Beyond Broadway: A Tourist's Guide

Show-Score | By Raven Snook

Experience NYC theater like a true New Yorker.

"Avenue Q" at New World Stages "Avenue Q" at New World Stages | By Carol Rosegg

It's easy to get blinded by the lights of Broadway! And while there are many fantastic productions on the Great White Way, New York City is home to a slew of smaller theaters where you can catch incredible shows from emerging to established artists. Often, these high-quality productions are new works. Many may be edgier than what you'll find on Broadway, but they're just as entertaining! The choices run the gamut from hilarious improv to groundbreaking musicals to immersive spectacles. 


See it first: 'Hamilton' actually started Off-Broadway as did classics like 'Rent' and 'A Chorus Line,' so you may be catching the next big thing. 


Bonus: Tickets to these shows tend to be significantly cheaper than Broadway!

Open run

Then She Fell

Members say: Absorbing, Enchanting, Ambitious, Clever, Edgy
90
Critics
93
14 reviews
Members
89
136 reviews

An immersive theater experience that involves a hospital ward, the writings of Lewis Carroll, and just 15 audience members per show out in Brooklyn. Ages 21 and over only.

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'Then She Fell' is a fully immersive, multi-sensory experience in which a small audience explores a dreamscape where every alcove, corner, and corridor has been transformed into a lushly designed world. Inspired by the life and writings of Lewis Carroll, it offers an Alice-like experience for the audience. Audience members can explore the rooms, often by themselves, in order to discover hidden scenes, encounter performers one-on-one, unearth clues that illuminate a shrouded history, use skeleton keys to gain access to guarded secrets, and imbibe elixirs custom designed by one of NYC’s foremost mixologists.

 

Ends Dec 31

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (Tooting Arts Club)

Members say: Great staging, Absorbing, Great singing, Clever, Great acting
88
Critics
85
48 reviews
Members
89
207 reviews

Tooting Arts Club's immersive staging of Sondheim and Wheeler’s iconic musical thriller transfers from London to NYC's Barrow Street Theatre. Now starring Tony nominees Norm Lewis and Carolee Carmello.

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After being wrongfully imprisoned by the corrupt Judge Turpin, escapee Benjamin Barker uses the alias Sweeney Todd to resume work in his barber shop above Mrs. Lovett’s struggling pie shop. He swears vengeance against the judge that tore his family apart, and hatches a plot with Mrs. Lovett that leads them down a dangerous, thrilling path with deadly consequences. Instead of a traditional theater setting, this revival is set inside a 360-degree replica environment of Harrington's Pie & Mash shop. The action takes place downstairs on and around the shop’s service counter and four nearby tables. While there is no formal audience participation, certain seats are very close to the players. Pie and mash is served beginning one hour prior to each performance.

 

Open run

Avenue Q

Members say: Clever, Funny, Entertaining, Hilarious, Raunchy
88
Critics
90
8 reviews
Members
88
3780 reviews

Broadway's 2004 Tony Award winner for Best Musical continues its hilarious, puppet-filled run Off-Broadway at New World Stages.

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This grown-up musical comedy stars a cast of humans and puppets, and tells the timeless story of a bright-eyed college grad named Princeton. When he arrives in the city with big dreams and a tiny bank account, he has to move into a shabby apartment all the way out on Avenue Q. There he meets Kate (the girl next door), Lucy (the slut), Rod (the Republican), Trekkie (the pervert), superintendent Gary Coleman (yes, that Gary Coleman) and other new friends. Together, they struggle to find jobs, dates, and their ever-elusive purpose in life.

 

Open run

Sleep No More

Members say: Absorbing, Ambitious, Edgy, Original, Intense
87
Critics
84
16 reviews
Members
87
662 reviews

A unique award-winning theatrical event: a site-specific Macbeth-meets-Hitchcock performance piece by Britain's Punchdrunk.

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Running at the long-abandoned McKittrick Hotel on the extreme western edge of Chelsea, 'Sleep No More' is an adaptation of Macbeth. This piece of environmental theatre is comprised of an indoor promenade performance in which the audience walks at their own pace through a variety of theatrically designed rooms for up to three hours.

 

Opens Apr 26

Her Opponent

Members say: Thought-provoking, Great acting, Relevant, Clever, Absorbing
86
Critics
-
0 reviews
Members
86
40 reviews

Prismal Productions presents a gender-bending recreation of excerpts from three of 2016’s deeply contentious presidential debates.

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Could experiencing what the two U.S. presidential candidates said and how they said it—but with the genders inverted—cause people to revisit their own personal biases and develop insights or a different perspective? An actor performs the text, gestures, and movements of Hillary Clinton, but as a male Democratic candidate named Jonathan Gordon, and an actress performs the text, gestures, and movements of Donald Trump, but as a female Republican candidate named Brenda King. The experience includes an opportunity for audiences to share their thoughts and impressions in a facilitated discussion immediately following each performance.

 

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.

 

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 May 28

Spamilton

Members say: Clever, Funny, Entertaining, Hilarious, Great singing
85
Critics
79
20 reviews
Members
86
247 reviews

The Triad presents a satirical musical about the biggest hit on Broadway, written and directed by Gerard Alessandrini, the funnyman behind 'Forbidden Broadway.' 

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Get ready to laugh at Gerard Alessandrini's parody of 'Hamilton' and all the fan mania it inspires (including his own). 'Spamilton' stars a young virtuoso cast, with special guest stars like Christine Pedi and other 'Forbidden Broadway' divas. Note: In addition to the ticket price, there is a two-drink minimum per person.

 

Ends May 28

Cagney

Members say: Entertaining, Delightful, Great acting, Great singing, Clever
84
Critics
78
51 reviews
Members
84
440 reviews

'Cagney' follows the actor from his humble beginnings through his rise as a vaudeville song-and-dance man, to his superstardom in Hollywood.

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James Cagney could do it all – a dramatic new musical that follows the life of the legendary James Cagney from the streets of New York to his rise as one of the brightest stars of Hollywood, from a vaudeville song-and-dance man to the cinema's original tough guy. Broadway's Robert Creighton, in the role he was born to play, leads a cast of six who tap dance through a score that blends original music with classic George M. Cohan favorites, including "Give My Regards To Broadway," "Grand Old Flag," and "Yankee Doodle Dandy."

 

Open run

Stomp

Members say: Entertaining, Clever, Original, Great staging, Delightful
84
Critics
87
8 reviews
Members
84
756 reviews

This family-friendly percussion show has been a part of New York's theatre scene since 1994 and uses everyday objects to celebrate the power of rhythm and the sheer joy of banging on things.

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Matchboxes, brooms, garbage cans, Zippo lighters and more fill the stage with energizing beats at 'Stomp,' the inventive and invigorating stage show that's dance, music and theatrical performance blended together in one electrifying rhythm.

 

Open run

The Imbible: A Spirited History of Drinking

Members say: Clever, Entertaining, Funny, Intelligent, Quirky
83
Critics
85
16 reviews
Members
83
64 reviews

Playing in an authentic New York speakeasy, 'The Imbible' sweeps audiences along a 10,000-year journey through history accompanied by craft cocktails and the vocal stylings of The Backwaiters acapella group.

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Sit back and enjoy the music and drinks while Anthony holds forth on the history and science behind alcoholic beverages, traces their economic and political impact on our cultural development, conducts live demonstrations of brewing beer and distilling spirits, and – like any good bartender – keeps his guests laughing throughout the night! Combining Anthony’s encyclopedic knowledge of beverage history and decades of bartending experience with his skills as a storyteller and entertainer, 'The Imbible' treats audiences to a completely original evening of immersive theatre.

 

Open run

Blue Man Group

Members say: Entertaining, Clever, Funny, Quirky, Delightful
83
Critics
76
3 reviews
Members
83
912 reviews

The "blue men's" nonverbal performance explores themes of alienation, depersonalization, and paint. Comedy, music, and paint collide in a circus of imagination.

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Blue Man Group combines music, technology and comedy to create a form of entertainment that defies categorization and appeals to people of all ages. Blue Man Group’s shows have been described by critics as “innovative,” “energetic” and “wildly entertaining.”