Skip to Main Content

Broadway New York Shows: A Guide for First-Timers

Broadway shows are a staple of New York City culture. For first-time visitors to the city, seeing a Broadway show is a must. But with so many options, it can be hard to know where to start. This guide will help first-time visitors to New York City choose the perfect Broadway show for their trip.

What to Consider When Choosing a Broadway Show

Firstly, what kind of shows are you interested in? Are you looking to see some of the newest, hottest shows on Broadway? Or do you want to see some of the classics? Musicals? Plays? There is a Broadway show for every taste.

Musicals are typically high-energy and may feature lavish production values, including elaborate sets, costumes, choreography, and incredible music. They often tell classic stories, such as The Phantom of the Opera and Hadestown, or are based on popular films like The Lion King and Aladdin. Musicals of all kinds are a great entree to Broadway and become lasting memories. What was your first Broadway Show?

Plays are the second most common type of show on Broadway. These shows are typically more dialogue-heavy than musicals and often deal with more serious subjects. That said, there are plenty of comedies and dramas to be found on Broadway as well. Classic plays such as Death of a Salesman continue to be produced alongside newer works, such as The Kite Runner and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. There is definitely something special about seeing your first play, especially when it is produced on Broadway, where you will be treated to some of the most accomplished talent and creativity seen anywhere, on any stage in the world.

Follow the awards and consider seeing a Tony Award®-winning show as your first. Broadway hosts the best of the best, and most musicals and plays are decorated with various awards and accolades. Tony®-winners are at the top of the heap. If it’s not the first run of a particular show, it has probably been recognized by audiences and critics previously, and it’s safe to say that whatever show you decide to attend as your first, it will be a marvelous experience.

Specialty shows, such as magic shows, circuses, and dance revues, are also sometimes found on Broadway. These shows tend to be more niche than musicals and plays but can be just as entertaining for the right audience.

Secondly, consider your budget. Tickets can range from $25 to $300 and even higher for some shows. If a show is top-rated, or if you want the very best seats, you will probably have to pay more.

Broadway tickets can be expensive, but there are ways to save money. If you’re searching for a great deal on group tickets to see a Broadway show, get your tickets through Broadway Inbound. We are an official group ticketing agent for Broadway performances. We offer a variety of discounts on group tickets, making it easy to save money on your next trip to see a performance. Whether you are booking for a group of 10 or you need to bring the entire band, we have a discount that will cover your needs.

Finally, it is a good idea to take a look at some of the reviews of the shows you’re interested in. Some popular shows are not for everyone. Likewise, some people love some of the more “obscure” shows that others have never heard of. There is usually a show on Broadway to match your own tastes. Take the leap.

Recommended Broadway Shows for First-Timers

Once you’ve considered your interests and budget, it’s time to make the choice. For first-time visitors, some of the best Broadway shows include classic stories like The Phantom of the Opera and Some Like It Hot.

The Phantom of the Opera is a gothic romance about a masked man who lives in the catacombs beneath the Paris Opera House. He falls in love with a beautiful soprano, Christine, and becomes obsessed with making her a star. The Phantom's jealousy almost leads to tragedy as he’s unable to make peace with the fact that Christine, his muse, is in love with another and tries to force her to stay with him.

Some Like It Hot is a musical adaptation of the iconic 1959 film starring Marilyn Monroe. In Some Like It Hot on Broadway, two male musicians witness a mob hit and must disguise themselves as women to join an all-female band headed for Miami. Along the way, they both fall in love with the band's singer. Hilarity ensues as they try to hide their true identities while juggling their romantic pursuits.

If you’re thinking of something more contemporary, check out Hamilton a hip-hop musical about the life of Alexander Hamilton, with music, lyrics, and a book by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Or Almost Famous a musical about a 15-year-old journalist William Miller hired by Rolling Stone magazine to go on tour with the up-and-coming rock band Stillwater to write a story about them. He falls in love with the band's lead singer, Penny Lane, and starts to question his values and beliefs.

Broadway’s Chicago is an American classic. The show is set in the 1920s and revolves around two female characters, Velma and Roxie, who are both murderesses. The show is full of catchy tunes and memorable dance numbers, making it a true crowd-pleaser. Chicago is the perfect show for those who are looking for an introduction to the world of Broadway musicals.

Broadway is the mecca for live theatre, and it offers a lot of incredible live-action re-imaginings of beloved pieces originally produced in other mediums, like, for example, Aladdin. This award-winning musical is based on the iconic 1992 Disney film and features all of your favorite songs, like “A Whole New World” and “Friend Like Me.” The sets and costumes are spectacular, and the Genie, live on stage, will amaze you and have you in stitches. Aladdin is the perfect show for first-time visitors to Broadway because it has something for everyone.

Enjoy the Show!

Broadway shows are a unique and unforgettable experience. Here are a couple of suggestions from experienced theatre-goers for you to know before you savor this moment and enjoy the show:

Arrive on time. Broadway shows start on time, well close to on-time most nights, and you don’t want to miss the first few minutes. Many shows will not allow latecomers to be seated until intermission.

Turn off your mobile device. It can be tempting to check your inbox, but be considerate of those around you and turn off your phone or tablet. You don’t want to be the one people are staring down because your Mom called in the middle of a tense scene.

Be dressed appropriately. Broadway shows don’t have any particular dress code. However, it is still better to go with a smart-casual style. Or, if you’d like to make the night even extra special, you may dress up — a sleek dress or even a costume relevant to the show you are seeing would make for a perfect theatre outfit.

Seeing a Broadway show is a magical experience. And seeing one for the first time is something you will never forget. With so many options, deciding which one to see can be tricky. We hope this guide will help you prepare to see your first-ever Broadway show and make your experience as smooth as possible.