For the uninitiated, a theater production is the artistic predecessor of cinema. The long and illustrious legacy of stage productions has achieved unparalleled heights with its collections.
Over the years, some of the shows have gained cult status while others have been an instant hit with the audience. While some were quite well-known and enjoyed a long run, it does not necessarily mean they’ve been the most commercially successful.
Some shows just have the potential to make more money than others, and here’s a list of those that have made the most.*
1. The Lion King, $1,463,250,222
Total Performances: 8,519
Currently running at the Minskoff Theatre, the musical based on the hit 1994 Disney animated film has consistently pulled in crowds since opening in 1997.
2. Wicked, $1,190,774,930
Total Performances: 6,046
Currently running at the Gershwin Theatre, the backstory of the witches of The Wizard of Oz, has become one of Broadway’s most iconic properties, known for its high-flying performances.
3. The Phantom of the Opera, $1,150,057,053
Total Performances: 12,574
Currently running at the Majestic Theatre, the production is the longest-running Broadway show of all time.
4. Mamma Mia!, $624,391,693
Total Performances: 5,772
Mamma Mia! was Broadway’s first true jukebox musical.
When it closed on September 12th, 2015 with a run of 5,773 performances, it became the ninth longest-running show in Broadway history.
5. Chicago (1996 revival), $613,892,561
Total Performances: 8,908
When it originally opened in 1975, Chicago ran only two years with 936 performances.
Revived in 1996, it now runs at the Ambassador Theatre, and with nearly 9,000 performances, it the second longest-running show in Broadway history.
6. Jersey Boys, $558,416,084
Total Performances: 4,680
Complete with their chart-topping music, this jukebox musical drew inspiration from the real-life 1960s rock ‘n’ roll group The Four Seasons for its plot.
Needless to say, it resonated with audiences and enjoyed a Broadway run at the August Wilson theatre of 12 years and 4,642 performances.
7. The Book of Mormon, $546,598,332
Total Performances: 2,966
Currently running at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre, this hilarious satirical musical about the Salt Lake City-based religion continues to be one of Broadway’s top grossers even though it opened only seven years ago.
8. Beauty and the Beast, $429,158,458
Total Performances: 5,507
Adapted from Walt Disney Pictures’ Academy Award-winning 1991 animated musical film, Beauty and the Beast enjoyed a Broadway run of thirteen years before it closed on July 29th, 2007.
*This list reflects only actual grosses, with no adjustments for inflation for currently running productions as of April 1, 2018. (Source)
One of the grandest and most detailed stage productions, The King and I, is taking place in London. To catch it live, visit this link.