5 Highest Grossing Broadway Shows

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To Be, or Not to Be? That is the question……Well, that used to be one of the most famous questions, however, many people are now asking the question…Should I go see a Broadway show when I am in New York City? YES, yes you should. Broadway has been around since 1735 and has been captivating audiences for hundreds of years. Which show should I go see though? Well, we are going to put together a list of the highest grossing Broadway shows of all time to help you make that decision.

#5 – The Book of Mormon

Book of Mormon - Highest Grossing Broadway Show

Debuting in 2011 and currently still running, The Book of Mormon is a popular Broadway show which follows two young missionaries Elder Price and Elder Cunningham who are sent to Uganda to try help spread the message of the Mormon religion. The young missionaries share two completely different personalities which help to build drama and conflict throughout the story. In addition to these internal challenges the two must face many societal challenges in Africa such as AID, poverty, violence and more. These internal and external conflict drive an amazing story which has been one of the main reasons The Book of Mormon has been able to remain as one of the highest grossing Broadway shows for many consecutive years.

Show Debut Year: 2011
Closing Year: Still Running
# of Performances: 3,642
Gross Revenue: $644,811,371

#4 – Chicago

Chicago Highest Grossing Broadway Show

The story of the Chicago Broadway show is quite interesting. It originally debuted in 1975 but after only 936 performances it was closed in 1977. However, it was later revived in 1996 and is currently still running on Broadway. Chicago is set back in the 1920’s when organized crime was popular in Chicago and follows the stories of two murderesses who are locked up in the Cook County Jail. Not only does Chicago make it on the list of one of the highest grossing Broadway shows of all time, but it also holds the record for one of the longest running Broadway show of all time as well.

Show Debut Year: 1975
Closing Year: 1977 – (Was revived in 1996 and is still running.)
# of Performances: Over 9,000
Gross Revenue: $656,495,931

#3 – The Phantom of the Opera

Phantom - Highest Grossing Musical

Now we are getting into some of the most famous and popular Broadway shows that almost everyone knows. Most everyone has seen some form of rendition of The Phantom of the Opera at some theater throughout their life or maybe when they were in school. The Phantom of the Opera originally debuted in 1988 and is currently still running on Broadway, nearly 34 years later. Written by Andrew Lloyd Webber, The Phantom of the Opera follows the romantic story of The Phantom who is known for haunting the stages at a Paris opera house. During these haunts The Phantom falls in love with a beautiful young opera singer. The Phantom of the Opera has won seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical. Racking in over a BILLON dollars in gross revenues it is no wonder why it is on our list of the highest grossing Broadway shows of all time.

Show Debut Year: 1988
Closing Year: Still Running
# of Performances: 13,264
Gross Revenue: $1,241,017,579

#2 – Wicked

Wicked - Highest Grossing Broadway Show

The second spot on our list of top five highest grossing Broadway shows of all time goes to Wicked! While it is no surprise that it is number two on our list because it is such a wonderful story, it is quite amazing it is so high because it has only been running for about 20 years, as it debuted in 2003 and already has grossed as much as it has! Wicked gives the audience members a view of what happened in the Land of Oz way before what we see play out on the screen with Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz.  It tells the story of a very smart, intellectual, talented young girl who was misunderstood and judge because of the bright emerald green skin she was born with. This young girl meets another talented young woman who she becomes great friends with, until the population decide that one of them is “good” and one of them is “wicked”. Wicked has been the fastest growing Broadway musical/show to date, already grossing over a BILLION dollars and less than 7,000 performances. How long will it be before Wicked takes the top spot for the highest grossing Broadway shows of all time? What is your guess?

Show Debut Year: 2003
Closing Year: Still Running
# of Performances: 6,728
Gross Revenue: $1,345,482,298

#1 – The Lion King

Lion King - Broadway Show

And coming in at NUMBER ONE of the highest grossing Broadway shows of all time is…..You guessed it – The Lion King! The Lion King is a Broadway show adaption of the 1994 Academy Award winning show from Disney. The Lion King is the winner of six Tony Awards including Best Musical and has one of the most acclaimed creative teams on all of Broadway. The Lion King follows the story of Simba, who flees The Pride Lands after his father, the King dies. Through his journey Simba encounters two unique and strange individuals who become his best friends. As the Pride Lands become ravaged, Simba must return to the Pride Lands to face his destiny of becoming king. With only a little over 9,000 performances and over 1.5 BILLON dollars it is no wonder why The Lion King has made the list as the number one highest grossing Broadway shows of all time. Driven by the amazing choreography and theatrical production this show will only continue to stay number one for a long time to come.

Show Debut Year: 1997
Closing Year: Still Running
# of Performances: 9,195
Gross Revenue: $1,657,407,012

Putting together a theatrical production is not easy and it is even harder to put one together that is profitable and sustainable. So, to become one of the highest grossing Broadway shows of all time, it took a lot of creative and talented people to pull that off. Rather you enjoy great music, great storytelling, or just great theatrical productions, you can’t go wrong with ANY of these picks, so put it on your bucket list and get over to Broadway!

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