Top 5 – Longest Running Broadway Shows (Still On Broadway)

Five of the Longest Running Broadway Shows that still grace the stage!

If it’s your first time in NYC, Broadway can be intimidating! With so many great (and not so great) shows, how can you decide which show to choose? Here are five of the Longest Running Broadway Shows that are a surefire bet for some Broadway magic!

Photo By: bradleypjohnson

Wicked

222 W 51st St, New York, NY 10019

Spectacle has become synonymous with Broadway and Wicked is a perfect example! Set in the Wonderful Land Of Oz, this musical gives an alternate look at the Wicked Witch (get it?) and several other characters from The Frank L Baum classic. With rousing music, amazing sets and a great message of staying true to who you are, it’s abundantly clear why Wicked has been on Broadway for 12 years!

Phantom of the Opera

245 W 44th St, New York, NY 10036

Andrew Lloyd Webber is Broadway royalty. Phantom of the Opera is, currently, the Longest Running Broadway Show and it’s not gonna leave anytime soon! It tells the story of a disfigured composer who falls for a young woman with a beautiful voice, whether she likes it or not! The music and staging is haunting and will leave you humming for the rest of the night. The Majestic theatre, which hosts the show, is wonder you can glimpse at the end of one of our tours. Next year will be the Phantom’s 30th Broadway Anniversary, so join everybody else and go get swept away!

Photo By: Witchblue

The Lion King

200 W 45th St, New York, NY 10036

Disney continues to have a strong presence on the Great White Way and nothing represents that more than The Lion King. Debuting almost 20 years ago, it is easily one of the Longest Running Broadway Shows! Based on the classic Disney film, it tells the story of young Lion Cub Simba and his tragic but uplifting rise to King. With all the music you know and love brought to life by amazing costumes worn by fantastic performers, the whole family is sure to enjoy this show. (And maybe even shed a tear or two!)

Photo By: Yusuke Kawasaki

Chicago

219 W 49th St, New York, NY 10019

This one is a personal favorite! Chicago tells the story of Roxy Hart as she goes after the American Dream: Fame and Fortune! Having been on Broadway for over 20 years, this show is a well oiled machine. Almost every performer is a veteran of the show and performs with the skill and confidence and pizzazz you should expect from one of the Longest Running Broadway Shows! With rotating (and often celebrity) leads, Chicago is always a good time.

Photo By: Michael Schamis

Avenue Q

340 W 50th St, New York, NY 10019

This one is a bit of a cheat and Adults Only but I’m adding it anyway! Set in a fictionalized NYC, Avenue Q is lovingly referred to as Sesame Street for Grown Ups. While it is now playing Off-Broadway, it made it’s debut the same year as Wicked. Which means you can catch these foul mouthed puppets in a more intimate setting and laugh as loud as the heck you want! (You’ll get it if you see the show)

Do you have a favorite Broadway show?! Let us know what it is in the comments!

Untold NYC History: Studio 54, the Greatest Broadway Nightclub of them all

A rundown of one of New York’s legendary night clubs!

Studio 54 is now home to the Roundabout Theatre Company, but that hasn’t always been the case. Over the last century it has been an Opera House, a television station and, of course, the most infamous Broadway Nightclub in the world.

The Gallo Opera House

In 1927, Fortune Gallo, an Italian impresario, build the Gallo Opera House, naming after himself. Despite his best efforts, including several large productions, the theater was less than successful and met with foreclosure. Over the next several years, ownership of the empty theater  would change hands multiple times. But before its halcyon days as a Broadway nightclub, it would became home to a very popular television station.

Studio 52

CBS purchased the space in 1943. They would call it Studio 52 and use it for the next 30 plus years. Numerous television shows were put up in the new studio. The most noteworthy are The Jack Benny Show, the soap opera Love of Life and the celebrity game show What’s My Line?

Check out the opening credits!

Eventually, CBS would sell the studio and move to their current home the Ed Sullivan Theater. As a result the space would fall to it’s most notorious owners.

Photographer: Zeitfixierer

Rubell, Schrager and Studio 54

Nightlife entrepreneurs Steve Rubell and Ian Schlager purchased the club in 1977. They’d decided to turn it into a Broadway nightclub, a feat which only took about six weeks to accomplish. Quickly became one of the most popular nightclubs in the city;  all manner of celebrity visited the club.  Actors like Liza Minnelli, Brooke Shields and also John Travolta all tread the red carpet at Studio 54.

The club was popular for its musical performances. With disco being white hot, most of the guests were musicians from that Pop scene. Billy Ocean, the Village People, Donna Summer and many more would grace the stage at Studio 54.

Despite the glitz and glam, things behind the scenes were tough. Within the first two years, owners Rubell and Schlager ran into financial trouble for their Broadway Nightclub. Because of an off-handed comment about the club’s income, an investigation for upwards of $2.5 million in tax evasion would send them to prison for 13 months.

Studio 54 was a hot spot for several years but due to several financial woes, Rubell and Schlager shut the club down in February of 1980. The final night was full of celebrities (as usual) and the club owners would even receive a serenade from musical sensation,  Diana Ross.

The Ritz and 54 Below

Consequently the club reopened in 1981 with more musical performances, including a concert from the band KISS which was broadcast in Italy. Many performers would play the Broadway nightclub until it was renamed The Ritz in the late 80’s.

Finally Roundabout Theatre Company would purchase the studio in 1998, bringing an end to the constant changing of hands. Upstairs is the famed performance venue and downstairs is the supper club 54 Below. In conclusion, it may be a popular space for theatre now but some New Yorkers will always remember it as a disco haven.

Love Broadway as much as we do?! Find out even more about Broadway theaters with our Inside Broadway Tour!

Broadway Ghost – The 5 Most Terrifyingly Haunted Theaters

Broadway is a staple of midtown New York and has been for over a century. Plenty of people involved with the Theatre District have passed on but not all of them have left…

Every night people come out to see Broadway shows by the thousands. Eventually, curtains come down, the actors take their final bows and the shows come to an end. Everyone goes back out into the night and the theaters go dark. The only light that remains is a singular bulb artists call a Ghost Light. Theaters all over the world use this light both as a safety measure and a means to appease any spirits that may inhabit their space. Broadway is no different and if you attend a show, you may be sitting with a Broadway Ghost.

So here are five, still active theaters on the Great White Way that many believe are home to some Paranormal Patrons.

The Palace 

1564 7th Ave & W 47th Street, New York, NY 10036

Built in 1903 the Palace is one of the oldest still running theaters on Broadway. It has it’s fair share of plays, musicals and tragedy.

Legend has it that in the 1950’s, acrobat Louis Borsalino would attempt a tight rope walk without a net and fall to his death. While some dispute this claim, saying that the high-flyer was only badly injured during the fall, stagehands and actors alike believe his ghost still has a taste for the stage. Therefore, Borsalino can be seen swinging from the rafters when the theater is empty. Like any good Broadway Ghost, he will let out a shriek of terror before reenacting his ill fated final act. Over and over and over again.

The New Amsterdam 

214 W 42nd St, New York, NY 10036

Right in the heart of Times Square, the New Amsterdam is over a century old! Disney revived it in the mid nineties and it is now home to some of the most extravagant productions around and a Broadway Ghost.

First of all, Olive Thomas was a Broadway chorus girl in the early 1900’s, known for her beauty. As a result, she caught the eye of many, like her husband, Jack Pickford. The two did not have the greatest relationship and in 1920 they decided a trip to Paris would be the perfect cure. However, a heated exchange between the two lead to Olive’s tragic overdose on mercury bi-chloride, a topical ointment.

Very soon after her death, reports began that Olive was walking the halls of the New Amsterdam Theater. Clad in a green, beaded dress and carrying a bottle much like the one she fatefully drank from in Paris. Sightings of Olive remain steady (even as recently as 2005) since the need to perform cannot escape her. Even in death.

The Lyceum 

149 W 45th St, New York, NY 10036

Few American Theaters are as old as the Lyceum. Granted landmark status in 1974, it is the oldest, continuously running Theater on Broadway. Hence it should come as no surprise that it also has a permanent phantom in the form of legendary Choreographer Bob Fosse.

Fosse, known for his distinct and innovative style of dance, worked with many actors and dancers over his career. One such actress was Chita Rivera. River starred in 2016’s The Visit, in the Lyceum. During the show, crew members claimed to hear strange sounds in addition to cigarette smoke coming from the balcony. Many of them assume that it was the ghost of Fosse himself. Due to Fosse’s work relationship with Rivera and his apparent love of the Balcony seats, it makes sense that he would choose that show to haunt. Whether or not he stays around is the question. Needless to say, as a Broadway Ghost, he’s got plenty of time to decide.

The Imperial 

249 W 45th St, New York, NY 10036

Sometimes you don’t need a storied history to be a ghost. You just have to scare a group of kids.

The Imperial Theatre opened in 1923 and various musicals and plays have graced its stage of the last century. The most noteworthy of those shows was Billy Elliot. A musical based on the hit film, its big draw was music by Elton John and a talented group of Tony award winning youngsters. Young girls in the show claimed that their dressing room was haunted by a strange and powerful entity who would open and close doors at will and the name of that Broadway Ghost: Fred.

Therefore, while some believe that famed actress Ethel Merman probably haunts the old theater, the cast of Billy Elliot will tell you a much different story.

The Belasco

111 W 44th St, New York, NY 10036

Finally, the most noteworthy theatre on this list. David Belasco commissioned it to be built in 1907. While it is only the sixth oldest theater on Broadway, it most likely takes the lead as far as sightings are concerned.

David Belasco died in 1931 and consequently became one of the Broadway Ghosts. He is said to watch rehearsals and walk the halls whenever he pleases. Some crew in the theatre will say, “Goodnight, Mr. Belasco.” at the end of the night, just to appease him. Even I have had a spooky experience with this legendary Broadway Ghost.

As a bar manager at the time, I had to stay late to count the night’s profits. Suddenly, in my non ventilated office, the air grew cold. Just as quickly as the cold began, it was gone, returning the room to its normal temperature. Even I have my skepticism towards ghosts and this incident shook me to my core. Many believe that Cold Spots will often accompany ghosts and knowledge of this phenomenon gave me cause to leave the theatre early that night.

Those are the Broadway Ghosts that this intrepid blogger knows about and their are many others. Do you have a ghastly experience in a Broadway Theater? Let us know in the comments! If you wanna see some of these theaters first hand, check out Inside Broadway Tours!