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.
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 acme 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, there are always some artistically ambitious and original offerings of the kind that you might expect to find in 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, Musicals

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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Springsteen on Broadway
Photograph: Courtesy Rob DeMartin
Theater, Musicals

Springsteen on Broadway

icon-location-pin Walter Kerr Theatre, Midtown West
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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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Anastasia
Photograph: Matthew Murphy
Theater, Musicals

Anastasia

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

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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The Band's Visit
Photograph: Courtesy Matt Murphy
Theater, Musicals

The Band's Visit

icon-location-pin Ethel Barrymore Theatre, Midtown West
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Open run

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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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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Kinky Boots
Photograph: Matthew Murphy
Theater, Musicals

Kinky Boots

icon-location-pin Al Hirschfeld Theatre, Hell's Kitchen
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Open run

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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Head Over Heels
Photograph: Courtesy Joan Marcus
Theater, Musicals

Head Over Heels

icon-location-pin Hudson Theatre, Midtown West
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This saucy, boisterous musical romp grafts a 2018 sensibility onto 1980s songs by the Go-Go’s and fits them into an Elizabethan story that is set in ancient Greece. The show weaves romance, lust, intrigue and ribald comedy into a celebration of nonconformity, and Michael Mayer's glimmering production features an ensemble that is diverse in race, gender and size. Getting the beat, in this merry fantasy, means making room for different drummers.—Adam Feldman

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The Lifespan of a Fact,
Photograph: Courtesy Peter Cunningham
Theater, Drama

The Lifespan of a Fact

icon-location-pin Studio 54, Midtown West
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John D’Agata and Jim Fingal's 2012 book, about the lengthy tug-of-war that stemmed from an essay by the former that was fact-checked by the latter, has been adapted into a quick and entertaining play that makes a good case for the value of truth—even as it takes generous advantage of dramatic license. Daniel Radcliffe is appealingly passionate and intense as the hypermeticulous checker.—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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Once on This Island
Photograph: Courtesy Joan Marcus
Theater, Musicals

Once on This Island

icon-location-pin Circle in the Square , Midtown West
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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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Mike Birbiglia: The New One
Photograph: Courtesy Joan Marcus
Theater, Comedy

The New One

icon-location-pin Cort Theatre, Midtown West
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Comedian Mike Birbiglia’s one-man shows feature narrative and theatrical deftness that transcends traditional stand-up. This one, about his reluctant journey to fatherhood, is raw, self-deprecating and painfully aware of both his privilege and his failings. The meticulous and evocative way he expresses himself makes The New One—like a newborn baby—special, unique and lovable.—Raven Snook

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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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Torch Song
Photograph: Courtesy Joan Marcus
Theater, Drama

Torch Song

icon-location-pin Helen Hayes Theater, Midtown West
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In this welcome and well-assembled revival of Harvey Fierstein's trailblazing 1982 play, the very appealing Michael Urie plays a Jewish drag queen dealing with a range of gay issues including a tense relationship with his mother (the acidic Mercedes Ruehl). Urie is less distinctive than Fierstein—who isn’t?—but he gives his voice an eccentric Snagglepuss extension, and he’s a gifted physical comic. Working hard to dispel any scent of schmaltz, director Moisés Kaufman lovingly tends the show's flame.—Torch Song

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Theater, Musicals

Waitress

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

Nicolette Robinson currently stars in this 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. 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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The Waverly Gallery
Photograph: Courtesy Brigitte Lacombe
Theater, Drama

The Waverly Gallery

icon-location-pin John Golden Theatre, Midtown West
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American comedy titan Elaine May makes a touching return to Broadway as a woman falling deeper and deeper into dementia in Kenneth Lonergan's memory play, an indelible portrait of loss. In Lila Neugebauer’s steady and unforce revival, May receives very fine support from a luxury cast that also includes Lucas Hedges, Joan Allen, Michael Cera and David Cromer. In this moving drama, one gets a sense of Lonergan committing his family history to the record, making hard truth into beauty, so it doesn’t just disappear.—Adam Feldman

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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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