Top theatre to see in New York this summer
See the new Broadway and Off-Broadway shows you can catch this summer.
Summer is coming, and that means it's time for summer vacation! If you're planning to travel to New York this summer, your trip wouldn't be complete without a show — Broadway is a top NYC landmark to check off your list. It gets pretty hot in the city at summer's peak, so why not cool off inside a theatre or two?
Summer is a slower season for Broadway show openings as compared to the fall and especially the spring, since most of the major theatre awards, like the Tonys, have just taken place. But that doesn't mean there aren't plenty New York shows to choose from! Amid steady, long-running classics like The Phantom of the Opera or The Lion King that are perfect for any season, there are new Broadway and Off-Broadway shows starting up in the summer.
Here's your preview of the Off-Broadway and Broadway shows to look out for this summer, including starry plays, fun musicals, comedy, and thrillers. We've also included some shows that opened in the spring, but you can still catch them throughout the summer.
Tony-nominated shows to see this summer
The summer heat has nothing on the hottest Broadway shows of the season! The Tony Awards are on June 12, when some of these nominees will be crowned winners, so grab your seats now before they become even hotter tickets!
A Strange Loop
Don't go in circles looking for a new hit musical to catch this summer, because it's right here: the Pulitzer Prize-winning A Strange Loop. After premiering Off-Broadway in 2019 to rave reviews, the show made its Broadway debut in April 2022 with the same result. The five-star New York Theatre Guide review of A Strange Loop reads, "This is art as activism in its highest form," and praises the "flawless and often shocking performances given by the cast."
Michael R. Jackson, a Black, gay writer, wrote this musical about a character named Usher, a Black gay, writer working on a musical about a Black, gay writer. The show sees him wrestling with crippling self-doubt — embodied by an ensemble of six actors as Thoughts — and discovering how he can succeed as a queer Black man in an unforgiving world.
A once-in-a-lifetime vacation experience would be seeing seven celebrities perform live together. Another once-in-a-lifetime experience would be getting a glimpse into what goes on at the White House behind closed doors. In POTUS on Broadway, you get both in one, and plenty of laughs as an added bonus.
Selina Fillinger's farce, at the Shubert Theatre through August 14, centers on seven women in the inner circle of a problematic president. The day starts with them doing damage control when he offends international diplomats, but their day only gets wackier and more out-of-control from there as the women's problems pile up. The POTUS of the title never appears on stage, but a formidable cast of women star in the show: Vanessa Williams, Rachel Dratch, Lea DeLaria, Julianne Hough, Lilli Cooper, Suzy Nakamura, and Julie White.
Now that Plaza Suite has been extended through July 1 at Broadway's Hudson Theatre, you have a little more time to make your reservations. Real-life celebrity couple Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker play three different couples in Neil Simon's farce, the first revival since the show's 1970 premiere. In the first act, they're a couple with different levels of interest in saving their rocky marriage; in the second, they're high school sweethearts reuniting after 17 years; and in the third, they're frantic parents of a bride who's gotten cold feet on her wedding day. You'll be laughing so hard at Simon's writing and Broderick and Parker's comic chemistry, you'll never want to check out of this Plaza Suite.
Step into a little slice of paradise at Paradise Square, which snapped up 10 Tony Award nominations in 2022, including Best Musical. Two-time Tony nominee Joaquina Kalukango stars as Nelly, the Black owner of a tavern in 1863 Lower Manhattan where free Blacks and Irish immigrants drink, debate, and dance in harmony. As the Civil War ramps up, though, that harmony is threatened by the Draft Riots that pit the groups against each other. The book, score, and choreography were all nominated for awards, and they're all crucial parts of telling the grand and moving story of this historical mega-musical.
MJ The Musical
Beat the summer heat, and beat it to the Neil Simon Theatre for MJ The Musical! Also nominated for 10 Tonys including Best Musical, this show sees Michael Jackson rehearsing for his 1992 Dangerous World Tour. As he performs his biggest hit songs and iconic dance moves, he and the audience are taken back through key memories and milestones from his career, beginning when he was a kid in the Jackson 5. Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage has written the script to go along with the King of Pop's celebrated musical catalogue, and explosive choreography makes the show nothing short of a thriller.
Another hundred people (and more) can get off of the train this summer to see Company on Broadway. This revival of Stephen Sondheim's classic reimagines the bachelor Bobby, who at 35 is deciding whether to settle down and marry, as the bachelorette Bobbie, who's making the same decision while contending with her own biological clock. Katrina Lenk stars as Bobbie, and she's joined by a company of stars like 2022 Tony nominees Patti LuPone, Jennifer Simard, and Matt Doyle. The show got nine Tony nominations in total, including Best Musical Revival — we'll drink to that!
Six queens, eight Tony nominations (including Best Musical). The global hit musical Six is bringing plenty of energetic pop and fierce feminism to Broadway all summer long. The show centers on a girl group made up of Henry VIII's six wives, who compete over who was treated the worst as his wife. As they trade zingers and belt out catchy pop tunes, they discover the power in sisterhood and in telling their stories for themselves, as much more than a king's wives.
The Music Man
Sound the 76 trombones for The Music Man's six Tony nominations! Tony winner Hugh Jackman stars in this nostalgic revival as Professor Harold Hill, a charismatic "music teacher" (read: con man) with a scheme to swindle the River City, Iowa residents out of their money. Only Marian Paroo, played by Tony winner Sutton Foster, sees through his act — but she can't help falling in love with him regardless, and he with her. Jackman and Foster are both nominated for their performances, and the show got a Best Musical Revival nod. They certainly don't got trouble there in River City!
Broadway theatre to see this summer
Summer vacation is the best time to catch a long-running Broadway show you haven't gotten to see yet. Take your family, your partner, or your friends to these feel-good hit shows — and one new show — playing on Broadway all summer long. There's even more where these came from, though, so check out all the Broadway shows in New York right now.
The Kite Runner
After playing two acclaimed runs in London's West End, the stage adaptation of Khaled Hosseini's novel The Kite Runner is now hitting Broadway's Hayes Theater this summer, with performances from July 6 to October 30. The novel — a bestseller for two years following its 2003 release — centers on an Afghan man Amir, who failed to prevent an atrocity from happening to his best friend as a child and lost contact with him. Years later, Amir is living in America and learns of an opportunity to make amends, but than means taking a risky trip back to his now-war-torn home country. Writer Matthew Spangler and director Giles Croft bring this story to life on stage with drama, heart, and beautiful stagecraft.
The Lion King
The New York summer heat has nothing on the Pride Lands of Africa — but luckily there's air conditioning inside the Minskoff Theatre, where The Lion King on Broadway has been for nearly 25 years. This adaptation of the hit Disney film preserves the heart of the story, about a young lion cub who's destined to take his rightful place as king but must overthrow his corrupt uncle to do so, and all the famous songs including "I Just Can't Wait to Be King" and "Circle of Life." The wilderness comes to life with life-size, handcrafted animal puppetry that's unlike any other spectacle on a Broadway stage.
Journey to a whole new world this summer without leaving New York. Aladdin brings the splendor of Arabia to you with all the vibrant color of the original 1992 animated film. The titular Aladdin is a street urchin who falls in love with a princess, and though she loves him back, tradition dictates she can only marry a prince. With a little magical help from a genie in a lamp, he's able to turn into a magnificent prince and win her heart — but he has to contend with the evil sorcerer Jafar. Disney and theatre magic propel the Aladdin musical, including a magic carpet that really flies!
Fill your summer with the lively sounds of all that jazz. This long-running musical — the second longest-running Broadway show in history — has made headlines for 25 years for its music, dance, and sensational story. Chicago is a satirical crime drama, centering on two vaudeveille-performers-turned-murderesses in Chicago's prison. The women compete for the attention of a slick, skilled lawyer who shows them that getting off scot-free is just a matter of razzle-dazzling the press.
The Book of Mormon
Go along with the Mormons on their trip to Uganda in The Book of Mormon, and get lots of laughs along the way. This musical comedy from the creators of South Park (which should give you an idea of its irreverent style of humor) centers on a mismatched pair of Mormon elders sent to convert the locals of a Ugandan village. It's not an easy task, and it takes a lot more than faith for them to succeed. You can have faith, though, that you'll have a fun time at The Book of Mormon on Broadway, which has won nine Tonys including Best Musical and has been making New York audiences laugh since 2011.
Wicked is an ever-popular choice for theatregoers of all ages. The hit musical is a prequel to The Wizard of Oz centered on the Wicked Witch of the West. Before she — perhaps wrongly — got that moniker, she was a young girl named Elphaba who struck up an unlikely friendship with Glinda the Good Witch as college roommates. But when Elphaba speaks out against the not-so-wonderful Wizard and Glinda stays silent, the citizens of Oz deem Elphaba wicked, and the girls' lives change for good.
Moulin Rouge! The Musical
You can-can feel like you're in Paris at Moulin Rouge! The Musical this summer. This high-octane adaptation of Baz Luhrmann's landmark Moulin Rouge! film retains its touching central love story, between the showgirl Satine and the writer Christian, that's threatened by jealousy and illness. But every other element of the story is pumped up for the Broadway stage, from flashy costumes to intricate sets (the Al Hirschfeld Theatre is near-fully transformed into the nightclub) to an updated score of classic and contemporary pop hits.
The Phantom of the Opera
Let your soul take flight as you hear the music of the night at The Phantom of the Opera. This classic dark romance centers on the opera singer Christine, who's in love with her childhood sweetheart, Raoul, but can't help but feel pulled toward her mysterious music teacher, the titular Phantom that lives in the opera house's underbelly. Soon, the Phantom, too, becomes obsessed with her and wreaks havoc on the opera to get her. With a stirring score, lavish design, and a gripping love story, it's no wonder that The Phantom of the Opera is the longest-running Broadway show of all time.
Spend a summer day-o at Beetlejuice, which has just been resurrected on Broadway. The Tim Burton film it's based on was a cult classic hit, and the musical has quickly become a fan favorite, too. The Tim Burton-ness of it all — spooky yet fun — has been magnified for the stage, with plenty of Broadway-specific gags and musical references newly added in. The story remains mostly the same, though: After a suburban couple dies in their house, the demon Beetlejuice arrives to teach them how to haunt the house's new residents away. He's got an ulterior motive, though: He wants to come back to life, and the death-obsessed teenager Lydia, one of the house's tenants with whom he develops a strange friendship, is going to help him do it.
New Off-Broadway theatre to see this summer
In addition to Broadway shows that started up in the spring, there are plenty of new shows opening this summer, particularly off Broadway. Spend a summer day in a cool, air-conditioned theatre as you enjoy a new musical or play in New York.
Sarah Silverman turns her childhood memories, struggles, jokes, and embarrassments into musical comedy in The Bedwetter. The show is based on her same-named memoir; Silverman co-wrote it with award-winning playwright Joshua Harmon, and the late Adam Schlesinger composed the music and lyrics. The show deals frankly with divorce and depression but couches it all in humor and catchy tunes that make it a show for all ages. Silverman does not star as her younger self, but you will catch Broadway veterans Bebe Neuwirth and Caissie Levy in The Bedwetter, at Atlantic Theater Company through June 19.
Winnie the Pooh: The New Musical Adaptation
Take a trip to the Hundred Acre Wood with your family this summer! After a hit premiere run in 2021, Winnie the Pooh: The New Musical Adaptation is back at Theatre Row for a limited encore engagement from June 18 to July 31. This Winnie the Pooh show features all the beloved children's characters — Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, Eeyore, and more — in a new adventure where they discover the beauty of each of the four seasons. The animals come to life with life-sized puppetry and simple design that will delight audiences of all ages — the five-star New York Theatre Guide review of Winnie the Pooh recommends it to "children, people living with stimulation limitations, or individuals simply desiring a joyful time." Winnie the Pooh is a perfect family-friendly show to check out this summer.
Between the Lines
If you're the kind of person that brings a book on vacation to relax, you'll find a kindred spirit in the main character of Between the Lines. Based on award-winning author Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer's novel of the same name, this new musical follows the teenage Delilah, who has trouble connecting with her family or peers and instead turns to her favorite book for comfort. Everything changes when the prince from that book comes to life and wants to befriend her, and she has to figure out what about their relationship is real and what's fiction. Between the Lines is at the Tony Kiser Theater from June 14 to October 2.
Alex Edelman: Just For Us
If you missed Alex Edelman's Just For Us during its first two New York runs in the winter and spring, you've got another chance to catch him this summer. In his solo stand-up comedy show, Edelman shares his experience sneaking into a white supremacist meeting after receiving anti-Semitic hate from its attendees online, to try and figure them out. The five-star review of Just For Us on New York Theatre Guide calls Edelman "top-notch" and "a captivating storyteller," and though the subject matter seems grim, you'll be laughing the whole way through the show. Alex Edelman: Just For Us is at the Greenwich House Theater from June 13 to July 23.
Snow in Midsummer
Snow in midsummer isn't what you want to see on your weather forecast, but Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig's Snow in Midsummer is a show you'll want to put on your itinerary. This play is an environmental-drama-meets-ghost-story, centered on a businesswoman who moves to a town that's been destroyed by a drought. She soon learns that the drought is caused by the spirit of a woman who was wrongfully executed a few years before, and it's up to the businesswoman to get justice for her before the ghost wreaks even more terror on the town. Snow in Midsummer is at Classic Stage Company from May 19 to July 9.
What happens when you cross the Oscar-winning Titanic film with the repertoire of Celine Dion, whose rendition of "My Heart Will Go On" on the soundtrack is almost as famous as the film itself? You get Titanique, a new musical parody docking at New York's Asylum Theatre from June 14 to September 25. In Titanique, Dion herself (that is, an actress playing her) interrupts a Titanic museum tour to tell the audience what really happened to Rose and Jack once the credits started rolling. Dion hits like "All By Myself" and "To Love You More" all feature in this Off-Broadway musical that's already making waves.
You can catch two world-premiere plays at the McGinn/Cazale Theater this summer, produced by Second Stage Theater as part of its 20th anniversary Uptown Series of new plays. The first is Steph Del Rosso's 53% Of, running from June 14 to July 10. The play centers on a group of women in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, who are planning a grand welcome for the U.S. president to their town, and a group of women in Brooklyn, who are planning what they think is a revolution but might just be a means of relieving their feelings of guilt.
The other show in Second Stage's summer season is Patience, a sports-esque show about Black excellence written by Johnny G. Lloyd and directed by Zhailon Levingston. The central character is a professional chess player named Daniel, who's built a career as one of the greatest players of all time and is now ready to retire. But before he can step away from the chess world and settle down with his soon-to-be husband, he has to play a final career-defining match.
His Dark Materials star Jade Anouka is premiering her new solo show with Audible Theater at the Minetta Lane Theatre this summer. In Heart, running from July 9 to August 14, she discusses how getting married and divorced by 28 years old forced her to examine and overcome her insecurities and self-imposed limitations. She also shares how her journey of healing led her to find love with a person, and in a place, she'd have never expected.
Get out of the city this summer and take a trip to Texas with Corsicana, at Playwrights Horizons from June 2 to July 10. Will Arbery's play takes its name from a city in Texas, where an adult man named Chris and his half-sister Ginny have just lost their mother. Their family friend Justice introduces them to an artist named Lot, and together they try to find ways to heal and create a new found family for themselves. His last play, Heroes of the Fourth Turning, was a Pulitzer Prize finalist, so audiences should expect nothing less from Corsicana than an excellent, emotional show that'll bring the friends and family they see it with closer.
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