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Timeline of Broadway Musicals in New York City
by Alex Cosper



1750 - Ballad operas such as The Beggar's Opera begin to appear in New York City on Nassau Street
1829 - Niblo's Garden with a 3,000 seat capacity opens at Broadway and Prince Street
1834 - Newspaper publisher P.T. Barnum moves to New York and starts a variety troupe
1850 - Theater scene moves from downtown to midtown
1857 - Broadway's first long-run hit (50 shows) is The Elves
1858 - Our American Cousin opens in New York
1860 - The Seven Sisters sets new long-run Broadway record with 253 shows
1868 - The British Blondes become a popular theatrical troupe led by Lydia Thompson
1870 - Broadway centers around Union Square for the next few decades before moving to Madison Square
1878 - Gilbert and Sullivan's first international hit H.M.S. Pinafore opens
1883 - The Metropolitan Opera House opens with Faust
1891 - A Trip To Chinatown sets a new long-run Broadway record with 657 performances
1894 - A Gaiety Girl becomes a popular worldwide musical comedy
1897 - In Town, which opened in London five years earlier, ushers in an era of Edwardian musical comedies
1898 - Clorindy: The Origin of the Cakewalk is first Broadway musical with all African-American cast
1903 - Many theaters now appear near Madison Square
1903 - The Wizard of Oz becomes a successful family musical
1904 - Little Johnny Jones is considered one of the first American-penned Broadway musicals
1911 - La Belle Paree introduces Al Jolson to Broadway audiences
1918 - American Airlines Theatre and the Stephen Soundheim Theatre open
1918 - Sinbad featuring Al Jolson opens at the Winter Garden Theatre and is extremely popular
1918 - Lightnin' opens for a long-run, eventually surpassing 1,000 performances within the next five years
1916 - Robinson Crusoe, Jr. is Al Jolson's first starring role on Broadway
1919 - Irene sets new Broadway record with 675 performances
1920 - George Gershwin and William Daly compose music for Picadilly To Broadway as an early collaboration
1920 - Al Jolson is considered to be the biggest star on Broadway
1922 - Abie's Irish Rose opens and eventually exceeds 2,000 performances within five years
1922 - Gershwin's Blue Monday featuring "Rhapsody In Blue" is an early jazz opera but closes quickly
1925 - Shakespeare's Hamlet opens
1927 - George Gershwin's Funny Face starring Fred Astaire is the first show at Alvin Theatre
1927 - The Royal Family opens as a parody of the John Barrymore acting family
1927 - Oscar Hammerstein II and Jermone Kern's revolutionary "book musical" Showboat opens
1930 - The Broadway League is formed as the Broadway theatre industry's trade association
1930 - Gershwin's Strike Up The Band is a musical satire on War and Peace
1931 - George and Ira Gershwin's Of Thee I Sing is a popular satire on American politics
1933 - Tobacco Road opens for over a 7-year run
1935 - Gershwin's Porgy and Bess opens for a short run
1939 - Life With Father opens for over a 7-year run
1941 - Watch On The Rhine deals with WWII Nazis and American non-intervention
1943 - The first musical written by Rogers and Hammerstein, Oklahoma!, revives Broadway after the depression
1943 - The Voice of the Turtle opens for over a 4-year run
1944 - Harvey opens for over a 4-year run
1946 - Annie Get Your Gun opens for nearly a 3-year run
1947 - The Tony Awards are founded to honor Broadway productions and personnel
1948 - Kiss Me, Kate opens for over a 2-year run
1949 - South Pacific opens for a 5-year run
1950 - Guys and Dolls opens for a 3-year run
1951 - The King and I opens for a 3-year run
1954 - A Three Penny Opera is the first big financially successful Off-Broadway musical
1955 - Damn Yankees opens for a 2-year run
1956 - My Fair Lady opens for a 6-year run
1957 - The Music Man opens for over a 3-year run
1957 - West Side Story, based on Romeo and Juliet, opens
1959 - The Sound of Music opens for over a 3-year run
1960 - Camelot opens and later becomes the nickname of the JFK administration
1961 - Mary, Mary opens for nearly a 4-year run
1961 - How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying opens for over a 3-year run
1963 - Barefoot in the Park opens for nearly a 4-year run
1964 - Hello Dolly! opens for a 7-year run
1964 - Funny Girls opens for a 3-year run
1964 - Fiddler on the Roof opens for an 8-year run
1965 - Man of La Mancha opens for over a 5-year run
1965 - Cactus Flower opens for a 3-year run
1965 - Vivian Beaumont Theatre opens in the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
1965 - The Roundabout Theatre Company is established
1966 - Mame opens for nearly a 4-year run
1966 - Cabaret opens for a 3-year run
1968 - Anti-war rock musical Hair opens for over a 4-year run
1968 - Promises, Promises opens for a 3-year run
1969 - 1776 opens for a 3-year run
1970 - Manhattan Theatre Club is founded
1972 - Grease opens for an 8-year run
1972 - Pippin opens for nearly a 5-year run
1972 - Gershwin Theatre opens in midtown Manhattan
1974 - The Magic Show opens for a 4-year run
1975 - A Chorus Line opens for a long run of over 6,000 shows
1975 - The Wiz opens for a 4-year run
1976 - Oh! Calcutta opens for a long run of nearly 6,000 performances
1977 - Annie opens for nearly a 6-year run
1977 - Beatlemania opens for a 2-year run
1978 - Deathtrap opens for a 4-year run
1978 - Dancin' opens for a 4-year run
1978 - The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas opens for a 4-year run
1979 - Evita opens for nearly a 4-year run
1979 - Sugar Babies opens for nearly a 3-year run
1980 - 42nd Street opens for over an 8-year run
1980 - Amadeus opens for nearly a 3-year run
1981 - Dreamgirls about the Supremes and other r&b acts opens for nearly a 4-year run
1982 - Cats opens for a run of over 6,000 performances
1985 - Singin' in the Rain, adapted from the 1952 film, opens
1987 - Gershwin's Les Miserable opens for a short run
1988 - Broadway's all time most successful show Phantom of the Opera opens for over 12,000 performances
1991 - Miss Saigon opens for a 10-year run
1992 - Revival of Guys and Dolls opens for nearly a 3-year run
1994 - Revival of Grease opens for nearly a 4-year run
1994 - Beauty and the Beast opens for a 13-year run
1995 - Smokey Joe's Cafe opens for a 5-year run
1996 - Revival of Chicago opens for a long run of over 8,500 shows
1996 - Rent opens for a 12-year run
1997 - Jeckyll & Hyde opens for nearly a 4-year run
1997 - The Lion King opens for a long run of over 8,000 performances
1997 - Gemini opens for a 4-year run
1998 - Revival of Cabaret opens for over a 6-year run
1998 - Studio 54 reopens as a venue for Broadway shows
2000 - Aida opens for a 4-year run
2001 - Jukebox musical Mama Mia! featuring ABBA songs opens for a 14-year run
2001 - The Producers opens for a 6-year run
2002 - Hairspray opens for a 7-year run
2003 - Avenue Q opens for a 6-year run
2003 - Wicked opens for a run of over 5,500 performances
2003 - Broadway musicians go on strike for 4 days starting March 7
2005 - Jersey Boys opens for a 12-year run
2005 - Monty Python's Spamalot opens for a 4-year run
2006 - Mary Poppins opens for a long run
2009 - Rock of Ages opens for over a 5-year run
2011 - Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark opens for over a 2-year run
2011 - The Book of Mormon opens for a long run
2013 - Kinky Boots opens for a long run
2014 - Aladdin opens for a long run
2014 - Revival of Les Miserable opens for a 2-year run





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