TheaterMania Logo
Theater News

It'll Run for Years!

How do Tony-winning musicals stack up in terms of the length of their runs when you include revivals? Filichia crunches the numbers. logo
When the original 1966 production of Cabaret closed in 1969, it had run 1,165 performances, which was then good enough to make it the 12th longest-running Tony-winner of all-time. Yes, Oklahoma! and Hellzapoppin' ran longer, but they predated the Tonys. Funny Girl ran longer, too, but it was a Tony-loser to Hello, Dolly! The only Tony winners to exceed Cabaret at the time of its closing were (in this order) My Fair Lady, Hello, Dolly!, Fiddler on the Roof, South Pacific, Man of La Mancha, The Sound of Music, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, The Music Man, Mame, The King and I, and Guys and Dolls.

Of course, those were the days when My Fair Lady's 2,717 performances were enough to make it the long-run champ. Now, following the era of mega-musicals, the original production of Cabaret has been relegated to 25th place among the Tony winners. (Again, "Tony winners" is the operative phrase. Lord knows that Grease, Disney's Beauty and the Beast, and Miss Saigon ran much longer than most Tony-winners but each of them failed to cop the prize.) In fact, the revival of Cabaret that closed on Sunday after 2,377 performances surpassed the original production long ago, making it the only revival of a Tony-winning musical to exceed its original run. And before you yell "Chicago!" please remember that the original production lost the Best Musical Tony to A Chorus Line season.

It started me wondering: Which Tony winners have played the most performances on Broadway if we lump in revivals? I'm going to eliminate short City Center stints, Lincoln Center Music Theatre revivals, City Opera productions, reunion concerts, and Encores! presentations. My rule of thumb is that each revival had to be produced on Broadway and Tony eligible for its performances, direction, et al. First, I'll list the Tony winners in the order in which they stand based solely on number of performances of their original productions. Then, after I add in revival statistics, you'll see what their cumulative totals and rankings are:

1. Cats: Original Run: 7,485. No Broadway revivals yet. Cumulative Ranking: 1

2. Les Miserables: Original Run: 6,680. No Broadway revivals yet. Cumulative Ranking: 2

3. The Phantom of the Opera: Current Run: 6,647 and counting. Cumulative Ranking: 3

4. A Chorus Line: Original Run: 6,137. No Broadway revivals yet. Cumulative Ranking: 4

5. 42nd Street: Original Run: 3,486. 2001 Revival: 1,110 and counting. Total: 4,596 and counting. Cumulative Ranking: 5

6. Fiddler on the Roof: Original Run: 3,242. 1976 Revival: 167. 1981 Revival: 53. 1990 Revival: 241. Total: 3,703 (though that will soon increase via the show's 2004 revival). Cumulative Ranking: 7

7. Rent: Current Run: 3,202 and counting. Cumulative Ranking: 9

8. Hello, Dolly!: Original Run: 2,844. 1975 Revival: 42. 1978 Revival: 147. 1995 Revival: 116. Total: 3,149. Cumulative Ranking: 10

9. My Fair Lady: Original Run: 2,717. 1976 Revival: 377. 1981 Revival: 120. 1993 Revival: 165. Total: 3,379. Cumulative Ranking: 8

10. The Lion King: Current Run: 2,565 and counting. Cumulative Ranking: 15

11. Annie: Original Run: 2,377. 1997 Revival: 239. Total: 2,616. Cumulative Ranking: 13

12. Man of La Mancha: Original Run: 2,328. 1972 Revival: 140. 1977 Revival: 124. 1992 Revival: 108. 2002 Revival: 304. Total: 3,004. Cumulative Ranking: 11

13. South Pacific: Original Run: 1,925. No Broadway revivals yet (believe it or not). Cumulative Ranking: 20

14. La Cage aux Folles: Original Run: 1,761. No Broadway revivals yet, though one is being planned. Cumulative Ranking: 22

15. The Wiz: Original Run: 1,672. 1984 Revival: 13. Total: 1,675. Cumulative Ranking: 25

16. Crazy for You: Original Run: 1622. No Broadway revivals yet. Cumulative Ranking: 26

17. Evita: Original Run: 1,567. No Broadway revivals yet. Cumulative Ranking: 27

18. Ain't Misbehavin': Original Run: 1,565. 1988 Revival: 176. Total: 1,741. Cumulative Ranking: 23

19. The Sound of Music: Original Run: 1,443. 1998 Revival: 533. Total: 1,976. Cumulative Ranking: 17

20. How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying: Original Run: 1,417. 1995 Revival: 548. Total: 1,965. Cumulative Ranking: 19

Robert Preston in The Music Man
21. The Music Man: Original Run: 1,375. 1980 Revival: 21. 2000 Revival: 699. Total: 2,095 Cumulative Ranking: 16

22. The King and I: Original Run: 1,246. 1977 Revival: 695. 1985 Revival: 191. 1996 Revival: 780. Total: 2,912. Cumulative Ranking: 12

23. 1776: Original Run: 1,217. 1997 Revival: 333. Total: 1,550. Cumulative Ranking: 28

24. Guys and Dolls: Original Run: 1,200. 1976 Revival: 239. 1992 Revival: 1,143. Total: 2,582. Cumulative Ranking: 14

25. Cabaret: Original Run: 1,165. 1987 Revival: 261. 1998 Revival: 2,377. Total: 3,803. Cumulative Ranking: 6

26. The Producers: Current Run: 1,128 and counting. Cumulative Ranking: 29

27. Fosse: Original Run: 1,093. No Broadway revivals yet. Cumulative Ranking: 31

28. Kiss Me, Kate: Original Run: 1,077. 1952 Tour Stop: 8. 1999 Revival: 881. Total: 1,966. Cumulative Ranking: 18

29. The Pajama Game: Original Run: 1,063. 1973 Revival: 65. Total: 1,128 (though another revival is in the works). Cumulative Ranking: 30

30. Damn Yankees: Original Run: 1,019. 1994 Revival: 718. Total: 1,737. Cumulative Ranking: 24

31. Contact: Original Run: 1,010. No Broadway revivals yet. Cumulative Ranking: 34

32. Big River: Original Run: 1,005. 2003 Revival: 60. Total: 1,065. Cumulative Ranking: 32

33. The Will Rogers Follies: Original Run: 981. No Broadway revivals yet. Cumulative Ranking: 35

34. Sunset Boulevard: Original Run: 977. No Broadway revivals yet. Cumulative Ranking: 36

35. A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum: Original Run: 964. 1972 Revival: 156. 1996 Revival: 715. Total: 1,835. Cumulative Ranking: 21

36. Kiss of the Spider Woman: Original Run: 904. No Broadway revivals yet. Cumulative Ranking: 37

37. Applause: Original Run: 896. No Broadway revivals yet. Cumulative Ranking: 38

38. City of Angels: Original Run: 879. No Broadway revivals yet. Cumulative Ranking: 39

39. Raisin: Original Run: 847. No Broadway revivals yet. Cumulative Ranking: 40

40. Titanic: Original Run: 804. No Broadway revivals yet. Cumulative Ranking: 41

41. Fiorello!: Original Run: 795. No Broadway revivals yet. Cumulative Ranking: 42

42. Nine: Original Run: 729. 2003 Revival: 283. Total: 1,012. Cumulative Ranking: 33

43. Thoroughly Modern Millie: Current Run: 713 and counting. Cumulative Ranking: 45

44. Company: Original Run: 705. 1995 Revival: 60. Total: 765. Cumulative Ranking: 43

45. Jerome Robbins' Broadway: Original Run: 633. No Broadway revivals yet (and of all the Tony-winners, this would seem to be the least likely show to be revived). Cumulative Ranking: 46

46. Two Gentlemen of Verona: Original Run: 613. No Broadway revivals yet (to the pride of Follies fans). Cumulative Ranking: 47

47. The Mystery of Edwin Drood: Original Run: 608. No Broadway revivals yet. Cumulative Ranking: 49

48. Bye Bye Birdie: Original Run: 607. No Broadway revivals yet (though the upcoming Encores! just may spur one). Cumulative Ranking: 50

49. A Little Night Music: Original Run: 601. No Broadway revivals yet (though one's been talked about for years). Cumulative Ranking: 51

Alfred Drake and Joan Diener in Kismet
(Photo courtesy of Albert Marre)
50. Kismet: Original Run: 583. No Broadway revivals yet, for Timbuktu! was a different show in many respects. Cumulative Ranking: 52

51. Hairspray: Current Run: 578 and counting. Cumulative Ranking: 53

52. Wonderful Town: Original Run: 559. 2003 Revival: 51 and counting. Total: 610 and counting. Cumulative Ranking: 48

53. Sweeney Todd: Original Run: 557. 1989 Revival: 188. Total: 745. Cumulative Ranking: 44

54. Redhead: Original Run: 452. No Broadway revivals yet. Cumulative Ranking: 54

55. Hallelujah, Baby!: Original Run: 293. No Broadway revivals yet (though Arthur Laurents is currently revising this with Betty Comden and Amanda Green for a run at the George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick, NJ next fall). Cumulative Ranking: 55

56. Passion: Original Run: 280. No Broadway revivals yet. Cumulative Ranking: 56

So there's no change at all for the first five slots -- and there won't be for years yet. But now in the sixth slot is Cabaret, a big improvement over the 25th slot, which is where it would be if you only counted the run of the original production. Others making big jumps are Funny Thing, Kiss Me, Kate, Guys and Dolls, and The King and I. The biggest drops belong to The Wiz, Evita, and Crazy for You, though we must cut the last-named show some slack because it hasn't been closed all that long. And, no matter how you slice it, what a sad irony that a Stephen Sondheim show comes in dead last on each tally-board.


[To contact Peter Filichia directly, e-mail him at [email protected]]

Tagged in this Story