With the list of Broadway musicals being so varied, with so many amazing shows, choosing the five best is an impossible task. There have been so many favorite Broadway shows over the years, from old classics from the Golden Age of Broadway to new classics of the modern era, lighthearted comedies to dramatic, sweeping spectacles.
Fiddler on the Roof
Based on the story of Tevye the Milkman by Sholem Aleichem, Fiddler on the Roof takes place in Tsarist Russia in 1905, and reflects the struggles of a humble milkman as he tries to hold onto his faith in spite of changing times. Both poignant and humorous, Fiddler on the Roof ran for 3,242 performances, a record at the time. It came back to Broadway four times and enjoyed several successful runs in London and on tour.
Cabaret became a big hit when it premiered on Broadway in 1966. A departure from the happy musicals of the '40s and '50s, much of the action in Cabaret takes place in a seedy nightclub in Berlin in 1931. Its dark tone is reflective of the times, when the Nazis were rising to power. The music, written by John Kander with lyrics by Fred Ebb, is wonderful, and Sally Bowles is one of the most memorable characters in a musical. The original production ran for 1,165 performances. There were also a few successful runs in London, and two Broadway revivals.
A Chorus Line
This behind-the-scenes look at the audition process for a Broadway show premiered in 1975 and became a runaway hit, winning nine Tony awards and a Pulitzer Prize for Drama. During the show, the audience gets a glimpse into the personal lives of all the dancers, through memorable songs by Edward Kleban and Marvin Hamlisch. In addition to its astounding 6,137-performance original run, there were also several international productions and several successful tours. The 2006 revival received two Tony nominations.
Phantom of the Opera
Currently the longest-running musical on Broadway, tickets for Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera are still selling. The show has been going strong since 1988, and shows no signs of stopping. This beautifully staged, sung-through musical is truly a grand piece of theater. It tells the story of a mysterious, disfigured musical genius and the beautiful young soprano with whom he is obsessed.
Les Miserables is one of the most-performed musicals in the world. The epic retelling of Victor Hugo's 1862 novel premiered in Paris in 1980, and has since been translated into 21 different languages. It opened in London in 1985, and is currently the longest-running West End musical. The show began its 16-year Broadway run in 1987, and won 8 Tony awards.