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Best Off-Broadway Shows in New York City

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Published on: Oct 23, 2022
Last Updated on: May 23, 2024
By: Kathryn Willingham
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What Is Off-Broadway Theater?

“Off-Broadway” simply means that a theater has a seating capacity of between 100 and 499 seats, and savvy theatergoers know that some of the best shows in town start here…and for way less than the cost of a Broadway ticket. You can see future stars before they ever make their Broadway debuts, you can see seasoned, award-winning actors in a more intimate space, and you can see Pulitzer Prize winners try out new material. Many of the Tony Award winning shows and box office hits you know and love transferred to a Broadway house from an off-Broadway theater. Dear Evan Hansen started at Second Stage Theatre, Hamilton started at the Public Theatre, Avenue Q started at the Vineyard Theatre, Hadestown started at New York Theatre Workshop (which also has the distinction of premiering Jonathan Larson’s musical Rent).

In this article, we’ll give you a rundown of the current off-Broadway performing arts landscape, and then tell you some tips on how to get rush tickets, discount tickets, and special offers.

Currently Running Off-Broadway Musicals:

The Keep Going Songs

The Keep Going Songs

The Keep Going Songs, created by The Bengsons and directed by Caitlin Sullivan, has its world premiere at LCT3’s Claire Tow Theater. Abigail and Shaun Bengson come back to LCT3 with a new show featuring songs about lives lived, the grief of loss, and hope for the future. For a sneak peak, check out this video that shows an excerpt from the song “Everything Stays Broken.” The New York Times called their show “Hundred Days,” “luminous…a show that celebrates and laments the elusive radiance of a shared life.”

Currently running through May 26, 2024.

Is there a discount? If you’re between the ages of 18 and 35, try LincTix to get $30-$35 tickets!

The Lonely Few at MCC

The Lonely Few

The Lonely Few, with book by Rachel Bonds, music and lyrics by Zoe Sarnak, and direction by Trip Cullman and Ellenore Scott, has its New York premiere at the MCC Theater. Set in a small town in Kentucky, Lila and her band The Lonely Few play their usual gig at Paul’s Juke Joint when they’re given a chance to join a musician, Amy, on tour. Lila and Amy quickly form a romance, but how strong is their bond? The Los Angeles Times called it, “an endearing new musical.”

Currently running through June 9, 2024.

Is there a discount? There are a limited number of on-stage seats available for $29 (and don’t worry, there isn’t any audience participation in this show…all you have to do is enjoy the performance!)

Three Houses at Signature Theatre

Three Houses

Three Houses, by Dave Malloy and directed by Annie Tippe, runs at the Signature Theatre. The musical centers on Susan – who has fled to Latvia, Sadie – who hides in New Mexico, and Beckett – who longs for Ireland. All three are alone, all three are haunted by their grandparents, and all three hear the Big Bad Wolf scratching at the door. Three Houses is a post-pandemic open mic night parable about magic, madness, and the end of the world. Annie Tippe also directed Malloy’s Octet at Signature back in 2019.

Currently running through June 16, 2024.

Is there a discount? Signature Access offers $40 tickets for each show and is available to workers in education, public sectors, and nonprofits as well as to military/veterans, public benefit recipients, people with visual, hearing, or physical impairments, and IDNYC cardholders. Members can purchase tickets a week before the general public and can get a 10% discount at the lobby café.  

Titanique: Une Parodie Musicale

Titanique: Une Parodie Musicale retells the story of the Oscar-winning film Titanic using the music of Celine Dion. Written by Marla Mindelle, Constantine Rousouli, and Tye Blue, this musical begins when Celine Dion hijacks a Titanic Museum tour and enchants the audience with her totally wild take, recharting the course of Titanic’s beloved moments and characters with her iconic song catalog.

Currently running through January 12, 2025.

Is there a discount? If you book more than 6 weeks in advance, you can get 30% off Telecharge purchases! Use code EARLYBIRD for 30% off standard tickets, EARLYPRF for 30% off Preferred tickets, and EARLYPRM for 30% off Premium Tickets.

Little Shop of Horrors

Little Shop of Horrors has been enjoying a sold-out run at the Westside Theatre. This musical won the 2020 Drama League Award, Outer Critics Circle Award and Drama Desk Award for Best Musical Revival, and is delighting new and old fans alike. The show follows Seymour, a meek, nerdy shopkeeper with a crush on his co-worker Audrey, who is dating a sadistic dentist. Add in a ravenous, man-eating plant who helps Seymour change his fortunes, and you’ve got a recipe for a bloody good time. The New Yorker said, “The show succeeds beautifully, and everyone watching it and performing in it seems to be having a blast.” 

Is there a discount? Try your luck at the digital ticket lottery for a chance to get discount tickets.

Currently Running Off-Broadway Plays:

Staff Meal at Playwrights Horizons

Staff Meal

Staff Meal, written by Abe Koogler and directed by Morgan Green, runs at the Peter Jay Sharp Theater at Playwrights Horizons. In this restaurant, the food is wonderful, the waiters are helpful, and everything just feels…right. Outside there may be madness, but in here, you’re safe. Until closing time. Jess Barbagallo, Stephanie Berry, Susannah Flood, Hampton Fuker, Carmen M. Herlihy, Greg Keller, and Erin Markey star.

Currently running through May 24, 2024.

Is there a discount? For audience members under 35 years old, check out the Young & Student Memberships. The Young Membership program provides $20 tickets for each show, and the Student Membership program provides $10 tickets for each show. As an added bonus, get invited to exclusive Young Member Nights which includes complimentary drinks, music, food, and more!

Sally and Tom at the Public Theater

Sally & Tom

Sally & Tom, written by Pulitzer Prize-winner Suzan-Lori Parks and directed by Steve H. Broadnax III, has its New York Premiere at the Public Theatre. The off-off-off-Broadway theater troupe Good Company is putting on a play about Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson. Writer Luce is cast as Sally; her romantic partner, and the play’s director, Mike, is cast as Tom—really, people, what could possibly go wrong?

Currently running through May 26, 2024.

Is there a discount? $40 student tickets are available at the box office subject to availability. Limit two tickets per person, valid student ID required for purchase.

The Life & Slimes of Marc Summers at New World Stages

The Life and Slimes of Marc Summers

The Life and Slimes of Marc Summers, written by Alex Brightman with music by Drew Gasparini, plays at New World Stages. Part interactive game show, part memoir, THE LIFE AND SLIMES OF MARC SUMMERS takes us on one man’s extraordinary journey, both on screen and off. Marc Summers launched Nickelodeon as the host of the world’s most famous children’s game show Double Dare. He went on to become a household name on the small screen, having a 20 year relationship with the Food Network as the host of Unwrapped and executive producer of Dinner: Impossible and Restaurant: Impossible, all while facing immeasurable challenges behind the scenes. On your mark! Get set! Go! to this one-of-a-kind intimate theatrical adventure that will leave you inspired, hopeful and feeling like a kid again.

Currently running through June 2, 2024.

Is there a discount? $35 rush and lottery tickets are available – enter the lottery two days before the performance, or try for rush tickets at 11am on the day of the performance.

All of Me from the New Group

All of Me

All of Me, written by Laura Winters and directed by Ashley Brooke Monroe, is produced by The New Group and plays at Signature Theatre’s Alice Griffen Jewel Box Theatre. It’s your classic romantic comedy. Boy meets girl. Boy uses a wheelchair, girl uses a scooter, and they both use text-to-speech technology to connect to the world around them. They come from different worlds, but love pulls them together when their families push them apart. All of Me is a boldly humorous and candid love story exploring class and disability in America today.

Currently running through June 16, 2024.

Here There Are Blueberries at NYTW

Here There Are Blueberries

Here There Are Blueberries, by Moisés Kaufman and Amanda Gronich, conceived and directed by Moisés Kaufman, runs at the New York Theatre Workshop in a co-production with Tectonic Theater Project. The play starts in 2007, when  a mysterious album featuring Nazi-era photographs arrived at the desk of a U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum archivist. As curators unraveled the shocking truth behind the images, the album soon made headlines and ignited a debate that reverberated far beyond the museum walls. Based on real events, Here There Are Blueberries tells the story of these historical photographs—what they reveal about the perpetrators of the Holocaust, and our own humanity.

Currently running through June 16, 2024.

Is there a discount? CheapTix Rush is available for anyone under 25 or over 65 as well as anyone who lives in the East Village or Lower East Side. Available at the box office for same day performances, subject to availability and a valid ID. Check out more information about CheapTix here.

The Fires at Soho Rep

The Fires

The Fires, written and directed by Raja Feather Kelly, plays at Soho Rep. Fantasy, fiction, flirting and kissing, or fighting and fucking. Y’all need to get married and just die in each other’s game playin’ arms. In 1974, 1998, and 2021, three different men in a South Brooklyn railroad apartment write, read, fuck, flirt, eat, and fight at the same time. The Fires is a surreal new play about being a somebody in a world of other somebodies–while trying on love.

Currently running through June 16, 2024.

Is there a discount? $20 rush tickets are available at the box office starting half hour before curtain. Cash only, subject to availability, limit two tickets per person.

Breaking the Story at Second Stage

Breaking the Story

Breaking the Story, written by Alexis Scheer and directed by Jo Bonney, runs at Second Stage’s Tony Kiser Theater. As a foreign war correspondent, Marina (Maggie Siff) has put her life on the line to illuminate the darkest corners of humanity. Having just returned from a particularly bloody conflict, she flirts with staying home for good—alongside her cameraman turned lover (Louis Ozawa). With her closest friends and family gathered on the eve of her lifetime achievement award ceremony, she decides to cap this glorious moment with an elopement. But as Marina tries to take hold of her life, she’s forced to reckon with the hold war has on her. 

Currently running through June 23, 2024.

Is there a discount? $25 tickets are available to students with a valid high school or college degree two hours before show time at the box office, subject to availability. $30 tickets are available to people 30 and under – just use code 30UNDER30 at checkout to access tickets.  Valid ID must be shown when picking up the tickets.  

Molly Sweeney

Molly Sweeney, written by Brian Friel and directed by Charlotte Moore, plays at the Irish Repertory Theatre. Molly has happily experienced the world differently since she was ten months old. When Frank, her restless, unemployed, and enthusiastic husband, makes her blindness his latest cause, he recruits Mr. Rice, a once-famous surgeon who, despite his struggles, agrees to attempt to restore Molly’s sight. When the bandages come off, Molly, Frank, and Mr. Rice discover the differences between seeing and understanding as they face the consequences of a medical miracle.

Currently running through June 30, 2024.

Is there a discount? Sign up to the Young Patron discount program to access $25 tickets if you’re under 40. Seniors over 65 can get a $10 discount on tickets with a valid ID, rush tickets are sold at half price one hour before showtime at the box office, and military and first responders can get up to 4 free tickets with a valid ID at the box office, all subject to availability.

Dungeons & Dragons, The Twenty-Sided Tavern

Dungeons & Dragons The Twenty-Sided Tavern

Dungeons & Dragons The Twenty-Sided Tavern plays at Stage 42 and celebrates the 50th anniversary of this iconic roleplaying game with a theatrical event you won’t want to miss. Go on your own adventure, solve puzzles, and roll for initiative. Become the hero you were born to be. And bring your phone – you can directly impact the story by using an app.

Currently running through November 10, 2024.

Is there a discount? $39 digital lottery tickets are available at Rush Telecharge. Lottery opens at 12am the day before the performance, and winners are drawn at 10am and 3pm.  

Drunk Shakespeare

Drunk Shakespeare started in 2014 and follows 5 professional actors who meet as members of "The Drunk Shakespeare Society". One of them has at least 5 shots of whiskey and then they overconfidently attempt to perform a major role in a Shakespearean play. Hilarity and mayhem ensues while the four sober actors try and keep the script on track. Every show is different depending on who is drinking... and what they're drinking! Drinks are served throughout, and audience members must be at least 21 to enter.

The Play That Goes Wrong

The Play That Goes Wrong runs off-Broadway at New World Stages after its successful Broadway run.  Welcome to opening night of The Murder at Haversham Manor where things are quickly going from bad to utterly disastrous. With an unconscious leading lady, a corpse that can’t play dead, and actors who trip over everything (including their lines), see what The Daily Beast calls, “A Riotous Explosion of Comedy!”

The Play That Goes Wrong has general discount rush tickets available at the box office on the day of the performance.

What Are the Longest-Running Off-Broadway Shows?

Perfect Crime

Perfect Crime premiered in 1987 and is the longest running play in Broadway and Off-Broadway history. Perfect Crime is a funny and romantic thriller about a psychiatrist who may have killed her husband…until he suddenly turns up alive. This play follows the psychiatrist and the detective who tries to solve the case, and the many twists and turns will have you guessing until the very end. 

Perfect Crime has student rush discount tickets available on each day of the performance on a first-come, first served basis at the box office.

Blue Man Group

Blue Man Group has been running since 1991 at the Astor Place Theatre on 434 Lafayette Street in New York City. As three bald and blue men explore our world, together you’ll discover music, laughter and surprises at every turn. Great for families and kids (though children under 3 won’t be admitted). Blue Man Group plays all over North America on a national tour and also globally, but you can see the show in New Yorkwhere it began! 

Special ticket offers, if any, can be found here.

For Something Different:

gazillion-bubble-show-offbroadway

Gazillion Bubble Show

Gazillion Bubble Show has run since 2007 and is a roughly 1-hour long show filled with magic, spectacular laser and lighting effects, and yes, literally gazillions of bubbles. What’s not to like? Great for kids, children under 2 can sit in a parent or guardian’s lap for a reduced price, and they even have birthday party packages available.

Sleep No More

Sleep No More has been running since 2011 at the McKittrick Hotel in Chelsea. The companies Emursive and Punchdrunk have created a truly unique experience as they present an immersive and site-specific retelling of Shakespeare’s Macbeth (or if you’re superstitious, “The Scottish Play”). Audiences move freely through the story at their own pace, following actors through the many floors of the McKittrick, and you can grab a drink before and after at the Manderley Bar at the hotel’s entrance. Time Out New York calls it “bedazzling and uncanny,” and though you can certainly scour the internet for details, this is a show that is especially delightful if you know as little as possible going in. You can also reserve dinner reservations on the roof if you want to continue the night in a speakeasy-like atmosphere.

Speakeasy Magick

Speakeasy Magick: also at the McKittrick Hotel, is hosted by Todd Robbins and features a night of close up magic and prestidigitation. This show features a rotation of New York’s best magicians.

Stalker at New World Stages

Stalker

Stalker, presented by Penn & Teller, is an innovative 90-minute magic show by the Swedish duo Peter Brynolf and Jonas Ljung, directed by Eurovision mastermind Edward af Sillén. Get ready for fast-paced entertainment combining street magic, physical mentalism, and social hacking — with a climactic plot twist that you’ll never see coming. In today’s society, no one is hidden. Everyone is being stalked, and everyone has become a stalker. Follow Brynolf & Ljung. They’re already following you.

Currently running through September 1, 2024.

Chamber Music Art

Steve Cohen Chamber Magic

Chamber Magic: Steve Cohen’s dazzling live show, performed weekly in an elegant salon in the Lotte New York Palace hotel, features conjuring, mind-reading, sleight of hand, and an astonishing trick called Think-A-Drink. A celebrity favorite, Cohen baffles guests with magic up close as he recreates parlor entertainment that characterized Manhattan in the early 20th century. BroadwayWorld said, “find out what over a half million people have already discovered…Cohen performs card tricks you won't see anywhere else. He has mastered the art of the classic sleight of hand, mind reading, and conjuring parlor entertainment.” 

Access to the Best Broadway Musicals

Off-Broadway Week is running from October 3 to 15 and offers 2 for 1 tickets. Whether it’s musical theatre, plays, or something more experimental in the performing arts, many popular shows take part. Use code OBW23 at checkout to claim the discount.

If you live in or near New York and see shows often, look at getting a TDF Membership, which offers many exclusive off-Broadway ticket discounts and offers throughout the year. Many people are eligible, including students, seniors, freelancers, government workers, veterans and more. And you can always head to the theatre district to buy tickets at the TDF-run TKTS Booth in Times Square, located beneath the big red steps. It offers same-day discounts for Broadway theatre and off Broadway shows. 

Most off-Broadway theaters have student discounts or young person discounts. Check out Lincoln Center’s LincTix, Roundabout’s Hiptix, Manhattan Theatre Club’s 30under35, Atlantic Theater’s $20 student rush tickets, Playwrights Horizons’ Young Membership and Student Membership, MCC Theater’s $25 student rush tickets, $30 student tickets at the Public Theater (only available in person at the box office), and Second Stage’s 30under30. We include this and more in our article on how to get discount tickets to a Broadway play or Broadway musical. 

Want to see a Broadway show? Check out our article on Top Broadway Shows for information on The Lion King, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Moulin Rouge, and a ton of other shows playing on the Great White Way!

Kathryn Willingham

Head of Creative Development at Jean Doumanian Productions

Kathryn Willingham has worked in entertainment for over ten years, and recent credits include: Co-producer of SHRINK currently streaming on Peacock, Associate Producer of the independent film UNA, and Creative Executive on multiple theatrical productions including HANGMEN by Martin McDonagh on Broadway, NASSIM by Nassim Soleimanpour Off-broadway and Associate on productions EVERY BRILLIANT THING by Duncan Macmillan with Jonny Donahoe and THE EFFECT by Lucy Prebble. She was Producer of Todd Almond’s musical travelogue “Wyoming and Parts of Kansas” and Production Coordinator for Karen O and KK Barrett's “Stop the Virgens.”

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Education: B.A. in English, Literature & Creative Writing from Rhodes College
Knowledge: Theatrical Production

Published

Oct 23, 2022

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