Starry, Starry Night!

Below is a list of the longest running shows in Broadway history:

1.  The Phantom of the Opera
2.  Cats
3.  Les Miserables
4.  A Chorus Line
5.  Oh! Calcutta!
6.  Beauty and the Beast
7.  Rent
8.  Chicago
9.  Miss Saigon
10.  The Lion King

What do 9 of these 10 shows have in common?

Not one of them opened with a Star.

Make the show the Star.  That’s the key to a long runner.  In a new show, stars are nothing but expensive insurance policies for those who lack the confidence in their own material.  Stars make us lazy.  And they ask for crazy things like special luxury wallpaper (true story).

And once you go Star, you can never go back.  Save the Stars for the revivals (like the 1 out of the 10 above) because they need them.

Now, look back at that list . . . how many musical theater Stars were born from the shows above?  I count at least as many as there are shows on that list.

Make Stars, don’t count on them.

  • Andrea says:

    so, which show had the star in it? I feel the people that I consider to be stars are the ones that got their starts in those shows.
    So who was it??

    • R. Scott Williams says:

      Chicago, which had Tony/Emmy winner Bebe Neuwirth in its cast. Though the original Phantom, Michael Crawford, was well-known in Britain, American audiences would surely not have classified him as a star. And while Miss Saigon had a previous Tony winner in it, Jonathan Pryce was such a NON-star that Equity almost refused him permission to appear in the show. So I believe our author is indeed talking about Chicago.

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