Best reviewed Broadway shows in New York
Discover musicals and plays that have received rave reviews from New York Theatre Guide.
Ever wondered why "opening night" isn't the actual day a show's performances start? "Opening night" is simply another way of saying "the day the reviews come out." Opening night happens anywhere from after a couple days to a couple of weeks of initial public performances, where elements of the show can be changed based on the audience response before the critics come in. Opening night is a celebration for a show's cast, creative team, and staff getting their hard work and artistry recognized.
Broadway show reviews are, collectively, a great way to discover different perspectives on a show and see if it's for you. You might have looked up top-reviewed Broadway shows when deciding on a musical or play to see for your latest trip to New York. So we've made it easy by collecting some of our best Broadway reviews in one place! Check out Broadway musicals and plays, as well as Off-Broadway hits, that have gotten rave reviews and are still running today.
Check out these best-reviewed shows on and off Broadway, and revisit some past critical favorites by writers with other work currently on stage. Many of these shows have had yearslong Broadway runs — and having received such high praise, it's no wonder they've stuck around and become reliable audience favorites, too.
Best reviewed Broadway shows
Discover some of the best Broadway shows playing right now, including recent Tony-nominated hits and long-running favorites. Plenty of audiences have loved these musicals, and with so many different genres represented among these top-reviewed musicals — from high-energy pop shows to more poignant, subdued dramas — you're bound to find the perfect show for you.
Racking up eight 2022 Tony nominations including Best Musical, Six is "pure musical theatre elation for a pop-packed 75 minutes." The show sees the six wives of Henry VIII recount their lives and mistreatment by Henry in high-energy pop girl group style, and our five-star Six Broadway review reads, "You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll dance. It’s everything a theatre experience should be and more."
Six came to Broadway from London's West End and tours around the U.K. and U.S. "The Broadway production is bigger, bolder, and beltier than any Six I’ve seen yet," our critic wrote. "From new riffs to surprise costume reveals, every element has been leveled up for New York, leaving no stone unturned."
A Strange Loop
A Strange Loop is based on its creator's own experience battling self-loathing and insecurity as he tries to write this very musical and become comfortable in his Black, queer self in an unforgiving world. Equal parts raucous R-rated comedy and vulnerable moments of pain, this musical has already won multiple Off-Broadway awards and a Pulitzer Prize and now leads the 2022 Tony Award nominations with 11, including Best Musical.
Our five-star A Strange Loop review reads, "'WOW!' I thought to myself as my body leapt to its feet on its own volition to applaud A Strange Loop. 'This must be how people who saw the first performances of Show Boat, Oklahoma!, Company, Rent, or Hamilton felt.' Though I’ve witnessed and studied the innovations in each of those musicals, none of them are as revolutionary as what Michael R. Jackson has accomplished with his Pulitzer Prize-winning musical."
MJ The Musical
Our critic described MJ The Musical as a "flawless" depiction of Michael Jackson's life, legacy, and performance style. The show sees Jackson rehearsing for his 1992 Dangerous World Tour, and each hit in his set list takes him back to a formative memory from his childhood and then-up-and-coming career. Our five-star MJ The Musical review reads, "Under the exemplary direction and choreography of Christopher Wheeldon, the production gives context to Jackson’s inherited demons and zooms in on his daunting creative process and peerless genius. MJ is the platinum standard the often-uninspired, generic jukebox musical could benefit to emulate."
MJ The Musical is nominated for 10 Tony Awards in 2022, including Best Musical and Best Book for Lynn Nottage. Nottage made history in early 2022 by having a musical, a play (Best Play nominee Clyde's), and an opera (Intimate Apparel) all running in New York at once. Intimate Apparel also received a five-star review on New York Theatre Guide.
The Music Man
The Wells Fargo wagon has brought The Music Man back to Broadway, which brings a fun dose of old-fashioned musical theatre nostalgia. The show centers around a con man named Professor Harold Hill and a small-town librarian named Marian Paroo, whose respective plans to swindle the River City townspeople out of their money and expose Hill for doing it are foiled when they fall for each other. Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster play the leads in this revival, and our four-star The Music Man review praised their captivating performances.
"Jackman is a charm attack in suspendered slacks, nimble-footed, smooth but not slick, with suave vocals and a smile as assured as a railroad. His Harold makes quick and delectable work of small-town marks, with the exception of one, whose front is harder to crack until it shatters in a heap of impossible dramaturgy. Foster’s Marian is wry but not cynical, sharp but still tender, a tough shell with a golden, runny heart like an egg. The Anything Goes star brings a precise wit to the role that is relentlessly delightful, attention to detail that buoys Marian’s tenuous modernization here into a woman with some measure more agency (if a soft will)."
Wicked is one of Broadway's most popular shows, and for good reason. This fantastical tale tells the story of how the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good Witch of The Wizard of Oz used to be best friends, but there are also deeper messages about love, sacrifice, and corruption. "More than 8.8 million people have found the heart, nerve and wisdom to pay a visit, resulting in the happy scene of a Broadway house filled with as many teens as adults, and making a tale, born from a 115-year-old children’s novel, one of the top five highest grossing shows of all time," our critic wrote in a five-star Wicked review in 2015, commemorating the show's 12th year on Broadway.
For musical theatre buffs, there are plenty of Easter eggs to be found in the score, penned by the same composer as hit musicals like Pippin and Godspell. "Stephen Schwartz’s classic score provides a wonderful playground for the cast to swing upon, while reminding us of this composer’s important history. Close your eyes and hear strains of Pippin in 'As Long as You’re Mine.' Find the hint of Godspell playfulness in the staccato beats of 'What is this Feeling.'"
Come From Away
Come From Away has warmed audience's hearts since 2017, telling the true story of the plane passengers diverted to Gander, Newfoundland after 9/11, the townspeople that welcomed them on a moment's notice, and the deep lifelong bonds they formed. The five-star Come From Away review praised the performance of the cast, many of whom are still performing in the show five years later. "The cast is beautifully directed and choreographed. Each actor plays more than one part, and their characterizations are so defined that we never, not for an instant, are lost in the transitions. This is an ensemble that is a living breathing solar system that breaks up into planets with their own moons, then swoops back together in an evolving configuration. They are a marvel to watch."
Chicago is "a living, breathing piece of musical theatre history," our critic wrote in a five-star review for the musical's 20th anniversary in 2016. Now celebrating 25 years on Broadway, the show continues to draw audiences in with a thrilling story of crime and jazz, centered on two murderesses competing for media attention in the hopes of getting acquitted.
"Chicago proves that you don’t need to bombard your audience with a number of lavish sets or elaborate costume changes to put together a winning musical. All you need is a live band on stage, intoxicating the auditorium with that jazz-infused score from the genius that is John Kander and Fred Ebb and sprinkle it with that Bob Fosse-style choreography, and before you know it, you’ve razzle dazzled ‘em!"
The Book of Mormon
The Book of Mormon follows a pair of Mormon elders on mission to a Ugandan village, where converting the locals proves to be a difficult task that requires a lot of faith and perseverance. The show has been making Broadway audiences laugh since 2011, but be warned: Having been penned by the creators of South Park and Avenue Q, the comedy is irreverent and pokes fun at everyone, so you have to be able to take a joke while laughing at them.
Our five-star Book of Mormon review reads, "Ain’t no one or nothing safe in The Book of Mormon, least of all the audience. This show makes you realize that when you are pointing one finger to make fun of someone, there are three fingers pointed back at you. And this news is delivered with a smile – a real one. [Creators Trey] Parker, [Robert] Lopez, and [Matt] Stone have a laser beam precision."
The Lion King
The Lion King was a groundbreaking musical upon its 1997 premiere, bringing the world of the Disney movie to life with intricate, life-size puppetry never seen on stage. Twenty-five years later, audiences of all ages join the circle of life and watch the story of Simba, a young lion cub who grows into a strong leader and takes his place as king of the Pride Lands.
To celebrate the show's 20th anniversary in 2017, former The Lion King performer wrote a testament to why the musical is still the pride of Broadway. "The Lion King is still a timeless piece of artistry and magical allure. The moment you hear Rafiki’s clarion call across the pridelands welcoming the new prince to the kingdom, you are lost in the story, as the iconic procession of animals begins."
This eight time Tony-winning Best Musical has been bringing audiences way down to Hadestown since 2019. This show retells the classic Greek myths of the lovers Orpheus and Eurydice, and Hades and Persephone, with a stirring folk and jazz score. But don't worry if you didn't pay attention during your mythology lesson in high school, our critic notes in a four-star Hadestown review: "Going to hell has never been as much fun as seeing a performance of Anaïs Mitchell’s musical Hadestown, now playing at the Walter Kerr Theatre. And don’t let its origins in Greek mythology scare you off because there’s a built-in narrator in the form of the god Hermes."
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
As the stage sequel to J. K. Rowling's beloved Harry Potter book series, Cursed Child is naturally a story of witches, wizards, and magical adventures. But "ultimately this is a tale of family," our critic wrote in a five-star Harry Potter and the Cursed Child review. The respective sons of Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy, Albus and Scorpius, discover a found family in each other when bullied at school, and their friendship soon takes them on a time-traveling journey to right the wrongs of the Wizarding World. But the play is about biological families, too, as Harry and Albus especially learn how to connect with each other.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was written and reviewed as a two-part show, but the play has since been condensed into one part. All the magic, though, remains intact. Said our critic, "These are not the fancy schmancy special effects, but they are spectacular. They are simplicity itself, made of puppetry magic and lighting that tells us exactly where to look... The shadows are teaming with unseen life that are eager to reach out and touch someone – could even be you if you are in the right seat. The ensemble’s choreographed movements, clean, simple and unrelenting, give the entire production a physical urgency."
You've got to be in the room where it happens. It's clear by now that Hamilton is not to be missed, with near-universal critical acclaim and tons of awards including 11 Tonys and a Pulitzer. If you haven't yet heard about the musical that turned the world upside down, Lin-Manuel Miranda's show tells the story of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton with a diverse cast and a hip-hop/rap score. History has never been so lively, and the show gives a glimpse into the rocky frenemy-ship between Hamilton and Aaron Burr leading up to their final duel, which is often the only thing people learn about them.
Our five-star Hamilton Broadway review sums it up: "Hamilton is a magnificent tapestry where all the elements of theatre are called upon to be their very best... The end result is something much more than the story of one man. It is the story of how we each create our destiny and our mark on the world."
The story of a street urchin who, with the help of a genie in a magic lamp, transforms into a prince to win over a princess (who loves him even as an urchin, but is bound by royal tradition) has won over children's and adults' hearts since the 1992 film. And the Aladdin musical is Disney magic come to life, translating all the vibrant color and energy of the animated film and then some to the stage. Our four-star Aladdin Broadway review notes, "The costumes and sets are wonderfully bright and make the production the most vibrantly colourful of all Disney Theatrical's offerings to date. Hats off to the ensemble members who undergo several quick (and magnificent) costume changes during the procession within the single musical number of 'Prince Ali'!"
The Phantom of the Opera
The Phantom of the Opera has been there inside audiences' and critics' minds for more than 30 years on Broadway. Now the longest running show in Broadway history, Phantom tells of a dangerous love triangle between the opera ingenue Christine, her childhood sweetheart and the opera's benefactor Raoul, and the mysterious Phantom, her obsessive vocal teacher who lives in the Paris Opera House's shadows and will do whatever it takes to get her.
Our critic wrote in a 2015 review about why The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway continues to draw audiences: "This story has it all: music that stays with you long after the curtain comes down (yes I bought the CD), love in an array of colors, fantasy, danger, sex, hopes and dreams. The Phantom of the Opera remains a stunning production that engages the ear, the eye and the heart. The fact that it has done so for nearly 30 years world wide is testament to the crafty craft of making theatre."
Moulin Rouge! The Musical
In Baz Luhrmann's film, the can-can act at the Moulin Rouge nightclub is called the "spectacular spectacular," and Moulin Rouge! The Musical lives up to that name. Colorful costumes, sets, and lighting, explosive choreography, and plenty of overall energy is the name of the game at this show, though all the flash underscores a heartbreaking love story between the writer Christian and the showgirl Satine.
Over and above Moulin Rouge! The Musical's visual pleasures is a score of diverse popular music, making it unlike any other jukebox musical on Broadway. Reads the five-star review, "Moulin Rouge! The Musical is in a league of originality and creativity all of its own; with a song stack of some 70 pop hits from the 40s to the present day, it is the ultimate jukebox show, encompassing Elton John, Sting and Katy Perry, the Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Bob Dylan and even Rodgers and Hammerstein, amongst numerous others."
In short, "Beetlejuice is about how mortality may not quite be the end but the start of another adventure," our critic wrote in a four-star review of this musical, musical, musical. Based on the cult classic Tim Burton film, the Beetlejuice musical centers on the titular ghost with a scheme to come back to life (which partly includes someone saying his name three times) and a death-obsessed teenager, Lydia, who strikes up an unlikely friendship with the ghost before things go haywire.
Film fans will recognize all the iconic moments from the movie, like the giant sandworm and the possession scene set to Harry Belafonte's "Day-O." And theatre fans will enjoy hunting for the many references to other musicals in Beetlejuice: "Beetlejuice is part of that meta-tradition of shows from The Producers to [the 2018-19] season's The Prom that comment on themselves even as they simultaneously send up and celebrate the traditions they've sprung from."
Best reviewed Off-Broadway shows
Not all great theatre is on Broadway. Tons of fantastic shows get their start in small Off-Broadway spaces, and whether they stay there or eventually transfer to Broadway, they're worth seeing. Check out these best reviewed Off-Broadway shows you can see right now, and by acclaimed writers with other works off Broadway.
After receiving critical acclaim for its Off-Broadway premiere in 2021, the Kimberly Akimbo musical, based on David Lindsay-Abaire's same-named play, is transferring to Broadway this fall. Tony winner Victoria Clark will again star in this comedy-drama as a teenager affected with an aging disease, which is but one of her problems. Before the show won Outer Critics Circle and Lucille Lortel Awards, our critic wrote in a four-star Kimberly Akimbo review, "The show gives you something to chew on as it looks at life, death, and what comes in-between... Watching a new show that satisfies and surprises never gets old."
Shaina Taub's musical Suffs, about the women's suffrage movement and the conflicts between the women that led it, has gotten lots of attention and been extended multiple times at The Public Theater after repeatedly selling out. In a four-star review of Suffs, our critic notes how important it is to have stories created and performed by women on the stage: "In entertainment, there is the assumption that women’s stories are small, while men’s stories are universal. Just as the suffragists broke down the doors of the patriarchy, Suffs breaks down the doors of musical theatre, showing that a cast and creative team of mostly women can tell a story that is important, powerful, and about all of us. With Taub leading it, the future of musical theatre is female, and it’s about time."