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Whether it’s your first time here or your 100th, you can’t go wrong with a Broadway show. Catching a play or musical on Broadway is one of the best things to do in NYC, and you’ll find shows for all ages and interests.
From classics like The Phantom of the Opera and Chicago to newer shows like Six and Beetlejuice, there are so many incredible productions to choose from. If you don’t like musicals, you can find critically acclaimed Broadway plays, and if you need something you can take the kids to, there are lots of family-friendly shows.
Whenever we visit New York City, we try to see a show, and so far, we’ve seen Aladdin, Chicago, The Lion King, The Phantom of the Opera, and Wicked. We’re never disappointed when we visit Broadway since everything from the acting, singing, and dancing to the set design and costumes is fantastic.
In this guide, I’ll share the 15 best Broadway shows, so keep reading if you want to watch an amazing production. Also, if you’re not picky about which show you see, don’t forget that you can find discount Broadway tickets at the TKTS Pavilion in Times Square.
1. Wicked, one of the most well-known Broadway shows
Wicked is one of the most successful Broadway shows that puts a new spin on an old classic. If you like The Wizard of Oz, I recommend Wicked since it follows the story of the witches of Oz. The story takes place before Dorothy arrives in the Land of Oz and focuses on two witches and their complicated friendship.
We’ve seen this show, and I can see why it’s one of the most famous Broadway musicals. It’s also something you can see with kids, although I don’t recommend it for younger children.
- Location: Gershwin Theatre
- Price: $140+
2. Hamilton, the best historical musical show on Broadway
Hamilton has become a national sensation, but if you haven’t seen it on Broadway, you’re missing out. The show tells the story of the Founding Fathers of the USA, specifically Alexander Hamilton, the country’s first Secretary of the Treasury.
Not only that, but it’s a completely fresh take on history, with a hip-hop flavor. The story is sung and rapped, and the wordplay is super impressive.
Ever since it premiered in New York in 2015, Hamilton has become one of the most popular Broadway musicals, and critically acclaimed, with eight awards, including a Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
- Location: Richard Rodgers Theatre
- Price: $176+
3. The Lion King, one of the best Broadway shows for families
The Lion King is another Broadway show that we’ve seen, and I highly recommend it. Not only is it one of the best things to do in NYC with kids, but it’s a great musical for those who grew up watching this Disney classic.
The costumes and giant puppets in this show are incredible, and it’s really like watching the movie come to life before your eyes. The musical is a bit different from the film, but it’s still quite similar and one of the best Broadway shows for families.
Also, it’s Broadway’s third longest-running show and its highest-grossing production in history, so if you want to see it, I recommend getting your ticket in advance.
- Location: Minskoff Theatre
- Price: $125+
4. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a Broadway show in NYC for all ages
If you’re a Harry Potter fan, you’ll love Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. This Broadway show follows the story of Harry Potter’s son, Albus, and it has all the spells, potions, and magic you’d expect. In fact, the special effects in this show are amazing and really immerse you in the world of wizards and witches.
This is the best Broadway play for Potterheads thanks to its nostalgia factor, but it will also delight the younger crowd. So, if you’re looking for a family-friendly show, this is a great option.
- Location: Lyric Theatre
- Price: $69+
5. Aladdin, another great show on Broadway for kids
Aladdin is another Disney movie come to life onstage, and it’s one of the Broadway shows we’ve seen. It’s one of the most colorful and energetic productions on Broadway, with elaborate sets, fabulous costumes, and the songs you remember from the 1992 film, as well as some new ones.
Aladdin, Princess Jasmine, Jafar, the genie, and the rest of this cast of characters are perfect, and you’ll even see the flying magic carpet. The musical does an awesome job of transporting you to a different world, and it’s among the best Broadway shows for families, so don’t miss out.
- Location: New Amsterdam Theatre
- Price: $65+
6. The Phantom of the Opera, one of the best Broadway shows of all time
The Phantom of the Opera is another Broadway musical that we’ve seen, and it’s the longest-running show in Broadway history. This production is by the legendary composer Andrew Lloyd Webber and tells the story of an opera singer and a mysterious “phantom” at the Paris Opéra House.
If you love drama, romance, and musical theater, then The Phantom of the Opera won’t disappoint. It has seven Tony Awards under its belt, as well as seven Drama Desk Awards and five Outer Critics Circle Awards. Also, as one of the most famous Broadway musicals ever, it has tons of rewatch value, so even if you saw it many years ago, I still recommend it.
While I think that seeing this show is one of the best things to do in New York City as a couple, it’s also suitable for kids 10 and up.
- Location: Majestic Theatre
- Price: $74+
7. Chicago, the longest-running musical show on Broadway
Another widely successful and well-known show on Broadway is Chicago. This musical takes you back to the Windy City during the 1920s when jazz was all the rage. This means you’re in for quite a show, with snappy musical numbers, flashy costumes, and world-class dancing.
We’ve seen this show, and it’s one of the most engaging Broadway musicals we’ve ever attended. That said, it deals with adult topics, so it’s not the most family-friendly show. Even so, it’s Broadway’s second longest-running production, so if you’re looking for things to do in NYC at night, I recommend going to see it!
- Location: Ambassador Theater
- Price: $75+
8. Come From Away, a touching Broadway show based on a true story
On a more serious note, Come From Away is one of the most touching Broadway plays in New York, and it’s based on a true story. The show is about a group of 7,000 air passengers who become stranded in a small town in Newfoundland due to the 9/11 attacks.
You may hesitate about adding Come From Away to your Broadway show list, but this play is very heartwarming and focuses on the good in people. It’s the most successful Canadian musical on Broadway, with nine theater awards and a Grammy nomination for Best Musical Theater Album.
In other words, it’s a moving story that will reignite your faith in humanity, with some humor and lightheartedness thrown in.
- Location: Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre
- Price: $100+
9. Hadestown, another one of the best shows on Broadway
Hadestown is a Broadway musical that you might not know about, but it’s an awesome show, especially if you love Greek mythology. More specifically, Hadestown is a version of the Greek story of Orpheus and Eurydice, two lovers who have to navigate the underworld together.
This tragic love story keeps you entertained with moving musical numbers and a range of characters, including Hades, Persephone, Hermes, and the Greek Fates. So, if you’re looking for a show in Manhattan that has a little bit of everything, Hadestown is a safe bet.
- Location: Walter Kerr Theatre
- Price: $69+
10. Moulin Rouge, one of the best shows on Broadway for adults
Moulin Rouge is one of the best Broadway shows of all time, so if you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend it. The story takes place in Paris at the turn of the 20th century and focuses on the relationship between a young man and a cabaret performer.
This extravagant show has adult themes, but it also touches on love, social class, and self-worth. Plus, the cast is energetic, and the score is full of popular songs you’ll want to sing along to. With an impressive 10 Tony Awards, Moulin Rouge is one of the most famous Broadway musicals, so it’s worth seeing.
- Location: Al Hirschfeld Theatre
- Price: $69+
11. Anastasia, one of the top family-friendly shows on Broadway
Anastasia is the classic tale of an orphaned working-class girl who gets tricked by two conmen who notice that she looks just like the dowager empress’ long-lost granddaughter. Anastasia can’t remember who her true family is, so she agrees to follow the conmen to Paris and sneak into the Romanov aristocracy.
Little do they know, Anastasia is indeed Grand Duchess Anastasia, the youngest daughter of Tsar Nicholas II. This Broadway play retells the story of Anastasia’s journey to fulfill her true destiny.
- Location: Broadhurst Theatre
- Price: $95+
12. The Book of Mormon, the best comedic Broadway show in New York City
If you love comedy and satire, or you’re familiar with the work of the writers of South Park, you’ll thoroughly enjoy The Book of Mormon.
This Broadway musical chronicles the journey of two Latter-Day Saints missionaries who travel to Uganda, where their Bible-thumping message doesn’t quite connect with the locals. What ensues is a comedic plot with clever writing and social commentary.
The Book of Mormon’s spot-on satire and original score have earned the show 19 theater awards, making it a huge hit. As long as you don’t mind mildly offensive jokes about religion, this is one of the funniest musicals on Broadway.
- Location: Eugene O’Neill Theatre
- Price: $79+
13. Beetlejuice, a popular fantasy-horror Broadway show
Remember the 1988 Beetlejuice movie starring Alec Baldwin, Winona Ryder, and Michael Keaton? Well, it’s now onstage at the Marquis Theatre in New York. This fantasy-horror musical is one of the newer theater shows in NYC, but it retains the same charm as the original film.
With its memorable characters, humor, and hopeful message, Beetlejuice is one of the best Broadway shows for families. It’s perfect for young and old audiences, so I recommend it whether you’re traveling with kids, your partner, or friends.
- Location: Marquis Theatre
- Price: $132+
14. Radio City Christmas Spectacular, the best Broadway musical for the holiday season
The Radio City Christmas Spectacular is a must-see if you’re celebrating Christmas in NYC. This is the biggest show of the year for the Rockettes, a world-famous dance team that puts on some of the best performances.
The Christmas Spectacular has been a New York City tradition since 1933 and features the Rockette’s impressive high kicks, synchronized dance moves, and traditional holiday songs. The 90-minute show includes a living nativity scene, a rendition of The Nutcracker, and old favorites like “Let it Snow,” “Jingle Bells,” and “Auld Lang Syne.”
- Location: Radio City Music Hall
- Price: $91
15. Six, another top musical show on Broadway
Six is a British musical playing on Broadway that provides a creative perspective on history. It’s an entertaining mix of European royalty in the Middle Ages and modern-day style.
Hear from King Henry VIII’s six wives, who each share their personal stories through pop music performances. With a great score and glitzy costumes, this Broadway musical is much more exciting than your high school history class!
As you follow the stories of Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anna of Cleves, Katherine Howard, and Catherine Parr, you’ll learn something new while being thoroughly entertained.
- Location: Brooks Atkinson Theatre
- Price: $174+
That’s it for the best Broadway shows in NYC! I’m sure you’ll find a Broadway play or musical to suit your interests, but if you have any questions, feel free to leave me a comment. I’d also love to hear about your experience seeing any of these musicals.
Enjoy the show!