Best Off Broadway shows: plays and musicals to see

The best play, musicals and revivals on New York's more intimate stages

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Although people think Broadway is synonymous with New York theater, truth is there’s a lot of great stuff beyond the bright lights of the Great White Way. Some of the most innovative new plays and musicals are happening on the city’s more intimate Off Broadway stages (technically defined as seating between 100 and 499). From the award-winning Public Theater downtown to the crowd-pleasing attactions at New World stages and the city’s network of great nonprofit companies, Off Broadway offers something for everyone.


Blue Man Group

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 4/4
  • Critics choice

Three deadpan, blue-skinned men with extraterrestrial imaginations carry this tourist fave, a show as smart as it is ridiculous. They drum on open tubs of paint, creating splashes of color; they

  1. 434 Lafayette St, between Astor Pl and E 4th St
  2. $82.30–$106.30
  3. Thu Dec 18 - Wed Dec 31
Buy tickets

Broadway Bares 25

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

This annual fund-raiser for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is one of the unofficial kickoffs to Gay Pride Week in NYC, and features more than 150 dancers from the Great White Way stripping down in

  1. 311 W 34th St, between Eighth and Ninth Aves, 10001
  2. $50–$195, VIP $295–$2,500
  3. Sun Jun 21
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The Bullpen

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

The Bullpen. Playroom Theatre (see Off-Off Broadway). By Joe Assadourian. Dir. Richard Hoehler. With Assadourian. 1hr 10mins. No intermission. The Bullpen: In Brief Joe Assadourian plays 18

  1. 151 W 46th St, between Sixth and Seventh Aves, 10036
  2. $30
  3. Mon Dec 22 - Sat Jan 24
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Every Brilliant Thing

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Every Brilliant Thing. Barrow Street Theatre (Off Broadway). By Duncan Macmillan. Directed by George Perrin. With Jonny Donahoe. Running time: 1hr. No intermission. Every Brilliant Thing: In brief In

  1. 27 Barrow St, at Seventh Ave South
  2. $20–$55
  3. Thu Dec 18 - Sun Mar 29
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Fuerza Bruta: Wayra

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

Fuerza Bruta: Wayra. Daryl Roth Theatre (see Off Broadway). Conceived and directed by Diqui James. With ensemble cast. Running time: 1hr 20mins. No intermission. Wayra: In brief Fuerza Bruta returns

  1. 101 E 15th St, at Union Sq East
  2. $99
  3. Thu Dec 18 - Thu Dec 31
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Here Lies Love

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

Theater review by David Cote. Public Theater (see Off Broadway). Concept and lyrics by David Byrne. Music by Byrne and Fatboy Slim. Dir. Alex Timbers. With ensemble cast. 1hr 30mins. No

  1. 425 Lafayette St, between Astor Pl and E 4th St
  2. $79–$94
  3. Thu Dec 18 - Sun Jan 4
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The Invisible Hand

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

The Invisible Hand. New York Theatre Workshop (see Off Broadway). By Ayad Akhtar. Directed by Ken Rus Schmoll. With Jameal Ali, Usman Ally, Dariush Kashani and Justin Kirk. Running time: 1hr 50mins.

  1. 79 E 4th St, between Bowery and Second Ave
  2. $35–$75
  3. Thu Dec 18 - Sun Jan 4
More info

Lypsinka! The Trilogy

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

The demented alter ego of John Epperson, Lypsinka raises lip service to a dance form in rigorous collages of songs and words, mouthing along to clips drawn from collective camp memory. Her first show

  1. 220 E 4th St, between Aves A and B
  2. $45–$60, all three $105–$125
  3. Thu Dec 18 - Sat Jan 3
More info

Me, My Mouth and I

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

Me, My Mouth & I. Cherry Lane Theatre (see Off Broadway). By Joy Behar. With Behar. Running time: 1hr 40mins. No intermission. Me, My Mouth & I: In brief Comedian, actor, talk-show host and The View

  1. 38 Commerce St, at Seventh Ave South
  2. $50–$60
  3. Thu Dec 18 - Sun Dec 21
More info

Nutcracker Rouge

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

[Note: The review below is from a previous run of Nutcracker Rouge. The revived production is at XIV, Company XIV's new home in the East Village, and the current cast does not include Marisol Cabrera

  1. 428 Lafayette St, between Astor Pl and E 4th St
  2. $65–$175
  3. Thu Dec 18 - Sat Jan 31
Buy tickets

Pocatello

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

Pocatello. Playwrights Horizons (see Off Broadway). By Samuel D. Hunter. Directed by Davis McCallum. With ensemble cast. Running time: 1hr 40mins. No intermission. Pocatello: In brief Samuel D.

  1. 416 W 42nd St, between Ninth and Tenth Aves
  2. $75–$95
  3. Mon Dec 15 - Sun Jan 4
More info

Queen of the Night

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 4/4
  • Critics choice

Queen of the Night. Diamond Horseshoe at the Paramount Hotel (see Off Broadway). By Randy Weiner. Directed by Christine Jones. With ensemble cast. Running time: 3hrs. No intermission. Queen of the

  1. 235 W 46th St, between Seventh and Eighth Aves, 10036
  2. $140–$175, premium $275–$500
  3. Thu Dec 18 - Wed Dec 31
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Smoke

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Smoke. Flea Theater (see Off-Off Broadway). By Kim Davies. Directed by Tom Costello. With Madeleine Bundy and Stephen Stout. Running time: 1hr 15mins. No intermission. Smoke: In brief A privileged

  1. 41 White St, between Broadway and Church St
  2. $35–$55
  3. Thu Dec 18
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Then She Fell

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

[Note: Since this review was written, Then She Fell has moved and reopened; it now plays on three floors of a church building in Williamsburg.] At first blush, Then She Fell seems to be a small-scale

  1. 195 Maujer St, between Graham Ave and Humboldt St, 11206
  2. $95–$200
  3. Thu Dec 18 - Sun Dec 28
More info

Things We Want

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

Director Ethan Hawke reunited his original 2007 cast—Paul Dano, Peter Dinklage, Josh Hamilton and Zoe Kazan—for a one-night revival of Jonathan Marc Sherman's dark comedy about three brothers,

  1. Pershing Square Signature Center, 480 W 42nd St, at Tenth Ave
  2. $75, premium $250
  3. Mon Jan 5
More info

Users say

1 comments
Terry
Terry

Did not see "Happy Birthday" on your list. It deserves a wonderful review...well-acted and very funny! A must see...at the Beckett Theatre til April 13th.