10 Must-See Broadway Shows for First-Time Visitors in 2023

If you’re a first-time visitor to New York City, experiencing a classic Broadway show is an absolute must. With a multitude of genres and themes to look into, we’ve curated a list of 10 must-see Broadway shows in 2023 that will captivate your senses and make it a can’t-miss first Broadway encounter. From side-splitting musical comedy to solemn, philosophical approaches to the plot, there’re lots of productions from which you can choose:

Inspired by Real Life

New York, New York is a musical that appeals immensely to first-time visitors to Broadway and NYC. With music and lyrics by the legendary John Kander and Fred Ebb and a captivating book by David Thompson and Sharon Washington, this production loosely draws inspiration from the beloved 1977 film of the same name.

Set in the backdrop of post-World War II New York City, this musical transports audiences to a time when the city was rebuilding and brimming with potential. Against the swinging steel beams, a diverse ensemble of artists with dreams as vast as the metropolis itself, takes center stage. Singers, dancers, musicians, and makers come together, each with their own unique talents and aspirations. As they navigate the challenges of this bustling city, the question looms: Do they have what it takes to survive and thrive in this competitive landscape?

With its electrifying music, full-of-life performances, and a storyline that reflect the dreams and aspirations of countless artists, this production offers a powerful and inspiring experience.

For first-time visitors to Broadway, New York, New York is a must-see. It takes you on a tour around the city without leaving your seat, celebrating the indomitable spirit of those who dare to pursue their dreams.

Here Lies Love is a groundbreaking musical that is a must-see for first-time visitors to Broadway. This biographical “disco pop” production is based on the concept music album by the incomparable David Byrne and Fatboy Slim. Inspired by Byrne’s meticulous research on the life of former Philippine first lady Imelda Marcos, the musical delves into the life story of the Filipino people.

This show transports the audience into a dynamic dance club-like atmosphere. As the theater undergoes a remarkable transformation, spectators become fully immersed—quite literally—in the journey of Imelda Marcos and the Philippine People Power Revolution. Having garnered sold-out and critically acclaimed runs at prestigious venues such as The Public Theater, National theater, and Seattle Rep, Here Lies Love now takes center stage on Broadway. What makes this production truly revolutionary is the choice it offers to its viewers. You can either be fully immersed in the show, standing on the dance floor, or choose from a range of traditional and innovative seating options, ensuring a personalized experience for every theatergoer.

Campy and Humorous

Shucked is a hilarious 2022 musical that has taken Broadway by storm. With its jazzy country score, lyrics full of puns by Brandy Clark and Shane McAnally, and cleverly crafted book by Robert Horn, this production has become a sensation. Making its debut at the prestigious Nederlander theater, Shucked quickly garnered acclaim, opening to rave reviews.

What additionally sets this musical comedy apart is its groundbreaking inclusivity. Alex Newell, along with J. Harrison Ghee from Some Like It Hot, made history as the first openly non-binary performers to be nominated for a Tony AwardⓇ. Newell’s remarkable performance earned a nomination for Best Featured Actor in a Musical, adding to the show’s accolades.

The story revolves around Maizy and Beau, residents of the idyllic rural Midwestern community of Cobb County. Their plans for a dream wedding are derailed when their corn crop falls victim to blight. In a desperate attempt to save their livelihood, Maizy heeds the advice of her cousin Lulu, a local whiskey distiller, and embarks on a journey to find a solution.

Discover the sensational Broadway hit, The Book of Mormon, hailed by The New York Times as “the best musical of this century.” This uproarious comedy follows two Mormon missionaries on their extraordinary journey to Uganda, where they encounter unexpected challenges and embark on a hilarious mission to spread their faith.

Created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the masterminds behind the popular TV show South Park, The Book of Mormon seamlessly blends satire, wit, and heart to deliver a truly unforgettable theatrical experience. With its award-winning script, catchy songs, and side-splitting humour, this musical is a must-see for viewers seeking an entertaining night on Broadway. Please note that the show contains explicit language and may not be suitable for viewers under 13.

Unique Coming-of-Age Story

Kimberly Akimbo is the 2023 Tony AwardⓇ Best Musical winner, a truly unique show that holds immense value for first-time visitors to Broadway. Despite its recent debut, it has already garnered recognition as a potential modern classic. This darkly comedic, coming-of-age tale offers a fresh and thought-provoking perspective on the challenges of growing up and the complexities of familial relationships.

For a first-time Broadway viewer, Kimberly Akimbo presents an opportunity to witness the power of storytelling and its ability to shed light on the human condition. The musical’s exploration of identity, acceptance, and beauty in life’s imperfections is heartwarming and relatable. With its quirky characters and witty dialogue, this show strikes a delicate balance between humor and poignant moments, leaving audiences emotionally invested throughout the performance.
Take the chance to experience this remarkable production that showcases the depth and versatility of the Broadway art form.

Liveaction Horror

Sweeney Todd is a thrilling and chilling masterpiece that is an absolute must-see for any first-time visitor to Broadway. This Tony AwardⓇ-winning musical brings together a refreshing blend of horror, suspense, and an illustrious score that will keep your interest peeking until the last swing of the blade.

Set in 19th-century London, the story follows the vengeful barber Sweeney Todd as he seeks retribution for the injustices done to him and his family. The dark and atmospheric setting, coupled with the haunting melodies and razor-sharp wit, creates a gloomy yet intriguing ambiance that is amusing and spine-tingling. Sweeney Todd is a true showcase of the talent and artistry found on Broadway, with its masterful performances, intricate staging, and storytelling.

This production explores the depths of human nature, showcasing the themes of revenge, obsession, and the consequences of unchecked ambition. For a first-time visitor to Broadway, Sweeney Todd offers an unforgettable theatrical experience that will leave you exhilarated and haunted long after the final curtain falls. Take advantage of the opportunity to witness this updated classic performance that pushes the boundaries of storytelling and leaves a lasting impression on diverse audiences.

Little Shop of Horrors is a timeless Broadway classic that continues to enthrall audiences at the acclaimed Westside Theater. Winner of multiple prestigious awards, including the Drama League, Outer Critics Circle, and Drama Desk Awards for Best Musical Revival, this wildly exuberant production is a must-see for first-time viewers.

With a star-studded cast featuring Joy Woods (Six), Tony AwardⓇ winner Matt Doyle (Company), and Drew Gehling (Waitress), Little Shop of Horrors breathes new life into this iconic musical. This dark comedy will take you on a thrilling journey filled with magical puppetry, incredible performances, and a plot that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Modern Classics


Step into a mythological underworld with this spellbinding musical that intertwines the stories of Orpheus and Eurydice with the mythical realm of Hades. With its soul-stirring music and breathtaking modernized set design, this Tony AwardⓇ-winning show explores the themes of love, sacrifice, and the power of art to shape the world.

In this compelling rendition, Eurydice, a young woman seeking solace from poverty and the cold, finds herself working in an industrialized and even darker – realistic – version of the Greek underworld. Meanwhile, her lover, the talented singer-songwriter Orpheus, embarks on a daring quest to rescue her from this hellish realm. Their poignant love story unfolds against Dust Bowl-style decorations and a dismaying, jazzy score, bringing a whole new dimension to the story’s relevance.

For first-time visitors to Broadway, Hadestown is a theatrical gem that offers a truly transformative experience. Its ability to transport audiences to a world where mythology meets contemporary storytelling sets the show apart. The music and lyrics bring a sense of realism to the characters, evoking powerful emotions and drawing the audience in the heart-wrenching journey of love and loss.


Witness the phenomenon that has taken the world by storm with Hamilton. This groundbreaking musical blends hip-hop, jazz, and traditional show tunes to tell the extraordinary story of Alexander Hamilton, one of America’s founding fathers. With its rip-roaring performances and magnetic storytelling, Hamilton is a modern classic that inspires you to do more with the life and time you were given.

Hamilton is a must-see for first-time visitors to Broadway. With Lin-Manuel Miranda at the helm, this sung-and-rapped-through masterpiece takes inspiration from the 2004 book Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow. Miranda’s vision initially began as a hip-hop concept album and evolved into a theatrical sensation. The result is a vibrant, dynamic production that seamlessly bridges the gap between America’s past and present.

One of the most remarkable aspects of “Hamilton” is its diverse cast, featuring non-white actors portraying the Founding Fathers and other historical figures. This deliberate casting choice creates a powerful and inclusive narrative, reimagining history through a contemporary lens.
For first-time Broadway viewers, Hamilton offers an extraordinary opportunity to witness a theatrical masterpiece transcending time and genre. It celebrates America’s rich history while shedding light on the issues and struggles that resonate with society today.