Wade Horton/ April 15, 2021/ General Article

Broadway Musicals

It is unusual for a Broadway musical to make money. Shows are very expensive to mount, and they may not stay open long enough to make up the initial investment. However, there are a handful of shows that run long enough to make back their money and turn a profit. Interestingly enough, some of the top-grossing shows of the last decade actually opened much earlier. Here, in no particular order, are the top three most successful Broadway musicals of the last decade, not counting those produced by Disney.


“Hamilton” is a watershed musical that showed American history in a different light and increased the popularity of hip hop music Fort Washington MD. Lin-Manuel Miranda adapted it from a biography of Alexander Hamilton, the first treasury secretary of the United States. It is not the top-grossing play of the decade, but that may be because it only opened in 2015.

“Hamilton” is not a production of the Walt Disney Company. However, a film of the live performance was distributed by Disney through its streaming platform.


“Wicked” has an interesting provenance. It is an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Gregory Maguire, which in turn was a reimagining of the “Wizard of Oz” books by L. Frank Baum and the 1939 film version. “Wicked” had been running for over 15 years by the time it made it to this list, having first opened in 2003. It made household names of Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel, who starred originally as Glinda and Elphaba (better known as the Wicked Witch of the West), respectively.

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The Book of Mormon

“The Book of Mormon” celebrates its 10-year anniversary in 2021. The irreverent musical was an unlikely hit for the creators of television program “South Park.” Perhaps it was in part because of its originality that it resonated with theater-goers, or perhaps it was the unapologetic satire. Whatever the case, the show has grossed over $600 million.

The success of a Broadway musical can hinge on a lot of complex and arbitrary factors, such as whether reviews are good or bad.

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