10 Most Successful Musicals

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10 Most Successful Musicals

Broadway is, without a doubt, one of the cornerstones of American culture. Hundreds of musicals have been played there and only the best manage to survive as only 20 to 30 percent of Broadway shows turn a profit.

Here are 10 musicals that were the most successful in that respect.

10. Cats

Gross: $366.4 million

"Cats," the second longest-running musical on Broadway, is based on "Old Possum’s Book on Practical Cats" by the poet T.S. Eliot. There really isn't that much plot to Cats. The dancing and music are the main part of it. And maybe that's why the musical doesn't attract big crowds as it used to.

9. Les Misérables

Gross: $406.3 million

Winner of eight 1987 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, "Les Miserables" is set in 19th -century France and focuses on the struggles of an ex-convict and his search for redemption. Les Mis, as it became known, has played in 42 countries and 291 cities.

8. Beauty and the Beast

Gross: $429.2 million

Based on the 1991 animated film, "Beauty and the Beast" was the first Disney musical to arrive on Broadway. This entertaining production, directed by Rob Roth with choreography by Matt West, moves along very briskly iand worth to check out even if you're not a fan of Disney.

7. The Book of Mormon

Gross: $455.7 million

Dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb.

Trey Parker and Matt Stone sure know Mormons well. Growing up in Colorado, next door to Utah, Parker and Stone had long been familiar with the Mormon church and its members; Parker even dated a Mormon girl. Offensive? Well, if you're the kind of dick who spends valuable time looking to be offended, it's offensive. In such a good, clever, kind way. All in all, The Book of Mormon is a top-notch musical with great songs, characters and a healthy sense of humor. Hasa diga eebowai.

6. Jersey Boys

Gross: $548.4 million

Jersey Boys is a 2005 jukebox musical that dramatizes the formation, success and eventual break-up of the 1960s rock 'n roll group The Four Seasons. 

5. Chicago

Gross: $568.4 million

"Chicago" is set in the 1920s and tells the story of two rival murderesses, who cross paths in county jail. The main characters are modeled after real-life murderesses Beulah Annan and Belva Gaertner.

4. Mamma Mia!

Gross: $624.4 million

"Mamma Mia!" tells the story of a bride searching for her father. And all of accompanied by ABBA songs, of course.

3. Wicked

Gross: $1.06 billion

"Wicked" is the untold musical story of "The Wizard of Oz’s" Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good Witch, prior to the Dorothy years. The musical is loosely based on the best-selling novel " Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West," by Gregory Maguire.

2. Phantom of the Opera

Gross: $1.08 billion

The longest-running musical in Broadway (more than 26 years!) history tells the story of the brooding Phantom. It is a piece of impeccably crafted musical theater, with theme, music and staging in perfect accord

1. The Lion King

Gross: $1.32 billion

The highest-grossing musical of all times is based on the 1994 Disney animated film, "The Lion King". I'm sure you all know the plot, but, nevertheless, this is a must-see musical. Julie Taymor managed to create not a simple musical, but a whole experience that is really fun to watch to kids and parents alike.

15 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I have seen Wicked three times, first time with the original line up. The music in that show is just so huge and overwhelming - a true masterpiece in the humble eyes of a metal head
    Musicals have never been my thing, but I take my girlfriend when she needs someone to go with. I took her to The Phantom of the Opera a couple of years ago. The special effects were stunning, but the songs drove me nuts... Phantom Theme: Phantom - I'm the Phantom of the Opera Female lead - He's the Phantom of the Opera Phantom - I'm the Phantom of the Opera Female lead - He's the Phantom of the Opera Phantom - I'm the Phantom of the Opera/Your angel of muuuuusssssiiiiicccc!!! Me - I get it! You're the damn Phantom! Can we move this damn plot along?
    I guess "Hamilton" will probably be up here one day it seems, and it is great as well! I'm not really a rap fan, but damn that was a great/interesting musical to hear!
    Anyone interested in Wicked should really read the book.  It's fantastic and full of some real wisdom.  Don't know if this is in the musical but when asked by her brother why Elphaba (the Wicked Witch of the West) calls herself wicked she says, "People who claim that they're evil are usually no worse than the rest of us.  It's people who claim they're good that you have to be wary of"  
    I just saw the Lion King in london two weeks ago. It was epic guys. Some music were just breathtaking, goosebump and all...
    I saw Lion King two months ago and I have to say, out of all musicals I've seen, it was near the bottom.  Really fails in comparison to Book of Mormon, Phantom, or Les Mis. It is like the Nutcracker of musicals:  It consistently makes money, but it is mostly for children.
    That's a shame. I really enjoyed the music and performance of some of the singers and the orchestra.