marx, Jeff Whitty, Robert Lopez
18
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Tom Kitt, Brian Yorkey
19
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Stephen Flaherty, Lynn Ahrens
20
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William Finn, Rachel Sheinkin
21
Falsettos is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Musicals That Started Off-Broadway
James Lapine, William Finn
22
Fun Home is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Musicals That Started Off-Broadway
PaulJ.Hernandez added Lisa Kron , Jeanine Tesori
23
Natasha, Pierre, and the Great... is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Musicals That Started Off-Broadway
Garrett Canna added Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812
24
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Chris D'Arienzo
25
Be More Chill is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Musicals That Started Off-Broadway
savhannahmbrennan added