Saturday, March 17, 2007

Broadway's Longest Running Hits

Broadway's Longest Running Hits

Ever wonder which of the Great White Way's shows have enjoyed the longest runs? Look no further than Playbill, which has published a rather lengthy list of all the shows that have made it past 800 performances (in other words, a minimum of nearly two years), a remarkable achievement in itself.

Naturally, The Phantom Of The Opera is the all-time longest running production, clocking in at 7973 performances last Sunday. But four of the other top ten spots are also filled with current running shows: #6: Beauty And The Beast (5305 performances), #7: Rent (4537 performances), #8: the revival of Chicago (4290 performances) and #10: The Lion King (3922 performances). Six other current shows have already eclipsed the 800 barrier with two more within spitting distance.

The column also lists Off-Broadway's longest running hits, as well as the longest runs in Boston, Washington DC, Chicago, Toronto and of course London, where after 54 continuous years, The Mousetrap continues to hold the world's record with over 20,900 ongoing performances.

A sidenote: Just because a show continues to run doesn't necessarily mean it should. I think Disney is doing itself a favor by finally pulling the plug on Beauty And The Beast this summer. It was long past its prime a couple years ago. It's also beyond me how The Phantom Of The Opera continues to march on (I thought it was showing its wear ten years ago). And as for that West End world record? Well, let's just say that when I decided to check it out a couple years ago, I was shocked; I didn't realize that a production could be moldy and stale at the same time.

Which of the five longest running current shows would you return to see? Vote for as many as all five shows in the latest SOB Poll on the right-hand side of this site. Then feel free to comment on your selections below.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

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At 17 March, 2007, Anonymous Esther said...

I know it still has a long way to go, but do you think Wicked will ever catch Phantom? Or will all the sit-down performances in places like L.A. and Chicago cut into the New York box office? Do you think Phantom will ever stop running?

It's pretty amazing, because Phantom tours everywhere. You don't have to go to New York to see it. I'd think if you were going to Broadway, you'd want to see something you couldn't see anywhere else.

I guess it's just one of those shows, like a beloved book or movie, that keeps attracting new generations of fans who maybe don't realize that it's showing its age. I'm assuming it's the same thing with Beauty and The Lion King. If you're a child who loves the movies, you'll probably love the stage versions!

And having seen Wicked on tour, I'd love to see it on Broadway. So I guess I've contradicted my own argument!

At 18 March, 2007, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Esther, It's quite a paradox, isn't it?! Each of the current running shows in the top ten have toured extensively, yet they continue to thrive on Broadway.

I dare say that I believe when tourists come calling on New York, they want some reassurance that they're going to actually like what they see. Perhaps nothing beats a show that's already delivered the goods.

At 10 May, 2008, Blogger hughie said...

I know both the revival of "42ND STREET" and "JEKYLL AND HYDE" each ran for over 1500 performances but still lost money. What are the other long running shows that didn't earn back their investement?


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