Already seen everything Broadway has to offer? Ahead of this year’s autumn equinox, here’s Broadway’s Best Shows’ picks for what you should catch around New York City this fall. These shows are currently running, and some only have a few performances left, so grab your tickets now!
Little Shop of Horrors
The long-running hit revival of Alan Menken & Howard Ashman’s horror-comedy-musical at the Westside Theatre is still going strong. With the introduction of new stars Corbin Bleu and Constance Wu as Seymour and Audrey, respectively, now is a great time to catch the show, or even return for a repeat viewing!
Atlantic Theatre Company presents Pulitzer Prize winner Annie Baker’s latest work, Infinite Life. The dramedy, which was extended through October 14, is set at a water-fasting retreat in Northern California where a group of women of a certain age are hoping to cure their bodily pains and disorders.
Dracula: A Comedy of Terrors
If you’re looking for a laugh that will also get you in the Halloween spirit, this monstrous farce now running at New World Stages ought to do the trick. In a fresh and sexy take on the classic vampiric tale, James Daly stars as the fabled foe alongside Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Jordan Boatman, Arnie Burton, and Ellen Harvey. The new play by Steve Rosen (The Other Josh Cohen) and Gordon Greenberg–who also directs–is now making its New York debut after regional productions at Maltz Jupiter Theatre in Florida, Capital Repertory Theatre in Albany, and Segal Centre for Performing Arts in Montreal.
Rachel Bloom: Death, Let Me Do My Show
From the creator and star of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, this new musical comedy looks death squarely in the eye. Don’t let her “everybody pretend it’s 2019” top of show message fool you–Bloom brings her signature brand of intelligent, raunchy, thoughtful comedy to tackle pandemic grief and confusion. The strictly limited run ends September 30 at the Lucille Lortel Theatre.
Céline Dion (as homaged by a roster of mostly former Elphabas) continues to sail through the story of the Titanic at the Daryl Roth Theatre! In this gay fantasia, which opened at Asylum NYC in June 2022 before moving to its current home, Céline uses her own discography to conjure her memory of the iconic ship, confusing fact with James Cameron’s fictional filmic telling.
In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs September 15 to October 15, we’re taking a look at the history of Hispanic and Latinx theater artists on Broadway, both onstage and off, including some lesser-known projects beyond beloved hits like In The Heights and On Your Feet!
Kiss of the Spider Woman
Manuel Puig, a queer Argentinian writer and dissident, grew up obsessed with the glamor of Hollywood leading ladies. He turned these experiences into his 1976 novel El beso de la mujer araña, or The Kiss of the Spider Woman. Terrence McNally collaborated with Kander and Ebb to turn it into a dark, sensual musical set in an Argentine prison, with Latina trailblazer Chita Rivera as the fantastical Spiderwoman. It won 6 Tonys in 1994, and rumors continue to circulate about a possible revival.
A Chorus Line
You’re probably familiar with this 1975 mega-hit musical. You might not know how the show, with a cast reflecting the diversity of New York City, has important connections to the Latino community. Puerto Rican New Yorker Nicholas Dante co-wrote the book with James Kirkwood Jr., making him both the first Latino to write a Broadway musical and the first Latino to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Fellow Nuyorican Priscilla Lopez was Tony-nominated for her role as Diana Morales. While there were many Latino dancers and performers in New York at the time, there were very few roles specifically written for them outside of West Side Story (and, a widespread practice of casting non-Latinos in that show, including in the 1961 movie.) Morales’ identity was prevalent in the storytelling (“hey, they don’t have bobsleds in San Juan”), but it was not her only character trait, and she wasn’t the sole Latinx person onstage. Equally groundbreaking was the character of Paul, a queer Puerto Rican who worked on Broadway and as a drag queen, closely based on Nicholas Dante’s own life.
Premiering at the Vivian Beaumont in 1974, Short Eyes was the first Broadway play by a Latino playwright. An indictment of the racial injustices in New York’s prison system, it was written by Miguel Piñero during his sentence at Sing Sing. Joseph Papp shepherded the production first to the Public Theater and then to Broadway, where it was nominated for the Tony for Best Play.
Latin History for Morons
Colombian-American comedian and actor John Leguizamo turned his own frustrations and lack of knowledge of his own history into a one-man Broadway show, which premiered at the Public Theater downtown in 2017 before moving to Broadway. Sparked by his son getting bullied for being Latino, Leguizamo parses through forgotten history and unkind stereotypes to find role models and heroes. The show was also filmed as a Netflix special, and Leguisamo received a Special Tony Award.
Anna in the Tropics
Cuban-American Nilo Cruz’s Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece premiered on Broadway in 2003. The original production starred Jimmy Smits, Priscilla Lopez, and Daphne Ruben-Vega as workers in a cigar factory in Tampa. Smits’ character Juan Julian reads Anna Karenina to the workers as they roll cigars, and the drama of the novel bleeds into their own lives. It was also nominated for Best Play at the Tonys.
Starring Edward James Olmos, Zoot Suit was the first Latino-written and -directed musical on Broadway. The title refers to the wide-lapelled suits popular among young Chicanos in the 1940s. It had a wildly successful run at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles in 1979, where it told the true story of the World War II era L.A. Chicano community, including the famous ‘Zoot Suit’ riots of 1943. While its Broadway run in 1980 was short-lived, Olmos was nominated for his first Tony award for it.
This weekend we welcome the Jewish New Year and kick off the High Holiday season! In celebration, we are bringing you a list of Broadway and Off-Broadway shows that you can see this year featuring Jewish stories and themes. Here’s to a sweet year of theater-going ahead!
This new musical from Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman premiered last season Off-Broadway at the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene’s home theater in the Museum of Jewish Heritage. Now it’s getting its Broadway debut at the Barrymore Theatre this fall, with Broadway favorites Chip Zien and Sierra Boggess reprising their roles, and Julie Benko (of Fanny Brice standby fame) joining the cast! The show follows the true story of the Comedian Harmonists, a group of singers, some of them Jewish, as they rose to prominence and toured Europe during the rise of Nazism in the early 1930’s.
Prayer for the French Republic
Also a transfer from a successful Off-Broadway run, Prayer for the French Republic is playwright Joshua Harmon’s (Bad Jews, Significant Other) latest examination of modern Jewish themes. Manhattan Theatre Club presents the play at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre beginning in December 2023, with David Cromer back at the helm. The play covers several generations of a Jewish family in France, moving between two distinct eras of Jewish/French history in an exploration of everlasting antisemitism and questions of Jewish identity and its place in the world.
A Beautiful Noise: The Neil Diamond Musical
The story of the life and career of singer-songwriter Neil Diamond, famously a nice Jewish boy from Flatbush, is retold in this bio-musical using his own catalog of hits. Stereotypical parents, Yiddish slang, and reference to his Eastern European family’s “coming to America” give this Broadway musical a nice Jewish flair. Will Swenson plays the music icon, with Shirine Babb set to join the company in the role of Diamond’s psychiatrist, who helps him recount the story.
I Can Get It For You Wholesale
Classic Stage Company will present a revival of this 1962 musical Off-Broadway this Fall, with Santino Fontana, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Adam Chanler-Berat, Judy Kuhn, Joy Woods, and more in the cast. Set in 1930s New York, in the Jewish-dominated garment industry, nearly every character in the show is Jewish, and the score is inflected with klezmer melodies. Julia Lester plays Miss Marmelstein, the role in which Barbra Streisand made her Broadway debut!
When Hamilton opened at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in the summer of 2015 it set Broadway ablaze, triggering a cultural phenomenon not seen in the theater for quite some time before then (or since). Given the musical’s zeitgeisty success, it also skyrocketed the profiles of its leading players, many of whom have launched top-notch careers in the years since, both on and off the stage. Here’s our recap of what those original cast members have been up to since starring in Hamilton, one of Broadway’s Best Shows.
The Pulitzer and Tony-winning writer-star of Hamilton has been exceptionally busy since departing the Broadway cast of his hit show. Miranda has lent his talents to several film & TV projects, both on and off screen, having written songs for Moana, Mary Poppins Returns, Vivo, Encanto, Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens, 2023’s The Little Mermaid remake, and more! He made his feature film directorial debut with Tick, Tick… Boom!, the adaptation of Jonathan Larson’s rock monologue musical.He also appeared onscreen in the Mary Poppins sequel, His Dark Materials, as well as in guest appearances on several long-running TV series. The proshot of Hamilton landed on Disney+ in 2020, featuring the full original cast, and his first Broadway musical, In the Heights, was adapted into a film in 2021 (he even made a cameo appearance!). His freestyle group, Freestyle Love Supreme, had a Broadway run at the Booth Theatre, for which he made multiple guest appearances. He made his Broadway writing return in the spring of 2022, contributing additional for the musical New York, New York, alongside iconic composer John Kander, based on the songs of Kander and his longtime collaborator Fred Ebb.
Leslie Odom, Jr.
Leslie’s star has been on the rise in the years since Hamilton, appearing in several films including Knives Out: Glass Onion, One Night in Miami (for which he was nominated for an Academy Award), and the upcoming reboot of The Exorcist. He has also made television appearances in hit shows Central Park, Abbott Elementary, and more! Six years later, he has made his grand return to Broadway in the titular role of the first ever Broadway revival of Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch by Ossie Davis.
After making her Broadway debut as Eliza in the original Broadway cast, Soo has appeared in four Broadway productions, including the play The Parisian Woman, and musicals Amélie, Into the Woods, and most recently, Camelot. She has also appeared onscreen recently in TV series Dopesick and Shining Girls.
Renée Elise Goldsberry
Goldsberry has not yet made a Broadway return since playing Angelica in Hamilton, but appeared on the New York stage in the summer of 2023 leading the Public Theater’s musical adaptation of The Tempest at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. She has also starred in several television series, including Peacock’s Girls5Eva, and Marvel’s She-Hulk: Attorney at Law.
The actor, rapper, writer, and producer has also been busy since his Hamilton days, appearing in films like Wonder, Ferdinand, The Little Mermaid, Soul, and Blindspotting (which he also wrote alongside collaborator Rafael Casal). He has also had recurring roles in Apple TV+’s Central Park, Netflix’s The Get Down, TNT’s Snowpiercer, and ABC’s Black-Ish, among cameos and guest spots on several series.
Ramos led the 2021 adaptation of In the Heights as Usnavi, appeared as Lady Gaga’s best friend in A Star is Born, and has since become the face of the blockbuster Transformers franchise, starring in its latest installment, Rise of the Beasts. Also a burgeoning recording artist, Ramos has released two albums, and a slew of singles in the years since his Broadway run.
“Oak” has been on Broadway twice since Hamilton, with a brief run as Pierre in Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812, and more recently, a supporting role in the 2023 revival of A Doll’s House alongside Jessica Chastain under his belt. Onscreen, he is a lead of the Grey’s Anatomy spin-off series Station 19, and appears in the fourth season of Amazon Prime’s action series Jack Ryan.
Cephas-Jones has mostly turned her attention to film and television, appearing with her Hamilton co-star Daveed Diggs in his film Blindspotting, and in the television series based on the film. She also appeared in Marriage Story, Mrs. Fletcher, and #Freerayshawn, for which she won an Emmy in 2020. As a recording artist, she released her EP Blue Bird in 2020. She will next be seen in Ava DuVernay’s upcoming film Origin, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival to rave reviews in September 2023. A wide release date has not been set.
Groff returns to Broadway in fall 2023 in the revival of Merrily We Roll Along, opposite Daniel Radcliffe and Lindsay Mendez. Immediately post-Hamilton, he starred in David Fincher’s Netflix series Mindhunter for two seasons. He returned to voice Kristoff in 2019’s Frozen 2, and played one of the villains in 2021’s The Matrix: Resurrections. On the stage, he was the original Seymour in the still-running 2019 revival of Little Shop of Horrors off-Broadway.
DeBose appeared in the ensemble of Hamilton as “The Bullet,” the dance soloist during the duel scenes. She graduated to Broadway principal status in 2018’s Summer: The Donna Summer Musical, but her huge break came when Steven Spielberg cast her as Anita in his West Side Story redux. She became the second Latina ever to win an acting Oscar in 2022 for that role, and hosted the Tony Awards in 2022 and 2023. She also voices the main character in Disney’s animated 2023 film Wish, and will appear in a Marvel Cinematic Universe film in 2024.
As Labor Day approaches, when we acknowledge and honor organized labor’s contributions to this country, Broadway’s Best Shows is looking back at stories of the labor movement onstage, of which there are many. Perhaps it’s only natural that Broadway feature union stories, since so much of the industry is unionized – actors and stage managers, directors, designers, and stagehands each have their own unions. And what could be more dramatic than a union showdown? It’s ample fodder for storytelling, given its high stakes and everyman heroes.
“Now is the time to seize the day…” In 2012, Alan Menken turned his Disney movie about the newsboy’s strike of 1899 into a stage musical. Its young, energetic cast performed high-flying choreography from Christopher Gatelli, and it turned Jeremy Jordan into a star. It developed a passionate fanbase, which meant thousands of teenage girls now know about the union-busting tactics of William Randolph Hearst. The rousing songs, particularly “Seize the Day,” have even been sung on the picket lines for the 2023 Writer’s Guild strike.
Waiting for Lefty
A parable about workers on the verge of strike that captured the anger and anxiety of workers during the Depression, Waiting for Lefty by Clifford Odets is one of the most important plays of the 20th century. It had a ripped-from-the-headlines immediacy, as New Yorkers were still processing the 1934 taxicab drivers’ strike, the ensuing rioting, and Mayor LaGuardia’s staunchly pro-labor position. It premiered at Broadway’s Longacre Theatre in 1935. Odets directed the production, and performed in the role of Dr. Benjamin. While Odets’ other plays Awake and Sing, Golden Boy, and Country Girl have each been revived multiple times on Broadway, Waiting for Lefty was performed at hundreds of theaters across America during the Depression, but has not yet been revived for Broadway.
I Can Get It for You Wholesale
I Can Get It For You Wholesale is a fascinating text about intracommunity conflict and labor actions by garment workers in Depression era New York. The plot kicks off when protagonist Harry Bogen tries to scab around striking workers. Streisand stole the show as Harry’s overworked receptionist Miss Marmelstein. I Can Get It For You Wholesale will be produced in New York in fall 2023, directed by Trip Cullman downtown at Classic Stage Company and starring a stacked cast, including Santino Fontana, Judy Kuhn, Joy Woods, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Sarah Steele, and Adam Chanler Berat, with Julia Lester as Miss Marmelstein.
The Pajama Game
This classic Golden Age musical takes a lighthearted look at unionized garment workers in Iowa. Its central romance is two star-crossed lovers on opposite sides of a strike–the head of the Union Grievance Committee, Babe Williams, and Sid Sorokin, the new management. The show is notable for being Bob Fosse’s choreography debut. His legendary choreography for “Steam Heat” takes place at the Union rally!
Ahrens’ and Flaherty’s 1997 historical-fiction musical, with a book by Terrence McNally adapting E.L. Doctorow’s novel, touches on nearly every hot button issue in America–racism, sexism, xenophobia and anti-immigrant hatred, and religious tension–and through its sweeping scale, demonstrates how these different issues are connected, and how the political debates and social problems of 1900 connect to today. Audience members are often surprised by the world of 1900s New York the show portrays, especially the militant, mobilized, and very large labor union movement. Two of the show’s protagonists, wealthy Mother’s Younger Brother and impoverished Jewish immigrant Tateh, have their lives turned upside down by strikes and radical ideas, personified in the show by radical anarchist Emma Goldman.
Broadway’s clearest indicator of notoriety is the Tony Awards. The annual ceremony has been celebrating excellence in New York theater since 1947 and has made actors, creators, and shows themselves become household names.
In our list, we’ll be listing which Broadway shows have won the most Tony Awards for a single production, though we’re giving shout-outs to Cabaret, Death of a Salesman, and La Cage Aux Folles as each has collected an impressive number of awards over their multiple productions throughout the years. So if awards mean the best Broadway shows to you, then see below.
The Producers by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan
It may come as a surprise but the record for most Tony wins by a single production was set over 20 years ago.
Back in 2001, Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan brought their hilarious 1967 film, The Producers, to the stage. The meta-musical about a pair of money-hungry Broadway producers who want to purposefully put on the worst show possible to fraudulently make money wowed audiences and critics. Nathan Lane starred alongside Matthew Broderick (both of whom would go on to star in the 2005 film adaptation) with Nathan Lane winning the coveted Best Actor in a Musical Tony Award.
Nathan Lane’s award is just one win of a whopping 12 as The Producers won in every single category it was nominated in, losing out only when multiple actors were nominated for the same award.
Hamilton by Lin-Manuel Miranda
You’d be forgiven if you believed Hamilton was top of the list when it comes to wins as it holds the record for most Tony Award nominations for a single production. Back in 2016, Hamilton was nominated for a staggering 16 awards in 13 categories. It was believed that it would equal or surpass The Producers as the Broadway show with the most Tony wins, but alas, it came home with 11. Wins include Best Musical, Best Direction of a Musical, Best Costume Design in a Musical, and Best Choreography.
Though Lin-Manuel Miranda lost the Best Actor in a Musical award to cast-mate Leslie Odom Jr., he still won two awards – one for Best Original Score and one for Best Book of a Musical.
Billy Elliot by Elton John and Lee Hall
After the surprise run-away success of the independent film and considering its subject matter, it was no surprise when a stage adaptation of Billy Elliot hit the West End in 2006. Two years later, Billy Elliot the Musical came to Broadway sealing its status as “a global theatrical phenomenon” (Los Angeles Times).
In 2009, Billy Elliot the Musical was nominated for 15 awards (the same number of nominations as The Producers received) and won 11. The most notable award was that of Best Actor in a Musical as the three young actors – David Alvarez, Trent Kowalik and Kiril Kulish – who shared the role of Billy shared a single nomination and win.
South Pacific by Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II, and Joshua Logan
If you were going to use cumulative Tony Award wins as a metric, South Pacific would be at the absolute top of the list.
During its first Broadway production in 1950, the Rodgers and Hammerstein masterpiece firmly cemented its place in Broadway history as one of the greatest musicals of all time. Not only did it win over audiences and critics, it also won every single Tony Award it was nominated for and a Pulitzer. In fact, it’s still the only production in history to win all four of the acting awards in the same year.
Since its premiere, there have been productions of South Pacific all over the world including multiple Broadway revivals each garnering praise and accolades in their own right. Its 2008 Broadway revival won seven further Tony Awards bringing the show’s cumulative total to an unbelievable 17.
Fiddler On The Roof by Jerry Bock, Sheldon Harnick, and Joseph Stein
Almost 60 years ago, Fiddler on the Roof took Broadway by storm. When it first opened in 1964, the now-classic musical wowed audiences and became the first Broadway musical to run for more than 3,000 shows. In fact, the original production won nine Tony Awards in 1965 and then received a special Tony Award in 1972 for the longest-running Musical in Broadway History bringing the total to 10.
Since its initial run, Fiddler on the Roof has had five revivals but has only received one further Tony Award.
Other shows that have been awarded 10 Tony Awards for a single production include David Yazbek’s The Band’s Visit and John Logan’s Moulin Rouge! The Musical.
Whether it’s long-standing shows or a limited-run production, Broadway offers the best theater New York – and the world – has to offer. With over 40 theaters and a never-ending list of shows coming and going, it’s often hard to choose what to see. So, we’re going to give you our best Broadway shows for 2023.
Hadestown by Anaïs Mitchell
Greek myth is all the rage at the moment and Hadestown has added fuel to that hellfire. The musical based on the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice had a long road to Broadway but now it’s here, we don’t know what we would have done without it.
After workshops that started back in 2006, Hadestown finally landed a run on Broadway in 2019. It was an instant hit and garnered 14 Tony Award nominations of which it won eight.
The modern retelling of the ancient myth shows a young woman who chooses to sell her soul to Hades in a bid to ease her suffering. However, she is soon forced to work in his factory and her lover, a wannabe musician, attempts to save her from her miserable fate all set to an incredible soundtrack.
Currently playing at Walter Kerr Theater.
Kimberly Akimbo by David Lindsay-Abaire and Jeanine Tesori
This year’s Best Musical winner at the Tony Awards, Kimberly Akimbo, is a touching and joyful show centring Kimberly Levaco – a 16-year-old high schooler who suffers from an incredibly rare condition that makes her age rapidly – played by 63-year-old Victoria Clark.
The show, based on David Lindsay-Abaire’s 2001 play of the same name, is a clever and darkly absurd comedy about a teenager dying of old age. It’s set to a playful and uplifting score from Caroline, Or Change’s Jeanine Tesori and it’ll leave you with a newfound verve for life.
Currently playing at Booth Theater.
Moulin Rouge! The Musical by John Logan
This red-hot stage adaptation of Baz Luhrmann’s film of the same name enchanted audiences when it opened in June 2019. Even COVID-19 couldn’t slow down its momentum. After nine months of packed audiences and rave reviews, Moulin Rouge! The Musical was forced to close due to multiple cast members contracting the virus. They hoped to reopen a few weeks later but a few weeks turned into over a year when the whole of Broadway went dark. When doors reopened, audiences flocked to the windmill for the extravagant show and they weren’t disappointed.
Winning 10 Tony Awards – including Best Musical, Best Actor in a Musical (for Aaron Tveit) and Best Choreography – this tragic, brash, raunchy love story is filled with glitter and heart.
Currently playing at Al Hirschfeld Theater.
The Book of Mormon by Trey Parker and Matt Stone
You won’t know whether to laugh, cringe, or sing along with this dark satire that’s been winning over audiences since 2011. The Book of Mormon follows two young Mormon missionaries who are sent to Uganda to recruit local people to join the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Once there, they’re made to face the realities of the world and the inconceivable hardships people have to undertake resulting in their faith being rocked.
From the creators of South Park, this tongue-in-cheek, outrageous, incredibly dark comedy musical makes social commentary no one thought possible (or appropriate) to make. But with nine Tony Awards under its belt and a run that looks infinite, it’s definitely a crowd-pleaser.
Currently playing at Eugene O’Neill Theater.
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street by Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler
If A-listers are the name of your game, you’ll lose your head if you miss this killer revival.
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is arguably one of the greatest Broadway musicals of all time. Written by the late-great Stephen Sondheim, it features his signature and irreplaceable sound along with a true crime story you won’t be able to resist.
The current revival has won praise from all, with much of that admiration going to the show’s stars Josh Groban, Annaleigh Ashford, Jordan Fisher, and Gaten Matarazzo.
New shows come to town all the time. But there are those long-standing favorites that feel like they just belong in New York City. In our list, we’ll be including the longest-running Broadway shows of a single production – past and present. And you know what they say: only the best Broadway shows have runs like these.
The Phantom of the Opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Charles Hart
With an unbelievable 13,981 performances, The Phantom of the Opera easily tops the list. For 36 years it took residence in the Majestic Theater where it ran from January 26 1988 to April 16 2023.
When it first opened, it won seven Tony Awards and seven Drama Desk Awards. It was the first Broadway musical in history to surpass 10,000 performances and has had over 3,500 more performances than the second longest-running Broadway show in history – that’s over eight years of performances! With a record like that, it really is one of the best Broadway shows.
Chicago (1996 revival) by John Kander and Fred Ebb
Chicago’s original 1975 production ran for a respectable 936 performances. But it was its second coming, the 1996 revival, that made it a show everyone knows and loves.
Following a showcase in the City Center Encores! series, Barry and Fran Weissler brought an expanded, revised, and jazzed-up production of the Encores! concert to the Richard Rodgers Theater (the same theater the original production was staged). After rave reviews and six Tony Awards, it was an undeniable hit and had to be moved to the larger Shubert Theater in 1997. It stayed there for seven years until it was moved for a second time to the Ambassadors Theater in 2014 where it still runs today.
So far, it’s had over 10,400 performances and is the longest-running revival in Broadway history.
The Lion King by Elton John and Tim Rice
The groundbreaking stage adaptation of Disney’s animated film of the same name left both children and adults filled with wonder. Featuring giant puppets and unforgettable songs by Elton John and Tim Rice, The Lion King had audiences stampeding to the theater to watch the incredible show.
It originally opened at the New Amsterdam Theater in 1997 before moving to the Minskoff Theater in 2006. Its current performance count stands at over 10,000 which has resulted in over $1 billion in gross sales making it the highest-grossing Broadway production of all time.
Wicked by Stephen Schwartz and Winnie Holzman
Leaving other shows green with envy is Wicked – the original musical based on Gregory Maguire’s 1995 novel of the same name. Focusing on the origin story of the Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz, the colorful, whimsical, and crowd-pleasing show reframed our preconceptions of the previously hateful character and gave us another perspective.
The original production opened in 2003 at the Gershwin Theater and starred Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel – making both household names. So far, it’s had over 7,500 performances and with a film adaptation starring Ariana Grande and Cynthia Erivo coming up, we don’t see it going anywhere for a long time.
Cats by Andrew Lloyd Webber
Based on the 1939 poetry collection by T.S. Eliot, Cats is a sung-through musical about a tribe of cats who are trying to decide which among them will be ascended to the Heaviside Layer before coming back to a new life. The surreal show opened in 1982 and was unlike anything seen on Broadway before. It won seven Tony Awards and a Grammy making it a must-see show.
It opened at the Winter Garden Theater on October 7 1982 where it ran until its close on September 10 2000. It was the first Broadway show to reach over 7,000 performances reaching 7,485 performances when it closed.
It looks as though Cats will happily perch at number five on the list for a while as the next show on the list that’s currently open is The Book of Mormon which sits with 4,400 performances which, again, would take approximately eight years to overtake Cats.
With the 2023-2024 theatrical season underway, Broadway’s Best Shows is sharing some of the most exciting productions heading to the main stem in the coming months! With more shows still to be announced, this is just a first look at some of what Broadway and beyond has to offer theatergoers in the year ahead.
Most Anticipated Musical Revival: Cabaret
From across the pond, where this production of Cabaret has been playing in the West End since 2021, the Kander & Ebb classic will make its fifth Broadway appearance spring 2024. The Rebecca Frecknall-helmed revival will play the August Wilson Theatre with a cast yet to be announced (though some reporting suggests Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne will resume the Emcee role in which he opened the London production).
Most Anticipated Play Revival: Doubt: A Parable
Liev Schreiber and Tyne Daly are set to lead the first Broadway revival of the 2005 Tony-winning Best Play Doubt: A Parable. The John Patrick Shanley play, which was later adapted into a film starring Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Viola Davis, will run at Roundabout Theatre Company’s American Airlines Theatre in the new year. The theater is also set to be renamed after late Roundabout Artistic Director Todd Haimes, who passed away in May 2023.
Most Anticipated New Musical: Harmony & Water for Elephants (TIE)
After successful world premiere productions, two exciting new musicals are headed to Broadway this season, and we couldn’t pick our favorite!
With music by Barry Manilow and book and lyrics by Bruce Sussman, Harmony will play the Ethel Barrymore Theatre beginning October 18. The cast, under the direction and choreography of Warren Carlyle, is led by Chip Zien and Sierra Boggess reprising their roles from the Off-Broadway run at the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene, and Funny Girl standout standby Julie Benko will join the cast.
Though official word has not been given, we have reason to believe that Water For Elephants is destined for a Broadway bow after wowing audiences in its Atlanta premiere at the Alliance Theatre this summer. Directed by Kimberly Akimbo’s Jessica Stone, this musical adaptation of the novelbrings high-flying circus to the stage.
Most Anticipated New Play: Prayer For the French Republic
Manhattan Theatre Club is transferring its Off-Broadway hit from last season, Joshua Harmon’s three-act epic about Jewish identity and resilience during and after the Holocaust, to the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre in early 2024. Directed by David Cromer with a cast yet to be announced, Harmon’s second Broadway at-bat after 2017’s Significant Other may have some exciting surprises in store…
Most Anticipated Comedy: Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch
Leslie Odom, Jr. and Kara Young will lead the first-ever Broadway revival of Ossie Davis’ landmark 1961 play Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch. Kenny Leon directs the biting comedy, which will run at the Music Box Theatre beginning September 7, with an opening night set for September 27. The cast also features Billy Eugene Jones, Jay O. Sanders, and Heather Alicia Simms.
Most Anticipated Off-Broadway Production: Hell’s Kitchen at the Public Theater
Alicia Keys. Shoshana Bean. Michael Greif. Camille A. Brown. This musical and theatrical A-Team is coming together to bring the world premiere of Hell’s Kitchen to New York City this fall. A semi-autobiographical musical about a young “Ali” growing up in midtown Manhattan, it will feature both classics and new songs by pop icon Alicia Keys.
Most Anticipated Special Theatrical Event: Pal Joey at City Center Encores! Annual Gala
Ephraim Sykes, Aisha Jackson, and Elizabeth Stanley lead the cast of a reimagined take on Rodgers and Hart’s Pal Joey. Set to play for just one week in November as part of New York City Center’s annual gala, the production is co-directed by Tony Goldwyn and Savion Glover, with Glover also choreographing. Also set to appear in the production are Brooks Ashmanskas, Loretta Devine, and Jeb Brown.
Sheldon Harnick, lyricist of such Broadway classics as Fiddler on the Roof, She Loves Me, Fiorello!, and more, passed away on June 23, 2023, at the age of 99. Broadway’s Best Shows asked some of the artists who have staged his iconic material on and off Broadway to reflect on his body of work and his artistry.
The great lyricist, Sheldon Harnick has passed and the world is a sadder place for it. His genius and influence will most assuredly live on forever.
Sheldon wrote lyrics that were honest, intelligent, witty, profound, heartbreaking, ridiculously funny and always specific for characters. He and Jerry Bock wrote some of the world’s most glorious songs. Here is one of them:
“Will He Like Me” – From the musical, She Loves Me
Will he like me when we meet? Will the shy and quiet girl he’s going to see Be the girl that he’s imagined me to be? Will he like me?
Will he like the girl he sees? If he doesn’t, will he know enough to know That there’s more to me than I may always show? Will he like me?
Will he know that there’s a world of love Waiting to warm him? How I’m hoping that his eyes and ears Won’t misinform him.
Will he like me? Who can say? How I wish that we could meet another day. It’s absurd for me to carry on this way. I’ll try not to.
Will he like me? He’s just got to.
When I am in my room alone I write Thoughts come easily, words come fluently then. That’s how it is when I’m alone, but tonight There’s no hiding behind my paper and pen.
Will he know that there’s a world of love Waiting to warm him? How I’m hoping that his eyes and ears Won’t misinform him.
Will he like me? I don’t know. All I know is that I’m tempted not to go. It’s insanity for me to worry so. I’ll try not to.
Will he like me? He’s just got to. Will he like me? Will he like me?
When I think of this lyric, I weep. How perfectly it sits in the music. How perfectly it encapsulates the character’s feelings. How perfectly it tells the story. My heart breaks to think that both of the men who created this brilliant song are no longer with us.
Sheldon was a dear friend to both myself and my late wife Rebecca. Whether it was professionally or personally, we treasured his counsel and his company. Sheldon was a shining example of a life well-lived.
When I was 14 years old, I was cast as Hodel in the local JCC community theater production of Fiddler. The show was a family affair: my sister played Bielke, my dad was cast as Reb Mordcha, and my mom was a villager selling bagels. That production changed everything for me. I fell head over heels in love with the theater and began to pursue a life in show business. So, it was an enormous honor to get cast in the 2015 Broadway revival of “Fiddler,” where I understudied eight roles (one for each night of Chanukah!) and had the chance to meet Sheldon. I hope I was able to express to him just how much his words have shaped me. I have carried them with me through every major moment of my life and expect them to resonate through many more. “Sunrise, sunset,” indeed. Rest In Peace, Sheldon.
If ever anyone personified Emerson’s definition of success, it was Sheldon.
A true great: talented, kind, and funny.
What Is Success by Ralph Waldo Emerson
To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the approbation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty; To find the best in others; To give of one’s self; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived – This is to have succeeded.
My first Broadway show I ever directed was She Loves Me… how lucky was I? It was a glorious experience, and Sheldon Harnick was one of the main reasons why. He approached that production as if it had never been done before. Sheldon was so encouraging, supportive, and beyond respectful to a very young director doing this for the first time. He was joyous, loving, and so, so incredibly smart. I could not have asked for a better teacher and collaborator. We remained friends in the years following, and eventually, I had the privilege of revisiting She Loves Me twenty years later. Nothing had changed; Sheldon still approached the process as if it was the first production and brought all of his love and support back into the room. I am so fortunate to be able to look back and see where my life and career shifted. She Loves Me was that moment, and Sheldon was the center of it all. How lucky for everyone that his legacy will live on with future generations through his beautiful work.