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The best Broadway shows you need to see

Our critics list the best Broadway shows. NYC is the place to catch these top-notch plays, musicals and revivals.
Hamilton
Photograph: Courtesy Joan Marcus Hamilton
By Adam Feldman and Time Out editors |
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The best Broadway shows attract millions of people to enjoy the pinnacle of live entertainment in New York City. Every season brings new Broadway musicals, plays and revivals, some of which go on to glory at the Tony Awards. Along with star-driven dramas and family-oriented blockbusters, you can still find the kind of artistically ambitious and original offerings that are more common to the smaller venues of Off Broadway. Here are our theater critics' top choices among the shows that are currently playing on the Great White Way. Looking for more of the best this city has to offer? Check out the 101 very best things to do in NYC

RECOMMENDED: Complete A–Z listings of Broadway shows in NYC

Best Broadway shows in NYC

Theater, Musicals

The Book of Mormon

icon-location-pin Eugene O'Neill Theatre, Midtown West
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Open run

If theater is your religion, and the Broadway musical your particular sect, it’s time to rejoice. This gleefully obscene and subversive satire is one of the funniest shows to grace the Great White Way since The Producers and Urinetown. Writers Trey Parker and Matt Stone of South Park, along with composer Robert Lopez (Avenue Q), find the perfect blend of sweet and nasty for this tale of mismatched Mormon proselytizers in Uganda.—David Cote

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Dear Evan Hansen
Photograph: Joan Marcus
Theater, Musicals

Dear Evan Hansen

icon-location-pin Music Box Theatre, Midtown West
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Open run

A high school student is thrust into social relevance after a classmate's suicide this captivating original musical. Benj Pasek and Justin Paul's score combines well-crafted lyrics with an exciting pop sound, and Steven Levenson’s book gives all the characters shaded motives.—Adam Feldman

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The Ferryman
Photograph: Courtesy Joan Marcus
Theater, Drama

The Ferryman

icon-location-pin Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, Midtown West
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Set in Northern Ireland in 1981, Jez Butterworth’s magnificent new play is at once a romance, a thriller and a multigenrational family drama. Under Sam Mendes's superb direction, the whole massive production seems alive with the clutter and scope of reality. It is a seismic experience at the theater.—Adam Feldman

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Theater, Musicals

Hamilton

icon-location-pin Richard Rodgers Theatre, Midtown West
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Open run

Composer-lyricist-star Lin-Manuel Miranda forges a groundbreaking bridge between hip-hop and musical storytelling with this sublime collision of radio-ready beats and an inspiring, immigrant slant on Founding Father Alexander Hamilton. A brilliant, diverse cast takes back American history and makes it new.—David Cote 

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Photograph: Courtesy Matthew Murphy
Theater, Drama

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

icon-location-pin Lyric Theatre, Midtown West
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Open run

The world of Harry Potter has arrived on Broadway, Hogwarts and all, and it is a triumph of theatrical magic. Set two decades after the final chapters of J.K. Rowling’s world-shaking kid-lit heptalogy, Jack Thorne's two-part epic (richly elaborated by director John Tiffany) combines grand storytelling with stagecraft on a scale heretofore unimagined. It leaves its audience awestruck, spellbound and deeply satisfied.—Adam Feldman

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Heidi Schreck at the podium in What the Constitution Means to Me
Photograph: Courtesy Joan Marcus
Theater, Drama

What the Constitution Means to Me

icon-location-pin Helen Hayes Theater, Midtown West
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Heidi Schreck’s quasi-solo play delves into her own history as a teenage orator to talk about how the Constitution has both liberated and imprisoned women’s bodies. Funny and moving, this something that every citizen must see: It’s theater in the old sense, the Greek sense, a place where civic society can come together and do its thinking and fixing and planning.—Helen Shaw

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Theater, Musicals

Beautiful—The Carole King Musical

icon-location-pin Stephen Sondheim Theatre, Midtown West
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Open run

Broadway’s latest boomer jukebox musical it is an appealing and skillfully built vehicle for Carole King’s hit ditties and soulful ballads. It's a lovable love letter to a fine songwriter and natural woman.—David Cote

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Come From Away
Photograph: Matthew Murphy
Theater, Musicals

Come from Away

icon-location-pin Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, Midtown West
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Open run

Irene Sankoff and David Hein’s swelling heart of a musical tells a true story from the aftermath of 9/11, when 38 flights were forced to land in the small town of Gander, Newfoundland. Under Christopher Ashley’s fluid direction, 12 versatile actors play dozens of roles. The show makes a persuasive case for the value of good intentions; for this kind of uplift you don’t need planes.—Adam Feldman

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Hadestown (Broadway)
Photograph: Courtesy Matthew Murphy
Theater, Musicals

Hadestown

icon-location-pin Walter Kerr Theatre, Midtown West
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Open run

Go to hell—and by hell we mean Hadestown, Anaïs Mitchell’s fizzy, moody, thrilling new musical. Ostensibly, at least, the show is a modern retelling of the ancient Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. But the newness of Mitchell’s score and Rachel Chavkin’s gracefully dynamic staging bring this old story to quivering life.—Adam Feldman

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John Lithgow and Laurie Metcalf in Hillary and Clinton
Photograph: Courtesy Julieta Cervantes
Theater, Drama

Hillary and Clinton

icon-location-pin John Golden Theatre, Midtown West
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Lucas Hnath's cogent, snappy domestic dramedy about Hillary and Bill Clinton is a backstage look at the theater of national politics and also a portrait of a complicated marriage. The excellent Laurie Metcalf offers a compelling, sympathetic depiction of a woman struggling to unite her public and private selves.—Adam Feldman

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Kiss Me, Kate
Photograph: Courtesy Joan Marcus
Theater, Musicals

Kiss Me, Kate

icon-location-pin Studio 54, Midtown West
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The Roundabout’s diverting revival of Cole Porter's 1948 musical, starring Kelli O'Hara and Will Chase squabbling actors in a touring production of The Taming of the Shrew, is nothing if not sensitive to the show's potential dangers. For better or worse, the battle-of-the-exes, war-of-the-sexes comedy of Kiss Me, Kate has moved a bit closer to May I Have Affirmative Consent to Kiss You, Kate? But there’s plenty of pleasure to be had in its cautious embrace of Broadway's past.—Adam Feldman

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Theater, Musicals

The Lion King

icon-location-pin Minskoff Theatre, Midtown West
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Open run

Director-designer Julie Taymor surrounds the Disney movie’s mythic plot and Elton John–Tim Rice score with African rhythm and music. Through elegant puppetry, Taymor populates the stage with a menagerie of African beasts; her staging has expanded a simple cub into the pride of Broadway.—Adam Feldman

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Mean Girls
Photograph: Courtesy Joan Marcus
Theater, Musicals

Mean Girls

icon-location-pin August Wilson Theatre, Midtown West
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Open run

A canny crossbreed of Heathers and Hairspray, this new musical has been adapted by Tina Fey from her own 2004 cult movie about high-school social warfare, and it remains her vehicle: an auto de Fey, burning with bookish anger at the limits young women place on each other and themselves. Where the show shines brightest is in the spotlight it casts on its exciting young performers, including Taylor Louderman as the fearsome leader of the queen-beeyatch trio known as the Plastics.—Adam Feldman

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Laura Benanti in My Fair Lady
Photograph: Courtesy Joan Marcus
Theater, Musicals

My Fair Lady

icon-location-pin Vivian Beaumont Theater (at Lincoln Center), Upper West Side
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Open run

Bartlett Sher directs a splendid, carefully recalibrated revival of Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe’s sparkling 1956 musical. In Edwardian London, misogynist professor Henry Higgins (Harry Hadden-Paton) gives flower girl Eliza (Lauren Ambrose) the manners and speech of a lady. The luminous Ambrose gives a charming and intelligent performance, with an inner strength that renders condescension moot.—Adam Feldman

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Oklahoma! (St. Ann's Warehouse 2018)
Photograph: Courtesy Teddy Wolff
Theater, Musicals

Oklahoma!

icon-location-pin Circle in the Square , Midtown West
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Director Daniel Fish’s bold, dark, spare revival of Oklahoma! gives us the ranch but not the dressing. The musical’s cast of 12 performs in modern clothing, mostly without microphones, with the audience seated on three sides of the minimal stage. Fish’s vision treats Rodgers and Hammerstein’s 1943 musical with deep respect, shining a hard light on its underlying issues of justice, violence and the autonomy of women. It ventures into rough territory and leaves the show in a brand-new state.—Adam Feldman

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The Prom
Photograph: Courtesy Deen van Meer
Theater, Musicals

The Prom

icon-location-pin Longacre Theatre, Midtown West
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Open run

In this sweet-hearted original musical comedy, press-hungry Broadway hams descend upon a small-town Indiana high school after a lesbian student is forbidden from bringing a female date to prom. Backs are raised, pizzazz is shared, egos are deflated and lessons are learned on both sides. Despite a few missteps, the show leaves you grinning by the last dance, thanks in large part to hilarious star turns by Brooks Ashmanskas and Beth Leavel.—Adam Feldman

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To Kill a Mockingbird (2018)
Photograph: Courtesy Julieta Cervantes
Theater, Drama

To Kill a Mockingbird

icon-location-pin Shubert Theatre, Midtown West
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Open run

Aaron Sorkin's stage adaptation of Harper Lee's revered 1960 novel is commendable, and the execution is exemplary. Director Bartlett Sher's elegant production is stately but not stodgy, and Jeff Daniels—as 1930s Alabama lawyer Atticus Finch, that paragon of decency—is first-rate: thoughtful, patient, gently authoritative and appropriately troubled by the unchanging world around him.—Adam Feldman

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Theater, Musicals

Waitress

icon-location-pin Brooks Atkinson Theatre, Midtown West
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Open run

Sara Bareilles currently stars in her own sweet and tart musical, about a lady who's a whiz at making pies, but messing up everything else; pregnant from her abusive lout of a husband, she's now falling for her gynecologist. Bareilles's bright, frisky pop score is a sheer delight, and Diane Paulus directs with whimsy and verve.—David Cote

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Theater, Musicals

Wicked

icon-location-pin Gershwin Theatre, Midtown West
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Open run

This musical prequel to The Wizard of Oz addresses surprisingly complex themes, such as standards of beauty, morality and, believe it or not, fighting fascism. Thanks to Winnie Holzman’s witty book and Stephen Schwartz’s pop-inflected score, Wicked soars.—David Cote

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