Who Are The Most Bankable Stars On Broadway? These Are The Luminaries Who Can Get Even The Most Frugal Theatregoers To Shell Out The Big Bucks For A Broadway Show
Top Ten Celebrities in Broadway Shows - Who Brings In the Most Money?
When producers really want ticket sales to go viral, they need to bring out the heavy hitters. If they can snag a bona fide star to headline their vehicle, they can rest a little easier, perhaps even dare to think about the most elusive word in the business: recoupment (That's an industry term when a Broadway show gets back its original investment and begins to turn a profit)
The following list names those elite celebrities who have the enviable, seemingly magical power of putting butts in the seats at Broadway show at full price and even beyond.
10. Nathan Lane
Lane has certainly carved a name for himself on Broadway as the go-to comedy guy but the versatile actor has incredible range. Audiences know that when Nathan Lane shows up on the marquee they should show up as well.
Nathan Lane's 24 Broadway credits include: Angels in America, The Front Page, It’s Only A Play, The Odd Couple, The Frogs, The Producers, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, Guys and Dolls
9. Sarah Jessica Parker
Yes, the Carrie Bradshaw of Sex and The City fame is really a theatre gal at heart. She played everyone’s favorite orphan Annie when she was just a kid and though she went on to have a fabulous career in film and TV, she always comes back to her first love, selling spates of premium tickets in the process.
Sarah Jessica Parker's 5 Broadway credits: Plaza Suite, Once Upon A Mattress, How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying, Annie, The Innocents
8. Chita Rivera
Theatre lovers (and philistines!) of all ages flock to the theatre to see this legendary dancer. Her signature alto voice, raven locks and impeccable dance moves secured her theatrical legacy ages ago. Kander and Ebb’s 2015 The Visit marked Rivera’s 18th Broadway appearance.
Chita Rivera's 18 Broadway credits include The Mystery Of Edwin Drood, Nine, Kiss Of The Spider Woman, The Rink, Chicago, Bye Bye Birdie, West Side Story, Can-Can, Guys And Dolls
7. Denzel Washington
Anyone who has seen Denzel Washington’s film work can attest to his incomparable presence on screen. Well put him on a Broadway stage and watch it amplify exponentially. Despite Washington's awful reputation backstage and with the other actors, his stage performances are a masterclass in acting. A ticket is a bargain at twice the price that audiences are already willing to shell out to see him.
Denzel Washington's 5 Broadway credits: The Iceman Cometh, A Raisin In The Sun, Fences, Julius Caesar, Checkmates
6. Laura Benanti
With a voice as smooth as melting hot butter, no wonder audiences will pay top dollar to see her perform live. Benanti has become even more of a known quantity these days owing to a flourishing TV career but she always makes time for her beloved Broadway.
Laura Benanti's 13 Broadway credits including: My Fair Lady, She Loves Me, In The Next Room, Gypsy, Into The Woods, Swing!, The Sound Of Music
5. Daniel Radcliffe
Yep, Mr. Harry Potter himself is all growed up and treading the boards. A dynamic actor in his own right, the once and again wizard has shown he’s got serious— and comedic— musical chops as well. His high-profile turn in the 2023 Merrily revival is breaking all kinds of ticket records.
Daniel Radcliffe's 5 Broadway credits: Merrily We Roll Along, The Lifespan Of A Fact, The Cripple Of Inishmaan, How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying, Equus
4. Audra McDonald
Audra. Enough said. If she’s involved the public shows up. She can elevate average material and bring stellar work into the stratosphere. Her TV career has certainly given her more exposure but Sarah Brown-Eyes will now and forever reign as the high priestess of the American theatre.
Audra McDonald's 13 Broadway credits including: Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill, The Gershwins’ Porgy And Bess, 110 In The Shade, Ragtime, Master Class, Carousel
3. Bernadette Peters
There are some people who simply exude theatre royalty and Bernadette certainly tops that list. When Peters does Broadway, it’s a must-see EVENT for audiences. Whether it’s her pitch-perfect witch or Desiree Armfeldt, Sondheim’s muse brings pixie dust to every performance.
Bernadette Peters'16 Broadway credits including: Hello, Dolly!, Gypsy, Annie Get Your Gun, Into The Woods, Song and Dance, Sunday In The Park With George, On The Town, George M!
2. Neil Patrick Harris
It’s hard to believe that the charming Broadway heavyweight has only been in 5 Rialto productions (Into The Woods at Encores! doesn't technically count). His tour-de-force performance in Hedwig was a megahit to say the least. Most of those tickets were sold on his name recognition alone.
Neil Patrick Harris' 5 Broadway credits: Peter Pan Goes Wrong, Hedwig And The Angry Inch, Assassins, Proof, Cabaret
1. Hugh Jackman
While most audiences likely know Jackman from his film forays, the X-Men star has proven that he has the X-factor on Broadway. His talent runs the gamut from serious dramatic chops to celebrity impersonation to musical comedy to tap dancing. The Rialto had not seen such a crossover cash cow ’til there was Hugh.
Hugh Jackman's 5 Broadway credits: The Music Man, The River, Back on Broadway, A Steady Rain, The Boy From Oz