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The Best Broadway Shows of All Time to See on Your Next Trip to NYC

Deciding between the best Broadway shows can be a daunting process—here’s where to start.

The Metropolitan Opera House

The Metropolitan Opera House

From fan favorites and family-friendly hits to celebrity-led revivals and blockbuster musicals, New York City’s Broadway has never offered so much variety. Whether you’ve seen Hamilton a dozen times or are eagerly anticipating your first live theater experience, it’s not always easy to pick the best Broadway shows. The most important step? Do your research.

With up-to-date information about what shows are currently on at The Broadway Collection, a group of amazing Broadway shows—and more—that are especially popular with visitors, you can narrow down your options and focus on what type of entertainment best suits your taste and the occasion. For example, do you prefer musicals or plays? Are you looking for a Broadway show that appeals to a wide range of ages and tastes, such as Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Aladdin or The Lion King? Perhaps you’d like to see someone known for their award-winning Broadway performances, like Victoria Clark in Kimberly Akimbo. Don’t forget to listen to cast albums, read reviews, and watch trailers, too. You might also want to check out casting; if you appreciated the performance of a particular artist before, there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy it again.

Daniel Yearwood, Miguel Cervantes, Kyle Scatliffe, and Ebrin R. Stanley in Hamilton

Daniel Yearwood, Miguel Cervantes, Kyle Scatliffe, and Ebrin R. Stanley in Hamilton

Courtesy of Broadway Collection/Joan Marcus

After getting a better sense of the themes and overall style of each show, it’s time to buy tickets. Purchase before you travel to ensure you get the best seats at the best price. A trusted site like The Broadway Collection provides an opportunity to explore the shows and connect you with the official, primary ticket seller. Because no two Broadway theaters look alike (some shows like Moulin Rouge even offer exclusive seating options), it’s a good idea to preview your seat on the primary website or contact a representative for personal assistance. If your plans are flexible, consider attending on a weeknight for the best prices and seating options.

Here are some of the best Broadway shows that are currently running to inspire your next trip and help you choose the perfect performance. (Make sure to check online for the latest that’s playing with shows changing throughout the year.)

Epic, long-running shows

Talia Suskauer in <i>Wicked</i>

Talia Suskauer in Wicked

Courtesy of Broadway Collection/Joan Marcus

You can’t go wrong with Broadway’s greatest hits, especially when searching for top Broadway shows for first-time visitors. Taking place in the 41 professional theaters that make up the stretch of Midtown Manhattan officially known as Broadway, these prestigious performances exemplify this beloved American art form. For a world-class example of the 20th-century American musical, head to Sweeney Todd, a 1979 masterpiece by Stephen Sondheim. Currently featuring Josh Groban as the vengeful barber with a full 26-player orchestra for the first time since the original production, you easily can imagine how this musical thriller helped usher in a new era of ambitious and provocative storytelling.

Celebrate a modern classic as Wicked marks its 20th anniversary on Broadway this year. One of the can’t-miss Broadway musicals for visitors, the untold true story of the Wicked Witch of the West continues to defy gravity.

Enchanting new shows

Broadway may be best known for iconic productions like Hamilton and Chicago, but it also provides a grand stage for fresh talent and stories. One of the most exciting new shows premiering this fall is Harmony, written by Barry Manilow (yes, that Barry Manilow) and his longtime collaborator Bruce Sussman. The musical, which enjoyed a sold-out downtown run, traces the true story of a Weimar-era vocal group—the Comedian Harmonists—split apart by the rise of Nazism.

Another music-themed hit, Here Lies Love, is making its Broadway debut after successful Off-Broadway and international performances. With music by David Byrne and Fatboy Slim, the show, which tells the story of Imelda and Ferdinand Marcos’s rise and fall in the Philippines, is more immersive disco dance party than traditional musical. Audience members are surrounded by actors in the theater, which has been transformed to look like a club.

Off-Broadway wonders

<i>Blue Man Group</i>

Blue Man Group

Courtesy of Broadway Collection

While Broadway theaters have a seating capacity of at least 500 people, off-Broadway theaters generally seat from 100 to 499 people, allowing producers more flexibility to host an array of experimental shows. One famous example of an especially long-lasting and popular off-Broadway sensation is Blue Man Group, known for its distinctive combination of comedy, music, and performative art. In the off-Broadway revival of Little Shop of Horrors, Corbin Bleu, currently starring as Seymour, must struggle to meet the appetite of his carnivorous plant Audrey II (represented by a growing set of puppets).

Prestigious performing arts

Broadway and off-Broadway aren’t the only world-class performing arts in New York City. For a truly unforgettable evening, head to the Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center. The current 2023–24 season features a spectacular lineup with something for everyone, including popular revivals of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly and Mozart’s The Magic Flute, along with contemporary dramas like Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking and Anthony Davis’s X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X.

An equally storied Manhattan tradition is the New York City Ballet. Established in 1948 by George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein, the Company is celebrating its 75th Anniversary Season this year at Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch Theater.

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