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, Original
90
Critics
93
14 reviews
Members
89
113 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.... Read more

'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.

 

Open run

Avenue Q

Members say: Clever, Funny, Entertaining, Hilarious, Raunchy
88
Critics
90
8 reviews
Members
88
3369 reviews

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

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: Ambitious, Absorbing, Original, Edgy, Clever
87
Critics
84
15 reviews
Members
87
564 reviews

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

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.

 

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.... Read more

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 Mar 31

Spamilton

Members say: Clever, Funny, Entertaining, Great singing, Hilarious
86
Critics
79
20 reviews
Members
87
182 reviews

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

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.

 

Previews start Feb 14

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

Members say: Intense, Masterful, Absorbing, Must see, Edgy
86
Critics
88
10 reviews
Members
83
5 reviews

Tooting Arts Club's hit immersive staging of Sondheim and Wheeler’s iconic musical thriller comes from Harrington’s, London’s oldest working pie and mash shop, to the Barrow Street Theatre.
... Read more

Sweeney Todd, whose real name is Benjamin Barker, uses his new alias to resume work in his barber shop above Mrs. Lovett’s struggling pie shop after being wrongfully sentenced to life imprisonment by the corrupt Judge Turpin. After swearing vengeance against the judge that tore his family apart, Todd and Lovett plot a unique plan that helps them both and leads them down a dangerous, thrilling path with deadly consequences.

Instead of a formal theater setting, this production of 'Sweeney Todd' is set inside a 360-degree replica environment of Harrington’s. The action of the performance takes place Downstairs on and around the shop’s service counter and four nearby tables. While there is no formal audience participation, certain seats in the shop are very close to the action. Pie and mash is served beginning one hour prior to each show; the last pies are served 30 minutes prior to the performance.

 

Ends Jan 29

The Dork Knight

Members say: Funny, Clever, Entertaining, Great acting, Absorbing
86
Critics
84
10 reviews
Members
87
71 reviews

Abingdon Theatre Company presents Jason O’Connell’s solo show tracing the ups and downs of his life through the prism of his love/hate relationship with the 'Batman' movies.... Read more

A look into one man’s obsession with movies about another man’s obsession with dressing up like a rodent and punching people. Featuring numerous “cameos” from the bat-voices in O’Connell’s head, 'The Dork Knight' is a trip down cinematic memory lane that begins with the 1989 Michael Keaton blockbuster, and strolls past George Clooney’s bat-nipples, Christian Bale’s bat-growl, and a couple of iconic Jokers en route to (sigh) Batfleck. O’Connell’s intimate memoir explores how one’s inner geek can guide and inspire in good times and in bad. Note: 'The Dork Knight' contains adult language and themes, and is not recommended for anyone under age 13.

 

Open run

The Imbible: A Spirited History of Drinking

Members say: Clever, Entertaining, Funny, Intelligent, Delightful
84
Critics
84
14 reviews
Members
84
51 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.... Read more

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

Cagney

Members say: Entertaining, Delightful, Great acting, Clever, Great singing
84
Critics
77
50 reviews
Members
84
325 reviews

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

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."

 

Ends Jan 29

I Like It Like That - A Musical

Members say: Great singing, Entertaining, Funny, Delightful, Great staging
84
Critics
78
8 reviews
Members
85
128 reviews

Puerto Rican Traveling Theater presents a new tuner about family and music in '70s New York, starring salsa sensation Tito Nieves. Part of Teatro Fest NYC 2016.
... Read more

The Rodriguez family is living in New York City’s El Barrio in the early 1970s, when music was a proud expression of Latino culture amidst neighborhood volatility and social activism. The story centers on patriarch Don Roberto, who tries to instill good values in his children, and faces down the grit and chaos of the era. He works hard to hold his family together, and all the while music and imagination keep their souls afloat. Featuring classic songs by Tito Puente, Eddie Palmieri, Willie Colón, Héctor Lavoe, Rubén Blades, Johnny Pacheco, Pete El Conde, La Lupe, and others. Mostly in Spanish with English supertitles.

 

Open run

Stomp

Members say: Entertaining, Clever, Original, Delightful, Great staging
84
Critics
87
8 reviews
Members
84
653 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.... Read more

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

Blue Man Group

Members say: Entertaining, Clever, Funny, Original, Quirky
84
Critics
78
3 reviews
Members
84
772 reviews

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

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.”

 

Ends Mar 26

The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart

Members say: Clever, Entertaining, Quirky, Delightful, Enchanting
82
Critics
81
19 reviews
Members
83
33 reviews

The McKittrick Hotel (home of the immersive spectacle 'Sleep No More') presents the New York premiere of the National Theatre of Scotland's transporting, music-filled folk-theater fable.
... Read more

The Heath, the McKittrick Hotel’s bar and music venue, is transformed into a high-spirited Scottish Pub for 'The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart,' featuring the Scottish original cast. The title character is an uptight academic who specializes in Scottish ballads and finds herself coming face-to-face with the Devil. The show is written in rhyming verse and unfolds among and around the audience, using live music to weave its lyrical and enchanting story throughout the intimate setting. Tickets include select drinks and eats. 

 

Ends Feb 19

The Tempest (St. Ann's Warehouse)

Members say: Great acting, Ambitious, Great staging, Absorbing, Masterful
82
Critics
80
21 reviews
Members
84
16 reviews

St. Ann's Warehouse presents the final installment of Donmar Warehouse's trilogy of all-female Shakespeare productions set in a women’s prison. Directed by Tony nominee Phyllida Lloyd
and featuring Harriet Walter.... Read more

After being exiled for decades to a fantastical island, Prospero unleashes a churning storm to shipwreck the brother who stole his throne. But bitter revenge is upended by newfound love in Shakespeare's classic romance. St. Ann’s has been a proud home for this trilogy, which has ignited a cultural and social conversation about gender, equality, and aspiration on both sides of the Atlantic, as it empowers women to play Shakespeare roles normally reserved for men.