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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 exciting plays, musicals and revivals.

Photograph: Courtesy Julieta Cervantes
Hello, Dolly!

The best Broadway shows attract millions of people to enjoy the pinnacle of live entertainment in New York City. Every season brings a new wave of Broadway musicals, plays and revivals, some of which go on to glory at the Tony Awards. Along with star-driven dramas and family-friendly blockbusters, there are sometimes even a few artsy experiments that you'd expect to find in the smaller venues of Off Broadway. Here are our critics' top choices among the shows that are currently playing on the Great White Way.

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

Best Broadway shows in NYC

The Book of Mormon

5 out of 5 stars

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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Eugene O'Neill Theatre , Midtown West Until Sunday December 30 2018

Dear Evan Hansen

5 out of 5 stars

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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Music Box Theatre , Midtown West Until Sunday December 30 2018
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Hamilton

5 out of 5 stars

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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Richard Rodgers Theatre , Midtown West Until Sunday December 30 2018

Hello, Dolly!

5 out of 5 stars
Recommended

Bernadette Peters plays Dolly Levi, a matchmaker in late-19th-century New York, in this beloved 1964 musical, adapted by Michael Stewart and Jerry Herman from a Thornton Wilder comedy, Hello, Dolly! may be a vehicle for its star, but this blissful revival treats it like a vintage Rolls-Royce. Directed and performed with joyful aplomb, it gleams with old-fashioned charm.—Adam Feldman

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Shubert Theatre , Midtown West Until Sunday July 15 2018
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Springsteen on Broadway

5 out of 5 stars
Recommended

Dressed in simple black with no band, Bruce Springsteen performs character songs and monologues in what amounts to a two-hour solo musical about himself, a rock-star cabaret act. The singer brings the audience with him on a cross-country journey that is now, as he approaches 70, less about the gunning of his engines than the steadiness of his drive. It's an intimate, generous, extraordinary show.—Adam Feldman

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Walter Kerr Theatre , Midtown West Until Saturday June 30 2018

Anastasia

4 out of 5 stars
Recommended

Deftly adapted by Terrence McNally from the 1997 animated film, with an expanded score by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, this sweeping 20th-century fairy tale stars Christy Altomare as an amnesiac who may be the last survivor of the Romanovs. Impressive craftsmanship and excellent singing help make it one of the richest new family shows to hit Broadway in years.—Adam Feldman

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Until Sun Dec 31
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The Band's Visit

4 out of 5 stars
Recommended

David Yazbek and Itamar Moses’s unusually lovely musical has a graceful sense of time and tentative connection. The mesmerizing Katrina Lenk plays a languidly sensual Israeli café owner, and Tony Shalhoub is a courtly, soulful Egyptian bandleader stranded for a night in her uneventful desert town. Directed by David Cromer with an unblinking eye, the show seems even richer on Broadway than in its award-winning 2016 run at the Atlantic.—Adam Feldman

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Ethel Barrymore Theatre , Midtown West Until Sunday December 30 2018
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Come from Away

4 out of 5 stars
Recommended

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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Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre , Midtown West Until Sunday September 30 2018

John Lithgow: Stories by Heart

4 out of 5 stars
Recommended

John Lithgow shares a pair of short stories by Ring Lardner and P.G. Wodehouse on a nearly bare stage, with nothing to keep us on the hook but the actor's masterly skill, cultivation, confidence and warmth. The presentation is framed in family historybut no skeletons are exposed, unless you count the love of theater that Lithgow carries in his bones. Likable though the stories themselves may be, the heart of this show is in their telling.—Adam Feldman

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American Airlines Theatre , Midtown West Until Sunday March 4 2018
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Kinky Boots

4 out of 5 stars

Harvey Fierstein and Cyndi Lauper’s fizzy crowd-pleaser, in which a sassy-yet-dignified drag queen kicks an English shoe factory into gear, feels familiar at every step. But it has been manufactured with solid craftsmanship and care, and is boosted by a heart-strong cast led by Wayne Brady. The overall effect is nigh irresistible.—Adam Feldman

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Al Hirschfeld Theatre , Hell's Kitchen Until Sunday December 30 2018

The Lion King

4 out of 5 stars

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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Minskoff Theatre , Midtown West Until Sunday December 30 2018
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Once on This Island

4 out of 5 stars
Recommended

This imaginative and dynamic revival of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty’s 1990 musical is constantly on the move to a steady throb of pop-Caribbean beats. The "Little Mermaid"–ish plot follows naive orphan Ti Moune (winsome newcomer Hailey Kilgore), who embarks on a romance that defies the strict class and color divides that govern her island. Michael Arden’s immersive production sings, dances and conjures up a storm.—Adam Feldman

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Circle in the Square , Midtown West Until Monday December 31 2018

School of Rock

4 out of 5 stars

The stage version of the 2003 comedy about a kid band formed in an uptight prep school is surprisingly fresh and well-built. Andrew Lloyd Webber and Glenn Slater's pop-pastiche score is propulsive, the uniformed, rockin'-out students are cute, and the book hits the right emotional notes. School’s in—forever.—David Cote

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Winter Garden Theatre , Midtown West Until Sunday December 30 2018
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SpongeBob SquarePants

4 out of 5 stars
Recommended

Like its irrepressible yellow hero, played by the peppy and limber Ethan Slater, this splashy new musical is unabashedly committed to imagination and dorky enthusiasm. Adapted by Kyle Jarrow from the Nickelodeon cartoon, and featuring original songs by a wild range of pop stars, the show pours out in a ravishing stream of color and invention. Director Tina Landau and sensational designer David Zinn make even the most complicated musical staging look and feel like child’s play. Soak it in.—Adam Feldman

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Palace Theatre , Midtown West Until Sunday December 30 2018

Waitress

4 out of 5 stars
Recommended

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. Diane Paulus directs with whimsy and verve.—David Cote

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Brooks Atkinson Theatre , Midtown West Until Sunday July 1 2018
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Wicked

4 out of 5 stars

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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Gershwin Theatre , Midtown West Until Sunday December 30 2018
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Comments

4 comments
Erik A

There are some great long running and new shows currently on Broadway.  It's been almost 12 years since I first saw Wicked, but I would still jump to go see it again tomorrow.  Regardless of how many times I have been.  (it's a bit embarrassing to admit, so I won't).  The Color Purple is a terrific revival this season that is not to be missed by theatre fans.  We all know the buzz around Hamilton, but since none of us can get tickets, we can all just jam out to the cast album or enter the online lottery everyday!  School of Rock is also a lot of fun.  The kids freaking ROCK in that show!  See a show this season! 

bana n

BOOK OF MORMON IS DA BOM DIGGITY