Top Off-Broadway shows to see in New York
Discover Off-Broadway shows playing now, including long-running favorites and new shows on for a limited time.
New York is a huge city, and every neighborhood in every borough is teeming with theatre. The 41 Broadway theatres in the Theatre District sound like a lot, but there are tons more, even, than that beyond Broadway. For the adventurous theatregoer, Off-Broadway theatres are havens for all types of entertainment: shows that differ from traditional plays and musicals, family-friendly theatre, comedy specials, and the next big Broadway hits before they hit Broadway.
If you're interested in Off-Broadway shows but are unfamiliar with the New York theatre landscape, you might not know where to start. Luckily, you're in the right place. Here's our guide to the top Off-Broadway theatre to catch right now, which includes long-running Off-Broadway hits and new shows that are only off Broadway for a limited time. Multiple Off-Broadway shows have stars attached to them, too, so you could see your favorite screen actor or musician's work live in an intimate venue.
Off-Broadway shows playing now
We couldn't even begin to name all the Off-Broadway theatre playing right now, because there are shows in New York everywhere you look. We've rounded up some of the major Off-Broadway shows on now to get you started, including shows that have been on for years. They might have been right under your nose all this time without you realizing it!
Walk like a man to New World Stages to see Jersey Boys, which tells the story of how Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons became an international sensation. Beginning as street singers in Newark, New Jersey, they'd soon experience a meteoric rise to fame with hits like "Sherry," "Big Girls Don't Cry," and "Oh, What a Night," but internal disputes and personal troubles threatened their success more than once. This award-winning show played on Broadway for 12 years and has since settled in to a cozier home off Broadway. Your eyes will adore Jersey Boys, and you might find yourself dancing in your seat to the group's tunes.
The Play That Goes Wrong
The Play That Goes Wrong did something right, because the show got a second life off Broadway after ending its acclaimed Broadway run. This show sees a skilled cast of actors do the hardest task of all: playing hapless amateurs, who are stumbling through opening night of their new murder mystery play. Props go missing, people go missing, and the set falls down — and that's not even the half of it. The Play That Goes Wrong has provided New York audiences with nonstop laughter since 2017, and the only way you could go wrong is by not getting a ticket.
Blue Man Group
Blue Man Group is a show that defies all categorization. It's a musical revue, a live art demonstration, a staged science experiment, a comedy act — and all without a single line of dialogue. Three "blue men from outer space" take the stage each night, and as they try to figure out what things like drums, PVC pipes, and paint are used for on Earth, they create some wacky art and music. The show is messy, too — if you sit in the front, you might be in the paint splash zone! Ponchos are provided, though, so you can experience the world of the Blue Men without worry.
Billed as "the rhythm of New York," Stomp has been serving up street beats at the Orpheum Theatre since 1996. This show is a musical symphony, but not your typical one: Percussive beats are created using garbage cans, brooms, sand bags, and other everyday objects, and the music is coupled with high-energy dancing. After seeing Stomp, you'll never see a dumpster or a bucket the same way again. You'll see the streets of New York as a place filled with music.
Gazillion Bubble Show
This bubblicious spectacular is the perfect family-friendly entertainment. At only 60 minutes, it's short enough to hold the attention of even the youngest children, and that time is filled with an assortment of bubble tricks, high-energy music, and colorful light effects. The members of the Yang family have been performing Gazillion Bubble Show for over a decade, delighting countless families with their un-bubble-lievable skills.
Little Shop of Horrors
Buy your token and go down to Skid Row! Little Shop of Horrors, the cult classic horror-comedy musical by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, has taken root at the Westside Theatre for an acclaimed Off-Broadway revival. Stars like Jonathan Groff, Jeremy Jordan, Conrad Ricamora, and Skylar Astin have all stepped into the role of the nebbish flower shop worker Seymour, alongside Tammy Blanchard as Audrey and Christian Borle as Orin Scrivello, D.D.S. When Seymour comes upon a mysterious talking plant, the plant promises him everything his heart desires — if he's up to provide the plant with human flesh to eat.
The Office! A Musical Parody and Friends! The Musical Parody
The Theater Center is home to two homages to your favorite sitcoms, playing on alternate nights so you can catch one right after the other. Bob and Tobly McSmith are the creators behind The Office! A Musical Parody and Friends! The Musical Parody, unauthorized send-ups set to original music. The Office! A Musical Parody mashes up all the best moments from the Dunder Mifflin office on the hit TV show, while Friends! The Musical Parody incorporates classic Friends references into an all-new storyline about a runaway bride crashing the gang's ordinary day at Central Perk.
At Drunk Shakespeare, the Bard has never been so boozy. You may have fallen asleep during your Shakespeare lesson in high school, but you might find that his plays are much more interesting when one of the actors performing them has taken five whiskey shots beforehand. The remaining four sober actors are on hand to keep the drunk one on track, but also run with that actor as they take the story in potentially new directions. You'll probably find yourself laughing as the antics unfold anyway, but drinks are available for the audience to buy, too, if you want to join in the fun.
Alex Edelman: Just For Us
Alex Edelman continues adding encore engagements of his critically acclaimed stand-up show, just for us. After first running at the Cherry Lane Theatre and moving to the SoHo Playhouse through April 30, Alex Edelman: Just For Us will have a third run at the Greenwich House Theater from June 13 to July 23. He discusses how he impulsively decided to infiltrate a nearby meeting of white supremacists after receiving online hate from them, and he makes some surprising discoveries about the limits of empathy and how worthwhile it really is to try and change other people. Though the subject matter is fraught, Just For Us leaves audiences laughing nonstop.
Perfect Crime is New York's longest-running play, with more than 12,000 performances in its holster since 1987. And its lead actress, Catherine Russell, is a Guinness World Record holder for having played the same role for all that time: the psychiatrist Margaret Brent, who is suspected of killing her husband. But a disturbed former patient of Brent's is a suspect, too, and things get even more complicated when the detective assigned to the case starts falling for Brent. The twists and turns of this thriller will keep fans of Law & Order and true crime podcasts guessing until the last gunshot.
Cyrano de Bergerac
James McAvoy stars in the title role of Cyrano de Bergerac, but this isn't the Cyrano you think you know. The premise of Edmond Rostand's 19th-century play remains: Cyrano is a genius with words, but he believes himself unable to woo his love Roxane due to his ugliness, so he helps his handsome fellow soldier woo her instead. Martin Crimp has freely adapted Rostand's text into a spoken word poetry and rap retelling, which modernizes the story while keeping the rhythm of the original play and reinforcing the power of cleverly crafted words. There's barely any set and no props, allowing the McAvoy and the cast's words to take center stage.
¡Americano! is based on the true story of Tony Valdovinos, who went through his entire childhood and adolescence wanting to become a Marine — only to discover on his 18th birthday that he can't enlist. He learns that he's an undocumented immigrant, and though he's sad to forgo his dream at first, he soon puts his efforts toward a new dream: building a political career to advocate for Latin Americans and immigrants like him. After premiering in Valdovinos's hometown of Phoenix, Arizona, the new musical makes its New York debut at New World Stages.
Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman's musical comedy about the Comedian Harmonists, a 20th-century German singing group, has had a long road to New York: The show premiered in 1997 and had multiple U.S. runs that didn't amount to a New York transfer. But the show is finally here, at the Edmond J. Safra Hall, and its cast, book, and music come together in perfect harmony. Broadway veteran Chip Zien narrates the show as the last surviving member of the band, recalling the Harmonists' career peak in the 1920s and 30s before their inclusion of Jewish members put them in hot water when the Nazis rose to power.
The Vagrant Trilogy
One often wonders how their life would change if they made different choices, and Mona Mansour's The Vagrant Trilogy explores just that. In the first act, a Palestinian scholar travels to London to give a lecture, and violence breaks out in his homeland while he's away. The next two acts trace the different ways his life turns out depending on his response: One shows what happens if he returns to his war-torn homeland, and the other shows him staying in London and living as a refugee. Either way, he and his family have to reckon with losing the place they've always called home.
March on over to The Public Theater to catch Suffs, now extended through May 29. Shaina Taub's buzzy new musical focuses on Alice Paul (played by Taub herself) and her team of fellow suffragists as they fight for women's right to vote. But the movement was complicated behind the scenes: Paul clashes with people like Carrie Chapman Catt, an older suffragist who decries Paul's aggressive tactics, and Ida B. Wells, who resents Paul for excluding Black women from their crusade. A powerful cast that also includes Phillipa Soo, Jenn Colella, and Nikki M. James brings this historic story to life in all its messiness.
Little Girl Blue
Jersey Boys isn't the only bio-musical running at New World Stages right now. On another stage in the same building is Little Girl Blue, Laiona Michelle's musical about the life of Nina Simone. Performing as Simone herself, she discusses Simone's switch from aspiring classical pianist to genre-blending jazz singer, her fierce Civil Rights Movement activism, and the racism and abuse she weathered to carve a place in history. The musical incorporates many of her hit songs, like “Feeling Good” and “I Put a Spell on You.”
Company XIV's Nutcracker Rouge, a scandalously sweet burlesque adaptation of The Nutcracker, wowed audiences in the winter, and now the company's latest show, Seven Sins, offers a sinfully fun evening out for the spring and summer. In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve are debating whether to eat the forbidden apple, and the seven deadly sins come to life to convince them. Burlesque, opera, aerialism, and dance are all part of this spectacle, and themed sweets and drinks are on offer to complete the experience.
Snow in Midsummer
A small town is haunted by a ghost, and a new resident is about to find that out in Snow in Midsummer. Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig's mystery play follows a businesswoman who moves to that town amid a devastating drought. It turns out that the spirit of a wrongfully executed woman is causing the drought, and it's up to the businesswoman to find out what happened and free her family and the town from the ghost's wrath. Adapted from the classic Chinese drama The Injustice to Dou Yi That Moved Heaven and Earth, Snow in Midsummer ties in modern issues of climate change and restorative justice.
Upcoming Off-Broadway shows
If you've somehow seen all the Off-Broadway shows you're interested in, or you're planning a trip to New York in the future, check out these shows to look forward to. From comedy specials to new musicals to revivals, find out what's playing off Broadway soon.
Alison Leiby: Oh God, A Show About Abortion
After performing her show across New York City in 2021, Alison Leiby is settling into the Cherry Lane Theatre for a limited engagement of Oh God, A Show About Abortion. In her stand-up act, she centers on one summer that "started with a bang" and ended with an abortion, describing the minutae in between like braving the CVS fertility aisle and deciding what to wear on the actual day. She also shares the perspective she gained from having an abortion, especially at a time when reproductive rights are being challenged nationwide.
Between the Lines
Bookworms, this show is for you. Between the Lines, the novel by award-winning author Jodi Picoult and her daughter Samantha van Leer, has gotten the musical treatment and is running at the Tony Kiser Theater this summer. Arielle Jacobs, known for playing Jasmine in Aladdin on Broadway, stars as Delilah, a lonely teenager who doesn't fit in at her high school. She finds comfort in her favorite book, and she finds unexpected companionship when the prince from that book comes to life and the two develop a relationship.
Everybody say yeah, because Kinky Boots is coming back! Harvey Fierstein and Cyndi Lauper's musical raised audiences up at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre for six years, winning the Best Musical Tony Award and bringing plenty of joy and sparkle to Broadway in the process. Now, the hit show is settling into a new Off-Broadway home at Stage 42 in July. Kinky Boots centers on Charlie, the heir to a failing shoe factory who finds an unexpected niche to keep the business alive: making sturdy heels for drag queens.
Imagine if Shakespeare's Hamlet was set at a Southern cookout. That's the premise of Fat Ham, playing at The Public Theater in May and June. The central character here is a college student named Juicy, who like Hamlet is tasked with avenging his father's murder. Unlike Hamlet, though, Juicy is a Black and queer man fighting for liberation and justice, and he hopes to find another means of revenge besides violence. Fat Ham is still part tragedy, but it's also a comedy filled with plenty of family and food.
Winnie the Pooh: The New Musical Adaptation
Journey back into the Hundred Acre Wood this summer, when Winnie the Pooh: The New Musical Adaptation returns to Theatre Row. The production received critical acclaim when it premiered in fall 2021; the New York Theatre Guide review reads, "Happily, with Winnie the Pooh, Disney has finally committed itself to theatre for all; whether they are children, people living with stimulation limitations, or individuals simply desiring a joyful time." The beloved characters from the Winnie the Pooh books and movies come to life with actors and puppets together, and Pooh and his friends go on a new adventure in which they discover their favorite parts of all four seasons.
Based on comedian Sarah Silverman's same-named memoir, The Bedwetter is a new musical based on her own childhood. Here, Sarah is 10 years old and has a big secret (that's spoiled in the show's title). She's also really funny, and the musical dramatizes stories from her memoir about how she developed her off-kilter brand of comedy from a young age. Broadway veterans Bebe Neuwirth and Caissie Levy are among the stars of The Bedwetter, which features the last score written by the late composer Adam Schlesinger.