Long-running musical theatre productions

This is a selected list of long-running musical theatre productions divided into two sections. The first section lists all Broadway or West End productions exceeding 2,500 performances. The second section lists other musicals that have historical long run records.

m = music, l = lyrics, b = book::(Noteworthy trivia appear in parentheses)::(5,678) = number of performances (in original Broadway production if not specified) ::> denotes shows that are still in production. The number of Broadway performances are updated as of September 4, 2008. The number of West End performances are updated sporadically as information becomes available.::"Tony Award winner" denotes winner of Tony for Best Musical::"Olivier Award winner" denotes winner of award for Best New Musical

Longest running musicals on Broadway and the West End

The following is a list of musical theatre productions in Broadway or West End theatres that have exceeded 2,500 performances.

# "Les Misérables", 1987 on Broadway, 1985 in London, 1980 in Paris, m Claude-Michel Schönberg, lb Alain Boublil (English lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer; through composed) (Based on the novel by Victor Hugo) (>9,500 in London (the longest-running West End musical in history); 6,680 on Broadway) (1987 Tony Award winner; nominated for 12 Tony Awards and won eight)
# "The Phantom of the Opera", 1988 on Broadway 1986 in London, m Andrew Lloyd Webber, l Charles Hart, b Lloyd Webber and Richard Stilgoe (Based on the novel by Gaston Leroux) (>8,563 on Broadway (the longest-running Broadway musical in history); >9,000 in London) (1988 Tony Award winner)
# "Cats", 1981, m Andrew Lloyd Webber, l T. S. Eliot, b Lloyd Webber and Trevor Nunn ("Memory") (Based on "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats") (8,300 in London (some references say 8,949); 7,485 on Broadway) (1983 Tony Award winner)
# "Blood Brothers", 1983, mlb Willy Russell (>8,000 in London, 1988 revival; 839 on Broadway) (1983 Olivier Award winner; nominated for seven Tonys)
# "Starlight Express", 1984 in London, 1988 in Bochum, Germany, m Andrew Lloyd Webber, l Richard Stilgoe (with later revisions by Don Black and David Yazbek; through composed rock opera; innovative choreography entirely on skates) (7,406 in London; >more? in Germany)
# "Black and White Minstrels", 1960, mlb George Mitchell (musician) (shockingly, this minstrel show (a revue) was in The Guinness Book of Records as the stage show seen by the largest number of people and had international fame) (6,477 in London, the longest-running work of musical theatre (other than "The Fantasticks"), until beaten by "Les Misérables")
# "A Chorus Line", 1975, m Marvin Hamlisch, l Edward Kleban, b James Kirkwood, Jr. and Nicholas Dante (6,137, the longest-running Broadway musical in history, until beaten by "Cats") (1976 Tony Award winner)
# "Oh! Calcutta!", m Peter Schickele (aka “PDQ Bach”), Robert Dennis and Stanley Walden, lb various (1976 Revival, 5,959; 2,305 in London's 1969 production) (nude revue)
# "Beauty and the Beast", 1994, (Based on the 1991 Disney film), m Alan Menken, l Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, b Linda Woolverton (5,464) (1998 Olivier Award winner)
# ', 1995, ml Buddy Holly, b"' Alan Janes (5,140 in London)
#"Rent", 1996, (Based upon Puccini's opera "La Bohème"), mlb Jonathan Larson (5,123 on Broadway) ("Pulitzer Prize" Winner, 1996 Tony Award winner)
# "Chicago", (1996 Revival), (Based on the play by Maurine Dallas Watkins), m John Kander, l Fred Ebb, b Bob Fosse and Fred Ebb (>4,896 on Broadway; >3,444 in London) (longest-running revival in Broadway history, not counting "Oh! Calcutta")(2002 film adaptation won Academy Award for Best Picture)
# "The Lion King", 1997, (Based on the 1994 Disney film) m Elton John, l Tim Rice, b Roger Allers and Irene Mecchi (>4,481) (1998 Tony Award winner)
# "Miss Saigon", 1989, (An adaptation of Puccini's "Madame Butterfly"), m Claude-Michel Schönberg, l Alain Boublil and Richard Maltby, Jr.,b Alain Boublil (4,264 on the West End; 4,092 on Broadway)
# "42nd Street", 1980, (Loosely based on popular 1933 film of the same name) m Harry Warren, l Al Dubin, b Michael Stewart and Mark Bramble (3,486) (1981 Tony Award winner; 1984 Olivier Award winner)
# "Grease", 1972, mlb Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey (3,388, the longest-running Broadway musical in history, until beaten by "A Chorus Line")(1978 film became a popular movie musical)
# "Jesus Christ Superstar", 1971 Broadway, 1972 London, m Andrew Lloyd Webber, lb Tim Rice (3,358 in London; 720 on Broadway) (seminal rock opera and briefly the longest-running musical in history (not counting "Black and White Minstrels" or "The Fantasticks"), until beaten by "Grease")
# "Me and My Girl" (1985 revival), 3,303, m Noel Gay, lb Douglas Furber and L. Arthur Rose (originally ran 1,646 performances in 1937, which was unusual at the time) (1985 Olivier Award winner) (In 1937, with World War II impending, "The Times" famously used its hit song in a headline: "While dictators rage and statesmen talk, all Europe dances - to 'The Lambeth Walk'.")
# "Fiddler on the Roof", 1964, (Based on "Tevye and his Daughters" by Sholom Aleichem), m Jerry Bock, l Sheldon Harnick, b Joseph Stein ("If I Were a Rich Man") (3,242, the longest-running Broadway musical in history, until beaten by "Grease") (1965 Tony Award winner)
# "Rocky Horror Show", 1973, mlb Richard O'Brien (2,958 in London) (the much revived show became a cult classic, especially outside the U.S.)
# "Evita", 1978, m Andrew Lloyd Webber, l Tim Rice (based on the life of Eva Perón, combined innovative styles of music in the musical format and was the last collaboration between Lloyd Webber and Rice on a musical; began as a concept album in 1976) (2,900 in London; 1,567 on Broadway) (1978 Oliver Award winner; 1980 Tony Award winner)
# "Mamma Mia!", 2001, ml Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson, b Catherine Johnson (Based on the music of ABBA)(Approximately >3450 in London, >2845 on Broadway)
# "Hello, Dolly!", 1964, ml Jerry Herman, b Michael Stewart (2,844, the second-longest running Broadway musical in history until "Grease" pushed it down a rank) (1964 Tony Award winner; won 10 Tonys)
# "My Fair Lady", 1956, (Based on G.B. Shaw's "Pygmalion"), m Frederick Loewe, lb Alan Jay Lerner ("I Could Have Danced All Night," "On the Street Where You Live") (2,717, the longest-running musical in history, until beaten by "The Fantasticks" off-Broadway and "Fiddler on the Roof" on Broadway) (1957 Tony Award winner)(1964 film became one of the most popular movie musicals)
# "Oliver!", 1960, mlb Lionel Bart ("Where is Love?") (based on "Oliver Twist") (2,618 in London, 774 on Broadway)
# "Hairspray", 2002, m Marc Shaiman, l Shaiman and Scott Wittman, b Mark O'Donnell and Thomas Meehan (>2503 on Broadway) (2003 Tony Award Winner, nominated for 13, won 8) (2008 Olivier Award Winner, nominated for 11, won 4) (based on 1988 John Waters film of the same name)
# "The Producers", 2001, (Based on 1968 film), ml Mel Brooks, b Brooks and Thomas Meehan (2,502) (2001 Tony Award winner; won a record-breaking 12 Tony Awards) (first a movie about a musical, then a musical about a musical)

Other notable long runs

The following is an annotated alphabetical list of other musicals that have set records for long runs.

*"A Chinese Honeymoon", 1901, m Howard Talbot and Ivan Caryll, l Harry Greenbank, and lb George Dance (1,075) (The first musical to run for more than 1,000 performances)
*"Annie Get Your Gun", 1946, ml Irving Berlin, b Herbert and Dorothy Fields (1,147: 1,304 in London - the longest-running musical of the 1930s) (Berlin wrote the songs when Jerome Kern died suddenly)
*"The Belle of New York" 1898, m Gustave Kerker, lb Hugh Morton (697 in London) (After New York run, transferred to London in 1898, where it ran for an almost unprecedented 697 performances and became the first American musical to run for over a year in London.
*"The Boy Friend", 1954, mlb Sandy Wilson (2,078 in London; briefly the third-longest running musical in history, after "Chu Chin Chow" and "Oklahoma!", until demoted by "Salad Days") (Julie Andrews' American debut)
*"Carousel" (based on the play "Liliom"), 1945, m Richard Rodgers, b Oscar Hammerstein II (899) (the authors' favorite of their musicals) (one of the longest-running Broadway shows up to that time)
*"The Chimes of Normandy" (adapted from the French "Les Cloches de Corneville"), 1878, m Robert Planquette, lb H. B. Farnie and R. Reece (705) (the longest-running piece of musical theatre in history until "Dorothy" broke its record in 1886)
*"Chu Chin Chow", 1916, m Frederic Norton, b Oscar Asche (2,238 in London) (longest running musical in history from 1916 until "Salad Days" in 1954, and one of the World War I smash hits that defined the music of the era. See also "The Maid of the Mountains").
*"Dorothy", 1886, m Alfred Cellier, lb B. C. Stephenson (931) (one of the first "modern" musicals, and the longest running piece of musical theatre in history until "A Chinese Honeymoon" in 1901.
*"The Fantasticks", 1960, m Harvey Schmidt, l Tom Jones (17,162) Longest running musical in history.
*"Florodora", 1899, m Leslie Stuart and Paul Rubens, l Edward Boyd-Jones and Rubens, b Owen Hall (552) (second-longest running Broadway musical (after "A Trip to Chinatown") until "Irene" in 1919 pushed it down to third; it was first very successful in London (455 performances) and achieved international success in Europe and elsewhere, including Broadway in 1900. It was the first instance of a British production achieving such a long initial Broadway run.)
*"Forbidden Broadway", 1982, m arranged in part and written in part by Gerard Alessandrini, lb Gerard Alessandrini (2,332) (off-broadway spoof of current musicals has been running since 1982 in one incarnation or another)
*"The Geisha", 1896, m Sidney Jones and Lionel Monckton, l Harry Greenbank, b Owen Hall (760 in London) (The second-longest running piece of musical theatre (after "Dorothy") until it was edged out by "San Toy" in 1899. It was one of a series of highly successful musicals at Daly's Theatre in London.)
*"Hellzapoppin" (revue), 1938, ml Sammy Fain and Charles Tobias, b John "Ole" Olsen and Harold "Chic" Johnson (1,404, the longest-running Broadway musical, until beaten by "Oklahoma!" Its opening scene was Hitler speaking in a Yiddish accent, and it included audience participation.)
*"H.M.S. Pinafore", 1878, m Arthur Sullivan, lb W. S. Gilbert (571 in London) (first G&S smash hit and second-longest running piece of musical theatre in history until it was edged out by Gilbert and Sullivan's "Patience" in 1881. One of the most frequently produced pieces of musical theatre in the world)
*"Irene", 1919, m Harry Tierney, l Joseph McCarthy (lyricist), b James Montgomery (670) (longest running Broadway show up to that time (though London had already had many longer-running shows [http://www.dgillan.screaming.net/stage/th-longr.html] ) until "Hellzapoppin" in 1938)
*"Little Shop of Horrors", 1982, m Alan Menken, lb Howard Ashman (2,209) (Based on the 1960 film, this award-winning show was the third-longest running musical and the highest-grossing production in off-Broadway history. Part of the late 20th century trend towards innovative productions that opened off-Broadway, the show was revived successfully on Broadway)
*"The Maid of the Mountains", 1917, m Harold Fraser-Simson, l Harry Graham, b Frederick Lonsdale ((1,352 in London) (second-longest running musical (see "Chu Chin Chow") and one of the World War I smash hits that defined the music of the era)
*"The Mikado", 1885, m Arthur Sullivan, lb W. S. Gilbert (672 in London) (longest-running G&S piece and second-longest running piece of musical theatre in history until "Dorothy" in 1886. Probably the most frequently produced piece of musical theatre in the world)
*"No, No Nanette", 1925, m Vincent Youmans, l Irving Caesar, lb Otto Harbach, b Frank Mandel (665 London; 321 Broadway, one of the longest-running interwar shows with international success)
*"Oklahoma!", 1943, (Based on "Green Grow the Lilacs"), m Richard Rodgers, lb Oscar Hammerstein II, (2,212, the longest-running Broadway show in history, until "My Fair Lady")
*"Salad Days", 1954, mlb Julian Slade, l Dorothy Reynolds (2,329 in London, finally breaking the long-held record of "Chu Chin Chow" for longest-running musical. It held the record until "My Fair Lady")
*"San Toy", 1899, m Sidney Jones, l Harry Greenbank and Adrian Ross, b Edward Morton (768 in London) (It edged out "The Geisha" as the second-longest running piece of musical theatre (after "Dorothy") and held that record until it was thrashed by "A Chinese Honeymoon" in 1901. It was one of a series of highly successful musicals at Daly's Theatre in London.)
*"The Shop Girl", 1894, m Ivan Caryll and Lionel Monckton, l Adrian Ross, lb H. J. W. Dam (546 in London) (one of the first of the innovative Gaiety Theatre, London musicals produced by George Edwardes in the 1890s)
*"The Sound of Music", 1959 on Broadway, 1961 in London, m Richard Rodgers, l Oscar Hammerstein II, b Howard Lindsay and Russell Crouse (2,385 in London; 1,442 on Broadway) (1960 Tony Award winner)(1965 film became one of the most popular movie musicals)
*"South Pacific", 1949, (Based on James A. Michener's "Tales of the South Pacific"), m Richard Rodgers, lb Oscar Hammerstein II, b Joshua Logan (1,925, the second longest-running Broadway musical up to that time) (1950 Tony Award winner)
*"The Threepenny Opera" (based on "The Beggar's Opera"), 1954, m Kurt Weill lb Marc Blitzstein (from the German of Bertolt Brecht) (2,707, the longest-running off-Broadway musical until "The Fantasticks")
*"A Trip to Chinatown", 1891, m Percy Gaunt, lb Charles Hoyt (657) (first Broadway musical to exceed 500 performances, although London had already had a few longer-running musical theatre pieces. It held the Broadway record until "Irene in 1919)

ee also

*Broadway theatre
*West End theatre
*Lists of musicals
*List of the 100 Longest-Running Broadway shows
*Musical theatre
*AFI's 100 Years of Musicals
*List of Tony Award and Olivier Award winning musicals


* [http://www.world-theatres.com/longruns.html#longruns.london.html Longest running plays on Broadway, Off-Broadway, London, Toronto, Melbourne, Paris, Vienna, and Berlin] retrieved Sept. 3, 2006
* [http://www.playbill.com/celebritybuzz/article/75222.html List of longest running Broadway productions from Playbill.com]
* [http://www.dgillan.screaming.net/stage/th-longr.html List of longest running plays in London and New York, 1875 to 1920]

External links

*Ganzl, Kurt. "The Encyclopedia of Musical Theatre" (3 Volumes). New York: Schirmer Books, 2001.
* [http://www.broadwaymusicalhome.com/ The Broadway Musical Home]
* [http://www.musicals101.com/ The Cyber Encyclopedia of Musical Theatre, TV and Film]

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