Since I’ve seen pretty much every show that’s played on Broadway for the last decade, I’ve got lots of opinions on which shows I’d want to pay to see again.

I also like to think that since I’ve seen over 500 Broadway shows, and am a trained actress, I’ve got great taste when it comes to recommending shows to my friends.

Seeing a Broadway show while visiting NYC is a real treat, so the last thing you’d want is to pick the wrong show to splurge on because let’s face it, tickets are expensive these days!

I’ve created this rundown giving tips on some of the best shows on Broadway, as well as some of the most popular ones, in order to help you make the most out of your time visiting Broadway!

Best Shows on Broadway for Families 

best broadway shows for families

Lion King

The Lion King has been running for over a decade and is still selling out most nights.

It’s one of the best shows on Broadway to take children to, especially since they’ve likely seen the film and will be mesmerized as the beloved characters come to life as giant puppets.

Truthfully, as an adult, I was blown away by the creativity of the show, though wouldn’t pay to sit through it again.

If you want a theater experience without a noisy audience distracting you, head to another show.

Seating Tip: For the most magical experience, book central aisle seats in the Orchestra. They’ll be a bit more expensive, but totally worth it for the first number (trust me!).

Run Time: 2 hours and 30 minutes, including one intermission.

Age Restrictions: No children under 2 will be allowed in the theater. This show is recommended for ages 6 and up, though my nephew saw the tour at age 2 and was instantly obsessed, so use your best judgment on if your child can sit silently during the full show.


Aladdin

Aladdin makes the list purely because there’s limited options for families with kids, and it has a few delightful moments.

Compared to some of the other Disney shows I’ve caught over the years, I found this show to be the most disappointing Disney production.

The story line has changed a bit from the film, and it felt like they used their entire budget on the costumes, which are stunning, but didn’t put enough into building a truly magical set.

Seating Tip: Sit in the Front Mezzanine for this show. With all the fun choreography and a special “magic” moment or two during the show, you’ll have a much better view from this angle.

Run Time: 2 hours and 30 minutes, including one intermission.

Age Restrictions: Kids 2 and older are allowed in, however the show is recommended for ages 6 and up.


Wicked

Since it’s the pre-story to The Wizard of Oz, it’s ideal that you’ve all seen the film to understand plot points and some jokes, but overall you won’t be too lost if you haven’t seen the movie.

I’ve seen Wicked a handful of times, including the first year it came out with the original cast, and most recently in 2019, and the shows held up beautifully.

Seating Tip: The Gershwin is quite large, but even at the back of the Orchestra I’ve had a spectacular view.

Run Time: 2 hours and 45 minutes, including one intermission

Age Restrictions: Kids under 5 won’t be allowed in the theater, though the recommended age is 8 and up.


Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

If you’re a Harry Potter fan or have someone in your party who is, this is the show to see.

The storyline follows the children of the original characters as they have their own adventures at Hogwarts.

Cursed Child is absolutely magical and will leave even people who aren’t big HP fans in awe.

Seating Tips: As much as I adore the Mezzanine, this is one show where being in the Orchestra adds a bit of extra magic (you’ll understand why when you go).

Run Time: Three and half hours with one intermission

Age Restriction: Recommended for children age 8 and up. An adult must accompany kids under 15.

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Best Shows on Broadway for Adults

best shows on broadway

Chicago

Not gonna lie, it took me ages to Chicago, but once I was there, I had the best time!

The part of Roxie Hart is constantly rotating between celebrities and just genuine triple threats, so it may depend on who’s in the cast when you go, but so far none of my theater friends ever complain about a weak performance from this show.

This show is a great date night choice, or last-minute snag at TKTS.

Seating Tip: There isn’t a bad seat in this house. I’ve seen this show from both the back of the Orchestra, and in the Premium Orchestra.

Both views were excellent! Friends have told me the Mezzanine is also a solid a choice.

Run Time: 2 hours and 30 minutes, including one intermission.

Age Restrictions: Kids under 4 won’t be admitted, but let’s face it, this show is more of a PG-13 vibe.


Hadestown

Hadestown isn’t for everyone, but it’s one of my favorites from the season it opened (it also won the Tony that year).

If you want to see a unique show, based on Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, with hauntingly beautiful music, this is the show for you.

Local’s Tip: The bathroom line gets long here. I always run outside and across the street to the bar. They’re great about letting you order a drink while you run to the bathroom.

It’s a win-win. You get a bathroom with no line and a cheaper cocktail than you’d have had at the theater. Just keep track of time so you don’t miss the beginning of the first act.

Seating Tip: I’ve seen this show from both the Rear Orchestra and Front Mezzanine. Front Mezzanine wins hands down!

Run Time: 2 hours and 30 minutes, including one intermission.

Age Restrictions: Leave anyone 4 and under at home. I’d say bring age 10 and above.


The Phantom of the Opera

The Phantom of the Opera will always hold a special place in my heart, because it was the very first show I saw when I was 6.

After seeing it again a few months ago, for the first time in like a decade, it’s definitely a lot darker than I remembered it being.

I’d say unless your child is super obsessed with the soundtrack (like I was), you’ll probably want to wait until they’re in their teens to see it.

The production itself is still in wonderful shape, despite having run for over 33 years now!

I’d casually go see this show any day of the week and be happy, though I’d definitely leave the kids at home for this one.

Fair warning, the show’s just announced that it’s closing in early 2023, so run to see this Broadway classic if you haven’t seen it yet!

Seating Tip: I’ve sat in Premium Orchestra and Rear Orchestra for this show and had a great time in both locations.

Run Time: 2 hours and 30 minutes, including one intermission.

Age Restrictions: Kids under 4 can’t enter the theater, but I’d avoid bringing kids under the age of 10.


Moulin Rouge: The Musical

If you’re looking for a really fun night out, head to Moulin Rouge.

It’s a bit different than the film, but just as extravagant and fun. Get there early to check out the pre-show dancing.

This is a great date night show, or one to do for a girls’ night. I’d avoid seeing it with family, just because it’s obviously a sexy show, and you don’t want to kill the vibe wondering how the jokes are landing with your parents.

Seating Tip: I saw this show from the Rear Mezzanine and had a wonderful view. I really don’t think there’s a bad seat in the house for this one!

Run Time: 2 hours and 45 minutes, including one intermission.

Age Restrictions: This a PG-13 type of show, though the official policy is that anyone under the age of 4 won’t be admitted.



Hamilton

Hamilton created a cultural phenomenon back in 2016 when it transferred to Broadway after playing to sold-out crowds Off-Broadway at The Public Theater.

These days, tickets are easier to come by, but you’ll still want to book tickets ahead of time to guarantee being in the “room where it happens.”

If you’re willing to risk it, play the daily lottery for your chance to win $10 front row seats. 

Fair warning though, it’s a hard one to win.

Back when the show first transferred, it took me about six months of playing pretty much every single day to finally win.

It was totally epic, because it was right before it won all the Tony Awards that year, and I got to see the original cast. 

Since then, I’ve been back to take my mom to see it, and even though it’s not the original cast, it’s still a phenomenal show. 

In fact, I actually preferred the actor who played Burr the second time around. He found depth in places that hadn’t been so well explored the first time I saw it. 

Seating Tip: I’ve seen this show from both the front row lottery seats, and the back of the Premium Orchestra section.

Both views were fabulous. The main thing I’d aim for here is being on an aisle.

The bathrooms at this theater are quite small, so the line builds up fast! 

Run Time: 2 hours and 55 minutes, including one intermission.

Age Restrictions: Even though kids over 5 are allowed in, this is another show I’d recommend for at least age 10 and up.


MJ: The Musical

This show follows Michael Jackson during the creation of his 1992 Dangerous World Tour, and is meant to be fantastic.

MJ is currently at the top of my Broadway wish list for when I return to the city from Europe.

All my friends said the performers and choreography have blown away them.

Seating Tip: Go for the mezzanine for this show in order to fully appreciate the magnificent choreography.

Run Time: 2 hours and 30 minutes, including one intermission

Age Restriction: The show is suggested for ages 8 and up, kids under 4 won’t be admitted.



A Strange Loop

I saw A Strange Loop right before it won all the Tonys this year.

My friend and I both assumed it wouldn’t live up to all the hype our fellow Broadway fanatics were giving it, but let me tell you, it’s one of the most layered original musicals to play on Broadway in the last decade.

It’s definitely not a show to see with young kids, but if you want to see something totally original and woke, this is the best show on Broadway to catch!

Seating Tip: I’m all about the Center Front Mezzanine for this show. The choreography and set are all amazing.

The side of the Mezzanine is also okay, but I have friends who said the sound mixing doesn’t quite hit as well on the extreme sides.

Run Time: 1 hour and 40 minutes, with no intermission.

Age Restrictions: This is another PG-13 level show that will officially allow anyone over 4 into the theater.



Into the Woods

Okay, so I haven’t seen this production of Into the Woods yet, but all my theater friends have been absolutely raving about how spectacular it is.

If you get the chance to see it, I’d suggest getting those tickets.

This Stephen Sondheim classic, based around fairy tale classics, has a bunch of notable actors, and the book is fantastic (Ive seen other productions of the show).

Seating Tip: I’m a total Front Mezzanine girl, especially in this theater, but honestly, I’d sit in any section if it meant scoring tickets to this popular musical.

Run Time: 2 hours and 45 minutes, with one intermission.

Age Restrictions: Leave the little children at home. I’d say this is for ages 8 and above, though anyone over 4 will be officially okay entering.



The Music Man

If you’re into Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster, you’ll want to see this show specifically to see them shining bright.

Overall, The Music Man was a fun couple hours, but I’ve got to admit I was disappointed with parts of the production compared to other shows this director and production team have done in the past, especially considering how expensive tickets are for this show.

That said, all the actors are amazing, and the choreography is fun. So if it’s a show you’re dying to see, you’ll have a good time. 

Fair warning if you’re an avid theater goer who gets annoyed by audiences who don’t behave well, you’ll likely get annoyed.

When I was there, we had a drunk bachelorette party next to us that was constantly talking, moving around, and on their phones. The ushers did their best to at least keep them off the phones, but it was really distracting.

In fact, a lot of the audience was chatting back and forth to each other and had loud drinks and candies, and according to about ten other friends who have seen this, they’ve had the same complaint.

Seating Tip: For this show, I was in Rear Mezzanine since it was the only affordable section. With all the dancing, it was the perfect view versus the Orchestra where I don’t think you’d be able to appreciate the choreography as much.

Run Time: 2 hours and 25 minutes, including one intermission.

Age Restrictions: Recommended for children ages 6 and up. Children under the age of 4 are not permitted.


Funny Girl

This is another show that I haven’t seen yet, mainly because all my friends told me it was massively disappointing when it opened, especially for the price of the tickets.

Rumor has it the understudy was way better than the original lead actress, so truthfully, I was hoping to score a ticket when the understudy was on and just wasn’t in town the days she was scheduled.

Recently, the original lead actress left the production and was replaced by Lea Michele, a more well-known Broadway star, whose performance left critics raving!

Now I’m really dying to snag a ticket the next time I’m in town.

Seating Tip: Personally, I’d veer toward Front Mezzanine if budget wasn’t an issue, but with prices so steep, I’ll probably end up in Rear Mezzanine or wherever the rush seats get assigned.

Run Time: 2 hours and 50 minutes including one intermission.

Age Restrictions: I’d say 10+ is ideal for this show. Children under the age of 4 are not permitted.


The Book of Mormon

With Matt Stone and Trey Parker of South Park fame as its creators, it’s no wonder that The Book of Mormon is still one of the funniest shows on Broadway.

Basically, the show follows two naïve Mormon boys as they’re sent to Africa to convert the locals to Mormonism.

This show isn’t for anyone who takes offense easily. I was invited to one of its early preview performances when it first came to Broadway and the entire row in front of me left mid-performance because they were offended by one song in the first act (when you see it you’ll know which one). 

Since then, I’ve been back two other times, and the show still is just as funny as when it opened.

It’s still one of my favorite choices when I’m taking out-of-town friends to see their first Broadway show. 

Seating Tip: Like most shows, I’m all about the Front Mezzanine, though the front bit of the Rear Mezzanine also has a magnificent view.

Run Time: 2 hours and 30 minutes with no intermission.

Suggested Age: This is definitely a PG-13 level show, though officially anyone over the age of 4 is allowed. 


Six: The Musical

I saw Six on the London’s West End, but assuming the Broadway version is similar, this is a fun and quick show to catch.

It follows the six ex-wives of King Henry VIII as they take the audience through their lives and relationship with the King via several catchy pop songs.

It’s not something I’d spend a ton of money to see, but if you can score an affordable ticket, it’ll make for a fun night that leaves at least one song stuck in your head.

Seating Tip: Go for either Front Mezzanine or Orchestra for this show.

Run Time: 80 minutes, with no intermission.

Suggested Age: Recommended for ages 10 and up. Children under the age of 4 are not permitted.

Best Off-Broadway Theaters to Keep an Eye On

the public theater off broadway 2

Since the shows running Off-Broadway are constantly changing, it’s best to keep an eye on the schedules for these theaters and production companies. 

I’ve been seeing shows at these spots for the last decade, and in some cases prefer their selection to what ends up on Broadway. 

  • The Public Theater
  • St Anne’s Warehouse
  • The Park Avenue Armory
  • 54E59
  • Cherry Lane Theater
  • Minetta Lane Theater
  • Company XIV
  • Punchdrunk
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FAQ’s

fancy broadway dress code 2

How do I choose the best seats at the theater?

A lot of the time, seating really comes down to personal preference and affordability. I love being in the Front Mezzanine because it’s generally the best way to view the production as a whole, since you can get a clear view of the choreography, staging, and set design.

How to get cheap Broadway tickets?

Broadway shows tend to be quite expensive, so if you want to see a popular show book early on the show’s official website (never through Broadway.com) to score tickets in the cheapest section. If you’re last minute, try playing the shows lottery or rushing their show (depending on what their policy is). For tips, check out my full article on how to score the cheapest tickets to Broadway shows.

How far in advance should I get to the theater?

Since your seats are reserved, there’s no reason to get to the theater super early. Doors open 30 minutes prior to a production, and I’ll normally aim to arrive about fifteen minutes before the show starts. This way I can hit the bathroom, grab a drink if i want one, and settle into my seat without a big wait for the show to start.

What to do I wear to a Broadway Show?

These days, unless you’re going to an Opening Night, you can be fairly casual, though you’ll still want to look put together. Check out my article on “What to Wear to a Broadway Show” for all my tips and tricks to dress for a night at the theater.

Final Thoughts

Casual Broadway Dress Code 2

I hope this has helped you find the best show on Broadway to see while you’re in NYC.

Since shows are constantly opening and closing, I’ll do my best to see as many as possible to keep this page as up-to-date as possible.

Let me know in the comments below if there’s a show I’ve missed that you think needs a mention on the list!












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