Based on the 1910 French novel, 'Le Fantome de l'Opera' by Gaston Leroux, The Phantom of the Opera is Broadway classic in every sense of the word. Broadway's longest running hit, the musical was has wowed critics and audiences alike and won 7 Tony Awards when it first premiered in 1988. With haunting melodies by Broadway maestro Andrew Lloyd Webber and a para-romantic tale that's tragic, beautiful and everything in between, The Phantom of the Opera is a true blue Broadway masterpiece.
Best Broadway Shows in New York City - You Cannot Miss These!
Best Broadway Shows 2020
The Phantom Of The Opera
The Lion King
Based on Disney's 1994 classic of the same name, The Lion King is the perfect musical to watch with the entire family. Featuring music by Elton John, lyrics by Tim Rice and book by Irene Mecchi and Roger Allers, this spectacular production has been playing on Broadway since 1997. The Lion King follows the same basic plot as the movie but brings the Disney magic to stage using a mix of masks and puppetry. With breathtaking production design, beautiful costumes, The Lion King makes for a delightful watch.
Premiering in 2014, Aladdin, based on the classic Disney film, has become one of the most watched shows on Broadway. The musical takes all the elements from the movie and adds the magic of theatre to create a truly breathtaking theatrical production. Aladdin is directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner Casey Nicholaw and boasts stellar production design, lavish sets, and elaborate musical numbers. All the iconic songs from the movie, including A Whole New World, Arabian Nights, One Jump Ahead and more are included!
Winning 11 Tony Awards and the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Hamilton is one of the greatest theatrical success stories of the 21st century. The blockbuster show received critical acclaim upon premiering off-Broadway in 2015 and transferred to Broadway in August of the same year. Hamilton is the story of American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton and employs hip hop, R&B, soul and show tunes to add a distinct touch to the production. Directed by Thoman Kail with music, lyrics and book by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton features masterful theatrical performances and stellar production design.
Based on the classic 2004 movie of the same name, Mean Girls is now on Broadway! The Plastics are back as they bring the bite and drama of an American high school to the big Broadway stage! With the book written by Tina Fey and direction by Casey Nicholaw, Mean Girls is a sharp and outrageously funny comedy for the ages. The basic plot remains the same but the jokes are current and the music an added delight!
To Kill A Mockingbird
Amongst the most iconic tales of the 21st century, To Kill a Mockingbird is now playing on Broadway. Brought to the stage by director Bartlett Sher, this poignant tale of humanity and race premiered on 13th December 2018. Like the book, the play focuses on Atticus Finch, a lawyer in the Deep South, and his preteen daughter Scout. A heinous crime shakes up the entire community and it's now up to Finch to rise above color and defend the accused. Currently, Ed Harris stars as Atticus Finch with Nina Grollman joining him as Scout. Aaron Sorkin has adapted the story for the stage and Scott Rudin has produced it.
Based on the blockbuster animated movie franchise, Frozen is a magical tale of two sisters, Elsa and Anna. The musical follows Elsa as she struggles to find her voice and her sister Anna who must embark on a quest to bring the family back together. Brought to the stage by the creators of the movie, the musical retains the spirit and magic of the original while introducing a couple of new songs to the mix. Featuring iconic songs from the movie, including Let It Go and Do You Want to Build a Snowman, Frozen is the perfect family-friendly musical.
Ain't Too Proud
Based on the story of the legendary 60s band, Temptations, Ain't Too Proud is a masterful combination of stellar storytelling and groovy R&B music. This jukebox musical showcases the colorful 60s in all its glory with flawless outfits, killer dance moves and vocals, and a charismatic story detailing the rise of one of the most influential musical groups of the modern times. Featuring a book by Dominique Morisseau and music and lyrics by The Temptations, Ain't Too Proud is a must-watch for fans of 60s music
A stage musical based on the 1988 film of the same name, Beetlejuice follows a deceased couple as they try and haunt the new inhabitants of their home with the help of an evil bio-exorcist ghost. The musical features music and lyrics by Eddie Perfect and a book by Anthony King and Scott Brown. Beetlejuice is directed by Alex Timbers of Moulin Rouge fame and opened on Broadway in 2018. The hilarious musical is currently playing at the but would be vacating the theatre on 6th June 2020. Owing to its success and popularity, the search for a new home for Beetlejuice is on.
A musical version of the ancient Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice where the former travels to the underworld to save his fiancée Eurydice, Hadestown is about love, passion and everything in between. Directed by Tony nominee Rachel Chavkin, Hadestown is an enchanting, two and a half hour musical that's both lyrically and thematically intense, tackling present-day issues like climate change and individual freedom. The Broadway production opened to rave reviews in 2019 and won eight awards at the 73rd Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Original Score.
The Musical: Based on the iconic 2001 Baz Luhrmann film of the same name, Moulin Rouge premiered on the Broadway stage in July 2019. Often described as one of the greatest love stories of all time, Moulin Rouge features a book by three-time Academy Award winner John Logan. Set in the romantic Montmartre Quarter in Paris, Moulin Rouge is the tale of struggling composer Christian and Satine, the star courtesan who has been promised to the Duke of Monroth. Can this unlikely couple unite under impossible circumstances? The musical extravaganza is directed by multiple award winner Alex Timbers with costumes by Catherine Zuber.
The Tina Turner Musical: After a blockbuster run on West End, Tina-The Tina Turner Musical opened on Broadway in 2019. The jukebox musical follows global superstar Tina Turner and charts her journey to superstardom. Featuring classic hits from her incredible discography, including Proud Mary, River Deep Mountain High, Nutbush City Limits and more, Tina is an ode to a songstress at the height of her power. Watch this poignant musical for the extraordinary journey of a woman who defied all odds to carve a niche for herself in an industry that cares more about looks than actual talent.
West Side Story
One of the most iconic Broadway musicals of the 20th century, West Side Story is back on Broadway after a long break. The original Broadway production was the brainchild of theatre maestros, Stephen Sondheim, Jerome Robbins, Arthur Laurents, and Leonard Bernstein who came together to create an epic musical for the ages. The 2020 production of West Side Story has been brought to life by director Ivo van Hove, choreographer Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker, and designer Jan Versweyveld. The musical is an adaptation of Romeo and Juliet and focuses on two groups with varied ethnic backgrounds clashing with each other.
Arguably the most well-known musical in the world, Chicago has been playing on Broadway since 1996, making it the longest running Broadway show. Set in the 1920s, Chicago boasts spectacular production design, intricately choreographed dance numbers, and a fantastic soundtrack. The plot revolves around two rival vaudevillian murderesses, Velma and Roxie, who are locked up in Cook County Jail. Featuring iconic songs lime Cell Block Tango and All That Jazz, Chicago is a Broadway blockbuster you wouldn't want to miss out on.
The Book Of Mormon
The brainchild of South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker, The Book of Mormon is a brilliant political and social satire laced with black humor, the likes of which Broadway hasn't seen before. The Book of Mormon premiered on Broadway in 2011 and won 9 Tony Awards, including one for Best Musical. The musical follows two missionaries who travel to Uganda to convert local citizens to the Mormon religion. Hilarious hijinks ensue creating an outrageously funny show that'll have you laughing out loud.
Dear Evan Hansen
Winner of six awards at the 71st Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Dear Evan Hansen is a modern musical masterpiece. After an off-Broadway debut in 2016, the poignant musical moved to Broadway in December of the same year. A quintessential American musical exploring the constantly evolving lives and relationships of teenagers. Dear Evan Hansen is a profoundly moving experience, elevated by a beautiful score that won the 2018 Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album.
Jagged Little Pill
Named after the 1995 album by legendary singer and songwriter Alanis Morissette, Jagged Little Pill is inspired by the album's emotional content and themes. The jukebox musical tackles themes of pain, healing and empowerment, set to Morissette's haunting lyrics and score. Jagged Little Pill includes many songs from its namesake album, including Thank U, Uninvited and two original songs written by Morissette, Smiling and Predator. Jagged Little Pill has been written by Diablo Cody of Juno fame.
One of the most beloved shows in Broadway history, Wicked is a must-watch, especially for fans of the fantasy genre, specifically the Wizard of Oz. The iconic musical premiered on Broadway in 2003, making it the sixth-longest running musical on Broadway. Wicked is the tale of two witches, Elphaba, the wicked witch of the West, and Glinda, the good witch of the North. Featuring Broadway classics, including Defying Gravity, For Good, and more, Wicked is pure, unadulterated Broadway fun.
Come From Away
Based on a touching real life story of when 38 planes landed unexpectedly in the small town of Gander after 9/11, Come From Away is a cathartic reminder of human kindness and empathy. The Candian musical, with music, lyrics, and book by David Hein and Irene Sankoff, premiered on Broadway in 2017. With effectively emotional performances and a rousing score, Come From Away is a soul-stirring production that deserves to be watched for its message of human kindness.
How I Learned To Drive
After a critically acclaimed run at off-Broadway's Vineyard Theatre in 1997, How I Learned To Drive is making its much-awaited Broadway debut in Spring 2020. Reuniting the two original stars, Mary-Louise Parker and David Morse, and director Mark Brokaw, this thrilling play is shaping up to be something truly special. How I Learned To Drive follows a young woman who is trying to overcome a sexually abusive relationship she had with her uncle when she was a teenager. Strap in for a rollercoaster of emotions and twisted narrative at the starting 22nd April 2020.
A masterpiece by Noah Haidle, Birthday Cake marks the return of Emmy-winning actress Debra Messing to the stage. The show follows Ernestine as she transitions from a teenager to an adult, with her birthday cakes staying the same. A delicate exploration of how things change constantly around the world but some things remain the same. Directed by veteran Vivenne Benesch and featuring a talented ensemble of actors, Birthday Candles is gentle, touching and emotionally rich. The play is set to open in April 2020.
A Soldier's Play
A powerful tale of race, violence, and hate, A Soldier's Play has been adapted for the stage from Charles Fuller's Pulitzer Prize winning masterpiece. The show stars Tony nominee David Alan Grier and Golden Globe nominee Blair Underwood and is directed by Tony Award winner Kenny Leon. A Soldier's Play is set in 1944 and opens with the murder of a black Sergeant. The show follows a tenacious investigator as he challenges his white leadership to solve the crime.
Girl From The North Country
A Broadway production unlike any other, Girl From The North Country is the artistic coming together of industry legends. Featuring music by Bob Dylan, direction by Olivier Award winner Conor McPherson and stirring performances by a talented ensemble, including Robert Joy and Jeannette Bayardelle. Girl From The North Country is set in 1934 in a post-Great Depression world. The country is in shambles and the Laine family is no different. A series of events on a stormy night leads to an implosion with things spiraling out of control.
Six: The Musical
A fabulous musical about the six wives of Henry VIII, Six the Musical finally allows these overlooked historical figures a chance to tell their stories and step out from the shadow of their infamous spouse. The female cast is backed by an all-female band, creating a powerful celebration of 21st century girl power. Featuring a diverse cast, fantastic score and stellar production design, Six the Musical is shaping up to be the next big thing on Broadway. The musical will begin previews in March 2020.
A quintessential New York comedy about finding love and cocktails is heading back to Broadway with a brand new twist. Musical theatre's most legendary bachelor is now a bachelorette! Company is a smart, contemporary musical that's been given a game-changing makeover for the 2020 audiences. Featuring iconic songs from the original production, including Company, Side by Side, Being Alive and more, this is one musical masterpiece you wouldn't want to miss. Company will begin performances starting March 2020.
Arriving on Broadway in March 2020, Diana is an electrifying musical about the British monarchy's most iconic figure, Princess Diana. Directed by Tony winner Christopher Ashley and written by David Bryan and Joe DiPietro, Diana is shaping up to be a theatrical experience you won't easily forget. The musical follows Diana as she marries Prince Charles and begins one of the most talked about reigns of any monarch. Defying expectations at every turn, Diana fiercely followed her heart to create a lasting legacy.
Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?
An unflinching portrayal of a broken marriage, Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf is making a triumphant return to Broadway this spring after almost 60 years. Starring Tony and Emmy Award winner Laurie Metcalf and stage veteran Rupert Everett, the seminal drama is directed by two-time Tony Award winner Joe Mantello. The drama follows Martha and George, a middle-aged couple, who draws in a younger couple to their alcohol fueled and bitter relationship. Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? will begin performances starting 9th April 2020.
A musical comedy for the entire family, Mrs. Doubtfire is headed to Broadway this spring. Adapted from the 1993 movie starring the legendary Robin Williams, Mrs. Doubtfire is brought to the stage by Karey Kirkpatrick and John O'Farrell. The musical has been directed by four-time Tony Award winner Jerry Zaks with music and lyrics by Wayne Kirkpatrick and Karey Kirkpatrick. The plot revolves around struggling, out-of-work actor Daniel Hillard who'll do anything for his kids, including cross-dressing as their nanny! Mrs. Doubtfire will begin performances starting April 2020.
The classic Neil Simon comedy, Plaza Suite is headed back to Broadway for a limited, 17 week engagement this spring. The play is bringing together stage and screen legends, Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick portraying three different couples tackling issues of love and marriage. Plaza Suite is directed by Tony Award winner John Benjamin Hickey and will begin playing starting April 2020. The play features three acts, each focusing on a particular couple, all set in Suite 719 of Plaza Hotel. A hilarious and often piercing look at marriage and love, Plaza Suite is unmissable.
A thoughtful exploration of mankind's intrinsic desire for revenge and violence, Hangmen is a brilliant black comedy unlike anything else currently on stage. Written by Academy Award winner Martin McDonagh, this play is making its way to New York after wowing audiences and critics alike in London. Hangmen, set in England, 1965, is the tale of Harry Wade, the town's second best executioner. After capital punishment is abolished in English, Harry's life is thrown for a loop. The show takes a dark turn when a despicable stranger begins frequenting Harry's bar. Hangmen opens on 19th March 2020.
Take Me Out
Take Me Out is a startling look at the deep-rooted prejudice still prevalent in the world of sports. Written by Richard Greenberg and directed by Scott Ellis, the play stars Jesse Williams, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Michael Oberholtzer and Patrick Adams in the lead. The show follows Darren Lemming, a star center fielder who comes out as gay. Post his reveal, Darren faces prejudice from both his team and people he thought were his friends. As he faces the challenges of being a gay person of color in a classic American institution, Darren goes through a remarkable journey. Take Me Out will open in April 2020.
The Lehman Trilogy
Playing on Broadway's for a limited 16-week engagement, The Lehman Trilogy is a three act play by Italian playwright Stefano Massini. Based on the true story of the Lehman brothers, this critically acclaimed play is headed to Broadway after a sold-out run on West End. The play is directed by Sam Mendes, who has won an Academy Award, a Tony Award and a Golden Globe for his past work! The Lehman Trilogy beautifully captures western capitalism through the perspective of an immigrant family, making for a riveting play. The show opens on 26th March 2020.
A fascinating journey through American history, centering on a family that never grows old, Love Life is the only collaboration between Alan Jay Lerner and Kurt Weill. The show is directed by Victoria Clark and is set to open off-Broadway on 18th March. The plot is highlighted with vaudevillian acts and showcases some of Weill's most iconic and beautiful songs, including Mr. Right, Progress, Here I'll Stay, and more. Love Life stars Kate Baldwin and Brian Stokes Mitchell in the lead.
Last Stand is the story of 85-year old widower Harry Townsend who lives alone in a lakeside home in Vermont. Despite his sharp wit and mind, Harry is getting old. The show picks up when Harry's son Alan returns home after being away for 18 months. Alan's return brings with an agenda that might not sit well with Harry. Written by George Eastman and directed by Karen Carpenter, Last Stand is a comic and heartwarming portrayal of growing old.
Broadway Shows in New York
Theatre has long been a part of society. It is an art form that has existed from time immemorial and one of the most celebrated theatre districts exist in the heart of New York, on Broadway! An iconic street in New York city, some of the world’s finest actors, directors, composers, producers and set designers put together magical performances that never fail to impress.
Safe to say, Broadway gave birth to modern theatre art in New York. The history of Broadway can be traced back to the late 19th century, when Park Theatre opened to the public with a seating capacity of 2000 people. The first shows that played here were the works of Shakespeare and other notable playwrights. Its popularity led to the rise of many theatres in the same locale, thus bringing about America’s first theatre district. Today the word Broadway is synonymous with some of the biggest stage productions in the world.
Read more about Broadway Shows in New York
Best Broadway Shows (Currently Running)
The selection of shows on Broadway encompass a vast number of themes and each show is a unique representation of what theatre should be. Each show is enjoyable and each of them can be described as one of the best shows on Broadway.
However, that being said, there is a general consensus among reviewers and It has been noted that the best shows on Broadway mostly include a mix of dramas and musicals. Musicals such as Beetlejuice, a brilliant adaptation of the movie and Dear Evan Hansen which features lyrics from La La Land writers are the reigning crown jewels of Broadway. Hamilton by Lin Manuel Miranda is a standout masterpiece of the 21st century. When it comes to drama, The Book of Mormon and Grand Horizons feature stellar acting performances. These are some of the best current Broadway shows and if you wish to watch them, you can find tickets on various websites and apps.
Best Broadway Shows Of All Time
For centuries Broadway has run some of the greatest theatricals ever made. Some of these must see Broadway shows have gone on to inspire movies and inversely some have been inspired by the big screen and have run for decades on Broadway. Musicals such as Hamilton have claimed numerous awards and host sold out shows every week. The Phantom of the Opera is another hit in the theatres and holds the record for longest running musical. Despite musicals being the flavour of Broadway, there are good Broadway dramas such as The Book of Mormon and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child that feature powerful performances.
These shows are highly lauded by critics and reviewers alike. All of these shows are still running on broadway and is a must watch if you are a fan of theatre art. If you were to make a definitive list of top 10 Broadway shows, it would differ from person to person, so whatever list you choose from, you are sure to have a great time.
In no particular order, here’s our pick for the best Broadway shows of all time:
Highest Grossing Broadway Shows
Despite the advancement of technology and widespread usage of the internet, Broadway has thrived. The prime reason it has is due to the critical acclaim its shows recieve, which helps bring in a vast number of viewers from across the globe. Shows such as The Lion King and Wicked have grossed over a billion dollars in ticket sales. They have also attracted millions in audience and have been showcased in theatres across the globe.
Last year was a great one for Broadway, with over 15 shows grossing more than 50 million dollars in ticket sales. It was another stellar year for Hamilton, Lin Manuel Miranda’s masterpiece, which racked up over 150 million dollars in ticket sales. The Lion King also continues its strong run and 2019 marked the 22nd year it has been running on Broadway. It racked up over 110 million dollars in ticket sales. Shubert’s To Kill a Mockingbird was the highest grossing drama in 2019, with the play racking up an astounding 94 million dollars in ticket sales.
How To Get Tickets To The Best Broadway Shows
Apps & Websites
Getting tickets to Broadway shows are quite easy these days with multiple options at your disposal. Perhaps the most hassle free way to get your tickets is through ticketing websites and apps. All it takes is a few taps on your smartphone or a few clicks on your computer and you can get tickets to your favourite shows in a jiffy. Websites such as Headout offers tickets to some of the best shows on Broadway, even when other channels might be sold out. You can also get these tickets for a discount when you book them through sites such as Headout.
The TKTS booth in Times Square is perhaps the best place to get tickets if you’re on a time constraint or have last-minute Broadway plans. They have tickets to the best Broadway shows and you might be able to get them for as much as 50% off! Be warned as there is a huge rush at the booth and you may have to come early to get your tickets.
In Person tickets
If you already have decided which show you want to catch on Broadway and are having a hard time getting tickets through other means, the best way to get your tickets would be at the booking counter at the theatre where the play runs. They often keep some tickets to sell through the counters and are usually some of the best seats in the house.
If you happen to be New York and want to catch a show on the same day, but have not booked your tickets, the best solution is to try and get a hold of Rush tickets. These are tickets to Broadway shows in New York, that are sold on the same day as the day of the show. As they are limited in number, you can expect a big line for these tickets and hence you are advised to go in early. Not to forget, rush tickets are super cheap!
Cancellation Line - h3 A good trick to get Broadway tickets is to head to the ticketing office at the theatre and ask for the tickets that got cancelled. Chances are there will be a certain number of tickets that have been cancelled and you can pick these up for a discounted rate. However, the ticketing office will only release these a few hours prior to the start of the show. Pro tip: Your chances for scoring tickets via cancellation lines increase in case of bad weather
If you are feeling lucky, you can try it out at Broadway lotteries- run by the theatre companies and the theatres where the shows are playing. Almost all of the shows in the city offer their tickets via a live or an online lottery system. Many Off-Broadway shows have also jumped on the lottery bandwagon recently. Shows such as Hamilton, Blue Man group, Dracula, Frankenstein: A New Musical offer tickets on lottery.
NYC City Passes
If you’re a tourist in NYC, a city pass goes a long way. You can avail a host of benefits using this pass. From steals on horse carriage rides to saving time on lines, the sheer advantage of owning a pass is endless. Another exclusive benefit you can avail through your NYC City Pass is a 10% discount on Broadway tickets. They can often cost up to $100 and having an NYC Pass can save you a lot of money. You will, however, need to go to select ticketing partners such as Applause tickets to avail the discount.
Here is a complete guide on How to buy Discounted Broadway Show Tickets.
Choosing The Best Broadway Show - How To Pick The Right Show?
Theatre aficionados will tell you that any show on Broadway is worth the money. This statement might very much be true, however, not everyone has the same propensity to theatre and hence a little research before you attend a show might go a long way. In this section, we aim to do the same and help you select a show.
- Plot: The key to any good show on Broadway is the plot. Almost all of the great shows on Broadway are adaptations or draw inspiration from a movie or a book. If you wish to enjoy some original writing, head to Off-Broadway where you can find great shows written by budding writers.
- Actors: Actors on Broadway are simply brilliant. It is more often than not that you will find the lead in a big Broadway production is a movie or tv star. You can also witness veteran actors taking up very important supporting casts. All in all, the best Broadway shows feature some of the best actors in the world showcasing their range and talent.
- Production: Broadway is known for having brilliant sets that contain unique props and vibrant displays of lights and costumes. When choosing a Broadway show, pick one that has great reviews on its Production.
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Know Before You Head For a Broadway Show
- Arrive early for a show. Make sure you arrive around 20 minutes before the show. Generally Broadway does not usher in audiences once the show begins.
- For the best rates on Broadway shows, purchase your tickets in advance online for additional discounts.
- Travelling by subway is the fastest way to get to any theatre on Broadway. Do not bother taking your car as finding a parking spot could turn into a nightmare.
- Refrain from using cellphones or conversing during the course of the show.
- Wait till the curtain call comes to an end and then make your way towards the exit.
- Read the Playbill kept on your seat for any and everything you need to know about the play you are attending, its cast, production and history.