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The Best Most Longest-Running Famous Broadway Shows and Musicals
The Best Longest Running Broadway Shows
Broadway Theatre has been an important part of the New York entertainment and arts scene since the eighteen century and it remains an industry of great importance to people today. People who visit New York from all around the world make it a point to see some of the most famous Broadway shows that are out there and the shows themselves travel around the world so others can enjoy them. Many shows open, see modest success and then quickly close.
But a few shows keep running because they're so successful that people will come back to see them again and again. These are the shows that stand out in the history of theatre, shows that inspire people and energize them and move them to extreme emotions. They are the shows that epitomize the best of the theatre arts. They are the reason that New York's theatre scene remains known around the world to this day.
Unfortunately, many of these long-running Broadway musicals eventually had to close. They can't keep playing forever. But many of them lasted for years ... and a few of them are still open for you to see today. Here are some of the best longest-running musicals of Broadway theatre:
- The Phantom of the Opera. This is the longest-running Broadway musical to date and also the most financially successful Broadway show. That's a testimony to the way that this production has moved people from different generations. It has also been translated into numerous languages, adapted to a shorter-version for the Las Vegas stage and succeeded in movie version. It is one of the few long-running Broadway shows that remains open to audiences today; you can get tickets by visiting New York's Majestic Theater.
- Cats. Andrew Lloyd Webber was the composer for The Phantom of the Opera and was also the composer for this long-running musical. It, too, has traveled around the world as one of the longest-running Broadway shows in history. Unfortunately, this famous performance isn't still happening on the Broadways stage; it closed its doors in 2000 after 18 solid years of performances. It remains a popular show for people to see in other venues.
- Les Miserables. This was a book that was written in the nineteenth century but it got twentieth century attention when it became a hit on Broadway. It closed in 2003 but there was enough demand for it that it re-opened briefly in 2006 to satisfy customers that hadn't had a chance to see Les Mis during its original long run. At the beginning of this year, it closed its doors again. Who knows; maybe it'll make another comeback someday?!
- Rent. This musical was an attention-getter when it first hit the stage due in no small part to the way that it so succinctly captures the AIDS crisis as it was impacting a low-income artist community in New York at that time. The issues that it addresses and the brilliance with which it addresses them remain popular to this day. People who love this performance (or who liked the movie version and want to see it live) only have a little bit longer before this long-running Broadway show closes. Reportedly, it was closing in June of this year but has been extended until 2008 to meet the demand of ticket buyers.
- Beauty and the Beast. The Disney movie was made in 1991 and three years later the theatre performance was launched. Surprisingly, it impressed Broadway enough to remain popular for 13 solid years and to end up in the Top Ten for longest-running Broadway shows. Various translations and adaptations have been shown around the world.
- The Lion King. Beauty and the Best isn't the only Disney movie that did well as a Broadway show. The Lion King movie was released in 1994 and three years later along came the Tony-winning musical. It has changed theatres over time but continues to run on Broadway today. There are two different international touring performances of the show as well as several translations and adaptations around the globe.
- A Chorus Line. This is an award-winning Broadway show. Literally. It received nine Tony awards in the year that it opened and also got the 1976 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. It ran for a number of years and then closed its doors only to reopen recently. The revival show can still be seen on the Broadway stage today and a touring production is about to head its way around the world starting next month. There is also apparently a documentary about the show in the works which will likely interest fans of the show as well as people who are drawn to the backstage workings of Broadway. That documentary is expected to be shown at the next Sundance Festival.
- Oh! Calcutta! This is one of the most interesting Broadway shows in terms of the history behind it. It was originally released in an Off Broadway venue because it was an avant garde pieced that shocked the audience with its total nudity. A film version was banned in several areas and performances stopped. However, a revival of the show happened on Broadway in 1976. For 13 years after that, the show continued, making it one of the Top Ten longest-running Broadway shows.
- Chicago. This is another Broadway musical with an interesting past that includes a revival. In fact, this is the longest-running revival on Broadway and is still running today. It was originally produced way back in 1926 as a play written by a journalist who based it on real-life criminals that she had come across in her line of work. It opened on Broadway as a musical in 1975. It then closed but re-opened in 1996. It gained attention as the result of a movie based off of the theatre production and continues to be a popular Broadway theatre choice for New York locals and visitors alike.
Question for Broadway Fans: Which current Broadway show do you think will continue on to becoming a long-running success?