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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.

By Adam Feldman and Time Out editors |
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Hamilton
Photograph: Courtesy Joan Marcus Hamilton

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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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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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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Derren Brown in Secret
Photograph: Courtesy Matthew Murphy
Theater, Circuses & magic

Derren Brown: Secret

icon-location-pin Cort Theatre, Midtown West
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The British mentalist is up to his old tricks in Secret, and very fine tricks they are. Not for nothing has Brown become a celebrity in his native England: He is a first-class stage magician, and in his Broadway debut he commands fascination for nearly two and a half hours. The show leaves you in a state of joyful bafflement.—Adam Feldman

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Freestyle Love Supreme
Photograph: Courtesy Joan Marcus
Theater, Musicals

Freestyle Love Supreme

icon-location-pin Booth Theatre, Midtown West
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Very talented performers perform a 90-minute storm of improvised raps and sketches, directed by Hamilton's Thomas Kail. Notable alums (such as Lin-Manuel Miranda, James Monroe Iglehart, Christopher Jackson and Daveed Diggs) may drop by for guest appearances—not that the show's core cast needs any help.—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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The Height of the Storm
Photograph: Courtesy Joan Marcus
Theater, Drama

The Height of the Storm

icon-location-pin Multiple venues
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Florian Zeller keeps us guessing in this enigmatic depiction of an elderly couple. As in The Father, confusion is both his subject and his prime dramatic strategy: Skillfully woven with dream logic, it's like a jigsaw puzzle in which the pieces fit together but yield no coherent picture. It might seem merely a clever exercise were it not for its highly distinguished stars, Jonathan Pryce and Eileen Atkins.—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.—Adam Feldman

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Moulin Rouge! The Musical
Photograph: Courtesy Matthew Murphy
Theater, Musicals

Moulin Rouge! The Musical

icon-location-pin Al Hirschfeld Theatre, Hell's Kitchen
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Karen Olivo 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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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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Slave Play (Broadway)
Photograph: Courtesy Matthew Murphy
Theater, Drama

Slave Play

icon-location-pin John Golden Theatre, Midtown West
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Jeremy O. Harris’s flabbergasting show begins on what appears to be an antebellum Southern plantation, then yields to a sustained investigation of how African-American people experience their own bodies and desires. The play is funny, perceptive, probing and, at times, disturbingly sexy. It snaps like a whip, and its aim is often outward.—Adam Feldman 

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Mary-Louise Parker in The Sound Inside
Photograph: Courtesy Jeremy Daniel
Theater, Drama

The Sound Inside

icon-location-pin Studio 54, Midtown West
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Adam Rapp’s unabashedly literary drama about a writing teacher and her student, directed by ravishing spareness by David Cromer, is engrossing the way a good novel can be: It invites imaginative engagement as it keeps you continually off balance. Though dark, it never feels grim, thanks to the inner glow of Mary Louise-Parker’s charisma and intelligence.—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. Ed Harris now stars as 1930s Alabama lawyer Atticus Finch, a paragon of decency appropriately troubled by the unchanging world around him.—Adam Feldman

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Tootsie
Photograph: Courtesy Matthew Murphy
Theater, Musicals

Tootsie

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

Santino Fontana plays an unemployable actor who disguises himself as a woman in this musical update of the beloved 1982 film. Robert Horn's crackerjack script is packed with great  jokes, and Scott Ellis’s bright, snappy production has assembled a murderer’s row of actors to put them over. It's the rare musical comedy that is actually very funny; it's out to give you a good time, and that’s what it does. Tootsie rocks. Tootsie rolls. Tootsie pops.—Adam Feldman

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Theater, Musicals

Waitress

icon-location-pin Brooks Atkinson Theatre, Midtown West
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Shoshana Bean and Jeremy Jordan currently star in this sweet and tart musical about a lady who's a whiz at making pies, but messes up everything else; pregnant from her abusive lout of a husband, she's now falling for her gynecologist. Sara 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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