See these long-running shows on Broadway right now
These shows have been Broadway favorites for years and even decades.
When you think of Broadway, a few names probably light up in your mind: Hamilton, Wicked, The Phantom of the Opera. It’s for a good reason — those are some of Broadway’s longest-running shows, some of which have been running in New York for decades. Over the years, they've established themselves as modern classics that still play to full houses night after night as though the opening-night hype was still fresh.
These popular musicals, which range from a groundbreaking Disney show to a hip-hop history hit to a thrilling dark romance, should be on every theatre lover's bucket list. They're also great shows for first-time Broadway-goers, as they have a proven record of success with countless audiences and awards voters. Find out more about the long-running Broadway shows that are still going strong and why you should check out these titans of theatre.
The Phantom of the Opera
This Andrew Lloyd Webber musical has the honor of being Broadway’s longest-running show. It first premiered in 1988 and, aside from the Covid-19 pandemic, The Phantom of the Opera has never stopped running on Broadway in the 30-plus years since. That’s a lot of falling chandeliers! This timeless story about a mask-wearing musician obsessed with a young opera singer, who in turn is in love with her childhood friend, has captivated generations of musical-goers. If you love melodrama, romance, and men in masks, pay a visit to the Angel of Music.
Dear Evan Hansen
If you’re a fan of Stranger Things, then you will want to see this musical. Not just because like the Netflix hit show, Dear Evan Hansen is also about teenagers (fighting against a more metaphorical monster: mental illness). Stranger Things mainstay Gaten Matarazzo is currently showing off his singing and comedic chops in Dear Evan Hansen on Broadway, playing the title character’s friend Jared. Even before Matarazzo stepped in, though, this six-time Tony Award-winning Best Musical has moved audiences since 2016 with the story of Evan, an anxious teenager who finds his voice through a lie that spins out of control. Let Dear Evan Hansen turn your heart upside down before it closes on Broadway September 18.
If your only exposure to Chicago is the Oscar-winning 2002 film and you can’t stop humming “All That Jazz,” then you’ll want to experience the stage version. The story of vaudevillian murderesses that compete for press attention to get acquitted remains the same, but the staging is markedly different from the film and features choreography from the legendary Bob Fosse. And if you time your visit right, you might catch a celebrity in a lead role. Recently, Pamela Anderson played the murderess Roxie, but other celebrities that have shown off their jazz hands include Brandy and Erika Jayne as Roxie, and Wayne Brady, Jerry Springer, and the late Patrick Swayze (talk about having the time of your life) as the lawyer Billy Flynn. Find out why the stars flock to Chicago by getting a ticket today.
Wicked has become so popular on Broadway that it’s getting a two-part movie adaptation, starring Ariana Grande and Cynthia Erivo. But before you flock to the movie theatres, you should fly to the Gershwin Theatre for the original stage version, a prequel to The Wizard of Oz. The gravity-defying musical is about the untold story of the friendship between the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good Witch. It’s a visual feast of a show, with live flying monkeys, a moving dragon, and songs with notes (and broomstick-flying) so high that you’ll wonder, “How did she do that?” Follow the yellow brick road down to Wicked.
The Lion King
Lots of Disney films are being adapted for the stage now, but The Lion King was one of the first Disney stage musicals that kicked off the trend. You can say it was a hit — the show about a young lion cub who grows up to take his place as ruler of the Pride Lands, and usurp his evil uncle, has run on Broadway since 1997. The show premiered just three years after the release of the film, but it’s notably distinct from the movie thanks to award-winning stagecraft unlike anything else on Broadway before it. The actors perform with life-size puppetry that'll make you think you're in Africa with real animals on the stage, and there are also new songs you'll only hear in the musical (plus all the hits from the movie, of course). Come experience the circle of life at The Lion King.
Aladdin is based on the animated Disney film about a poor street rat who gets his hand on a magic lamp and uses it to woo a beautiful princess. You'd think it would be impossible to replicate the zaniness and visual magic of the Genie onstage, but you would be wrong. “Friend Like Me” has become notorious for getting regular show-stopping applause on Broadway. And that's just one number — the remaining two hours of the show, too, are filled with colorful costumes, dazzling choreography, and a magic carpet that really flies! It's no wonder audiences have come to see Prince Ali since 2014. The stage version of Aladdin will transport you to a whole new world.
The Book of Mormon
This musical is made by the creators of the popular animated show South Park, so it's no wonder their equally irreverent Broadway musical has been a smash hit since 2011, too. You can tell right from the opening number that this isn’t like your typical Broadway musical — it contains lyrics like “have fun in hell." The Book of Mormon is a comedic, foul-mouthed story about a pair of Mormon missionaries sent to Uganda, whose task of converting the locals proves difficult. It’s a musical with a ton of hijinks and also heart. And if you’ve already seen it, you should come back; creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone have made revisions to the script. If you’re seeing it for the first time or have been a devout fan for years, we believe you’ll have a heavenly time.
Hell has never sounded so fun as at this eight-time Tony-winning Best Musical, which has been on Broadway since 2019. Hadestown is based on a Greek myth of two lovers: the musician Orpheus takes a trip to the underworld to bring his deceased, beloved Eurydice back to the world of the living. But as retold by singer-songwriter Anaïs Mitchell, it’s a soulful, heartfelt experience with uniformly excellent folk and jazz songs that are unlike anything else you'll hear on Broadway right now. You may know how the age-old story ends, but you’ll still find new things to love in this retelling. Have your tissues handy as you come aboard the road to hell.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
This 2018 Best Play Tony winner is a sequel to J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter book series, which follows Harry Potter’s son, Albus, as he goes on a time-traveling adventure through Hogwarts and beyond. Don’t worry if you’re not a Harry Potter fan; the play has enough special effects and pyrotechnics to keep you in awe no matter what. But if you are a Potterhead, you should see it — even if you've been before and know all the fan-favorite characters that appear. The play was recently cut down from a two-part, five-hour experience to one 3.5-hour evening. But the cuts haven’t diluted the show’s power — Harry Potter and the Cursed Child will make you believe magic exists.
Contrary to what you may think, it's not impossible to get Hamilton tickets. These days, it’s entirely possible to score last-minute tickets to the hit show, even on weekends. And trust us, it’s worth it. You may have seen the hip-hop/rap musical about the “10 dollar Founding Father” Alexander Hamilton on Disney+, but seeing it live with different actors on stage is like seeing it for the first time. Come see history happening in Manhattan at Hamilton, which has played to packed houses at the Richard Rodgers Theatre since 2015. The show has earned its own place in the history books, too, having won a Pulitzer Prize, a Grammy Award, and a whopping 11 Tonys including Best Musical.
Come From Away
At first glance, Come From Away may not seem like the type of show you see to escape from the outside world. After all, it takes place in the days following 9/11, when multiple flights bound for the U.S. were redirected to a small town in Canada. The musical is about the flight passengers and the citizens of the town of Gander, as they create an ad-hoc community and fight comfort in each other against a tragic backdrop. Come From Away is a musical about finding hope in a hopeless time, and that’s a message we could all use more of right now. Come see this heartfelt, Tony-winning musical before October 2, after which it’ll come away from Broadway after 5.5 years.