Lin-Manuel Miranda's 'Drunk History' lesson


“Hamilton,” which blends hip hop and other musical styles to recount the life of American founding father Alexander Hamilton, has been the toughest ticket on Broadway since late 2015. The musical by composer-star Lin-Manuel Miranda (second from right) won 11 Tonys, including best musical, and has become a genuine phenomenon. It follows in a long tradition of hugely popular Broadway shows. Click through to see others.

“The Producers,” based on the 1968 Mel Brooks movie, was an immediate smash when it debuted in April 2001. Tickets went for a then-unheard-of $100 a pop and set single-day box-office records. The show eventually won 12 Tony awards, a record. The original duo of Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane were replaced by several other performers, including Tony Danza and Roger Bart, seen here.

“Mamma Mia!” may not have won a Tony for best musical — it lost to “Thoroughly Modern Millie” — but the good-natured 2001 show built around ABBA songs ran for almost 14 years. It’s the longest-running jukebox musical — a musical built around previously released pop songs — in Broadway history.

“Hairspray” might have seemed an unlikely source for a musical — a John Waters film about 1960s high schoolers? — but it was a smash when it debuted in 2002 and ran for more than 2,500 performances. It also picked up a Tony for best musical.

“Avenue Q” seemed the quintessential off-Broadway show: a little quirky, as if “Sesame Street” were crossed with a black comedy about 20-somethings. But it proved to have great staying power when it came to the Great White Way, running for more than 2,500 performances and winning a Tony for best musical in 2004.

“Wicked” fell short of a best musical Tony, with “Avenue Q” taking the prize in 2004. But it’s had a long life, with devoted fans queueing up many times to see the story of “The Wizard of Oz” from the Wicked Witch’s point of view. It’s still going on Broadway after more than 5,000 performances.

Monty Python on Broadway? Eric Idle got the blessing of his cohorts to turn “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” into a musical, and the result won three Tonys, including best musical, in 2005. It ran for more than 1,500 performances and has toured all over the world. At one point, Clay Aiken, pictured, joined the cast as Sir Robin.

“Jersey Boys” could have been a simple jukebox musical, but the story of the Four Seasons had too much going for it to fit into that (juke) box. The result won best musical at the 2006 Tonys and is still running, more than 4,000 performances later.

“Billy Elliot: The Musical,” based on the 2000 film about a boy who loves ballet in the midst of a grim UK miners’ strike, had the benefit of a superstar music writer: Elton John. (Lyrics and book are by Lee Hall.) The show won best musical at the 2009 Tonys, one of 10 honors it received. The show ran for more than three years.

When the “South Park” guys, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, teamed up with “Avenue Q’s” Robert Lopez, who knew what would happen? The result, “The Book of Mormon,” was one of the most rapturously reviewed shows of recent years and won nine Tony Awards in 2011, including best musical. It’s still running almost six years later.

“Once” is about a Dublin busker and a Czech woman — whose characters go by Guy and Girl — who meet and become artistically and romantically involved. The show, based on the 2007 film, won eight Tony Awards in 2012, including best musical. It ran for almost three years.



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