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!

Opens Mar 01

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

Members say: Great staging, Absorbing, Great singing, Must see, Great acting
94
Critics
88
10 reviews
Members
94
40 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.

 

Open run

Then She Fell

Members say: Absorbing, Enchanting, Ambitious, Clever, Original
90
Critics
93
14 reviews
Members
90
121 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
3470 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
599 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.

 

Ends Apr 15

Georgie: My Adventures with George Rose

Members say: Absorbing, Great acting, Entertaining, Funny, Intelligent
86
Critics
83
27 reviews
Members
86
119 reviews

The NYC premiere of Ed Dixon's solo show about his 20-year friendship with two-time Tony-winning character actor George Rose.... Read more

Over his storied career, Mr. Rose starred on Broadway and in London alongside such stars as Katharine Hepburn, Noel Coward, Richard Burton, and Laurence Olivier. He was last seen on Broadway in the original 1985 production of 'The Mystery of Edwin Drood,' for which he won his second Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical. Ed Dixon examines his longtime friendship with the character actor, their shared love for the stage, and Rose's shocking dark side.

 

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
85
Critics
79
20 reviews
Members
86
199 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.

 

Open run

The Imbible: A Spirited History of Drinking

Members say: Clever, Entertaining, Funny, Intelligent, Delightful
84
Critics
84
14 reviews
Members
84
54 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, Great singing, Clever
84
Critics
78
50 reviews
Members
84
350 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."

 

Open run

Stomp

Members say: Entertaining, Clever, Original, Delightful, Great staging
84
Critics
87
8 reviews
Members
84
677 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, Delightful, Original
84
Critics
78
3 reviews
Members
84
801 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 Apr 23

The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart

Members say: Clever, Entertaining, Quirky, Enchanting, Delightful
83
Critics
81
19 reviews
Members
83
59 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 Mar 05

Life According to Saki

Members say: Clever, Entertaining, Delightful, Intelligent, Great acting
83
Critics
79
23 reviews
Members
84
60 reviews

Inspired by the life of early-20th-century British satirist Hector Hugh Munro, this debut play from children's author Katherine Rundell makes its US premiere after winning the Top Award at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
... Read more

1916. In the trenches of the Battle of the Somme, a soldier tells stories. That soldier is Munro, under the pen name Saki. Beginning with early misrule and school-age rebellion, his tales move on to the complexities of adulthood: obsessions and games, charm and chaos, friendship and jealousy, and, finally, death. Munro was over the age of conscription when WWI broke out in 1914, but volunteered to fight. He was killed by a sniper two years later. His witty, absurd, and strangely optimistic stories are brought to life by an ensemble cast and the occasional puppet.