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The 25 Longest-Running Broadway Shows of All Time

These plays and musicals entertained audiences for years—and some are still around!

The show must go on, and sometimes it goes on and on and on and on. While Broadway history is littered with Playbills of shows that bombed and ended their runs prematurely, the best plays and musicals have real staying power. New York City's theater scene has centuries of history; some of the first plays were performed before the Revolutionary War. What we consider to be Broadway can be traced back to the mid-1800s, and The Black Crook, which is considered to be the first-ever musical, raised its curtain on Sept. 12, 1866. Since then, countless shows have come and gone, but a few stand the test of time.

Successful Broadway productions will have hundreds, even thousands of performances, and the longest-running ones have even cracked five digits. Several of these shows are still playing on Broadway in their original form, meaning there is still time for you to head to the theater. Others have been revived for other stationary and/or touring productions, or you can catch them at your local community theater.

To see if your favorite is counted among them, read on for the 25 longest-running shows in Broadway history based on the number of performances they played. (And note that if a show is still running, the performance count is current as of the time of writing.)

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Mary Poppins

Album art for Mary Poppins cast recording
Walt Disney Records

Nov. 16, 2006 to March 3, 2013
2,619 performances

Two years after debuting in the West End (London's Broadway equivalent), Disney Theatricals' Mary Poppins musical gently floated over to Broadway, where it opened in the fall of 2006. The stage musical is based on the beloved Julie Andrews-led 1964 film and features both beloved movie songs by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman, as well as some numbers newly written for the show. It played for nearly seven years before the curtain fell for the final time in early 2013.


Hairspray cast recording
Masterworks Broadway

Aug. 15, 2002 to Jan. 4, 2009
2,642 performances

Hairspray, an adaptation of John Waters' 1988 film of the same name, was a smash hit when it opened on Broadway in 2002. Tracy Turnblad's uplifting pursuit of stardom won eight out of the 13 Tony Awards it was nominated for in 2003, including the award for Best Musical. The stage show was adapted into another musical movie in 2007, and it closed in 2009.

My Fair Lady

My Fair Lady cast recording
Columbia Records

March 15, 1956 to Sept. 29, 1962
2,717 performances

Flower girl Eliza Doolittle's Cockney accent charmed audiences for nearly 3,000 performances when My Fair Lady, adapted by George Bernard Shaw's 1913 play Pygmalion, had its initial Broadway run beginning in 1956. The musical closed in 1962 and has been revived four times on Broadway: in 1976, 1981, 1993, and 2018. Combined, these revivals account for nearly another 1,200 performances, but they don't count toward the ranking of longest-running shows.

Hello, Dolly!

Hello, Dolly! cast recording
RCA Victor

Jan. 16, 1964 to Dec. 27, 1970
2,844 performances

Carol Channing starred as the titular matchmaker in the original cast of this Broadway classic, which was a stage stalwart through the '60s and was later adapted into a beloved film starring Barbra Streisand. The original show closed at the very end of 1970, but it was revived four times, most recently in 2017 with Bette Midler and David Hyde Pierce in the leading roles.


Hamilton cast recording

Aug. 6, 2015 to present
3,005 performances and counting

Lin-Manuel Miranda's hip-hop history musical was a tremendous sensation when it opened on Broadway in 2015 following a successful off-Broadway run. It holds the record for the most Tony nominations with 16 nods and was the hottest ticket in New York for some time. A seat is easier to come by now, thankfully, but the musical is still going strong at the Richard Rodgers Theatre.

Tobacco Road

Playbill for Tobacco Road

Dec. 4, 1933 to May 31, 1941
3,182 performances

You may have never heard of it, but Tobacco Road, Jack Kirkland's play about poverty-stricken farmers in rural Georgia, once held the record for being the longest-running show in history. Its ranking has fallen significantly since the early '40s, but it still holds the record for being the second-longest-running non-musical ever on Broadway. (There have been three revivals of Tobacco Road, but none recently; the last one was in 1950.)

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Life With Father

Playbill for Life With Father

Nov. 8, 1939 to July 12, 1947
3,224 performances

Coming in just ahead of Tobacco Road is Life With Father by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse. It's Broadway's longest-running straight play by just 42 performances. The adaptation of author and cartoonist Clarence Day's autobiographical stories is a comedy about upper-middle-class family life in New York City. For decades, Life With Father was the longest-running show of any sort on Broadway, and it wasn't until 1972 that another show passed it.

Fiddler on the Roof

Fiddler on the Roof cast album
Masterworks Broadway

Sept. 22, 1964 to July 2, 1972
3,242 performances

The show that finally bested Life With Father was none other than the next entry on this list, Fiddler on the Roof, a beloved musical about a Jewish milkman and his three headstrong daughters living in early 1900s Imperial Russia. It won nine Tony Awards, held the record for Broadway's longest-running show for 10 years, and yielded five Broadway revivals.


Grease cast recording

Feb. 14, 1972 to April 13, 1980
3,388 performances

Grease delighted audiences for hundreds of "Summer Nights"—and plenty of fall, winter, and spring nights, too, as the rock and roll musical once held the record for being the longest-running Broadway show. The original production closed in 1980, two years after John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John starred in an equally iconic film adaptation. There have been two revivals—one in 1994 that ranks No. 66 on the longer version of this list—and one in 2007 starring the winners of a Grease-themed reality show.

42nd Street

42nd Street cast recording
Masterworks Broadway

Aug. 25, 1980 to Jan. 8, 1989
3,486 performances

Based on the novel and the movie, 42nd Street takes theater fans audiences behind the scenes as it follows the troubled production of a fictional musical during the Great Depression. A jukebox musical, it features numbers from the 1933 film, along with several songs that were popular during the decade when it's set. 42nd Street closed after nine years; a 2001 revival ran for 1,524 performances.


Aladdin cast recording
Walt Disney Records

March 20, 2014 to present
3,563 performances and counting

Aladdin is one of several Disney animated films that has been successfully adapted for the stage, and this take on the 1992 movie opened in 2014 and is still dazzling audiences to this day. As with many of these Disney movies-turned-stage musicals, Aladdin features additional songs that aren't in the original movie, including a few that were originally written for the film but cut.

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Miss Saigon

Miss Saigon cast recording

April 11, 1991 to Jan. 28, 2001
4,092 performances

Miss Saigon, an update of the 1904 opera Madama Butterfly, opened on Broadway in 1991. For a full decade, the musical enthralled audiences with its tale of star-crossed love during the Fall of Saigon. It closed in 2001, though a 2017 revival was also a success.

Jersey Boys

Jersey Boys cast recording
Warner Music

Nov. 6, 2005 to Jan. 15, 2017
4,642 performances

This beloved jukebox musical about the Frankie Valli-led rock and roll group The Four Seasons ran on Broadway for a lot longer than four seasons. Featuring hits such as "Big Girls Don't Cry" and "Can't Take My Eyes Off You," Jersey Boys won four Tony Awards.

The Book of Mormon

Book of Mormon cast recording
Ghostlight Records

March 24, 2011 to present
4,791 performances and counting

This satirical (but earnest) comedy about two naive missionaries from the Church of Latter Day Saints is the brainchild of South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, along with composer Robert Lopez. Their stage experiment the stage proved to be as successful as their long-running cartoon, as The Book of Mormon won nine Tony Awards and is still preaching on Broadway to this day. (During the COVID lockdown hiatus, however, it underwent a bit of an overhaul in the name of being more racially sensitive.)


Rent cast recording
Uni/Dream Works Records

April 29, 1996 to Sept. 7, 2008
5,123 performances

As the song famously goes, there are 525,600 minutes in a year, and since Rent was on Broadway for about a dozen years, it racked up approximately 6,307,200 minutes. The wildly influential and popular musical documents the lives of a group of artists in New York's East Village as they deal with poverty, AIDS, and other struggles, and it closed in 2008, years after establishing itself as a cultural phenomenon.

Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast cast recording
Walt Disney Records

April 18, 1994 to July 29, 2007
5,461 performances

The first of Disney's movie-to-stage musical adaptations was something of a full-circle moment, as the Disney Renaissance of the '90s was powered by Broadway-inspired movies including Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid. When Beauty and the Beast made it to the stage in 1994, it instantly found an audience and paved the way for Disney Theatricals productions.

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Mamma Mia!

Mamma Mia cast recording
Polydor Ltd. (UK)

Oct. 18, 2001 to Sept. 12, 2015
5,758 performances

ABBA jumped from the radio charts to the stage when Mamma Mia!, a jukebox musical featuring several of the iconic Swedish pop group's most famous songs, opened on Broadway in the fall of 2001. The original show lasted for almost a decade and a half, and Meryl Streep starred in a film adaptation that came out about halfway through the initial run. Mamma Mia! holds the distinction of being Broadway's longest-running jukebox musical.

Oh! Calcutta!

Oh! Calcutta! cast recording

Sept. 24, 1976 to Aug. 6, 1989
5,959 performances

The original run of Oh! Calcutta!, a risqué theatrical revue, ran for three years after it opened in 1969, making it the 78th longest-running show in Broadway history. The 1976 revival was much more successful, playing more than four times as many performances over the course of 13 years. It's the longest-running revue Broadway has ever seen, and given that revues have largely fallen out of fashion compared to big musicals, it seems unlikely that its record will ever be beaten.

A Chorus Line

A Chorus Line cast recording
Masterworks Broadway

July 25, 1975 to April 28, 1990
6,137 performances

A Chorus Line follows a group of hopeful actors as they audition to be part of a fictional show-within-a-show's chorus line and was, for a time, the longest-running Broadway production ever. It was also the first Broadway show to have more than 4,000 performances—a record which it broke for itself two more times when it crossed the 5,000 and finally 6,000-performance marks before closing in 1990. There's been one revival, so far, in 2006.

Les Misérables

Les Misérables cast recording
First Night (Red)

March 12, 1987 to May 18, 2003
6,680 performances

"Do You Hear The People Sing?" Well, for 16 years, Broadway audiences heard the cast of Les Misérables, the acclaimed musical about the French Revolution, belt out the now-iconic songs by Claude-Michel Schönberg, Alain Boublil, and Jean-Marc Natel. Les Misérables won eight Tony Awards, and after the show ended in 2003, there were two revivals: One just a few years later, in 2006, and another in 2014.


Cats cast recording

Oct. 7, 1982 to Sept. 10, 2000
7,485 performances

Does Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats make sense? That's not really the point, and audiences clearly loved its feline delights, as the musical based on T.S. Eliot's poetry collection Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats once held the record of being the longest-running Broadway show of all time. A big-budget megamusical Cats helped transform Broadway before it finally closed in 2000. There was a revival in 2016, and a reimagined off-Broadway version is due later this year. No matter how long that runs, we'll always have…the memories.

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Wicked cast recording
Universal Classics Group

Oct. 30, 2003 to present
7,936 performances and counting

Soon to be a major motion picture (that's been broken into two parts, for some reason), Wicked tells the story of The Wizard of Oz from the so-called bad guy's perspective. A musical adaptation of Gregory Maguire's novel, Wicked looks poised to break the 8,000 performances mark this year, as it's still running under the giant dragon clock at the Gershwin Theatre.

The Lion King

The Lion King cast recording
Walt Disney Records

Nov. 13, 1997 to present
10,397 performances and counting

The Lion King may only be the third-longest-running show in Broadway history, but it holds the top spot on another list: It's the highest-grossing show in Broadway history. Renowned for its elaborate costumes and use of puppetry to bring the animals of the African savannah to (stylized) life on the stage, The Lion King is another Disney musical that lives up to the hype (and the cost of a ticket.) The circle of life continues at the Minskoff Theatre.


Chicago cast recording
RCA Victor

Nov. 14, 1996 to present
10,777 performances and counting

The longest-running show currently on Broadway is also the longest-running revival, as the curtain went up on the first production of Chicago in 1975. The original show ran for 939 performances; while the 1996 revival is one of only two shows to have more than 10,000 performances under its belt. Chicago's tale of crime and fame in the Jazz Age can still be seen at the Ambassador Theatre.

The Phantom of the Opera

Phantom of the Opera cast recording
The Really Useful Group

Jan. 26, 1988 to April 16, 2023
13,981 performances

Consider this: The famous chandelier that (almost) crashes into the audience during The Phantom of the Opera fell down almost 14,000 times. The Andrew Lloyd Webber musical based on the Gaston Leroux novel is the longest-running show in Broadway history by 3,000 performances—a truly astounding feat. While other productions around the world are still running, the New York City production closed in spring 2023, as attendance for the expensive show took a hit following the COVID-19 pandemic. However, odds are that the Phantom will be back to haunt a revival at some point in the future.

James Grebey
James has been an entertainment journalist for more than a decade, writing and editing for outlets like Vulture, Inverse, Polygon, TIME, The Daily Beast, SPIN Magazine, Fatherly, and more. Read more
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