Behold: The 8 Must-See Broadway Shows of Summer 2024

a person in a garment
The 8 Must-See Broadway Shows of Summer 2024Marc Brenner

Anyone else feel like Broadway is having a moment? Ever since Beanie Feldstein’s exit from the 2022 revival of Funny Girl (and all the drama surrounding the announcement that Lea Michele would be taking over the leading role), it seems as though the Great White Way has permeated youth culture (read: THE INTERNET) in a way we haven’t really seen since the 2006 smash hit Spring Awakening. (Which, coincidentally, also starred Lea Michele!)

Lea’s clear influence aside, there’ve been a slew of headlines and social media chatter about the goings on in the world of theater in 2024. At least once a week I wake up to frenzy of online chatter about this once niche, regional industry. As an avid theatergoer, I admit that could very well just be my algorithm talking, so in case you’ve missed the noise here’s a taste of what I’m talking about:

  • There’s the recent announcement that Rachel Zegler will be making her Broadway debut opposite Kit Connor in a revival of Romeo + Juliet, with music by Taylor Swift’s longtime friend and producer Jack Anotonoff.

  • Kit Connor’s Heartstopper co-star Joe Locke made waves in the current revival of Sweeney Todd after taking over for Stranger Things star—and fellow Netflix wunderkind—Gaten Matarazzo.

  • Former Cosmo cover girl Zoey Deutch will join Katie Holmes in a production of Our Town this fall. And The Big Bang Theory star Jim Parsons will be joining them once he wraps up his current stint in Mother Play opposite Zoey’s own The Politician grandMOTHER (see what I did there?), Jessica Lange, whose American Horror Story co-star Sarah Paulson is captivating audiences in Appropriate alongside her Ratched co-star Corey Stoll. (One sec while I catch my breath...)

  • Harry Potter alum Daniel Radcliffe has been winning over hearts in Merrily We Roll Along since last fall (and you can still catch him through July 7!)

  • Margot Robbie is dipping her toes in the theater space and will be producing the off-Broadway musical The Big Gay Jambouree.

  • Sex and the City (and now And Just Like That) star Cynthia Nixon gave her best Marina Abramović-inspired performance in The Seven Year Disappear earlier this year.

  • To celebrate the release of his new album ‘Honeymind’, Ben Platt announced a surprise 18-show concert residency at Broadway’s Palace Theatre.

  • Fans of The Office can get their Michael Scott fix by seeing Steve Carell's Broadway debut in Uncle Vanya. (The roles are nothing alike. But it's definitely Steve!)

  • Two-time Drag Race champion Jinkx Monsoon is starring in not one, but two NYC shows this season: Little Shop of Horrors and CHICAGO.

  • Former Glee star Darren Criss is returning to Broadway with Helen J. Shen in the new musical Maybe Happy Ending later this year.

  • And there’s a ton of fan-fare at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre stage door each night, where audience members wait for a glimpse of Mary Jane lead Rachel McAdams—yes, the OG Mean Girls and The Notebook star; two movies with Broadway musical adaptations, the latter of which premiered this year (but didn’t make this list. Sorry!) And that’s just a slice of the action. I COULD KEEP GOING!

We’ve also witnessed the likes of Jennifer Hudson, Viola Davis, and Elton John reach EGOT status in recent years; the highly exclusive club of just 19 people who’ve won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony during their career. It’s a huge goal for many entertainers and you can’t win a Tony without being on Broadway, which is one of the many reasons we should all be paying more attention to this oft-overlooked industry.

So, yeah. I’m calling it: Live theater is officially IN. And to celebrate Broadway entering her cool-girl era, I put together a list (which I organized alphabetically to avoid playing favorites) of eight must-see productions that have opened this year. You’re welcome!

a group of people in clothing
Marc Brenner

Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club

Now playing at the August Wilson Theatre

Get your tickets here

I have two words for you: GAYLE. RANKIN. The Broadway newcomer lives up to the star power of Sally Bowles with seasoned ease. She harnesses the boozy spirit of a misguided good-time girl sleeping her way through the Berlin nightlife circuit with a sense of glamour and reverie that is expertly amplified by the fashion-forward costumes by Tom Scutt. When she sings the title song, brace yourself for the chills it’s sure to send down your spine.

Even so, it's important to mention that this revival of the John Kander/Fred Ebb musical has audiences and critics divided. But I’m in the camp who found this in-your-face production magnificent. Transcendent even! Dinner and a show? How about dinner at the show? For anyone feeling spenny, this production offers intimate table seating (at a premium!) with a special pre-show stage-side dining experience right near all the action of this theater-in-the-round experience. You can still enjoy food and beverage even if you don’t splurge on a table, though.

No expense was spared in transforming the August Wilson Theatre into a gaudy, glittering, and jazzy Berlin nightclub where audiences can make their way through a labyrinth of plush bars and speak-easy style seating where various burlesque performers mix and mingle before everyone makes their way to their seats. Enjoy a warm pretzel and a glass of bubbly while a live orchestra busts down on a bar top. Don’t expect to run into Eddie Redmayne, though! He’s contained to the stage.

a group of people dancing
Evan Zimmerman

The Great Gatsby

Now playing at the Broadway Theatre

Get your tickets here

This highly anticipated adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel The Great Gatsby won the race to Broadway against a second (and dare I say, slightly more anticipated) Florence Welch-led production called Gatsby, which is currently in development at Massachusetts' American Repertory Theater. This production may have gotten to Broadway first but it only nabbed one Tony nomination, so whether slow and steady will win out in the end is yet to be seen. For now, though, this show gets the job done in terms of providing an entertaining night out on the town.

Go see Jeremy Jordan and Eva Noblezada dazzle as Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan in this new musical featuring music and lyrics by Jason Howland and Nathan Tysen. The pure vocal power of the romantic leads is something to marvel. No one is bringing the house down like these two right now. No one. I’m honestly shocked they didn’t receive any love this awards season.

This extravagant show is pure jazz age fun, with big dance numbers and dazzling pyrotechnics that show off the ensemble’s show-stopping—albeit on-the-nose—1920s flapper costumes by Linda Cho, who is responsible for that sole aforementioned Tony nomination. And the extravagant set design by Paul Tate dePoo III will transport you the way a big Broadway show should. (Everyone say, “thank you, Paul!”)

a group of men on stage
Matthew Murphy

The Heart of Rock and Roll

Now playing at the James Earl Jones Theatre

Get your tickets here

Despite the show being snubbed by the Tonys, I absolutely loved it and cannot recommend it enough. Awards shows don’t always get it right, and this is proof. Set in 1987 and jam-packed with Huey Lewis mega-hits like “Do You Believe in Love” and “Hip to Be Square”, this larger-than-life musical centers on a pair of ambitious 20-somethings who are figuring out their lot in life during the economic boom that set boomers up for life. (Bitter, party of one!)

Out of everything that opened this year, The Heart of Rock and Roll stands out as one of the more successful new shows because of its genuinely funny script, visually assaulting (in a positive and authentically '80s way) costumes, and a cast of talented actors who don’t take themselves too seriously. Leads Corey Cott and McKenzie Kurtz’s insane chemistry as Bobby and Cassandra bring big-time rom-com energy to the stage, with lots of laughs along the way. McKenzie’s brilliant character choices are reminiscent of Kristen Wiig’s Saturday Night Live days, but it’s scene-stealer Orville Mendoza as eccentric Swedish businessman Fjord who will leave you in stitches with every line.

a group of men dancing
Marc J. Franklin

Hell’s Kitchen

Now playing at the Shubert Theater

Get your tickets here

Fun Fact: Did you know that there are three actresses who once filled the role of Elphaba in Wicked currently back on Broadway? Lindsay Mendez in Merrily We Roll Along, Eden Espinosa in Lempicka, and Shoshanna Bean as Alicia Keys’ mom in Hell’s Kitchen, the new semi-autobiographical musical loosely based on the Grammy-award-winning artist's life, featuring both newly crafted songs alongside a handful of her iconic hits. Shoshanna is just one of the many reasons to go see this vibrant show that brilliantly taps into the experience of being a 17-year-old girl.

In her breathtaking Broadway debut, Maleah Joi Moon—who listened to Alicia Keys in the womb—shines as Ali, a precocious young woman who can’t wait to enjoy some much needed independence in her backyard of NYC. The 1990s sensibility will transport you back in time (and make you want to do some shopping!), the supercharged choreography will have you dancing in your seat, and “Fallin’” in Act II will make you want to sing along—but please don’t do that, it’s terrible theater etiquette. This show tied with the play Stereophonic (further down on this alphabetized list!) for a leading 13 Tony nominations each, so you don’t want to miss it.

Matthew Murphy


Now playing at the St. James Theatre through August 10

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This out-of-the-box production in the style of a dance concert set to a live musical performance of Sufjan Stevens' critically acclaimed 2005 concept album Illinois will send you on a thrilling rollercoaster of emotions. Justin Peck’s direction and choreography weaves a comprehensive narrative about unrequited love, mourning, and ultimately acceptance. By the end of this 90-minute masterpiece, I had all but forgotten that the 12-dancer company had zero lines.

The entire company dances beautifully to the choral narration sung by Elijah Lyons, Tasha Viets-VanLear, and Shara Nova (who sang on the original album), but the real breakout of this transcendent production is Ben Cook, who you might recognize from Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story. He exudes star powers and the entire audience couldn’t take their eyes off him anytime he took center stage. Joining Ben in an ongoing memory sequence about a love triangle are Gaby Diaz (his real-life girlfriend) and the show’s protagonist Henry, played by Ricky Ubeda—both former winners of So You Think You Can Dance.

oh mary
Emilio Madrid

Oh, Mary!

Playing at the Lyceum Theatre June 26 through September 15

Get your tickets here

I was lucky enough to catch this show during it’s off-Broadway run at the Lucille Lortel Theater downtown before it transferred. (I even interviewed the play’s creator and star Cole Escola for Town & Country.) And I couldn’t be more thrilled for this cast and crew for the ongoing success and near-constant cycle of selling-out and extending. (Don’t dawdle in securing a seat, though. It won’t last forever, so nab yourself some tickets before it’s officially too late.)

I have never witnessed audiences and critics alike so united in their adoration for this hilariously laugh-out-loud groundbreaking play about our former first lady Mary Todd Lincoln as she mopes around the White House in a manic alcoholic stupor in the weeks leading up to her husband’s assassination. Director Sam Pinkleton wove magic out of Cole’s original script. The performances on stage each night are a masterclass in comedy that leave you no room to catch your breath. This is one of those rare shows you can bring literally anyone to. So do that.

a man and a woman
Matthew Murphy

The Outsiders

Now playing at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre

Get your tickets here

This exciting new show based on the famous S.E. Hinton novel of the same name is largely faithful to the source material and centers around two groups of warring teens in 1960s Oklahoma. The high-octane production—complete with fire, rain, and a heart pounding fight sequence—is easily one of this season’s best new musicals, and the Tony nominations for the 2023-24 season back that up. You want big sets? Check. Killer choreography? Check. An extremely hot cast? CHECK. Come for the story, stay for Jason Schmidt’s abs. And Brent Comer’s arms.

Leading the cast of cuties is Broadway newcomer Brody Grant, who nabbed himself a nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical and sings with a voice so soulful, it begs for a solo pop rock album. I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s where his career takes him next, but I’ll have the original Broadway cast recording to look forward to beginning May 22 in the meantime.

a group of women dancing
Julieta Cervantes


Now playing at the Golden Theatre through August 18

Get your tickets here

Whether you’re a Fleetwood Mac fan or just someone who loves 1970s aesthetics, you should absolutely add Stereophonic to your summer bucket list. This show—which received 13 Tony Award nominations, making it the most Tony-nominated play ever—features original songs by Arcade Fire's Will Butler, but it’s a play. Not a musical. (Wild concept, I know!)

The script is loosely based on the Rumours era of Fleetwood Mac and takes place entirely within the confines of a recording studio where a burgeoning rock band navigates addiction and breakups amidst newfound fame and success. The show is a three-hour drama and can feel painstakingly slow at times, but stick with it. That's the beauty of the script, and the hyper realistic set design by David Zinn transports you so successfully, you almost forget you’re at a show. Stereophonic is peak fly-on-the-wall fun. Lastly, lead Sarah Pidgeon’s Broadway debut is not one to miss. Being in the audience for one of her performances is one of those “I saw her when” moments you’ll be bragging about in a few years’ time.

Now if you find yourself in New York City this summer, you know where to go. But if you don’t like the recommendations, there’s always time to brush up on Wicked before the November film starring Ariana Grande and Cynthia Erivo hits theaters. You can trust me, though. I’ve seen 31 plays and musicals on and off Broadway since the start of 2024 😉.

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