Every Broadway Season Is Bound To Have Its Share Of Revivals But Here Are The Top Ten Shows You Will Never See Returning To The Broadway Boards

Some Shows Are Perfect For A Broadway Revival, But These Shows Will Never Come Back

These days everyone’s looking for the next hit revival. Instead of shepherding new voices, Broadway producers often would rather look back than look forward. But revivals can be tricky, especially when the material no longer suits a modern audience. Check out our list of shows which are not coming soon as they are the least likely to be revived on Broadway.

Mack and Mabel Broadway Show

10. Mack and Mabel

Mack and Mabel as characters always made for strange bedfellows given their striking age difference— that dynamic certainly wouldn’t fly with today’s audiences. But the mismatch of Jerry Herman’s glorious score and Michael Stewart’s depressing book is even more of a head scratcher. Themes of abuse and addiction just don’t jive with jaunty tap numbers. Encores! tried to breathe new life into the beleaguered musical but to no avail— any chance of Mack or Mabel returning to the main stem ended with that concert production.

Seven Brides For Seven Brothers on Broadway

9. Seven Brides For Seven Brothers

Although not exactly a bona fide hit closing just a few days after opening on Broadway in 1985, the title recognition of this ill-fated musical (based on the movie of the same name) is still pretty strong. However, the kidnapping plot and the clear misogyny driving the narrative would never pass muster these days. The show was tinkered with over the years but the flawed musical (heralded for its strong choreography) could never find its happily ever after.

Annie Get Your Gun on Broadway

8. Annie Get Your Gun

The title alone is enough to keep liberal audiences away! While the show’s feisty protagonist Annie Oakley is not an assassin and Irving Berlin’s score goes off with a bang, modern theatergoers are not interested in an old-fashioned story about a sharpshooter. In its heyday (and beyond), big stars have wielded the weaponry: Ethel Merman, Mary Martin, Bernadette Peters and major crowd pleaser Reba McEntire. But the gunpowder on this triggering show has run dry.

On The Town Broadway Show

7. On The Town

Everyone loves a New York City romance, especially one with the pedigree of luminaries like Leonard Bernstein, Betty Comden and Adolph Green. The score remains rousing and the characters are larger than life. Plus, the often charming show about a trio of sailors on shore leave has been revived a whopping three times since its Broadway premiere in 1944. But the inherent sexism can’t be denied and as such, the show feels out of date in this post #metoo world we’re living in.

Abie's Irish Rose

6. Abie’s Irish Rose

The popular 1922 comedy by playwright Anne Nichols was a hit in its original run and fared well in its two Broadway revivals. The Romeo and Juliet type story of feuding families— this time because of religious differences— even spawned many imitators. But a comedy about an interfaith marriage (Irish-Catholic and Jewish), replete with stereotypes, has fallen out of favor. Moreover, as the raging waves of anti-Semitism continue to blaze, this type of humor has no chance of being resurrected.

Equus Broadway Show

5. Equus

The 1973 Peter Shaffer play centers on a psychiatrist attempting to treat a young man with an equine fixation. While not in and of itself controversial, the 2007 revival of the drama drew attention for all the wrong reasons. In that version, the lad with the pathological religious fascination with horses was played by 17-year old Daniel Radcliffe. The role required full frontal nudity and while Radcliffe was on board of his own volition, the damage was already done in the court of public opinion.

Rent Broadway Show

4. Rent

A pioneer of epic proportions, Jonathan Larson’s game-changing musical landed on Broadway to critical acclaim and quickly became a worldwide cultural phenomenon. The sung through poperetta based on La Boheme enjoyed a brief revival off-Broadway (as well as a Hollywood film version) but don’t expect to see it gracing the Rialto again anytime soon, if ever. The oversaturation sealed Rent’s fate all but guaranteeing that the many, many seasons of love have since passed.

Victor Victoria Broadway Show

3. Victor/Victoria

Back in the 80s and 90s, plots involving gender swaps and cross-dressing for comedy’s sake were de rigueur. Men pretending to be women, especially, was a common trope played for laughs. Think Tootsie and Mrs. Doubtfire. Those recent adaptations fell flat right out of the gate because millennials and Gen Z patrons don’t wish to make light of gender identity. It did not deal with the real issues and went for the cheap laughs. For that reason, Victor/Victoria will never find its way back to Broadway.

Rocky Horror Show On Broadway

2. The Rocky Horror Show

Not unlike the problems with remounting a show like Victor/Victoria or mounting a show like Tootsie or Mrs. Doubtfire, a show featuring a “mad transvestite scientist” could be problematic. Given that the film version of the show has such an enduring legacy, it seems that’s the ideal medium for it. Also, the cult following, the cosplay and the audience participation are now inextricably linked with Rocky Horror and that could get out of control very quickly in a Broadway house.

Grease On Broadway

1. Grease

Again, the order of the day is sexism. Many shows on this list were products of their time and well, the times were not always (or ever?) sympathetic to women. Grease is a shockingly popular property given just how anti-feminist it is. Yes, it’s kitschy and campy and the boppy songs soften the edges but at its core— and also on its face— Grease is sending really dangerous messages to young women about conformity and self-worth. Grease will never again be the one that Broadway wants.