The 40 Longest Running Broadway Shows in NYC (UPDATE 2024)

New York is world-famous for many things, including its Broadway shows. Every year there are between 30 and 40 new shows and plays, some of which only run for a very short time, but some become real evergreens.

Which Broadway shows have been playing in New York for the longest time? I’ll tell you here!

My tip: You can find even more exciting fun facts and records in my article about Broadway facts and here you can find all the currently popular Broadway shows in NYC.

What does “longest running” actually mean?

Broadway, like most industries, has a metric system to measure success. In this case, it’s not the years but the number of performances that dictate the length of a show’s run. Some Broadway shows can run for several years but have fewer performances due to scheduling factors.

For instance, shows that run only on weekends will naturally have fewer performances than those that run all week. Therefore, when I speak of the “longest-running” Broadway shows, I am referring to those that have chalked up the most performances. You can also see this in my table below in the “Number of Days” column.

These are the TOP 40 longest-running Broadway shows of all time

What I found really interesting is the fact that the TOP 10 longest-running musicals on Broadway have as many performances in total as #11 through #40 combined. I’ve linked the shows you can still attend today.

#
Broadway Show
Performances
Start
End
Number of days
Currently running?
1
The Phantom of the Opera

13,981

01/26/1988
04/16/2023
12,864
2
10,665
11/14/1996
still running
9,938
3
10,284
11/13/1997
still running
9,574
4
7,823
10/30/2003
still running
7,397
5
Cats
7,485
07/10/1982
09/10/2000
6,637
6
Les Misérables
6,680
03/12/1987
05/18/2003
5,911
7
A Chorus Line
6,137
07/25/1975
04/28/1990
5,391
8
Oh! Calcutta!
5,959
09/24/1976
08/06/1989
4,699
9
Mamma Mia!
5,758
10/18/2001
09/12/2015
5,077
10
Beauty and the Beast
5,462
04/18/1994
07/29/2007
4,850
11
Rent
5,123
04/29/1996
09/07/2008
4,514
12
4,679
03/24/2011
still running
4,695
13
Jersey Boys
4,642
11/06/2005
01/15/2017
4,088
14
Miss Saigon
4,092
04/11/1991
01/28/2001
3,580
15
42nd Street
3,486
08/25/1980
01/08/1989
3,058
16
3,450
03/20/2014
still running
3,603
17
Grease
3,388
02/24/1972
04/13/1980
2,971
18
Fiddler on the Roof
3,242
09/22/1964
07/02/1972
2,840
19
Hello, Dolly!
2,844
01/16/1964
12/27/1970
2,537
20
My Fair Lady
2,717
03/15/1956
09/29/1962
2,389
21
2,669
08/06/2015
still running
3,099
22
Hairspray
2,642
08/15/2002
04/01/2009
2,334
23
Mary Poppins
2,619
11/16/2006
03/03/2013
2,299
24
Avenue Q
2,534
07/31/2003
09/13/2009
2,236
25
Kinky Boots
2,505
04/04/2013
04/07/2019
2,194
26
The Producers
2,502
04/19/2001
04/22/2007
2,194
27
Beautiful The Carole King Musical
2,416
01/12/2014
10/27/2019
2,114
28
Cabaret
2,377
03/19/1998
01/04/2004
2,117
28
Annie
2,377
04/21/1977
01/02/1983
2,082
30
Rock of Ages
2,328
04/07/2009
01/18/2015
2,112
30
Man of La Mancha
2,328
11/22/1965
26,06,1971
2,042
32
Oklahoma!
2,212
01/31/1943
05/29/1948
1,945
33
Smokey Joe's Cafe
2,036
03/02/1995
01/16/2000
1,781
34
Pippin
1,944
10/23/1972
06/12/1977
1,693
35
South Pacific
1,925
04/07/1949
01/16/1954
1,745
36
The Magic Show
1,920
05/28/1974
12/31/1978
1,678
37
Aida
1,852
03/23/2000
05/09/2004
1,508
38
Dancin'
1,774
03/27/1978
06/27/1982
1,553
39
La Cage aux Folles
1,761
08/21/1983
11/15/1987
1,547
40
Hair
1,750
04/29/1968
07/01/1972
1,524

As of: January 30, 2024 – I checked IBDB Internet Broadway Database for the data.

FAQ

What is the longest running Broadway show?

“The Phantom of the Opera” is the longest-running show on Broadway. It premiered in January 1988 and has had 13,981 performances. The last show has been on April 16, 2023.

What is the criteria for a "Long Run" on Broadway?

Several factors contribute to the longevity of a show on Broadway. These include but are not limited to: the quality and popularity of the production (script, music, direction, etc.), the talents and draw of the cast, the show’s marketing strategy, the financial backing, and even the broader social and cultural trends of the time.

A show that resonates with audiences will typically have a longer run. This could be because it taps into contemporary themes, features beloved songs, or perhaps offers a unique, unforgettable spectacle. But even then, long-term success is never guaranteed. External factors like economic downturns, changes in public taste, or global events can also play a crucial role.

Are the longest-running Broadway shows also popular in other countries?

Yes, many of the longest-running Broadway shows have also been successful internationally. They often have touring productions that visit cities around the world, and some shows have also had successful runs in international theater districts like London’s West End.

Why do some Broadway shows run longer than others?

The longevity of a show depends on several factors including the quality of the production, popularity, the talents and draw of the cast, effective marketing, financial backing, and broader social and cultural trends. Some shows resonate more with audiences, leading to sustained ticket sales and longer runs.

Are all long-running shows considered successful?

period. However, it’s also important to note that success can be subjective and might be measured differently by different people. For instance, a show might not run for a very long time but could still be considered successful if it had a significant cultural impact, won prestigious awards, or was critically acclaimed.

Do the longest-running shows change cast members often?

Yes, cast changes are a normal part of Broadway productions. Given the physical demands and scheduling requirements of Broadway, it’s common for roles to be recast periodically throughout a show’s run. Some shows might also have alternate cast members who perform at certain performances.

Profilbild Steffen Kneist
About the author

I'm a true New York fan! Not only have I visited the city over 25 times but also have I spent several months here at a time. On my blog I show you the best and most beautiful spots of the city, so that you have a really good time! You can also find lots of insider tips in our New York travel guide. Also check out my hotel finder for New York!

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