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Wicked Broadway Getty.jpg

Witches Over Felines: 'Wicked' Has Officially Been on Broadway Longer Than 'Cats'

By Kayleigh Donaldson | Miscellaneous | April 12, 2023 |

By Kayleigh Donaldson | Miscellaneous | April 12, 2023 |


Wicked Broadway Getty.jpg

Yesterday, the Broadway musical Wicked broke a major record. With 7,486 performances to its name, it became the fourth longest-running Broadway show of all time. It takes over Cats, which dominated the Great White Way for 18 years (plus a 2016 revival that ran for 593 performances.) That means it’s run longer than Les Misérables, A Chorus Line, Mamma Mia, and Rent.

Wicked is, of course, a hugely popular show. It premiered in October 2003 to strong critical acclaim and quickly built up a dedicated fanbase as well as major name recognition with general audiences. It outlasted the show that beat it to the Best Musical Tony that season, Avenue Q, and has broken box-office records the world over. Throw a dart at a map of the planet and the chances are it’ll land on a country currently hosting some version of Wicked. With a two-part film adaptation in the works, with Cynthia Erivo and Ariana Grande in the leads, the chances are it will stay put at the Gershwin Theatre for the time being.

It was no mean feat to overtake Cats, one of the original mega-musicals that redefined Broadway. Indeed, one could easily make the case that Wicked would not exist without Andrew Lloyd Webber’s dance-heavy orgiastic nightmare. Cats is one of the key foundations of the modern tourist-friendly Broadway and West End mainstay: it’s a high-concept story with easy appeal to audiences; it’s full of earworms you’ll never get out of your head; the marketing is instantly familiar and now iconic; and it fosters intense fandom love. Wicked has sold itself as a great female empowerment musical, which is fascinating given the content of the show itself, and it’s a visual feast that allows customers to feel like they’re getting their money’s worth.

The show has some catching up to do before it can jump to the third spot on the list, currently occupied by The Lion King, which has 9,945 performances to its name (just felines everywhere.) The king of the castle is still, of course, The Phantom of the Opera, but that behemoth is closing at the end of this week, something that no Broadway fan ever thought would happen. It was supposed to outlive us all! Still, Lord Andy’s chandelier-swinging romance will end its 35-year run with close to 14,000 performances under its cape. Try getting that far, Elphaba!