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Hamilton
Photograph: Courtesy Joan MarcusHamilton

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.

Adam Feldman
Written by
Adam Feldman
&
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. All Broadway productions were closed in March 2020, but most of them are now sheduled to return in the fall or spring, and you can buy tickets for them now. Here are our theater 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

  • 5 out of 5 stars
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  • price 4 of 4
  • Midtown West

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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Marianne Elliott's spectacular revival of Stephen Sondheim and George Furth’s 1970 musical stars Katrina Lenk as a single woman navigating the maze of her married friends. The excellent ensemble cast of this richly ambivalent psychological revue (which includes Patti LuPone, Matt Doyle and the hilarious Jennifer Simard) does justice to the enduring brilliance and insight of Sondheim’s score. As the world mourns his loss, Company offers a regretful-happy reminder of how alive his work remains.—Adam Feldman

 

 

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  • 5 out of 5 stars
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  • Midtown West

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. The title role is currently played by Zachary Noah Piser.—Adam Feldman

  • 5 out of 5 stars
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  • price 4 of 4
  • Midtown West

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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  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Theater
  • Drama
  • Midtown West

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 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

  • 5 out of 5 stars
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  • Midtown West

Michael R. Jackson’s wild musical intravaganza takes a deep dive into a whirlpool of ambition and frustration as Jackson's seeming alter ego—a queer, Black writer-composer named Usher (Jaquel Spivey)—struggles to define himself amid traps of sex, race, family, body image, religion and entertainment. It’s screamingly funny and howlingly hurt, and it’s unmissable. The COVID shutdown had a lot of us holding our breaths that Broadway would dare to offer something bold and new when it came back. Smartly directed by Stephen Brackett, this is the musical we’ve been waiting for.—Adam Feldman

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Theater
  • Drama
  • Midtown West

In David Mamet’s engaging look at the bluffs and insecurities of American masculinity, three men collaborate on a coin heist, but none of them knows what he’s doing; that leaves a lot of vacuum to be filled with bluster, paranoia, phony acumen and rat-a-tat rhythms. Directed by Neil Pepe with an expert eye, the play is as thin as a dime, but it’s got great atmospherics. Sam Rockwell, Laurence Fishburne and Darren Criss stride the stage with the game confidence of actors who know how to make Mamet’s monte look full.—Adam Feldman

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • Midtown West

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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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • price 3 of 4
  • Midtown West

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

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • price 4 of 4
  • Midtown West

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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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • Drama
  • Midtown West

Tracy Letts (August: Osage County) is both the writer and star of this short, punchy play about the machinations of a small-town city council—and the moral rot that lingers deep in the foundations of Middle American comforts. His costars include Jessie Mueller, Blair Brown, Ian Barford, K. Todd Freeman, Sally Murphy, the exceptional Austin Pendleton and Schitt’s Creek charmer Noah Reid.—Adam Feldman

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • price 4 of 4
  • Hell's Kitchen

Natalie Mendoza and Aaron Tveit play lovers caught in a bad romance in this gorgeous, gaudy, spectacularly overstuffed  adaptation of Baz Luhrmann’s 2001 movie. Directed with opulent showmanship by Alex Timbers and drawing music from more than 75 pop hits, this jukebox megamix may be costume jewelry, but its shine is dazzling.—Adam Feldman

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • Midtown West

Billy Crystal talks loudly and carries a big shtick in this musical adaptation of his 1992 film about a dried-up nightclub comic who gets a chance to revive his career. He has been playing this alter kocker alter ego for decades, and he keeps the spirit of the Catskills alive in this sweet, slight, nostalgic show. David Paymer reprides his acclaimed film role as Crystal's doormat of a manager and brother. Everything about this musical is resolutely old-fashioned—in some ways it’s a celebration of oldness itself—but it delivers exactly what it promises: Crystal, completely in his element.—Adam Feldman

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Theater
  • Comedy
  • Midtown West

The running joke of Selina Fillinger’s lightly feminist farce is that the women who populate it are all highly capable in different ways, yet they’re stuck in the orbit of a morally bankrupt oaf who is the world’s most powerful man. The White House setting is an excuse for a broad, zany, old-school comedy, and it helps enormously that the production, directed by Susan Stroman, is so well-cast. This ensemble—which includes Julie White, Vanessa Williams and a hilariously loopy Rachel Dratch—makes an argument of its own for female accomplishment: Even when their characters are floundering hopelessly, these ladies are pros.—Adam Feldman

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • Midtown West

Who doesn’t enjoy a royal wedding? Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss's zingy musical Six celebrates, in boisterous fashion, the union of English dynastic history and modern pop music. On a mock concert stage, the six wives of the 16th-century monarch Henry VIII air their grievances in song, and most of them have plenty to complain about. In this self-described “histo-remix,” members of the long-suffering sextet spin their pain into bops; the queens sing their heads off and the audience loses its mind.—Adam Feldman 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • price 4 of 4
  • Midtown West

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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