On April 16, 2023, in front of a packed invitation-only audience, the famed chandelier at The Phantom of the Opera crashed on the stage at Broadway’s Majestic Theater for the final time. The musical’s closing would conclude a run that spanned 13,981 performances over the course of 35 years, setting a record that won’t be broken for at least a decade. 


To say that the Broadway production of Phantom was successful would be an understatement. Over its three-and-a-half decade run, it sat over 20 million people. And with a gross of $1.36 billion, it made more money in one theater alone than movie titles like Frozen, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and James Bond’s Skyfall, according to The New York Daily News.


But alas, Phantom was not to be “now and forever”–a famous tagline of the former longest-running record holder Cats. After surviving Broadway shutdowns caused by union strikes, the 9-11 attack, and numerous blizzards over the years–not to mention the 18-month pandemic pause–inflation and a slow-to-return post-COVID audience would cause the Phantom to hang up his mask one final time. The Majestic Theater is currently undergoing a much-needed multi-million dollar renovation in advance of its centennial in 2027. 


Will there be another record-holder like Phantom? Only time will tell. But there are a few contenders in the wings.


Chicago (revival)

What do Spice Girls’ Mel B, Nene Leakes, Billy Ray Cyrus, Sofia Vergara, Bravolebrity Erika Jayne, Academy Award-winner Louis Gosset, Jr., RuPaul's Drag Race fifth season champion Jinkx Monsoon all have in common? They’ve all appeared in the 1996 revival of Chicago over the course of its 26-and-counting-year run. At close to 10,500 performances, the musical story of “murder, greed, corruption, violence, exploitation, adultery, and treachery” shows no signs of slowing down, and is currently Broadway’s longest-running show.


The Lion King

Although Disney’s juggernaut musical is Broadway’s second longest-running show currently on the boards–and the third longest-running show of all time– it regularly comes in first at the box office. After 25 years on Broadway, the show continues to gross well over $2 million weekly and holds the record for largest one-week take–a staggering $4,315,264.



Although the Screen Actors Guild strike may have audiences waiting a bit longer to see the film version of Wicked, Broadway fans can currently see the original live version eight times a week. That is, of course, if they can get tickets. The musical story of the Witches of Oz regularly packs Broadway’s Gershwin Theater, where it’s played since 2003. 


The Book of Mormon

Created by the minds behind TV’s South Park and Broadway’s Avenue Q, this unlikely juxtaposition of freshly scrubbed missionaries, cheerful obscenity, and flagrant blasphemy has shocked and delighted audiences for a decade. 



Enthusiastic families eager for kid-friendly fare and fans of the classic 1992 animated film have kept Disney well more than “one jump ahead of the breadline.” The genie gives Aladdin three wishes, but you’ll want a fourth for yourself to see it again.



How is it physically possible to fill anything over 100%? Come to the Richard Rogers Theater eight times a week and see for yourself. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s history lesson via hip hop consistently packs the house beyond capacity. 


Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Currently the longest-running non-musical on Broadway, this London import underwent a substantial transformation post-opening. Originally presented over evenings, producers said “expellaramos” to the break between parts when it returned to performances after the pandemic pause. Audiences can now enjoy a trimmed-down version with all the magic intact in one sitting.