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. Fri Nov 28 - Wed Dec 31
Buy tickets

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. Sat Nov 29 - Sat Jan 24
More info

By the Water

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

By the Water. Manhattan Theatre Club (see Off Broadway). By Sharyn Rothstein. Directed by Hal Brooks. With Vyto Ruginis, Deirdre O’Connell, Quincy Dunn-Baker. Running time: 1hr 35mins. No

  1. 131 W 55th St, between Sixth and Seventh Aves
  2. $30
  3. Fri Nov 28 - Sun Dec 7
More info

Father Comes Home from the Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3)

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

Father Comes Home from the Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3). Public Theater (see Off Broadway). By Suzan-Lori Parks. Directed by Jo Bonney. With ensemble cast. Running time: 3hrs. One intermission. Father

  1. 425 Lafayette St, between Astor Pl and E 4th St
  2. $60–$70
  3. Fri Nov 28 - Sun Dec 7
More info

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. Fri Nov 28 - Thu Dec 31
Buy tickets

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. Fri Nov 28 - Sun Jan 4
Buy tickets

Howie the Rookie

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Tom Vaughan-Lawlor plays both roles in a reconceived version of writer-director Mark O'Rowe's brutal Dublin drama, which first rocked New York in 2001.

  1. 321 Ashland Pl, between Hanson Pl and Lafayette Ave, 11217
  2. $20
  3. Wed Dec 10 - Sun Dec 14
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. Fri Nov 28 - 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. Fri Nov 28 - Sun Dec 21
More info

Musicals in Mufti: My Favorite Year

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

The York's Musicals in Mufti, a series of stripped-down concert stagings of Broadway rarities, concludes its fall season with a reworked version of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty's 1992 musical

  1. Citigroup Center, 619 Lexington Ave, at 54th St, downstairs
  2. $45
  3. Fri Dec 5 - Sun Dec 7
More info

Nutcracker Rouge

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 4/4
  • 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. Fri Nov 28 - Sat Jan 31
Buy tickets

Our Lady of Kibeho

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

Our Lady of Kibeho. Pershing Square Signature Center (Off Broadway). By Katori Hall. Directed by Michael Greif. With ensemble cast. Running time: 2hrs 20mins. One intermission. Our Lady of Kibeho: In

  1. 480 W 42nd St, at Tenth Ave
  2. $25
  3. Fri Nov 28 - Sun Dec 14
More info

Pericles, Prince of Tyre

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

Pericles, Prince of Tyre. Public Theater (see Off Broadway). By William Shakespeare. Directed by Rob Melrose. With ensemble cast. Running time: 1hr 30mins. No intermission. Pericles, Prince of Tyre:

  1. 425 Lafayette St, between Astor Pl and E 4th St
  2. $20
  3. Fri Nov 28 - Sun Nov 30
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. Fri Nov 28 - Wed Dec 31
More info

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 4 - Thu Dec 18
More info

Sticks and Bones

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

Sticks and Bones. Pershing Square Signature Center (Off Broadway). By David Rabe. Directed by Scott Elliott. With Bill Pullman, Holly Hunter. Running time: 2hrs 50mins. One intermission. Sticks and

  1. 480 W 42nd St, at Tenth Ave
  2. $77–$97
  3. Fri Nov 28 - Sun Dec 14
More info

Straight White Men

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

Straight White Men. Public Theater (see Off Broadway). Written and directed by Young Jean Lee. With Austin Pendleton, Pete Simpson, James Stanley, Gary Wilmes. Running time: 1hr 30mins. No

  1. 425 Lafayette St, between Astor Pl and E 4th St
  2. $35–$45
  3. Fri Nov 28 - Sun Dec 14
More info

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. Fri Nov 28 - Sun Dec 28
More info

Tristan & Yseult

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

Tristan and Yseult. St. Ann’s Warehouse (see Off Broadway). By Carl Grose and Anna Maria Murphy. Adapted and directed by Emma Rice. With ensemble cast. Running time: 2hrs 10mins. One

  1. 29 Jay St, between John and Plymouth Sts
  2. $40–$70
  3. Fri Nov 28 - Sun Dec 14
More info

The Underclassman

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

The Underclassman. Duke on 42nd Street (see Off Broadway). Music and lyrics by Peter Mills. Book by Mills and Cara Reichel. Directed by Reichel. With Matt Dengler, Jessica Grové. Running time: 2hrs

  1. 229 W 42nd St, between Seventh and Eighth Aves, 10036
  2. $55–$70
  3. Fri Nov 28 - Sun Nov 30
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.