The Top 10 Longest Running Broadway Shows

Broadway in New York City has long been the epicenter of the American theatre industry. It is here that actors become legends and performances become historical moments. The measure of a successful Broadway show often comes down to its longevity. How long can it captivate audiences? How many performances can it run without losing its luster? In this post, we'll take a look at the top 10 longest-running Broadway shows and explore why they've had such enduring appeal.

The Phantom of the Opera

In the number one spot is "The Phantom of the Opera," which opened in January 1988 and is still running today. With its captivating storyline, memorable score, and stunning production values, "The Phantom of the Opera" has held audiences' attention for more than 30 years. It’s a timeless tale of love and obsession that resonates with audiences of all ages.


Next up is "Chicago," which has been a Broadway staple since its revival in November 1996. Known for its jazz-influenced score and provocative story, "Chicago" offers a compelling look at fame, justice, and the media circus that often surrounds both. Its longevity can be attributed to its powerful and relevant themes, as well as its consistently strong performances.

The Lion King

"The Lion King," which opened on Broadway in November 1997, has become one of the most beloved shows in Broadway history. It brings the classic Disney movie to life with breathtaking puppetry and visual design, and its unforgettable music by Elton John and Tim Rice has made it a favorite among audiences of all ages.


"Cats," which ran from October 1982 to September 2000, is another Andrew Lloyd Webber masterpiece. Known for its impressive choreography and the iconic song "Memory," "Cats" has a unique charm that has captivated audiences for nearly two decades.

Les Misérables

"Les Misérables," a musical adaptation of Victor Hugo's novel, ran from March 1987 to May 2003. Its powerful story of love, revolution, and redemption, along with its stirring score, has made it a favorite among audiences and critics alike.

A Chorus Line

"A Chorus Line" provides a behind-the-scenes look at the world of Broadway dancers. Running from July 1975 to April 1990, this show's compelling stories and Marvin Hamlisch's memorable score have made it one of Broadway's longest-running hits.

Oh! Calcutta!

"Oh! Calcutta!" is a unique entry on this list. This avant-garde musical revue, known for its sexually explicit content, ran from September 1976 to August 1989.

Mamma Mia!

"Mamma Mia!," a jukebox musical featuring the hits of ABBA, ran from October 2001 to September 2015. Its infectious energy and feel-good story have made it a crowd favorite, leading to a successful run of nearly 14 years.

Beauty and the Beast

"Beauty and the Beast," another Disney adaptation, ran from April 1994 to July 2007. Its familiar story, charming characters, and memorable music have made it a beloved family favorite on Broadway.


"Rent," a modern retelling of Puccini's "La Bohème," ran from April 1996 to September 2008. Its depiction of struggling artists in New York City and its rock-influenced score have made it a favorite among younger audiences.

These long-running Broadway shows have each left an indelible mark on the world of theatre. They have captivated audiences with their compelling stories, unforgettable music, and stunning productions. They have proven that a Broadway show's success isn't just about the initial buzz—it's about the ability to endure and continue to captivate audiences year after year.