Here are the Longest Running Broadway Shows
I’d like to begin by talking about a somewhat overlooked side of the Broadway musical, which is theater itself. My Fair Lady, is over 150 years old. It was the first to get played by Lloyd Webber and Stoppard on Broadway, in fact, and the first to get a movie adaptation. But what are some of the other longest running broadway shows? Well, you’ll have to keep reading to find out.
Wicked premiered on Broadway in 2003 and has remained for 16 long years! That is impressive, based on the book by Winnie Holzman, this is definitely a musical that kids will enjoy!
The first thing that draws us in is the production value, and Wicked is lavish! (There are plenty of people on stage, and even some behind the scenes.) Yet, aside from the technical tricks of special effects and makeup, what is striking about this production is how well the illusion is pulled off.
Wicked is a story of magic and magic doesn’t just disappear. As it turns out, it’s, well, real. But the story that Wicked is spinning, with its wicked witches and mice and quest for the coveted power of the mirror, is fantastical and accessible at the same time.
Ahhh! The early 1980s, when my family got to experience the fun and frenzy of Broadway. I wish I could share with you the journey of going to a fancy theater show with my mom and little brother. But unfortunately, I can’t. But I can share with you the outlandish sensory overload experience I and my brother went through during a summer that we all definitely had fun. This experience happened over the course of a weekend. In 1982, my parents took me and my brother to Broadway’s musical Cats, it was the first year that it had been on Broadway and I was so excited to see this magical show!
I did not know anything about Cats the Musical when we got to the theater, yet I knew what Cats is. We asked one of the theater workers to take our picture for us, and she happily obliged, that is a great family memory for me. I totally understand why Cats is one of the longest running broadway shows, I also took my children 30 years later, what a beautiful way to bring any family together.
The Lion King
Now on to the next musical that also features felines. This Broadway classic opened on Broadway in 1997, winning a record 11 Tony Awards, including Best Musical. For over a decade, this epic story of man’s pride, pride primate and monstrous hyena played to nearly 750,000 people a year in various cities around the world. With multiple Tony nominations and 12 Tony Awards, it is one of the longest-running shows in Broadway history. But at its first performances, over one million people showed up, a real, live mob. They weren’t there to see a play, they were there to see the show.
Theatergoers enjoyed Mamma Mia the musical adaptation that ran on Broadway for three years in 2001-2002, they’ll enjoy this one as well. In the absence of the original production, featuring Julie Walters, Harry Connick Jr., and a fresh-faced Colin Firth in his Broadway debut, the show incorporates three of the original songs, and also a new one from Rice and Stoppard’s third book, set in Greece at the end of the 1940s. The story is initially set in the pewter age of the 19th century, with younger Nana arranging a wedding for Sophie, the daughter of the widowed Donna, mother of three who was the second wife of the long-dead Swedish diplomat who’s the music’s most famous character, Harry.
In its final three hours, it gets a little nuts, with the three generations of this family all at different points in their lives–it can all seem slapdash, especially with all the odes to motherhood. However, a long night of that sort of show can be comforting, and much of the joy and the details come from the back story of the show. Mamma Mia can still be seen on Broadway to this day, a true feel-good favorite.
My Fair Lady
My Fair Lady is one of the most memorable musicals in all of Broadway. My Fair Lady the musical remains one of the most well-known and critically acclaimed Broadway musicals in all of history. Often commended as one of the greatest American musicals ever created, it also boasts over a hundred Tony Awards, including 10 consecutive Best Musical awards, most recently in 2011.
Although not often, once in a while, I view it as an original musical that came in the aftermath of the Broadway musical craze of the 1960s. The plot is pretty simple, but the story is something to treasure. Fair Lady follows one of the most beloved characters in all of musical theatre, Eliza Doolittle. Having never had a professional singing career despite having thousands of submissions, she is sent to an acting school for “ferocious chocolates.” Her only major character arc is the one where she sings one of the most amazing songs of all time, “My Fair Lady.” As it turns out, Eliza is not happy with her new surroundings and her new place to call home is a sprawling mansion. What she does find is a family home filled with love, and so she decides to move in with the extended Mayo family who owns the mansion.
As with many songs from musicals, “My Fair Lady” has three different versions in it, each with its own special effect in addition to it’s own background. My Fair Lady the musical is a great comedy that will get you to laugh all the way through the production.