Best Bets for Under $50

Show-Score | By Raven Snook

Tickets to these popular shows are always under 50 bucks!

One look at regular Broadway prices and you may worry that you'll need to cash in your 401K in order to afford a night out at the theater. While there are certainly discounts, lotteries, and rush tickets floating around, you want a sure thing. We get it. Luckily, there are lots of wonderful, well-reviewed, and highly scored productions off the beaten Broadway track that save you big bucks without skimping on entertainment. Every show below sells tickets for $50 or less to every single performance. There's no catchthey're not partial view, or just for students, or only when there's a blizzard. And while these productions generally take place at smaller theaters, there are often big names involved. Our current crop includes a hilarious 'Harry Potter' parody ('Puffs'), a critically acclaimed revival of a Eugene O'Neill play ('The Emperor Jones'), and a stage adaptation of 'The Wizard of Oz.'

Opens Apr 30

The Box Show

Members say: Clever, Great acting, Entertaining, Ambitious, Delightful
93
Critics
92
4 reviews
Members
93
37 reviews

One woman. 25 characters. All inside a cupboard! In Dominique Salerno's solo show, the space is limited, but the comedic possibilities are endless. A hit at the 2016 NYC Fringe Festival.

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Each time the cupboard doors fly open, we discover an entirely new reality with a brand-new set of characters. These dynamic scenes include a drunken couple mid-fight in a Las Vegas hotel, the entire Greek Army within the Trojan Horse, a lonely Giantess, a lost Pope, and so many more. With sketch-style characters and musical numbers, 'The Box Show' is a fast-paced and adrenaline-filled roller-coaster ride that plunges its audience into vastly different worlds without ever leaving the physical space of the box. It's a shot glass of theater: potent, highly concentrated, and it gets the job done. 

 

Ends May 10

Show Up

Members say: Entertaining, Clever, Delightful, Hilarious, Funny
93
Critics
88
2 reviews
Members
94
16 reviews

The Peoples Improv Theater presents Peter Michael Marino's bold new adventure: a fully improvised solo show.

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After years of performing his solo shows around the world, Marino grew weary of writing and memorizing them. So he's decided to just show up and create one on the spot. The audience will be the subject of this socially anxious experiment that both spoofs and celebrates the solo show genre. All you have to do is show up.

 

Ends May 20

In The Heights (Harlem Rep)

Members say: Entertaining, Clever, Original, Delightful, Great writing
91
Critics
-
0 reviews
Members
91
556 reviews

Harlem Repertory Theatre revives Lin-Manuel Miranda's Tony Award-winning musical in an intimate and expressionistic new production.

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In the neighborhood of Washington Heights, Usnavi is a bodega owner who looks after the aging Cuban lady next door, and pines for the gorgeous girl working in the neighboring beauty salon. He dreams of winning the lottery and escaping to the shores of his native Dominican Republic. Meanwhile, Nina, his childhood friend, has returned to the neighborhood from her first year at college with surprising news for her parents, who have spent their life savings on building a better life for their daughter. Ultimately, Usnavi and the residents of the close-knit neighborhood get a dose of what it means to be home.

 

Potter changed the world forever. The Puffs were also there. 'Puffs" gives you a front-row seat to the sidelines of the world’s most famous magical journey.

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Some people are born to do great things. Some people change the world. Some people rise from humble beginnings to beat back the forces of darkness in the face of insurmountable odds. 'Puffs' is the story of the people who sit in class next to those people. And badgers. Wayne Hopkins, a boy from New Mexico, finds out he's a wizard. Upon arrival at a certain school of magic, he's placed into the Puffs: a group of well meaning, loyal rejects. Over seven increasingly eventful years, he'll learn magic, get out of the shadow of his world-famous nemesis, and try not to get hurt in what is actually a very dangerous place for unsupervised children. This Off-Broadway comedy transferred from its initial hit run at the People's Improv Theater.

 

Ends May 07

Angel & Echoes

Members say: Great acting, Absorbing, Relevant, Great writing, Thought-provoking
86
Critics
79
15 reviews
Members
87
47 reviews

These two timely one acts tell stories of women devastated by war who find ways to triumph on their own terms. Part of 59E59's annual Brits Off Broadway festival.

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In 'Angel,' Rehana is a young law student who joins the resistance when the town of Kobani is besieged, and quickly discovers that she had a talent for killing. This solo play is inspired by the real-life "Angel of Kobani," a female sniper who held ISIS in check for over a year in war-torn Syria. 

'Echoes,' which played at 2016's Brits Off Broadway festival with a different cast, tells the parallel stories of two women born 175 years apart. One is a student Jihadist from England. The other is a Victorian member of the Fishing Fleet, women who traveled to East Asia to wed the men setting up the Empire. Both are idealists: intelligent adventurers, with strong religious beliefs. And both travel to foreign lands with a mission to impose a system of government upon an unwilling people.

 

Open run

The Infinite Wrench

Members say: Clever, Entertaining, Ambitious, Quirky, Funny
85
Critics
-
0 reviews
Members
85
22 reviews

The New York Neo-Futurists present an ever-changing lineup of short plays, each written by a performer, honed by the ensemble, and randomly collaged with high-energy audience participation.

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After shuttering the long-running 'Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind,' the New York Neo-Futurists are mounting a brand-new weekly series. 'The Infinite Wrench' is a mechanism that unleashes a barrage of two-minute plays for a live audience. Each play offers something different, be it funny, profound, elegant, disgusting, topical, irrelevant, terrifying, or a song; all are truthful and tackle the here and now, inspired by the lived experiences of the performers. With new plays every week, 'The Infinite Wrench' is the Neo-Futurists’ ongoing and ever-changing attempt to shift the conventions of live performance and speak to audiences including those unreached or unmoved by traditional theater.

 

Ends Apr 30

Luft Gangster

Members say: Great acting, Absorbing, Great staging, Great writing, Intelligent
84
Critics
82
7 reviews
Members
84
9 reviews

Nylon Fusion Theatre Company presents this WWII drama based on the true story of U.S. Army Air Corps veteran Sgt. Lou Fowler, the cousin of playwright/star Lowell Byers.

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After bailing out of his crippled B-24 bomber under heavy fire from German forces, waist gunner Lou Fowler is captured by the Nazis. Incarcerated along with other Allied fliers in an inhumane Nazi prison camp, Lou has to heal his own battle injuries as his captors treat him as just another ‘luft gangster’—a term Joseph Goebbels coined as propaganda to convince Germans that all American flyers were criminals released from prison in order to fight in World War II. In a time and place where men on both sides of the war were stripped of all things civilized and reduced to the bare essentials of life, where a single slip of the tongue could mean death, Lou has to rely on his faith to make it out alive. Directed by Tony nominee Austin Pendleton.

 

Ends Sep 09

The Wizard of Oz (Harlem Rep)

Members say: Entertaining, Delightful, Enchanting, Great acting, Great singing
83
Critics
90
3 reviews
Members
82
57 reviews

Harlem Repertory Theatre mounts a one-hour, family-friendly adaptation of the iconic 1939 MGM movie musical about a little girl from Kansas who journeys to the Land of Oz.

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When Dorothy wakes up in a strange land filled with witches and wizards, and munchkins and monkeys, she's charmed but desperate to return home. She sets off on a quest to ask the Wizard for help and along the way befriends a scarecrow without a brain, a tin man without a heart, and a cowardly lion. Journey down the yellow brick road while humming along to memorable songs from the Oscar-nominated film, including "Over the Rainbow," "We're Off to See the Wizard," and "If I Only Had a Brain."

 

Ends May 21

The Emperor Jones

Members say: Great acting, Great staging, Absorbing, Intense, Thought-provoking
83
Critics
85
24 reviews
Members
82
75 reviews

Irish Repertory Theatre revives Eugene O’Neill’s groundbreaking play about the rise and fall of Brutus Jones, a despot who ascends the throne using lies, intimidation, and the politics of fear.

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After breaking out of prison in the U.S., Jones sets himself up as monarch of a Caribbean island. When the Natives rebel after years of exploitation, Jones' journey into darkness becomes a terrifying psychological portrayal of power, fear, and madness. With his demons in heavy pursuit, the Emperor is forced to confront not only the mortal sins of his past but also the depravities against his ancestors—all in search of forgiveness and salvation. Irish Rep last mounted this classic but controversial play in 2009. This production features the same director and designers but a new cast.

 

Opens May 01

Baghdaddy

Members say: Clever, Funny, Entertaining, Thought-provoking, Relevant
82
Critics
85
17 reviews
Members
82
144 reviews

St. Luke's Theater presents a return engagement of this musical satire about a support group for the people who started the Iraq War.

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The show begins in a church basement, where disgraced spies gather for a support group meeting. The action soon shifts to Frankfurt Airport, where a mysterious Iraqi defector claims he built secret bio-weapons labs. At CIA headquarters, our other characters are contending with their own ambitions, rash decisions, inflexible bosses, unrequited affections, and unremitting boredom, when a fax arrives from Germany with a golden opportunity. If the defector's story holds up, it will be the ticket out of the basement and into a corner office. It's all fun and games until the looming cataclysm changes everything. 'Baghdaddy' was previously produced in New York in 2015 under the title 'Who’s Your Baghdaddy?' at the Actors Temple Theatre.

 

Ends Jun 29

Happy Karaoke Fun Time

Members say: Entertaining, Funny, Clever, Hilarious, Delightful
81
Critics
83
2 reviews
Members
81
27 reviews

Under St. Marks presents this troupe of improvisers who create a brand-new, one-act musical at every performance.

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These improvisers make up the scenes, choreography, and original lyrics to karaoke songs you know and love, all based on the title of a musical you shout out. Welcome to opening (and closing) night!

 

Ends Aug 12

A Brief History of Beer

Members say: Entertaining, Delightful, Funny, Clever, Quirky
81
Critics
75
7 reviews
Members
82
24 reviews

Horse Trade presents 'A Brief History of Beer,' an hour-long, drinkeractive, time-travel adventure.

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In this intoxicating comedy, the audience travels through time, from Ancient Sumeria to today, to help their two hops-loving hosts save beer from a mysterious nefarious villain. Wish Experience has been touring the interactive 'A Brief History of Beer' to pubs and theatres around the world since 2013. And yes, beer is consumed!

 

Ends Jun 16

Wild Women of Planet Wongo

Members say: Entertaining, Funny, Quirky, Clever, Delightful
74
Critics
73
11 reviews
Members
74
63 reviews

Go on a wild, immersive ride at the return engagement of this retro sci-fi musical about two astronauts who land on an alien planet of sexy warrior women who’ve never seen men!

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In this loving send-up of '60s B-movies, two astronauts find themselves on an unfamiliar world populated solely by females. Though hesitant at first, the captain finally joins his crewmate in tasting the delicacies of the Wongo Flesh, in his case, the Queen. But sex isn't the only thing the Wongettes have in mind. They are also starving—and have very different plans for their male guests! Show is for ages 21 and up. Each ticket includes a complimentary drink. Standing room only.