After my recent posts about impending revivals of Guys and Dolls and Brigadoon, I got a question from a reader (Hey, Justin) about which musicals have seen the most Broadway revivals. Intrigued, I did some research on IBDB, which is administered by the Broadway League, the organization that represents the Broadway theater owners and producers.
I can't claim that my research is definitive. (I had to search show by show, and there may be a show or two I neglected to look up, or opted not to include.) But the list below gives you a good idea of which shows have been the most popular, at least in terms of the number of Broadway productions. The numbers to the left reflect Broadway revivals, including those announced for this season, unless otherwise noted.
6 Show Boat
6 Porgy and Bess
5 The Threepenny Opera
4 Peter Pan
4 Guys and Dolls
4 Fiddler on the Roof
4 Man of La Mancha
4 Pal Joey
4 Brigadoon (not counting the recently postponed revival)
3 My Fair Lady
3 The King and I
3 Hello, Dolly!
3 The Most Happy Fella
3 West Side Story
2 Annie Get Your Gun
2 On the Town
2 Little Me
2 Sweeney Todd
2 On Your Toes
2 Jesus Christ Superstar
2 Sweet Charity
2 The Pajama Game
2 The Music Man
2 A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
A few caveats: A good number of these shows listed have had limited engagements at City Center
in the 50s and 60s. At the time this was considered a Broadway run,
whereas today for some reason it's not, so those abbreviated runs pad the
numbers a bit. And a few of the shows listed saw return engagements of
their original productions (including West Side Story and The Threepenny Opera), which I've chosen to exclude from my counts.
I also excluded Gilbert and Sullivan shows, mostly because I didn't wanted to look each and every one of the them up, but the three most popular seem to have been The Mikado (31 revivals), H.M.S. Pinafore (27), and The Pirates of Penzance (24).
The good news is that, for the most part, the most revived shows also represent the best shows. There are certainly exceptions: Grease and Camelot aren't everyone's idea of great theater, and I personally have never seen a production of The Most Happy Fella that really worked. But overall, it seems that the cream rises to the top, and the shows that get revived are the ones that deserve it.
Or are they? Is there anything missing from the above list, dear reader? What show would *you* most like to see revived?