The Most Popular Broadway Musicals of All Time

These are 80+ of the most popular Broadway musicals in history, listed according to their durations on the stage. The longest running Broadway musicals are part of the American musical canon with familiar songs that people hum to themselves or sing out loud, featuring stories generations know and love. Each of these productions has been performed at least 1,000 times in New York's famous Broadway theaters.

So what are the most popular Broadway shows? From well-known classic shows like Les Misérables and Cats to newer hits like Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen, these famous musicals with the most performances still gain new fans each year. Many of them are still running to this day, such as The Phantom of the Opera, which has been performed on Broadway more times than any other production. Among the top 20 most performed shows list below, there are iconic examples of the best of the form and major works from some of the best musical theater writers, choreographers, and performers of all time.

The biggest Broadway shows have toured America and the world alike, with long runs in London's West End and the Chicago Theatre District. Others have been adapted into live TV events. And there are plenty more that would make great movies if only someone would take a shot. This list features only musicals, so you won't find any of your favorite Neil Simon plays or more recent non-musical hits. So, what are the greatest Broadway musicals of all time? Check out the list below for your answer.

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Ranked by
  • Opened on January 26, 1988. Has featured more than 13,000 performances as of the start of 2020.

    The Phantom of the Opera is a musical with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Charles Hart. Richard Stilgoe and Lloyd Webber wrote the musical's book together. Stilgoe also provided ...more
  • Opened on November 14, 1996. Has featured more than 9,600 performances as of the start of 2020.

    Chicago (Chicago: A Musical Vaudeville) is an American musical with music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb, and book by Ebb and Bob Fosse. Set in Jazz-age Chicago, the musical is based on a 1926 ...more
  • Opened on November 13, 1997. Has featured more than 9,200 performances as of the start of 2020.

    The Lion King is a musical based on the 1994 Walt Disney Animation Studios' animated feature film of the same name with music by Elton John, lyrics by Tim Rice, and book by Roger Allers and Irene ...more
  • Opened on October 7, 1982. Closed on September 10, 2000. Featured 7,485 performances.

    Cats is a musical composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber, based on Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot, and produced by Cameron Mackintosh. The musical tells the story of a tribe of cats ...more
  • Opened on October 30, 2003. Has featured more than 6,700 performances as of the start of 2020.

    Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz is a musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and book by Winnie Holzman. It is based on the 1995 Gregory Maguire novel Wicked: The Life and ...more
  • Opened on March 12, 1987. Closed on May 18, 2003. Featured 6680 performances.

    Les Misérables, colloquially known as Les Mis or Les Miz is a sung-through musical based on the novel Les Misérables by French poet and novelist Victor Hugo. It has music by Claude-Michel Schönberg, ...more