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Cats
Photograph: Courtesy Matthew Murphy Cats

The best Broadway shows for tourists

The best Broadways shows for tourists (or for New Yorkers acting like a tourist for the day) are can't-miss shows

By Melissa Kravitz
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Want to see the best Broadway shows? For tourists (and locals who secretly love acting like tourists!), these are the classics that you shouldn’t miss. While other attractions like visiting the top of a skyscraper and lingering in some of the city’s best museums (especially on free museum days) should be on any tourist’s bucket list, the spectacle and glamour of the best Broadway shows is totally unique to New York and should not be missed. Because visiting New York City without seeing a Broadway show basically doesn’t count as a visit to the big apple at all.

Best Broadway shows for tourists

The Lion King
Photograph: Joan Marcus

The Lion King

Theater Musicals Open run

If spectacle is what you’re craving, this Disney musical with costumes larger than many New York City apartments is your ticket to a performance unlike any other. Fans of the animated movie will certainly enjoy the live songs and seriously impressive staging that make the larger-than-life effects unforgettable.

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Wicked
Photograph: Tristram Kenton

Wicked

Theater Musicals Gershwin Theatre, Midtown West
Open run

This take on The Wizard of Oz starts just before Dorothy arrives, telling the story of Elphaba (the Wicked Witch of the West) and Galinda the Good Witch through popular (get it?) and catchy tunes. A winner of 10 Tony Awards including 2004’s Best Musical, this instant classic is in its 13th year on Broadway.

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The Phantom of the Opera
Photograph: Matthew Murphy

The Phantom of the Opera

Theater Musicals Majestic Theatre, Midtown West
Open run

The longest-running show on Broadway, the Andrew Lloyd Weber musical was a fan favorite long before the movie came out. Winner of seven Tony Awards in 1988, Phantom’s romance, drama and passion has lured in audiences for 11,000 performances and counting.

Chicago
Photograph: Jeremy Daniel

Chicago

Theater Musicals Ambassador Theatre, Midtown West
Open run

Broadway’s second-longest-running show takes place in the courtroom and the cells of Cook County Jail, where housewife and budding starlet Roxie Hart tries to prove her innocence (and get famous) after killing her lover. Both fans of the Roaring Twenties and Orange Is the New Black will enjoy this glitzy, jazzy musical.

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The Book of Mormon
Photograph: Joan Marcus

The Book of Mormon

Theater Musicals Eugene O'Neill Theatre, Midtown West
Open run

This contemporary religious satire by the creators of South Park deals with some serious issues–faith, famine, AIDs–via seriously humorous song. 2011’s Best Musical Tony award winner, the show still ranks at the top for many Broadway fans.

 

Jersey Boys
Photograph: Joan Marcus

Jersey Boys

Theater Musicals

The musical history of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons told almost exclusively through song, this fast-paced musical will have you clapping along as the cast sings through the band’s hits in a quick-paced narrative. Those from New Jersey will especially delight on the Garden State–positive atmosphere.

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Cats

Theater Musicals

The beloved feline musical festivity has meowed its way back to Broadway in all its catty glory. Come for the cat costumes, stay for the memories.

Hamilton

Theater Musicals
Open run

If you don’t want to spend your life’s savings on tickets (if you can even get them), try entering the digital lottery for the opportunity to win $10 tickets to a performance of the American sensation. Yes, the rap musical is really that good.

Looking to see a comedic performance?

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