Skip to main content

Main Area


Top grossing Broadway shows of all time

  • Top grossing Broadway shows of all time
    1/ Aiko99ann // Wikimedia Commons

    Top grossing Broadway shows of all time

    In modern times, musical theatre is relatively polarizing. There are few who feel apathy to the medium; people either genuinely enjoy the shows they see and the music they hear, or they have a true distaste for the combination of singing, speaking, and dancing - often all at once.

    Musical theatre wasn’t always like that. Song, dance, and dialogue were always part of the equation, but the song and dance in question were, historically, unrelated to the plot. The Phantom of the Opera would likely have switched out “The Point of No Return” for a line of kicking chorus girls. Everything changed on March 31, 1943 when Oklahoma! first opened on Broadway. The first musical born from the Rodgers and Hammerstein collaboration, Oklahoma! used song and dance in a revolutionary manner: to advance the plot.

    When we look at Hamilton, a musical comprised almost entirely of song and dance, it’s near inconceivable to consider the speed with which musical theatre has advanced since the mid-20th century. There is something of a revolution happening on Broadway with Lin Manuel Miranda’s musical as people who have never seen a show flock to see the hip-hop infused, founding father inspired work.

    Hamilton’s success led Stacker to wonder what the highest grossing Broadway musicals of all time were. Using data from Broadway League, Stacker ranked the shows based on the amount they grossed in a single run. This means revivals were counted as separate from the original runs. Because some runs spanned multiple years, inflation was not taken into account. Additionally, as the data begins in 1984, some older shows (such as Oklahoma!) are excluded from the list.

  • #100. Grease (2007 Revival)
    2/ Peter Kramer // Getty

    #100. Grease (2007 Revival)

    Total Gross: $47,473,854.00

    Total Attendance: 551,325

    Look at me, I’m Grease - round three. The 2007 revival of the hit show was, in fact, the third of its kind, and these numbers proved fans loved it no less than the first two times. Well, maybe a little less. In this revival, a few songs written originally for the film score (including “Hopelessly Devoted to You”) were added into the mix.

  • #99. The Full Monty
    3/ Otterbein University Theatre & Dance // Flickr

    #99. The Full Monty

    Total Gross: $47,862,021.00

    Total Attendance: 764,040

    Based off a British film of the same name, The Full Monty came to Broadway in 2000 and was promptly nominated for a slew of Tony and Drama Desk awards. The musical follows six steelworkers from buffalo who decide, amongst uncertain financial prospects, to strip at a local club for some extra cash.

  • #98. Priscilla Queen Of The Desert
    4/ Magnus D // Flickr

    #98. Priscilla Queen Of The Desert

    Total Gross: $48,763,891.89

    Total Attendance: 616,609

    Adapted from the Australian movie “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert,” Priscilla first came to Broadway in 2011 after running in Australia, England, and Canada for a number of years. The musical uses famous pop songs from the ‘80s such as “Like a Prayer” and “It’s Raining Men” to depict the story of two drag queens and one transgender woman who travel together to perform a drag show in rural Australia.

  • #97. A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum
    5/ Matthew Peyton // Getty

    #97. A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum

    Total Gross: $48,856,284.00

    Total Attendance: 924,216

    This musical came as Stephen Sondheim was settling into his rhythm, a few years following the massive success of West Side StoryA Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum is about a Roman slave who tries to win his freedom by seducing the woman who lives next door - to hilarious ends.

  • #96. Fiddler On The Roof (2015 Revival)
    6/ Otterbein University Theatre & Dance // Flickr

    #96. Fiddler On The Roof (2015 Revival)

    Total Gross: $49,724,448.83

    Total Attendance: 569,518

    Originally released in 1964, Fiddler on the Roof is recreated across hundreds of high-schools in the United States every year - it’s a favorite for children and adults alike. It was the first musical in theatre history to surpass 3,000 performances in a single run.  

  • #95. Anastasia
    7/ Anton Ivanov // Shutterstock

    #95. Anastasia

    Total Gross: $49,783,058.26

    Total Attendance: 431,457

    First run in 2017, it’s impressive that Anastasia has already crept onto this list. That being said, anyone who’s seen the 1997 film is sure to love this adaptation. The musical tells the story of the Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia, who claims she escaped the tragic fate that befell her family.  

  • #94. Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet Of 1812
    8/ Theo Wargo // Getty

    #94. Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet Of 1812

    Total Gross: $50,069,393.21

    Total Attendance: 404,558

    Well, it was inevitable that someone would try to make a musical from Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace. If it had to be done, Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 with two Tony’s and four Drama Desk wins was the musical to do it. It focuses on the end of the second half of War and Peace, when Natasha conducts her affair with Anatole.

  • #93. Paramour
    9/ lev radin // Shutterstock

    #93. Paramour

    Total Gross: $50,071,359.67

    Total Attendance: 579,261

    Cirque du Soleil’s first foray into musical theatre came with Paramour, a part musical, part acrobatic feat that follows the life of a poet during the Golden Age of Hollywood.

  • #92. Hedwig And The Angry Inch
    10/ David Shankbone // Flickr

    #92. Hedwig And The Angry Inch

    Total Gross: $50,259,431.11

    Total Attendance: 459,696

    Hedwig and the Angry Inch is about a transgender woman and...well, her angry inch. Although it premiered Off-Broadway in 1998, it didn’t make it to Broadway until 2014 when Neil Patrick Harris stepped into the titular role.

  • #91. Hair
    11/ Bertrand Langlois // Getty

    #91. Hair

    Total Gross: $50,570,854.00

    Total Attendance: 613,014

    First premiering in 1968, Hair came back to Broadway in 2009 to strong reviews. A product of the ‘60s, Hair was pioneering by being the first rock ‘n roll musical - defining the “rock musical” genre that was to be later used in many beloved musicals, like Rent. It tells the story of a tribe of people in New York City fighting against involvement in the Vietnam War.

  • #90. Nice Work If You Can Get It
    12/ BroadwayTour // Flickr

    #90. Nice Work If You Can Get It

    Total Gross: $51,461,741.01

    Total Attendance: 543,472

    Nice Work If You Can Get It brought Gershwin music back to the stage in 2011. It tells the story of a female bootlegger in 1927 who unexpectedly falls for a soon-to-be-wed bachelor.

  • #89. Sister Act
    13/ Theo Wargo // Getty

    #89. Sister Act

    Total Gross: $52,509,229.43

    Total Attendance: 721,574

    You saw it in The Sound of Music, and you see it again in Sister Act: singing nuns (except this time, Maria is nowhere to be found). Sister Act is about a performer who has to be placed into the witness protection program after she sees her gangster ex-boyfriend kill someone.

  • #88. Evita
    14/ U.S. Air Force

    #88. Evita

    Total Gross: $52,678,169.50

    Total Attendance: 474,853

    A musical about the life of Eva Perón, the second wife of Argentine president Juan Perón, Evita became the first British musical ever to win the Tony Award for Best Musical in 1980 when it came to Broadway.

  • #87. Tommy
    15/ Wikimedia Commons

    #87. Tommy

    Total Gross: $54,390,759.00

    Total Attendance: 1,148,704

    Following the life of a deaf and blind child, this rock musical is based on The Who's rock opera Tommy. The album and the Broadway musical, which opened in 1992, have a few plot differences but the same story of the Pinball Wizard called Tommy. The original production won five Tony awards, including Best Original Score.

  • #86. Bring In Da Noise, Bring In Da Funk
    16/ Timothy A. Clary // Getty

    #86. Bring In Da Noise, Bring In Da Funk

    Total Gross: $54,448,939.14

    Total Attendance: 1,118,863

    A truly unique musical, Bring in ‘da Noise, Bring in ‘da Funk covers black history from slavery to then-present-day, 1996, through a combination of rap and tap. The musical won four Tony Awards and two Drama Desk Awards.

  • #85. A Chorus Line (2006 Revival)
    17/ Clarence Elie-Rivera // Getty

    #85. A Chorus Line (2006 Revival)

    Total Gross: $54,540,020.27

    Total Attendance: 681,614

    The first run of A Chorus Line made it the sixth-longest running show in Broadway history - a well-deserved run, according to its nine Tony Awards. Focusing on seventeen Broadway dancers auditioning, A Chorus Line swept the Drama Desk Awards, too, and to date remains a favorite among fans.

  • #84. Will Rogers' Follies
    18/ Wikimedia Commons

    #84. Will Rogers' Follies

    Total Gross: $54,685,976.00

    Total Attendance: 1,155,341

    Following the life of American performer and cowboy Will Rogers, Will Rogers' Follies is a comedic musical that enjoyed a successful run.

  • #83. A Bronx Tale The Musical
    19/ Brad Barket // Getty

    #83. A Bronx Tale The Musical

    Total Gross: $55,182,500.05

    Total Attendance: 528,669

    A Bronx Tale is the musical adaptation of the 1989 play of the same name: although the play was a one-man show, the musical featured a cast of six. Premiering on Broadway in 2016 under Robert de Niro’s co-direction, the musical is a coming-of-age story about a man torn between a life of organized crime and the values instilled in him by his father.

  • #82. Legally Blonde
    20/ Eva Rinaldi // Wikimedia Commons

    #82. Legally Blonde

    Total Gross: $56,338,126.00

    Total Attendance: 814,072

    What other musical could have an opening song called “Omigod You Guys” and make it so genuinely entertaining? Based off the movie starring Reese Whitherspoon, Legally Blonde follows Elle Woods as she marches determinedly to law school to win back her man. The musical managed to gross over $1 million in a single week during its Broadway run.

  • #81. The King And I (2015 Revival)
    21/ Theo Wargo // Getty

    #81. The King And I (2015 Revival)

    Total Gross: $57,045,053.00

    Total Attendance: 494,187

    Rodgers & Hammerstein outdid themselves with The King and I, the fifth in a long line of successful productions. The 2015 revival to make this list is the fourth Broadway revival since 1951, and won four Tony Awards, including Best Revival of a Musical.

  • #80. Titanic
    22/ Wikimedia Commons

    #80. Titanic

    Total Gross: $57,150,546.00

    Total Attendance: 1,065,828

    Despite what you may think, Jack and Rose don’t make it on this ship: the musical Titanic actually premiered a few months before the movie was released, and promptly swept the Tony Awards. With a nimble score, Titanic has evolved into a staple of musical theatre.

  • #79. Spring Awakening
    23/ Tindolent // Wikimedia Commons

    #79. Spring Awakening

    Total Gross: $57,441,834.49

    Total Attendance: 767,167

    It’s not every day that 19th century German plays are made into rock musicals. Spring Awakening explores young discovery of sexuality, and the innumerable ways society’s expectations hinder understanding of one’s self. Since its release in 2006, Spring Awakening has already been revived and had three U.S. tours.

  • #78. Fiddler On The Roof (2004 Revival)
    24/ Paul Hawthorne // Getty

    #78. Fiddler On The Roof (2004 Revival)

    Total Gross: $57,635,884.00

    Total Attendance: 959,006

    Although the fourth revival of Fiddler on the Roof did not win any Tony Awards, it did feature Rosie O’Donnell as sharp-tongued Golde.

  • #77. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
    25/ Frank Micelotta // Getty

    #77. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

    Total Gross: $58,033,862.42

    Total Attendance: 808,025

    Based off the 1988 film of the same name, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels may not have performed as well at the awards as some others in 2004; but the premise was enough for many audience members to come back for more. Two con men compete for the affections of a beautiful woman who they presume to be very rich.

  • #76. Victor/Victoria
    26/ Eva Rinaldi // Wikimedia Commons

    #76. Victor/Victoria

    Total Gross: $58,754,023.00

    Total Attendance: 995,827

    About a soprano who dresses up as a man who then entertains performing as a woman, Victor/Victoria is a show better seen than read about. It endured some controversy when julie Andrews, playing the titular role, refused her Tony Award nomination, feeling the rest of the show’s members had been overlooked. It was the last musical Andrews would participate in--a botched surgery led to her losing her singing voice halfway through the run.

  • #75. Annie (2012 Revival)
    27/ Eva Rinaldi // Wikimedia Commons

    #75. Annie (2012 Revival)

    Total Gross: $59,051,947.70

    Total Attendance: 677,853

    It’s a hard knock life for those who missed this revival. Although not the recipient of any major awards, the story of Annie the orphan is likely to be one that will continue to be revived for many, many years. 

  • #74. How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying (2011 Revival)
    28/ Unicurse // Wikimedia Commons

    #74. How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying (2011 Revival)

    Total Gross: $59,740,761.32

    Total Attendance: 628,957

    Based off a book of the same name, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying is about an ambitious young man who rises from window washer to head of a large corporation, all with the help of his book. This revival brought Daniel Radcliffe to the starring role, and, at one point, Nick Jonas.

  • #73. Contact
    29/ Wikimedia Commons

    #73. Contact

    Total Gross: $60,218,526.15

    Total Attendance: 931,293

    A “dance play,” Contact follows three acts that feature different dances. In each, the main character yearns to feel some sort of romantic connection. It won four Tony Awards, and four Drama Desk Awards, so the experimental medium clearly paid off.

  • #72. 42nd Street (1980)
    30/ Coachman76 // Wikimedia Commons

    #72. 42nd Street (1980)

    Total Gross: $61,642,043.00

    Total Attendance: 2,032,198

    About a dictatorial director who works to stage a famed production during the Great Depression, 42nd Street was met with wide success upon its Broadway opening in 1980. It was, however, an opening night marked by tragedy: the show’s beloved director, Gower Champion, died just hours before the performance.

  • #71. The Drowsy Chaperone
    31/ Tatu Kosonen // Wikimedia Commons

    #71. The Drowsy Chaperone

    Total Gross: $63,565,087.85

    Total Attendance: 865,975

    A satirical look at musicals of the 1920s, The Drowsy Chaperone follows a musical theatre fan through his favorite musical as it suddenly springs to life on stage around him. The original cast included Sutton Foster, and towards the end of the run featured Bob Saget.

  • #70. A Chorus Line
    32/ Shreveport-Bossier Convention // Flickr

    #70. A Chorus Line

    Total Gross: $63,997,588.00

    Total Attendance: 2,170,828

    Premereing on Broadway for the first time in 1975, A Chorus Line makes the audience feel like they're sitting in on a regular audition for a real Broadway show. The musical, with several memorable characters and songs, swept the Tony Awards and the Drama Desk Awards in 1976. 

  • #69. La Cage Aux Folles (1983)
    33/ Steve Mack // Getty

    #69. La Cage Aux Folles (1983)

    Total Gross: $64,214,287.00

    Total Attendance: 1,958,853

    Based off a French play of the same name, La Cage Aux Folles won six Tony Awards when it first premiered in 1983. Highly entertaining, the musical features lovable characters and an impressive score. It tells the story of the chaos that ensues when a young man brings his fiancee's ultra-conservative parents to meet his father--and his father’s gay lover.

  • #68. Finding Neverland
    34/ Jenny Anderson // Getty

    #68. Finding Neverland

    Total Gross: $64,214,522.00

    Total Attendance: 723,370

    Inspired by the classic tale of Peter Pan, Finding Neverland is actually an adaptation of the 1998 play The Man Who Was Peter Pan. It’s about a Scottish playwright who is so inspired by the close relationship he has with a friend’s family that he creates the story of Peter Pan.

  • #67. Kiss Me, Kate
    35/ Wikimedia Commons

    #67. Kiss Me, Kate

    Total Gross: $65,051,743.00

    Total Attendance: 1,056,908

    Cole Porter’s response to Rodgers’ and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma came in the form of Kiss Me, Kate--a sharp, witty musical about the drama surrounding the cast members of a production of The Taming of the Shrew. The musical won the first ever presented Tony Award for Best Musical, and is considered Porter’s greatest work by many.

  • #66. Come From Away
    36/ Steam Pipe Trunk Distribution Venue // Wikimedia Commons

    #66. Come From Away

    Total Gross: $65,261,039.11

    Total Attendance: 461,668

    This plays portrays the true, previously underreported story of when 38 planes were ordered to land unexpectedly in a small town on Canadian island Newfoundland following the 9/11 attacks. Premiering on Broadway in 2017, many felt it to be a cathartic reminder of the goodness of humanity. It has been announced a film adaptation is in the works.

  • #65. Guys And Dolls
    37/ U.S. Air Force

    #65. Guys And Dolls

    Total Gross: $65,388,544.00

    Total Attendance: 1,282,292

    Set in the 1950s, Guys and Dolls is an infectious tale of gambling, gangsters, and the women they love. Since first premiering in 1950, the musical has been revived twice and seen multiple international tours.

  • #64. Cats (2016 Revival)
    38/ Effie // Wikimedia Commons

    #64. Cats (2016 Revival)

    Total Gross: $65,624,072.00

    Total Attendance: 691,637

    The 2016 revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical didn’t win any major awards, but people are willing to flock to the classic regardless.

  • #63. The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time
    39/ Theo Wargo // Getty

    #63. The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time

    Total Gross: $68,321,429.36

    Total Attendance: 712,343

    Based on the book of the same name, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is actually a play. The play is about a 15-year-old boy, a mathematical genius and somewhere on the autism spectrum, who takes it upon himself to investigate when he feels no-one else will. The play won multiple Tony and Drama Desk Awards, and is highlighted in particular for its set and design.

  • #62. Pippin
    40/ Lauren Cavanaugh // Getty

    #62. Pippin

    Total Gross: $68,840,076.48

    Total Attendance: 659,865

    First premiering on Broadway in 1971, Stephen Schwartz’s musical Pippin is about a young prince on an existential search for significance. The 2013 revival won four Tony Awards.

  • #61. Fosse
    41/ Wikimedia Commons

    #61. Fosse

    Total Gross: $68,997,052.09

    Total Attendance: 1,121,921

    Fosse celebrates one of the most awarded choreographers in American history: Bob Fosse. A three-act play, Fosse showcases Fosse’s celebrated choreography, and won the Tony Award for Best Musical in 1990.

  • #60. Grease
    42/ Eva Rinaldi // Wikimedia Commons

    #60. Grease

    Total Gross: $72,344,100.00

    Total Attendance: 1,450,252

    Although Grease was relatively tame by the time it reached Broadway, the core concepts of class consciousness, teen pregnancy, and gang violence (and maybe even excess hair gel) were controversial at the premiere. These themes, combined with a catchy score, undoubtedly contribute to Grease’s prolonged success.

  • #59. Something Rotten!
    43/ Bex. Walton // Flickr

    #59. Something Rotten!

    Total Gross: $73,500,365.77

    Total Attendance: 870,214

    There aren’t many musicals on this list that take place in the 16th century. It is a necessity for Something Rotten!, though, which follows two brothers in their desperate competition with the “hot stuff” of the 1500s--one William Shakespeare.

  • #58. A Gentleman's Guide To Love And Murder
    44/ BroadwayTour // Flickr

    #58. A Gentleman's Guide To Love And Murder

    Total Gross: $73,749,113.73

    Total Attendance: 749,169

    A darkly comedic musical about a man willing to do just about anything to achieve riches and win the heart of the woman he loves, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder won the Tony Award for Best Musical when it premiered four years ago.

  • #57. War Horse
    45/ Eva Rinaldi // Flickr

    #57. War Horse

    Total Gross: $74,975,253.00

    Total Attendance: 726,281

    Based off Michael Morpurgo’s book of the same name, War Horse is the visually stuffing stage adaptation of a horse who is sold into cavalry during World War I. A play that is applauded for its striking use of a puppet for the titular horse, War Horse was utterly compelling throughout its run.

  • #56. Thoroughly Modern Millie
    46/ Wikimedia Commons

    #56. Thoroughly Modern Millie

    Total Gross: $75,616,509.00

    Total Attendance: 1,193,581

    Sutton Foster won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for Thoroughly Modern Millie in 2002 - just one of six Tony’s won for the original production. Based on the 1967 film of the same name, the musical chronicles a small-town woman who moves to New York City to marry for money instead of love.

  • #55. Jekyll & Hyde
    47/ U.S. Air Force

    #55. Jekyll & Hyde

    Total Gross: $78,056,880.30

    Total Attendance: 1,403,224

    Based off the famous book, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, in this musical adaptation Frank Wildhorn’s score denotes the dramatic, tragic story of Jekyll & Hyde. A musical full of ballads and dark melodies, this is the perfect soundtrack for a very, very rainy day.

  • #54. Me And My Girl
    48/ Staś Kmieć // Wikimedia Commons

    #54. Me And My Girl

    Total Gross: $79,655,591.00

    Total Attendance: 2,061,437

    In an unusual narrative, Me and My Girl hit Broadway nearly 50 years after its West End premiere in 1937, where it won three Tony Awards. The musical tells the story of an unabashed cockney man who unexpectedly discovers he is 14th in line to the title of Earl of Hareford.

  • #53. Ragtime
    49/ Youtube

    #53. Ragtime

    Total Gross: $79,947,693.92

    Total Attendance: 1,432,872

    A unique narrative featuring a Harlem musician, the mother of an upper-class family in new York City, and a Jewish immigrant, all during the early 20th century, Ragtime won four Tony Awards when originally ran in 1998.  

  • #52. Annie Get Your Gun
    50/ Wikimedia Commons

    #52. Annie Get Your Gun

    Total Gross: $82,148,713.00

    Total Attendance: 1,415,850

    Bernadette Peters starred in this third revival of the 1946 hit Annie Get Your Gun. The musical is a fictionalized account of famous sharpshooter Annie Oakley, and her romance with fellow shooter Frank E. Butler.  

  • #51. The Little Mermaid
    51/ Andrew H. Walker // Getty

    #51. The Little Mermaid

    Total Gross: $82,993,598.69

    Total Attendance: 986,179

    Although based off the original myth of the Little Mermaid, this musical production most closely resembles the Disney film of the same name. It didn’t receive any major awards, but fans loved the similarities it shared with the film.

  • #50. Sunset Boulevard
    52/ Brad Barket // Getty

    #50. Sunset Boulevard

    Total Gross: $83,327,962.00

    Total Attendance: 1,490,342

    Based on the 1956 film of the same name, the musical adaptation of Sunset Boulevard features Andrew Lloyd Webber’s music. It received wide acclaim upon its release in 1997, receiving seven Tony Awards that same year.

  • #49. On Your Feet!
    53/ Barne227 // Wikimedia Commons

    #49. On Your Feet!

    Total Gross: $83,571,596.20

    Total Attendance: 879,193

    Gloria and Emilio Estefan: 26-time Grammy Award-winning Cuban couple who absolutely deserved to have a musical be made about their lives. On Your Feet! Premiered on Broadway in 2015, and was particularly noted for its choreography.

  • #48. An American In Paris
    54/ Barne227 // Wikimedia Commons

    #48. An American In Paris

    Total Gross: $85,539,226.32

    Total Attendance: 882,254

    Inspired by the film of the same name, An American in Paris premiered in 2015 to critical acclaim. As the film featured choreography by Gene Kelly, it is no wonder the musical adaptation focused on dancing, ultimately winning the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Choreography.

  • #47. The Addams Family
    55/ Eva Rinaldi // Wikimedia Commons

    #47. The Addams Family

    Total Gross: $86,677,067.25

    Total Attendance: 920,997

    Yes: there is an Addams Family musical. If you weren’t sure, now you know. Hitting Broadway in 2010, The Addams Family won few major awards, but was loved by fans for its humor, and the affable appeal of its musical numbers.

  • #46. Cinderella
    56/ The Huntington // Wikimedia Commons

    #46. Cinderella

    Total Gross: $88,166,612.85

    Total Attendance: 1,039,923

    Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote Cinderella for film in 1957, and no one was complaining when it was adapted to stage in 2013. It is currently touring North America: you may as well try it on for size.

  • #45. Smokey Joe's Cafe
    57/ Coachman76 // Wikimedia Commons

    #45. Smokey Joe's Cafe

    Total Gross: $88,346,877.00

    Total Attendance: 1,904,856

    Smokey Joe’s Cafe is unique in its genre; a musical revue, or a list of songs that have no unifying theme. It won a Grammy in 1996 for its music, although no Tony Awards.

  • #44. Show Boat
    58/ Wikimedia Commons

    #44. Show Boat

    Total Gross: $89,171,712.00

    Total Attendance: 1,585,144

    One of Oscar Hammerstein II’s musicals without Richard Rodgers, Show Boat follows life on a Mississippi River show boat for over 40 years. It was recognized instantly by critics, when first premiering in 1927, and has been revived on Broadway four times since.

  • #43. Crazy For You
    59/ Rich Polk // Getty

    #43. Crazy For You

    Total Gross: $92,554,841.00

    Total Attendance: 2,090,822

    A Gershwin collaboration, Crazy for You is a romantic comedy musical about a man who decides that, despite all, the show must go on. It won the Tony Award for Best Musical in 1992, and was celebrated by critics as “ridiculously entertaining.”

  • #42. West Side Story
    60/ Fred Fehl // Wikimedia Commons

    #42. West Side Story

    Total Gross: $93,028,431.00

    Total Attendance: 1,074,462

    Based on Shakespeare's Romeo & JulietWest Side Story takes 16th century England and somehow masterfully transposes it into New York City in the 1950s. Considered to have had an explosive impact on musical theatre, West Side Story was later adapted into a film of the same name, which received very positive reception.

  • #41. South Pacific
    61/ Wikimedia Commons

    #41. South Pacific

    Total Gross: $96,488,869.00

    Total Attendance: 965,647

    An instant hit in the mid-20th century, South Pacific is one of Rodgers’ & Hammerstein’s most celebrated works. The story centers around an American nurse stationed on an island in the South Pacific during World War II, who struggles to accept her love’s mixed-race children.

  • #40. Hello, Dolly!  (2017 Revival)
    62/ Alan Light // Wikimedia Commons

    #40. Hello, Dolly! (2017 Revival)

    Total Gross: $96,706,509.57

    Total Attendance: 540,317

    An endlessly entertaining story is that of a strong-willed woman who successfully bends a miserly man to her will--Hello, Dolly! is that, and so much more. The 2017 revival won four Tony Awards for its revitalization of the classic tale, which has spanned four Broadway revivals since its original Broadway premiere in 1964.

  • #39. Waitress
    63/ Marissa Dubs // Wikimedia Commons

    #39. Waitress

    Total Gross: $97,225,917.76

    Total Attendance: 789,673

    With music and lyrics by pop singer Sara Bareilles, Waitress has been a Broadway favorite since 2016. Based on the movie of the same name, Waitress tells the story of a waitress (surprise!) who throws herself into her pie cooking as a mode of escapism.

  • #38. Dear Evan Hansen
    64/ The Tony Awards // Wikimedia Commons

    #38. Dear Evan Hansen

    Total Gross: $97,907,867.52

    Total Attendance: 540,262

    The most recent Tony Awards were swept by Dear Evan Hansen, which won six of its nominated nine. The story follows the titular character as he tries to navigate anxiety, high-school, and a desperate web of lies he constructs for himself in order to talk to the girl he has a crush on.

  • #37. Movin' Out
    65/ Saul Loeb // Getty

    #37. Movin' Out

    Total Gross: $99,919,700.57

    Total Attendance: 1,436,759

    Billy Joel’s music is featured here, in a musical about an American teen’s experience growing up on Long Island during the 1960s--inspired by Joel’s earlier works. Movin’ Out won two Tony Awards for its choreography and orchestration.

  • #36. The Color Purple
    66/ Bryan Bedder // Getty

    #36. The Color Purple

    Total Gross: $103,992,555.74

    Total Attendance: 1,369,564

    Based on Alice Walker’s 1982 novel, The Color Purple first ran on Broadway in 2005 and was promptly revived in 2015. Both versions received critical acclaim and experienced significant monetary success. The story follows that of Cecile, an African-American woman who is born and raised in the American South in the early 20th century.

  • #35. Memphis
    67/ Ed Schipul // Flickr

    #35. Memphis

    Total Gross: $104,453,820.70

    Total Attendance: 1,380,731

    Recipient of four Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Memphis is about a white DJ who stirs up Memphis in the 1950s when he begins to play black music at various clubs. Filled with equally inspirational and painful moments, Memphis has enjoyed many international tours since its Broadway premiere.

  • #34. In The Heights
    68/ Dia Dipasupil // Getty

    #34. In The Heights

    Total Gross: $105,302,931.92

    Total Attendance: 1,322,889

    Lights up on Washington Heights, and Lin Manuel Miranda’s first musical. Workshopped for almost a decade, In the Heights ultimately won a Grammy and four Tony Awards after its Broadway premiere in 2008. The story is set over the course of just three days.

  • #33. Les Misérables (2014 Revival)
    69/ Theo Wargo // Getty

    #33. Les Misérables (2014 Revival)

    Total Gross: $108,535,573.28

    Total Attendance: 1,210,117

    One revival more! When protagonist Jean Valjean stole a loaf of bread in 1862, he probably had no idea he’d be forced to sing about it for the next century or so. An incredible, lasting piece, he second revival of the adaptation of Victor Hugo’s book of the same name was particularly noted for its vibrant set.

  • #32. Newsies
    70/ BroadwayTour // Flickr

    #32. Newsies

    Total Gross: $109,000,708.97

    Total Attendance: 1,156,757

    Based on the 1992 film of the same name, Newsies is about a group of paper delivery boys who have big dreams. Both works were inspired by the newsboys’ strike of 1899.

  • #31. Once
    71/ broadwayTour // Flickr

    #31. Once

    Total Gross: $110,306,772.41

    Total Attendance: 1,082,027

    Originally an indie, Irish romantic comedy film, the stage adaptation of Once has seen great success since first premiering on Broadway in 2012. The story centers on a broken-hearted Irish man whose music somehow manages to touch the heart of a Czech flower girl passing by. The two go on to become friends and assemble a band. The musical won eight Tony Awards and four Drama Desk Awards.

  • #30. Motown: The Musical
    72/ BroadwayTour // Flickr

    #30. Motown: The Musical

    Total Gross: $115,002,540.25

    Total Attendance: 1,063,474

    Motown: The Musical is based on African-American businessman Berry Gordy III’s autobiography. The musical draws from the personal relationships he had with famous artists such as Michael Jackson and Diana Ross--a fitting premise for a jukebox musical.

  • #29. Cabaret (1998 Revival)
    73/ Broadway Spain // Wikimedia Commons

    #29. Cabaret (1998 Revival)

    Total Gross: $119,389,411.88

    Total Attendance: 1,919,198

    The second of three Broadway productions, this rendition of Cabaret added much-loved song “Maybe This Time” to its score. Cabaret is about an American writer and his relationship with and English cabaret performer during 1931 in Nazi Germany.

  • #28. School Of Rock
    74/ Tatiana12 // Flickr

    #28. School Of Rock

    Total Gross: $120,021,724.93

    Total Attendance: 1,226,659

    School of Rock is, of course, a rock musical adaptation of the Jack Black film of the same name. Andrew Lloyd Webber composed the score, and the original production was praised for the talented youths who filled it.

  • #27. Avenue Q
    75/ The Huntington // Flickr

    #27. Avenue Q

    Total Gross: $121,918,908.29

    Total Attendance: 1,731,068

    Think Sesame Street for adults. Avenue Q is the only show on this list whose puppets feel, talk, and sing--they actually outnumber human characters almost four to one. One of the longest running shows on Broadway, the show won three Tony Awards when premiered in 2004.

  • #26. Rock Of Ages
    76/ Neilson Bernard // Getty

    #26. Rock Of Ages

    Total Gross: $128,956,074.03

    Total Attendance: 1,476,025

    A jukebox musical focused on rock music, Rock of Ages features classics from Bon Jovi and Twisted Sister. It tells the story of an aspiring rocker who works as a waiter in Hollywood in the 1980s.

  • #25. 42nd Street (2001 Revival)
    77/ China Photos // Getty

    #25. 42nd Street (2001 Revival)

    Total Gross: $133,018,977.90

    Total Attendance: 2,228,839

    The 2001 revival of 42nd Street won two Tony Awards, including for Best Revival of a Musical. It ran for 1,524 performances, to critical acclaim.

  • #24. Aida
    78/ Lawrence Lucier // Getty

    #24. Aida

    Total Gross: $165,928,398.00

    Total Attendance: 2,714,193

    With Elton John behind the score, it’s no wonder Aida was such a success when it first ran. Based on the 1994 film of the same name, Aida is a timeless love story about a forbidden romance between Egyptian leader Radames and Ethiopian princess, Aida.

  • #23. Monty Python's Spamalot
    79/ Duhon // Wikimedia Commons

    #23. Monty Python's Spamalot

    Total Gross: $168,067,351.34

    Total Attendance: 2,075,781

    It’s almost inconceivable that Monty Python’s The Holy Grail could be adapted into a musical, but here we are. An immediate success, Monty Python’s Spamalot won the Tony Award for Best Musical. The story can perhaps be best surmised as a highly irreverent, immensely entertaining spin-off of the legend of King Arthur.

  • #22. Billy Elliot: The Musical
    80/ Andy Roberts // Flickr

    #22. Billy Elliot: The Musical

    Total Gross: $183,514,364.50

    Total Attendance: 1,787,108

    Another modern hit composed by Elton John, Billy Elliot is about a young boy who decides he prefers dancing to boxing: and sticks by his choice. It was immensely popular upon release, earning ten Tony Awards and all ten Drama Desk Awards it was nominated for.

  • #21. Matilda
    81/ Michael Dodge // Getty

    #21. Matilda

    Total Gross: $198,165,845.05

    Total Attendance: 2,087,293

    When Roald Dahl first wrote the story of a young girl who developed the ability to move things with his mind, he might have never imagined it would eventually be transposed into a Broadway hit. Full of talented young actors, Matilda features a set covered in giant building blocks.

  • #20. Beautiful
    82/ Astrid Stawiarz // Getty

    #20. Beautiful

    Total Gross: $211,351,937.64

    Total Attendance: 1,687,322

    Carole King, one of America’s most famous singer-songwriters, is reprised in this jukebox musical. Focusing on her early life, the musical tells the story of King’s rise to fame, and looks closely at her first marriage.

  • #19. Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark
    83/ Mike Coppola // Getty

    #19. Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark

    Total Gross: $212,406,016.80

    Total Attendance: 2,068,468

    U2’s Bono and The Edge collaborated on the score for this musical adaptation of Marvel’s Spider-Man, but in the end, the musical is most remembered for the sheer number of actors who were injured during its run. Dangerous stunts and lackluster reviews did nothing to stop floods of people from attending the show, bringing it up to one of the most profitable shows in Broadway history.

  • #18. Hairspray
    84/ Ethan Miller // Getty

    #18. Hairspray

    Total Gross: $252,181,270.39

    Total Attendance: 3,418,653

    Set in the 1960s when desegregation was still being fought in many ways, a white teenage girl sets about trying to integrate her favorite reality dance show. Extremely popular, the London production of Hairspray set a record for winning eleven Laurence Olivier Awards (the equivalent of the Tony Awards in Britain). The US version performed nearly as well, with eight Tony Awards won.

  • #17. Rent
    85/ JessnKat // Wikimedia Commons

    #17. Rent

    Total Gross: $274,248,128.25

    Total Attendance: 5,026,616

    A rock musical set in the late 20th-century about the bohemian lifestyle, impoverished young artists, and some of the darkest years of the HIV/AIDS crisis, Rent was revolutionary when it hit Broadway. It ran for 12 years, closing on its 5,123rd performance. The show’s creator never lived to see the show’s immense success: Jonathan Larson died unexpectedly on the night of the Off-Broadway premiere.

  • #16. Kinky Boots
    86/ BroadwayTour // Flickr

    #16. Kinky Boots

    Total Gross: $275,792,770.18

    Total Attendance: 2,507,414

    Based off true events, Kinky Boots is adapted from the 2005 film of the same name, about a man who forms a partnership with a drag queen to produce a line of high-heeled boots. The production is still running on Broadway after premiering in 2013, and with four Tony Awards it’s sure to be worth a watch.

  • #15. Miss Saigon
    87/ Theo Wargo // Getty

    #15. Miss Saigon

    Total Gross: $285,843,974.25

    Total Attendance: 6,161,098

    In Les Misérables fashion, Miss Saigon is dramatic, beautiful, and tragic. Set in 1970s Saigon during the Vietnamese War, it tells the story of an American soldier and a bargirl from South Vietnam who fall in love. A defining hit of the 1990s, Miss Saigon won three Tony Awards and all four Drama Desk Awards it was nominated for.  

  • #14. The Producers
    88/ Ethan Miller // Getty

    #14. The Producers

    Total Gross: $288,361,724.00

    Total Attendance: 3,672,795

    Adapted by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan from the film of the same name, The Producers is a musical about two theatrical producers who attempt to get rich by selling excess interests in a doomed Broadway show. Unfortunately for them, the show actually becomes a hit. With a record-breaking 12 Tony awards won, The Producers was a hit from start to finish.

  • #13. Mary Poppins
    89/ BroadwayTour // Flickr

    #13. Mary Poppins

    Total Gross: $294,558,629.30

    Total Attendance: 3,878,444

    A Disney musical, Mary Poppins is based off the film and books of the same name. Julie Andrews did not, unfortunately, make it into this production, but fans loved the remake regardless.

  • #12. Aladdin
    90/ Joseph M. Arseneau // Shutterstock

    #12. Aladdin

    Total Gross: $312,530,109.45

    Total Attendance: 2,850,446

    Another Disney favorite, Aladdin is about a young man who wishes good fortune on himself when he encounters a genie in a lamp. The only complaint about this adaptation is perhaps that Abu (Aladdin’s monkey) and Rajah (Jasmine’s tiger) are excluded from the production.

  • #11. Hamilton
    91/ Steve Jurvetson // Wikimedia Commons

    #11. Hamilton

    Total Gross: $328,067,131.25

    Total Attendance: 1,481,005

    Don’t worry if you haven’t heard of this one--it’s totally underground. Hamilton, Lin Manuel Miranda’s musical about the founding father, has attained unprecedented levels of popularity and pop culture obsession. 11 Tony Awards, a conversation starter (and ender) for most cocktail parties, if you can possibly find a ticket it’s worth seeing.

  • #10. Cats
    92/ Viaggio Routard // Flickr

    #10. Cats

    Total Gross: $366,379,566.87

    Total Attendance: 8,652,030

    One of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s most well-known musicals, Cats made it to Broadway in 1982, a year after premiering on West End. The musical is about a tribe of cats who have to choose which of their members will back able to come back and enjoy a new life.

  • #9. Les Misérables
    93/ Neilson Barnard // Getty

    #9. Les Misérables

    Total Gross: $406,258,901.85

    Total Attendance: 8,926,089

    Undoubtedly Claude-Michel Schönberg’s best-known work, Les Misérables is about an escaped convict who spends his life trying to make up for his sins. Recipient of eight Tony Awards, and of two subsequent revivals, it’s a timeless operetta about redemption and love.

  • #8. Beauty And The Beast
    94/ Thomas Radzak // Wikimedia Commons

    #8. Beauty And The Beast

    Total Gross: $429,158,457.82

    Total Attendance: 7,609,397

    Yet another successful adaptation of a Disney classic, Beauty and the Beast is about a man cursed with the outer appearance of a beast, who must somehow make a young woman he’s imprisoned in his castle fall in love with him. Played in thirteen countries, it’s clear this musical is one any feels they can relate to.

  • #7. The Book Of Mormon
    95/ André-Pierre du Plessis // Wikimedia Commons

    #7. The Book Of Mormon

    Total Gross: $541,869,143.99

    Total Attendance: 3,201,211

    A slightly less relatable musical, The Book of Mormon is about two young Mormon missionaries whose first mission is in Africa. Unfortunately for them, AIDS, warlords, and general starvation prevent their would-be converts from expressing too much interest in the Mormon religion. A recipient of nine Tony Awards, nothing seems to be able to stop this parody from the success it deserves.

  • #6. Jersey Boys
    96/ Andyj300 // Flickr

    #6. Jersey Boys

    Total Gross: $558,416,067.20

    Total Attendance: 5,150,298

    Jersey Boys follows the rise and fall of the rock group The Four Seasons. The show received international acclaim, running for over 10 years on Broadway and spurring tours in many countries.

  • #5. Chicago
    97/ BroadwayTour // Flickr

    #5. Chicago

    Total Gross: $611,071,347.95

    Total Attendance: 8,706,407

    Originally premiered in 1976, the 1996 Broadway revival of Chicago is running to this day. Performing significantly better than the original--which ran for just over 900 performances. Chicago received six Tony Awards and has run in a number of countries and cities.

  • #4. Mamma Mia!
    98/ Aiko99ann // Wikimedia Commons

    #4. Mamma Mia!

    Total Gross: $624,391,684.20

    Total Attendance: 7,566,124

    The only thing better than any of ABBA’s songs is a musical containing multiple ABBA songs. Not a huge award recipient, Mamma Mia! nevertheless took the world by storm. The story is about a young woman who wants her father to walk her down the aisle for her wedding--but first, she has to find him.

  • #3. The Phantom Of The Opera
    99/ Egor Kurlyuk // Wikimedia Commons

    #3. The Phantom Of The Opera

    Total Gross: $1,145,223,419.65

    Total Attendance: 18,155,941

    Undoubtedly Andrew Lloyd Webber’s most well-known work, The Phantom of the Opera is the longest-running show in Broadway history. About a disfigured man who haunts an opera house and falls in love with an ingenue in the cast of an opera, The Phantom of the Opera has been running for over 30 years on Broadway. In 1988, it won multiple awards, but it’s ability to stand the test of time is perhaps more telling than any award it could have been given.

  • #2. Wicked
    100/ bradleypjohnson // Wikimedia Commons

    #2. Wicked

    Total Gross: $1,182,786,422.50

    Total Attendance: 10,688,010

    Everyone loves an underdog, and that’s exactly what the “Wicked Witch of the West” is in Wicked. One of the longest running shows on Broadway, Wicked has done multiple national tours and has been seen a minimum of four times by most musical theatre fans. One of three (the others being The Phantom of the Opera and The Lion King) Broadway shows to gross over $1 billion during its run, Wicked receives consistently mixed reviews from critics yet nothing but positive responses from its fans.

  • #1. The Lion King
    101/ Obama White House Archives

    #1. The Lion King

    Total Gross: $1,454,286,493.74

    Total Attendance: 14,300,583

    Keeping Elton John’s music and a musical score composed by Hans Zimmer, The Lion King is the highest-gross, and one of the longest-running shows on Broadway. The musical features giant, intricate puppets to represent safari animals, and was well-received by both critics and audiences in particular for its striking set and technical accomplishments.

2018 All rights reserved.