New to Broadway? Here’s a Handy Beginner’s Guide

You only get one first Broadway show. So how do you choose?

Every theater fan remembers their first experience. Whether it was a musical staged in your hometown high school or a dramatic straight play put on by the community theater, the irreplaceable memory stays with you through a lifetime of theatergoing magic.

But there’s nothing like seeing a show on bonafide Broadway in New York City. Whether you’re a lifelong theatergoer or someone new to it entirely, if you are deciding what to see on Broadway for the first time — or even just want tips on how to buy Broadway tickets — we’ve got you covered.

Below, we’ve laid out seven musicals to serve as the perfect beginner’s guide to Broadway, along with a number of important factors to consider when selecting a show.

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Factors to Weigh When Planning Your Broadway Show Visit

Show Content

The first thing to consider when perusing the dozens of shows currently playing on Broadway is each production’s content. Themes explored on the stage are virtually boundless, and it’s important to know what you’re in for heading into the theater — particularly if you’ll be with kids or teenagers.

Show Venue

Each Broadway theater in NYC is unique, ranging from the neoclassical Adam style of theaters like the Walter Kerr and Winter Garden to the Moorish and Byzantine details in the Al Hirschfeld Theatre and the thrust stage at Circle in the Square Theatre. Every venue also has its own layout and structure, oftentimes with orchestra seating, a mezzanine and smaller balcony, offering varied sight lines of the stage and ticket prices. However, it’s important to remember that there’s really no such thing as a bad seat in a Broadway theater — you’ll experience the magic no matter where you’re sitting.

Dress Code

As a general rule, most Broadway shows don’t have a specific dress code, and simply recommend wearing whatever feels comfortable and appropriate for the occasion. However, it’s always wise to check the dress code for the specific show on its official site before you arrive.

Family Factor

Another important thing to consider when attending your first Broadway show is the age limit for small kids. Broadway theaters do not permit children under the age of 4, considering it may be difficult for little ones to sit through an entire performance.

What is the best way to see a Broadway show?

When it comes to booking methods, don’t leave it to chance — buying Broadway tickets on is the best way to ensure you get in on event day. You can also line up for rush tickets (when applicable) or purchase tickets last minute, but planning ahead is always a good idea.

Discover Shows for First-Timers

The Outsiders

The Outsiders brings the classic novel by S.E. Hinton to life, telling the story of Ponyboy Curtis, his best friend Johnny Cade and the rest of the Greasers born on the wrong side of the tracks in 1960s Tulsa, Oklahoma. Caught in an endless class war between the Greasers and the preppy Socs from the other side of town, Ponyboy’s life is turned upside down when a tragedy strikes that threatens his way of life, his chosen family and all he holds dear. With a score by Jamestown Revival, The Outsiders won four awards at the 2024 Tonys, including Best Musical.


In the mood for something both educational and inspiring? Look no further than Suffs, the new musical that recounts the women’s suffrage movement leading up to the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920. Filled with depictions of real-life historical figures like Carrie Chapman Catt, Ida B. Wells and President Woodrow Wilson, Suffs features a book, music and lyrics by tour de force Shaina Taub, who also stars as trailblazing women’s rights activist Alice Paul. The musical drama took home two awards at the 2024 Tonys — for best Book of a Musical and Best Original Score — and counts both Hilary Clinton and Malala Yousafzai among its production team.

The Lion King

The highest-grossing musical in Broadway history, The Lion King has kept audiences enraptured for nearly 26 years and counting. The popular Disney adaptation is a perfect choice for first-timers both young and old, all of whom are sure to be taken in by the magic unfolding on stage at the Minskoff Theatre as Simba takes the long road to becoming king of the savanna with help from Timon, Pumbaa, Rafiki, Zazu, Nala and more beloved characters.


The only show on Broadway that will defy gravity and your expectations, Wicked is a perfect choice for first-time theatergoers as it’s widely revered as the defining show of the 2000s. The story of Elphaba and Glinda before they became the famous Witches of Oz is nothing short of a modern classic, filled with famous songs like “The Wizard and I,” “What Is This Feeling?” and, of course, “Defying Gravity.”

Back to the Future

Great Scott! Back to the Future landed its DeLorean at the Winter Garden Theatre in the summer of 2023 and has been sending audiences back to the 1950s ever since. Based on the comedy of the same name starring Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd, the musical features a fun mix of original songs by Alan Silvestri and Glen Ballard and others that were featured in the movie’s 1985 soundtrack like “Earth Angel (Will You Be Mine?),” “Johnny B. Goode” and “The Power of Love.”


It’s Broadway’s biggest party — and an experience that’s perfect for the whole family. Disney’s Aladdin features a flying magic carpet, glittering-gold costumes, and art deco-style sets that’ll dazzle every one of your senses. The show opened at the New Amsterdam Theatre on March 20, 2014, so it’s also celebrating its 10-year anniversary — making for an even more festive atmosphere! Recommended for ages six and up, Aladdin is one of the most magical experiences to be had on Broadway.

& Juliet

The Shakespearean tale of Romeo and Juliet is a familiar one. But what if the ill-fated Capulet girl didn’t die at the end, and instead she belted out some of the greatest pop music of the ‘90s, 2000s and 2010s? That’s the conceit of & Juliet, a jukebox musical with a soundtrack helmed by pop superproducer Max Martin. Millennial and Gen Z first-timers will find themselves dancing out of the Stephen Sondheim Theatre to crowd-pleasing tunes like Britney Spears’ “…Baby One More Time,” *NSYNC’s “It’s Gonna Be Me,” Kelly Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone” and more.

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