Best Non-Musical Plays that Sell Tickets

The success of a theatre production often hinges on its ability to draw an audience. Whether it’s a well-loved classic, a contemporary hit, or a community favorite, certain non-musical plays consistently attract crowds and sell tickets. Based on insights from experienced theatre along with our own quantitative research, here are some of the best non-musical plays that sell tickets:

  1. The Play That Goes Wrong

Frequently mentioned as a top seller, “The Play That Goes Wrong” is a farcical comedy that audiences adore. Its physical humor, chaotic set pieces, and hilarious script make it a standout hit, often selling out multiple shows.

  1. Clue

“Clue,” based on the popular board game and movie, has proven to be a crowd favorite. With its blend of mystery and comedy, this play consistently sells well. Audiences love the familiar storyline and characters, making it a reliable choice for many theatres.

  1. Steel Magnolias

A touching and humorous exploration of friendship and resilience, “Steel Magnolias” continues to draw large audiences. Its emotional depth and strong, relatable characters resonate with viewers, leading to sold-out performances.

  1. Arsenic and Old Lace

This classic dark comedy about two charmingly murderous old ladies is a perennial favorite. The mix of humor and suspense keeps audiences engaged and coming back for more, ensuring robust ticket sales.

  1. The Diary of Anne Frank

A powerful and poignant play, “The Diary of Anne Frank” has seen tremendous success. Its historical significance and emotional impact draw audiences, often leading to extended runs and additional performances due to high demand.

  1. Murder on the Orient Express

Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Orient Express,” adapted by Ken Ludwig, has been a massive hit. The intrigue and mystery of this classic whodunit, combined with Christie’s enduring popularity, make it a top seller.

  1. Puffs

For fans of the wizarding world, “Puffs” is a comedic take on a familiar universe. This play attracts a dedicated fan base, resulting in sold-out shows and bringing in new audiences who are eager to see a lighthearted parody of their favorite stories.

  1. Radium Girls

“Radium Girls,” a historical drama about the plight of female factory workers exposed to radium, has resonated deeply with audiences. Its mix of historical context and compelling storytelling ensures strong ticket sales and emotional engagement.

  1. Little Women

Adaptations of Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women” have proven to be highly successful. The timeless story of the March sisters appeals to a wide range of audiences, often leading to sold-out performances.

  1. Lend Me a Tenor

This comedic farce about a disastrously funny opera production is a hit with audiences. Its fast-paced humor and intricate plot make it a crowd-pleaser, often breaking box office records for community theatres.

  1. She Kills Monsters

A unique blend of fantasy and reality, “She Kills Monsters” explores themes of grief and acceptance through the lens of Dungeons & Dragons. Its creative storytelling and relatable themes have made it a favorite among diverse audiences.

  1. A Christmas Carol

Charles Dickens’ classic “A Christmas Carol” remains a holiday staple. Productions of this timeless tale about redemption and generosity continue to sell out, especially during the festive season.

  1. And Then There Were None

Another Agatha Christie classic, “And Then There Were None,” consistently draws audiences with its suspenseful and intriguing plot. Its reputation as a cornerstone of the mystery genre ensures strong ticket sales.

  1. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

This contemporary play, based on the novel by Mark Haddon, has captivated audiences with its innovative staging and compelling narrative. Its success is reflected in high ticket sales and widespread acclaim.

  1. The Mysterious Affair at Styles

Agatha Christie’s debut novel adapted for the stage continues to be a hit. Its classic mystery elements and well-known author draw in audiences, ensuring strong attendance and engagement.


The success of a theatre production is often a mix of compelling storytelling, relatable characters, and innovative staging. Plays like “The Play That Goes Wrong,” “Clue,” and “Steel Magnolias” have shown consistent popularity, drawing in large audiences and selling out performances. By selecting plays that resonate with diverse audiences, theatres can ensure strong ticket sales and memorable experiences for their patrons. Whether through comedy, drama, or mystery, these plays offer something for everyone and continue to be crowd-pleasers year after year.


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