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Jamie Parker as Harry Potter, Erika Kenningsen as Cady Heron, Caissie Levy as Elsa, Ethan Slater as SpongeBob

At Sunday's Tony Awards, three of the four nominees for Best Musical are "Mean Girls," "Frozen," and "SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical" — and "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" is the frontrunner for Best Play.

The big picture: A show with an original concept, original music and staying power is a rare breed on Broadway. We've seen "Hamilton" and "Dear Evan Hansen" in the last two years, but otherwise, the landscape is thin. Broadway is largely dominated by mass culture crowd pleasers, old-reliable revivals, jukebox musicals and takeoffs on movies.

The state of play: After a brief run of original hits, Broadway this year opted to churn out surefire moneymakers with mass appeal with little to show for acclaimed original shows. Even the fourth nominee for Best Musical, "The Band's Visit," was adapted from a 2007 movie.

Retreads, jukebox musicals and adapted productions:

Since 2000 on Broadway:

  • "The Lion King" has grossed in the top 3 every single year.
  • "Aladdin" has grossed in the top 6 each year since it premiered in 2014.
  • "Jersey Boys" held a top 10 spot for 9 straight years.
  • "Mary Poppins" held a top 10 spot for six straight years.
  • "Beauty and the Beast" held a top 10 spot for six years.
  • Other productions that grossed in the top 10 at least 3 straight years: Matilda, Spamalot, Kinky Boots, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, Billy Elliot, Beautiful, The Producers, Hairspray.
The old hands
  • "Phantom of the Opera," the longest continuously running Broadway show — this production has been running since 1988 — is a perennial top 10 grosser.
  • "Mamma Mia," originally produced in 1999, held a top 10 box office spot between 2002-12.
The modern originals:

Shows that grossed in the the top 10 for at least two consecutive years:

  • "Wicked" — adapted from a book — was the biggest Broadway hit of the millennium until "Hamilton" came along. It held the top spot at the box office for 9 straight years following its premiere in 2003.
  • "Book of Mormon," which debuted in 2011 and has held a spot in the top 10 ever since, gets points as the rare hit comedy.
  • "Hamilton" set Broadway on fire critically and financially after its 2015 premiere, cementing itself firmly in the top spot. It raked in a record $157.8 million in 2017.
  • "Dear Evan Hansen" broke out last year and now finds itself 4th behind "Hamilton," "Lion King," and "Wicked."
  • "Come From Away," set in the aftermath of 9/11, was first made at an Ontario college in 2013 and made the leap to Broadway in 2017.

Go deeper

Updated 51 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Bill Clinton hospitalized for non-COVID-related infection

Former President Bill Clinton. Photo: Win McNamee/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Former President Bill Clinton was admitted to the University of California, Irvine Medical Center on Tuesday for a non-COVID-related infection, his spokesperson Angel Ureña said Thursday.

The latest: In an update on Friday, Ureña said Clinton's health indicators are "trending in the right direction, including his white blood count which has decreased significantly."

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
6 hours ago - Health

FDA panel endorses shot of J&J booster for adults

Photo: Wolfgang Kumm/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Members of the Food and Drug Administration's vaccine expert panel on Friday unanimously endorsed a booster shot for adult recipients of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine at least two months after the initial dose.

Why it matters: The advisory committee raised concerns about a dearth of data to support their decision but ultimately decided to support an additional shot for those over 18.

Capitol Police officer indicted for obstructing Jan. 6 investigation

Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as people try to storm the Capitol on Jan. 6. Photo: Brent Stirton/Getty Images

A U.S. Capitol Police officer has been indicted on obstruction of justice charges for allegedly helping hide evidence of a participant's involvement in the Jan. 6 riot.

Driving the news: Officer Michael A. Riley, 50, is accused of telling the unidentified participant, referred to as "Person 1," in the Jan. 6 riot to delete posts from Facebook, which showed them in the Capitol during the attack.