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The Woodsman
Photograph: Matthew MurphyThe Woodsman

Five shows you can see for cheap through 20at20

Written by
David Cote

Winter is a great time to save money and catch up with shows you might have missed. Box office dips along with temps and producers scramble to fill seats through deals such as Broadway Week and Off Broadway Week. The latest is Off Broadway Alliance’s 20at20 offer. Now in its tenth year, 20at20 gets you $20 tickets 20 minutes before curtain at several excellent Off Broadway events. Sure, the particular performance may be sold out, but there’s a good chance you’ll get in. The offer runs from February 22 to March 13, and here are five shows we can recommend.

Avenue Q
After many years, the sassy and clever puppet musical remains a sly, winning piece of meta-musical tomfoolery. Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx’s deft Sesame Street–esque novelty tunes about porn and racism still earn their laughs.

Rap Guide to Climate Chaos
Baba Brinkman is a white Canadian dude who raps about intellectual and social questions, which may not sound promising. But his previous two shows at SoHo Playhouse, in which he used rhyme and reason to expound on evolution and religion, were delightfully entertaining and informative. This time the erstwhile environmental activist takes aim at climate change, directed by Darren Lee Cole.

The Imbible
Mixing whimsy and information, Anthony Caporale makes the story of our relationship with alcohol remarkably compelling. And the show's enjoyable lessons can be washed down with thematically appropriate beverages.

The Woodsman
Strangemen & Co.’s immersive, practically wordless adaptation of writings by L. Frank Baum (pictured above) thrusts us into a dark corner of Oz. Writer, codirector and designer James Ortiz makes the most of Bunraku-style puppets and haunting sound; emotions are communicated through simple gestures, grunts and glances, not one wasted.

Widowers’ Houses
In his Project Shaw series, director David Staller has offered staged readings of every play by the extraordinarily prolific George Bernard Shaw. Now he teams up with TACT for a full production of the beard-pulling dramatist's very first play: an 1892 social drama about a young doctor torn between love and idealism.

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