Broadway's Most Revived Musicals

Some shows are so beloved, they just keep coming back

Bette Midler
Bette Midler. Getty

So much exciting news on the Rialto this week, not least of which is the return of Bette Midler to the musical stage, specifically in a 2017 revival of Hello, Dolly!This will be Bette's first time back on Broadway in a book musical since her 1967 debut as a Tzeitel replacement during the original run Fiddler on the Roof. Word has it Bette will be raking in the major bucks for the revival, the first without Carol Channing or Pearl Bailey as the headliner.

Revivals have been a mainstay of the Broadway musical scene for decades. For a while it seemed as though revivals were all we could look forward to, given the slow trickle of new shows that were opening on New York City in the '80s and '90s. Even now that new musicals have made a significant comeback, we can still expect a handful of revivals in any given season. We currently have Fiddler on the Roof making a smashing Broadway return in an extraordinarily moving revival. (Read my review.) We also have the simply stunning new production of The King and Ia second revival of Les Miserables, and the guest that wouldn't leave, Chicago, which is about to celebrate 20 years on Broadway.

It used to be that shows needed to wait 20 years or so before they could expect a revival, but no more. Recently we've seen Side Show return after only 16 years, The Color Purple after 8 years, and Spring Awakening after only 6 years.

What's more we're threatened...er...promised that we can expect revivals of the long-running Miss Saigon and...God help us all...Cats in the next few seasons. On a slightly less ominous note, we're also to be treated to returns of that lovely little jewel box of a show, She Loves Me, this spring, alongside a completely reimagined version of the long-forgotten but historically significant Shuffle Along.

Amid all this revival news, I got to thinking about which musicals had been revived the most over the years, and the following list is the result of that curiosity. The numbers next to the show names represent the Broadway productions listed on Internet Broadway Database (IBDB), minus one-night-only special events. (I've omitted Gilbert & Sullivan comic operas, as the numbers are artificially high and sort of throw off the representative nature of the list.) 

8 Porgy and Bess
7 Show Boat
7 The Threepenny Opera
6 Guys and Dolls
6 Fiddler on the Roof
6 Peter Pan
5 Brigadoon
5 Carousel
5 Gypsy
5 The King and I
5 Man of La Mancha
5 Oklahoma!
5 Pal Joey
5 West Side Story
5 Camelot
4 Babes in Toyland
4 Cabaret
4 Finian's Rainbow
4 Hello, Dolly! (not including the planned 2017 revival)
4 Jesus Christ Superstar
The Most Happy Fella
4 My Fair Lady
4 On the Town
3 Annie
3 Annie Get Your Gun
3 Anything Goes
Carmen Jones
3 Company
3 Candide
3 Follies
3 A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
3 Grease
3 Hair
3 How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
3 Irene
3 Kiss Me, Kate
3 La Cage aux Folles
3 Les Miserables
3 Little Me
3 On Your Toes
The Pajama Game
3 The Music Man
3 She Loves Me
3 South Pacific
3 Sweeney Todd
3 Sweet Charity

The following musicals have so far only seen one Broadway revival: 110 in the Shade, 1776, 42nd Street, Ain't Misbehavin', The Apple Tree, Bells Are Ringing, Big River, The Boy Friend, The Boys From Syracuse, Chicago, A Chorus Line, A Connecticut Yankee, The Cradle Will Rock, Damn Yankees, Evita, Flower Drum Song, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Godspell, Into the Woods, A Little Night Music, Lost in the Stars, Mame, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Nine, No No Nanette, Oliver, On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, Once Upon a Mattress, Pacific Overtures, Pippin, Promises Promises, RagtimeThe Rocky Horror Show, Shenandoah, Side Show, The Sound of Music, Spring Awakening, Sunday in the Park With George, Take Me Along, Very Good Eddie, Where's Charley?, Wonderful Town, You're a Good Man Charlie Brown, Zorba