What makes Broadway a bit better than Hollywood is the fact that one show can go for a pretty long time, and despite constantly changing cast members, you can always see the original production. Sometimes, plays can go for years, even decades! Here are the top 5 longest-running shows on Broadway today!
The Book of Mormon (3,748)
Surprise! Or should I say – “Hello!”
The story of the two LDS Elders premiered on March 24, 2011. For nearly a decade (!!!) the audience is getting tummy ache of laughter at the adventures of Price, Cunningham, Nabulungi, the General, and the rest, and Cunningham’s take on the teachings of the Book of Mormon with Joseph Smith, hobbits, Lt. Uhura, Darth Vader, and Yoda.
“The Book of Mormon” has received some serious acclaims, winning the stunning 9 Tony Awards at the ceremony in 2011, including the Best Book, Best Score, and Best Direction of a Musical.
The first of Broadway’s super heavyweights with considerably more shows that the rest, “Wicked” is on Broadway since June 10, 2003. This means that the show will reach adulthood next year, but we sure don’t want it away. Sadly, the show will celebrate its 18th birthday closed, because it will be suspended until June 1, 2021, at the earliest. “Wicked” is still going strong and you can hardly find tickets for the Gershwin Theater, despite being the biggest venue on Broadway.
Sadly, the show won only three Tony Awards, but it managed to add a Grammy Award for its original cast album.
The Lion King (9,302)
Disney’s grandest success on Broadway, “The Lion King” is critically, commercially, and financial success. It premiered on July 8, 1997, making it 23 years old. We can buy Simba a beer. “The Lion King” is the highest-grossing Broadway production of all time with more than the stunning $8.1 billion as of 2017.
“The Lion King’s” accolades include six Tony Awards and several evergreen songs that have crossed into mainstream culture to stay.
Face it, we had it coming!
Just below the 10,000 mark, we have Broadway’s quintessential revival. A revival so successful that it clearly overshadows the original.
Velma, Roxie, Billy, and Amos are on Broadway since November 14, 1996, which makes it the longest-running revival on Broadway. And it is quite successful when it comes to critical reception, audience, and awards. The revival of “Chicago” won 7 Tony Awards, including Best Revival of a Musical.
The Phantom of the Opera (13,370)
Only the good die young, and all the evil seem to live forever!
When Michael Sommers, then editor of Theatre Crafts Magazine asked the technical crew that was setting the scene for the premiere of “Phantom of the Opera”, they answered that they are building it “to handle eight performances a week for the next 20 years”. Two years ago, in 2018, The Phantom celebrated 30 years on stage. Quite an age, huh?
“The Phantom of Opera” is a foundation of modern Broadway shows. It has it all – a story, a script, a book, music, lyrics, acting, awards, it just has it all! And that might explain its stage longevity.
We must give an honorable mention to “Cats” for its 7,485. It didn’t made it into today’s list due to the fact that it is currently running on Broadway. But the competition was nonetheless stiff. The longest-running shows on Broadway carry the essence of musical theater in them – whether they are a comedy, drama, or a love story. They just have it all!