Culture
2.1m readers

The Most Popular Broadway Musicals of All Time

Updated February 21, 2020 2.1m views87 items

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.

Photo:
...more
  • 1

    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...  more

    More The Phantom of the Opera 

    #2 of 49 The Best Grammy-Nominated Musical Theater Albums of the 1980s#1 of 17 The Best Musicals by Andrew Lloyd Webber

  • 2

    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,...  more

    More Chicago 

    #1 of 35 The Best Broadway Musicals of the '70s#7 of 71 The Best Musicals Based on Movies

  • 3

    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...  more
  • 4

    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...  more

    More Cats 

    Every Song in Cats, Ranked by Singability#6 of 33 The Best Broadway Musicals of the 80s

  • 5

    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...  more

    More Wicked 

    The Best Songs in Wicked, Ranked by Singability#11 of 45 The Greatest Musicals That Started Off-Broadway

  • 6

    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...  more
  • 7

    Opened on July 25, 1975. Closed on April 28, 1990. Featured 6,137 performances.

    A Chorus Line is a musical with music by Marvin Hamlisch, lyrics by Edward Kleban and a book...  more
  • 8

    Opened on September 24, 1976. Closed on August 6, 1989. Revival featured 5,959 performances.

    Opened on June 17, 1969. Closed on August 12, 1972. Original run featured 1,314 performances.

  • 9

    Opened on October 18, 2001. Closed September 12, 2015. Featured 5,758 performances.

    Mamma Mia! is a jukebox musical written by British playwright Catherine Johnson, based on the...  more

    More Mamma Mia! 

    #1 of 28 The Best Jukebox Musical Plays, Ranked#17 of 39 The Best Broadway Shows for Kids

  • 10

    Opened on April 18, 1994. Closed on July 29, 2007. Featured 5,461 performances.

    Beauty and the Beast is a musical with music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim...  more
  • 11

    Opened on April 29, 1996. Closed on September 7, 2008. Featured 5,123 performances.

    Rent is a rock musical with music and lyrics by Jonathan Larson loosely based on Giacomo...  more

    More Rent 

    #25 of 185 The Greatest Musicals Ever Performed on Broadway, Ranked#3 of 66 The Best Tony Award Winning Musicals

  • 12

    Opened on November 6, 2005. Closed on January 15, 2017. Featured 4,642 performances.

    Jersey Boys is a jukebox musical with music by Bob Gaudio, lyrics by Bob Crewe, and book by...  more
  • 13

    Opened on April 11, 1991. Closed on January 28, 2001. Featured 4,092 performances.

    Miss Saigon is a musical by Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil, with lyrics by Boublil...  more
  • 14

    The Book of Mormon

    Opened on March 24, 2011. Has featured more than 3,600 performances as of the start of 2020.

    The Book of Mormon is a musical comedy. First staged in 2011, the play is a satirical...  more

    More 

    Every Song In 'The Book Of Mormon,' Ranked By Singability#3 of 49 Stage Musicals That Would Make Great Movies

  • 15

    Opened on August 25, 1980. Closed on January 8, 1989. Original run featured 3,486 performances.

    Opened on May 2, 2001. Closed on January 2, 2005. Revival featured 1,524 performances.

  • 16

    Opened on February 14, 1972. Closed on April 13, 1980. Original run featured 3,388 performances.

    Opened on May 11, 1994. Closed on January 25, 1998. Revival featured 1,505 performances.

    More Grease 

    #2682 of 3,110 The Greatest Albums of All-Time#56 of 112 Albums You're Guaranteed To Find In Every Parent's CD Collection

  • 17

    Opened on September 22, 1964. Closed on July 2, 1972. Featured 3,242 performances.

    Fiddler on the Roof is a musical with music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, and book...  more
  • 18

    Opened on January 16, 1964. Closed on December 27, 1970. Featured 2,844 performances.

    Hello, Dolly! is a musical with lyrics and music by Jerry Herman and a book by Michael...  more
  • 19

    My Fair Lady

    Opened on March 15, 1956. Closed on September 29, 1962. Featured 2,717 performances.

    My Fair Lady is a musical based on George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion, with book and lyrics by...  more

    More 

    #3 of 15 The Best Short Stage Monologues#7 of 15 The Best Stage Monologues For Men

  • 20

    Opened on August 16, 2002. Closed on January 4, 2009. Featured 2,642 performances.

    Hairspray is an American musical with music by Marc Shaiman, lyrics by Scott Wittman and...  more
  • 21

    Opened on November 16, 2006. Closed on March 3, 2013. Featured 2,619 performances.

    Mary Poppins is a musical with music and lyrics by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman...  more
  • 22

    Avenue Q

    Opened on July 31, 2003. Closed on September 13, 2009. Featured 2,534 performances.

    Avenue Q is an American musical in two acts, conceived by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx, who...  more
  • 23

    Opened on April 4, 2013. Closed on April 7, 2019. Featured 2,505 performances.

    Kinky Boots is a Broadway musical with music and lyrics by Cyndi Lauper and a book by Harvey...  more
  • 24

    Opened on April 19, 2001. Closed on April 22, 2007. Featured 2,502 performances.

    The Producers is a musical adapted by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan from Brooks' 1968 film of...  more
  • 25

    Opened on March 20, 2014. Has featured more than 2,400 performances as of the start of 2020.

    Aladdin is a musical based on the 1992 Disney animated film of the same name with music by...  more