Broadway's Biggest Blockbusters

Get the scoop on the most popular Broadway musicals!

Macy Berendsen

Nobody in all of Oz, no wizard that there is or was, is ever going to bring me down!” “Be our guest! Be our guest! Put your service to the test!” “I just can’t wait to be king!” Have you ever heard any of these songs? I’ll give you a hint; they're from Broadway musicals! Broadway musicals make you laugh, cry and in the car ride home you end up belting the music! Broadway musicals are the best! Have you ever wondered what the most popular Broadway plays are? Here’s your chance!

Broadway's Most Popular Musical Ever

The most popular Broadway musical of all time is The Phantom of the Opera. It’s first performance was in nineteen eighty-eight after a french book written by Gaston Leroux. The opening night of the first premiere of The Phantom of the Opera took eight million dollars to produce! People fell in love with the musical, and after that opening premiere people all over had to see the magnificent musical. The Phantom of the Opera is about a young woman and two young men fighting for the woman’s love, like two dogs fighting for one toy. Each performance of The Phantom of the Opera had two hundred thirty costumes, fourteen dressers, twenty-two scene changes and two hundred eighty- one candles!


The Phantom of the Opera had ten thousand three hundred sixty seven performances! The popular musical won seven Tony awards for the best Broadway musical! It is also in the Guinness world records for the longest running Broadway musical! The musical is even still running today.

How did these Musicals become so Popular?

In addition to the money, the Phantom of the Opera and other musicals didn't magically become popular, it took lots of work and effort to get it this far. The musical became popular because everyone loved it. In addition to all the money they made people bought tickets upon tickets to see this show. Plus it’s the longest running Broadway show so it’s been around for a while! Most performances sold out.


Here’s a graph of the money made from Broadway musicals. Even though some musicals made more money than others it doesn't mean they’re more popular. Some plays have been longer running than others and have been around for awhile.

Other Popular Musicals

It’s still a debate about which order are the most popular musicals but, in the top five behind The Phantom of the Opera is Cats, Les Miserables, Chicago and The Lion King.

The musical Cats is the second longest running Broadway play. It had seven thousand four hundred eighty-five performances. Cats has been performed all over the world and has been translated in twenty different languages! Cats musical has been performed for eighteen years from nineteen eighty-two, to two thousand.

The musical Les Miserables was performed six thousand six hundred eighty times! It ran for sixteen years from nineteen eighty-seven, to two thousand three. Unlike Cats, Les Miserables is more serious. It’s about a French prisoner. Les Miserables performed in forty two countries, three hundred nineteen cities and translated into twenty-two languages. The musical has three hundred ninety-two costumes, over five thousand articles of clothing and eighty five wigs!

The musical Chicago had six thousand, six hundred ninety- two performances. The first show of Chicago was way back in nineteen seventy-five. The musical still is performed today! Chicago is about two criminals who have a rivalry against each other. The musical was the winner of the nineteen ninety-six Tony award.

The Lion King is probably the most familiar and the most kid and family friendly about the tale of a young African lion, Simba. The musical won six nineteen ninety-eight Tony award.

Are you wanting to see a Broadway musical? Some great ones and age appropriate ones are Mary Poppins, Mamma Mia!, Wicked, Beauty and the Beast, Hairspray and The Lion King. There is something for everyone on Broadway!

Beyond the Lyrics...

"So if you can not find me, look to the western sky! As someone told me lately everyone deserves a chance to fly! And if I’m flying solo, at least I’m flying free!” Hidden in the lyrics of many popular Broadway songs, a message is hidden. Like in the song Defying Gravity you follow your dream and don’t let anyone else stop you, because you are unstoppable. It's not all about how popular the musical is or how much money it made. So listen carefully and find the hidden message beyond the lyrics.

Defying Gravity Tony Awards