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
90
126 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.

 

Ends Dec 31

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

Members say: Great staging, Absorbing, Great singing, Must see, Great acting
89
Critics
85
47 reviews
Members
91
100 reviews

Tooting Arts Club's immersive staging of Sondheim and Wheeler’s iconic musical thriller transfers from London’s oldest working pie shop to NYC's Barrow Street Theatre.
... Read more

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
3526 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, Edgy, Original, Intense
87
Critics
85
16 reviews
Members
87
634 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
147 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 May 14

Spamilton

Members say: Clever, Funny, Entertaining, Great singing, Hilarious
85
Critics
79
20 reviews
Members
86
212 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.

 

Ends May 28

Cagney

Members say: Entertaining, Delightful, Great acting, Great singing, Clever
84
Critics
78
51 reviews
Members
84
381 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

Blue Man Group

Members say: Entertaining, Clever, Funny, Delightful, Original
84
Critics
76
3 reviews
Members
84
817 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.”

 

Open run

The Imbible: A Spirited History of Drinking

Members say: Clever, Entertaining, Funny, Intelligent, Delightful
83
Critics
85
15 reviews
Members
83
58 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

Stomp

Members say: Entertaining, Clever, Original, Great staging, Delightful
83
Critics
87
8 reviews
Members
83
697 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.

 

Ends Apr 23

The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart

Members say: Clever, Entertaining, Quirky, Delightful, Enchanting
82
Critics
81
19 reviews
Members
83
77 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.