While some say we are currently in a golden age of Broadway, there’s more to New York theater than the 40 houses that make up the Great White Way. Some of the most innovative new plays and musicals happen on intimate Off Broadway stages, technically defined as seating between 100 and 499. So when cheap Broadway tickets are out of reach and you’ve exhausted every option for last-minute Broadway tickets, you might want to look elsewhere for entertainment options. From downtown’s legendary Public Theater to crowd-pleasing attractions at New World stages, Off Broadway shows offer something for everyone. Use our listings to find reviews, curtain times and great deals on New York theater tickets.
All Off Broadway shows
After many years, the sassy and clever puppet musical doesn’t show its age. Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx’s deft Sesame Street–esque novelty tunes about porn and racism still earn their laughs. Avenue Q remains a sly and winning piece of metamusical tomfoolery. Running time: 2hrs 15mins. One intermission.
Two musical-theater freethinkers, composer Dave Malloy (Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812) and librettist Jason Craig (Beowulf—A Thousand Years of Baggage), are behind this unconventional take on Russian mystic, love machine and assassination victim Grigori Rasputin. Ellie Heyman directs a site-specific production at a Greenpoint church. Read the full review.
Early-20th-century women's-education pioneer Mary Woolley and her longtime partner, Jeannette Marks, are the subjects of Bryna Turner's debut play, directed by Lee Sunday Evans for Lincoln Center's LCT3 wing. Enid Graham and Ruibo Qian play the central couple.
Cagney: Theater review by Raven Snook [Note: This is a review of the production of Cagney that opened at the York Theatre in 2015. The production moves to an open-ended engagement at the Westside Theatre on March 16, 2016, with the same cast.] Biomusicals are tricky. Boiling all the ups and downs of a celebrity’s life into a couple of tuneful hours is tough, but the biggest challenge is finding a performer who can convincingly channel the star. One glance at Robert Creighton, and you understand why this veteran Broadway character actor spent years bringing regional hit Cagney to the York Theatre Company. A compact, quadruple-threat spitfire (he cowrote the songs), Creighton smartly avoids impersonation and lets some of his own personality shine through in his take on James Cagney, the versatile Golden Age of Hollywood icon who was often pigeonholed as a gangster. Yes, Peter Colley’s book is predictable and takes liberties, and Creighton and McGovern’s old-fashioned numbers aren’t as catchy as the George M. Cohan standards used in the rousing USO medley. But the crackerjack six-person cast nails choreographer Joshua Bergasse’s exhilarating tap routines while committing to the emotional core of the story. That makes Cagney a York doodle dandy.—Raven Snook York Theatre Company (Off Broadway). Book by Peter Colley. Music and lyrics by Robert Creighton and Christopher McGovern. Directed by Bill Castellino. With ensemble cast. Running time: 2hrs 25mins. One intermission. Throu
The trend toward boozed-up classics continues to snowball as Three Day Hangover takes over a midtown bar with a piece that shuffles Cards Against Humanity into Chekhov's masterpiece. Lori Wolter Hudson adapts and directs. (Ticket prices range from $9 for serf-level standing room to $149 for a VIP package that includes food and an open bar.)
Best Off Broadway shows
The venerable experimentalists of the Wooster Group share a piece based on the 1979 film Town Bloody Hall, which documents a fiery panel discussion on feminism in which Norman Mailer butted heads with Germaine Greer and three other women. Elizabeth LeCompte directs a cast that includes Maura Tierney along with Wooster regulars Kate Valk, Scott Shepherd and Ari Fliakos. Read the full review.
Master parodist Gerard Alessandrini (Forbidden Broadway) lovingly skewers Broadway's greatest hit. His admiration for Lin-Manuel Miranda is obvious, but he can still poke fun at the Hamilton juggernaut, while taking shots at Cats and The Book of Mormon along the way. His cast is phenomenal; maybe we'll see them in Hamilton someday. Read the full review
Having scored a grand success at CSC with 2014's The Heir Apparent, adapted from an 18th-century French farce, the witty David Ives returns to the scene of the rhyme with his version of an even earlier classic of that genre: Pierre Corneille's Le Menteur. Michael Kahn directs an ensemble that includes Heir alums Carson Elrod and Amelia Pedlow. Read the full review.
As Steven Levenson's Dear Evan Hansen burns up the box office on Broadway, Roundabout mounts his new nonmusical drama, in which a Jewish family argues about its history and its future at the turn of the 21st century. The expert Daniel Sullivan (Good People) directs a promising ensemble cast that comprises Larry Bryggman, Maria Dizzia, Tasha Lawrence, Jeremy Shamos, Seth Steinberg, Kate Walsh and Gary Wilmes. Read the full review.