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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

Eugene O'Neill Theatre, Midtown West
Open run
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

Dear Evan Hansen
Photograph: Joan Marcus
Theater, Musicals

Dear Evan Hansen

Music Box Theatre, Midtown West
Open run
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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Theater, Musicals

Hamilton

Richard Rodgers Theatre, Midtown West
Open run
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 

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

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Lyric Theatre, Midtown West
Open run
5 out of 5 stars

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

Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, Midtown West
Open run
4 out of 5 stars

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

The cast of GRAND HORIZONS
Photograph: Courtesy Joan Marcus
Theater, Comedy

Grand Horizons

Helen Hayes Theater, Midtown West
4 out of 5 stars

An elderly couple contemplates divorce after 50 years of marriage in Bess Wohl’s entertainingly broad comedy.  The humor rises from tense to outrageous, peaking in a first-act finale that is dramatically off-the-wall. The gifted cast—led by Jane Alexander, James Cromwell and Michael Urie—keeps the energy high, and the play has touching things to say about the difficulty of finding a course between noncommunication and too much information.—Adam Feldman

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

Hadestown

Walter Kerr Theatre, Midtown West
Open run
4 out of 5 stars

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

The Inheritance
Photograph: Courtesy Marc Brenner
Theater, Drama

The Inheritance

Ethel Barrymore Theatre, Midtown West
4 out of 5 stars

Set among a group of gay men in present-day New York City, Matthew Lopez’s epic but intimate riff on E.M. Forster's Howard's End is animated by spirits of the past. Presented in two parts, each more than three hours long, this is a searching, expansive and sometimes very moving exploration of love, money, community and memory. The AIDS epidemic severed many of the links that connect gay men to their history; The Inheritance aims to reforge them.—Adam Feldman

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Theater, Musicals

The Lion King

Minskoff Theatre, Midtown West
Open run
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

Mean Girls
Photograph: Courtesy Joan Marcus
Theater, Musicals

Mean Girls

August Wilson Theatre, Midtown West
Open run
4 out of 5 stars

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

Al Hirschfeld Theatre, Hell's Kitchen
Open run
4 out of 5 stars

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

David Alan Grier, Blair Underwood and Billy Eugene Jones in A SOLDIER'S PLAY
Photograph: Courtesy Joan Marcus
Theater, Drama

A Soldier's Play

American Airlines Theatre, Midtown West
4 out of 5 stars

Charles Fuller’s Pulitzer Prize–winning 1981 drama begins with a shooting and follows what seems like a conventional murder-mystery track as a black officer (Blair Underwood) tries to find out who killed a cruel sergeant (David Alan Grier) at a segregated Army base in 1944. But in this revival, the play is sturdy instead of creaky; it provides a platform for powerful moments and performances, and Kenny Leon’s direction emphasizes the beauty of blackness.—Adam Feldman

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

To Kill a Mockingbird

Shubert Theatre, Midtown West
Open run
4 out of 5 stars

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

Shereen Pimentel, Isaac Powell and the cast of West Side Story
Photograph: Courtesy Jan Versweyveld
Theater, Musicals

West Side Story

Broadway Theatre, Midtown West
Open run
4 out of 5 stars

In Ivo van Hove’s bold, often thrilling reimagination of the classic 1957 musical, live scenes coexist or alternate with filmed ones, including many that occur offstage. For all its big gestures and statements, the production is at its best when it focuses on the central relationship between gang-crossed lovers Tony and Maria; The camera allows us to see moments of intimacy and charm that make their story heartbreakingly personal.—Adam Feldman

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Theater, Musicals

Wicked

Gershwin Theatre, Midtown West
Open run
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

See all Broadway shows in NYC

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