Combined together, just these ten shows have knocked up one hundred thousand performances and many times in the same places on Broadway. But many are also touring shows that have been performed all over the world. No matter where you saw them, the chances are good you have seen at least one of these long running musicals…
The Top 10 Longest Running Musicals of All Time
10 – Chu Chin Chow (Total Offical Performances: 2,238)
Wiki Info: A silent film of the musical, starring Betty Blythe, was produced in 1925 using some of the music. A talking film, with the score intact, was made by the Gainsborough Studios in 1934, with George Robey as Ali Baba, Fritz Kortner as Abu Hasan, Anna May Wong as Zahrat Al-Kulub, Frank Cochrane reprising his stage role of the cobbler, and Laurence Hanray as Kasim
9 – My Fair Lady (Total Offical Performances: 2,281)
Wiki Info: My Fair Lady is a musical based on George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, with book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner and music by Frederick Loewe. The story concerns Eliza Doolittle, a Cockney flower girl who takes speech lessons from professor Henry Higgins, a phoneticist, so that she may pass as a lady. The original Broadway, London and film versions all starred Rex Harrison.
8 – Salad Days (Total Offical Performances: 2,283)
Wiki Info: Julian Slade and Dorothy Reynolds had been working together on writing musicals since 1952, writing the book, music and lyrics. Reynolds was also an actress. They wrote Salad Days as a “summer musical for the Bristol Old Vic’s resident company.”
7 – The Sound of Music (Total Offical Performances: 2,386)
Wiki Info: The original Broadway production, starring Mary Martin and Theodore Bikel, opened in 1959 and won five Tony Awards, including Best Musical, out of nine nominations. The first London production opened at the Palace Theatre 1961. The show has enjoyed numerous productions and revivals since then.
6 – Oliver (Total Offical Performances: 2,618)
Wiki Info: A prominent musical in British popular culture, Oliver! received thousands of performances in British schools, particularly in the 1970s, when it was by far the most popular school musical. In 1963 Lionel Bart received the Tony Award for Best Original Score. Many songs are well known to the public.
5 – Evita (Total Offical Performances: 2,900)
Wiki Info: The musical began as a rock opera concept album released in 1976. Its success led to productions in London’s West End in 1978, winning the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Musical, and on Broadway a year later, where it was the first British musical to receive the Tony Award for Best Musical.
4 – Cats (Total Offical Performances: 3,310)
Wiki Info: Cats is a musical composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber, based on Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot, and produced by Cameron Mackintosh. The musical tells the story of a tribe of cats called the Jellicles and the night they make what is known as “the Jellicle choice” and decide which cat will ascend to the Heaviside Layer and come back to a new life.
3 – Jesus Christ, Superstar (Total Offical Performances: 3,357)
Wiki Info: Jesus Christ Superstar is a 1970 rock opera with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice. The musical started as a rock opera concept album before its Broadway debut in 1971. The musical is sung-through, with no spoken dialogue.
2 – Me and My Girl (Total Offical Performances: 3,368)
Wiki Info: Me and My Girl is a musical with music by Noel Gay and its original book and lyrics by Douglas Furber and L. Arthur Rose. The musical is set in the late 1930s and tells the story of an unapologetically unrefined cockney gentleman named Bill Snibson, who learns that he is the 14th heir to the Earl of Hareford. The action is set in Hampshire, Mayfair and Lambeth.
1 – The Black and White Minstrel Show (Total Offical Performances: 6,464)
Wiki Info: The Black and White Minstrel Show was a British light entertainment show that ran on BBC television from 1958 to 1978 and was a popular stage show. It was a weekly light entertainment and variety show presenting traditional American minstrel and country songs, as well as show and music hall numbers, usually performed in blackface, and with lavish costumes.