Broadway The Greatest Musicals That Started Off-Broadway  

Buster McDermott
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3k votes 353 voters 30.7k 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.

list ordered by

1
108 54
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Alan Menken, Howard Ashman

2
96 28
Hamilton is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Musicals That Started Off-Broadway
PaulJ.Hernandez added Hamilton

3
109 46
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Jonathan Larson

4
83 31
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heathertheatre added Heathers the Musical

5
88 36
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Edward Kleban, Nicholas Dante, Marvin Hamlisch

6
102 55
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Warren Casey, Jim Jacobs

7
45 6
Dear Evan Hansen is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Musicals That Started Off-Broadway
JadenReyes added

8
55 14
Hamilton is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Musicals That Started Off-Broadway

9
67 34
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Steven Sater, Duncan Sheik

10
68 42
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John-Michael Tebelak, Stephen Schwartz

11
74 46
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Gerome Ragni, Galt MacDermot, James Rado

12
61 32
The Rocky Horror Picture Show is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Musicals That Started Off-Broadway
FranaBlaylock added

13
58 31
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Lin-Manuel Miranda, Quiara Alegría Hudes

14
41 12
Wicked is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Musicals That Started Off-Broadway
KhushiRathi added Stephen Schwartz , Winnie Holzman

15
63 42
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Andrew Lloyd Webber, Tim Rice

16
64 35
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Jeff Marx, Jeff Whitty, Robert Lopez

17
54 35
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Tom Kitt, Brian Yorkey

18
42 37
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William Finn, Rachel Sheinkin

19
39 38
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Chris D'Arienzo

20
24 22
Hedwig and the Angry Inch is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Musicals That Started Off-Broadway
18markj added Stephen Trask , John Cameron Mitchell

21
34 39
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Mary Rodgers, Marshall Barer, Dean Fuller

22
30 26
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Stephen Flaherty, Lynn Ahrens

23
21 21
Fun Home is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Musicals That Started Off-Broadway
PaulJ.Hernandez added Lisa Kron , Jeanine Tesori

24
18 12
Natasha, Pierre, and the Great... is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Musicals That Started Off-Broadway
Garrett Canna added Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812

25
26 32
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James Lapine, Stephen Sondheim