The history of Broadway is rich and colorful, and full of life, music and pizazz. It’s also surprising the appetite that so many people have to see shows again and again, because there are some shows that have been running for several years and are still going strong. Let’s take a look at the top five shows on the magnificent theatre strip that have been running for the longest.
The Phantom of the Opera
Possibly the most popular and well-loved musical of all time, and the numbers back that up. In 2006, it became the longest running show on Broadway and no one can catch it because Phantom is still going. The production opened in January 1988 and hasn’t missed a beat with over 13 000 performances. The cast has certainly changed, but the enduring music and love story remain a firm favorite among theater goers.
Now this one is actually a revival that is doing so well. The original run was from 1975 to 1977 – only 936 performances. It then took nearly 20 years for Chicago to hit the Broadway stage again, when the revival opened November 1996 at the Richard Rodgers Theater. It later moved to the Ambassador Theater, but is still considered the same run. The revival has hit nearly 10 000 performances and walked away with numerous Tony Awards and Grammy Awards.
The Lion King
This spectacle of a musical was adapted from the beloved animated film of the same name. It includes incredible dance sequences, puppet work and amazing makeup effects. The show opened at the New Amsterdam Theater in November 1997, and later moved to the Minksoff Theater. The number of performances is only just behind Chicago, reflecting the year difference in running time. What’s amazing about this production is how it has gone international and is has been performed in eight different languages. The musical has also grossed more than any production in Broadway history, and outperformed the film by a significant margin as it is as exciting and intriguing as sports betting online in NZ.
Another feline favorite, Cats used to hold the top spot on this list until it was overtaken by The Phantom of the Opera in 2006. This is also the only production on this list that is currently not still running, proving the enduring legacy of its run from October 1982 to September 2000. In that time, they put on 7485 performances at the Winter Garden Theater. This play has also done the international rounds and has some impressive stats, including being translated into 15 languages.
The newcomer on the block, Wicked broke into the top five list only recently when it overtook Les Misérables. Wicked opened at the Gershwin Theater in October 2003 (the same year the Les Misérables closed after 6680 performances) and is now sitting on close to 7000 performances. The show has gone from strength to strength in a very short space of time, becoming one of the most-loved musicals in the world. It has been translated into six different languages to date.