Stage plays are some of the oldest form of mass entertainment, right up there with gladiator fights and spoken word poetry – think Homer or the prophets of old. Now, we have the modern-day stage play, with extra lighting, some air conditioning – and the same amount of fascination.

Enjoy our list of the 5 best shows on Broadway, 2019.

Hamilton

Hamilton has been the #1 highest grossing Broadway show for four straight years, averaging almost $3 million weekly in ticket sales. It first opened in 2015 to critical acclaim and an overnight global fanbase. Even five years later, tickets are booked months in advance, making it one of the best shows on Broadway in 2019 and into 2020.  

Hamilton is a hip-hop musical that follows the life of United States vice president Alexander Hamilton as he navigates life as one of America’s founding fathers. It tackles heavy issues such as the American Revolution, slavery, sex scandals, and even death in a duel.

Moulin Rouge

Moulin Rouge opened in 2019 and quickly became one of the fastest-growing shows in Broadway history. Before coronavirus hit, it was poised perfectly to overtake Hamilton as the number one box office Broadway earner – and still may, if the season opens again soon.

Moulin Rouge takes the title as one of the best shows on Broadway in 2019 due largely to the outstanding performances and glittery, scandalous romance of the main plotline. Set at the edge of the 20th century, this show follows the ill-fated relationship between a poor poet and a cabaret girl promised to be the love interest of the cabaret house’s largest benefactor.

The Lion King

The Lion King is the 2nd oldest show to still be performing on Broadway, outmatched only by The Phantom of the Opera. Annual ticket sales top 13,000 regularly, and it sits consistently in the top 3 Broadway ticket sales week after week.

This stage adaptation of the 1994 Disney classic by the same name follows the same basic storyline. A young lion, Simba watches his father die – unbeknownst to him – at the paws of a murderous uncle with dreams to rule the African Pride Lands. Simba flees the scene of the accident, only to return when a former pridemate seeks him out to plea for his help in saving the Pride Lands and fulfilling his destiny.

Slave Play

Slave Play debuted in 2019 due to the efforts of a young playwright with a knack for thought-provoking writing. It received critical acclaim for its provocation of cultural reconsideration and a stark contrast on the sexual lives and sexuality of three interracial couples.

This eclectic drama started at Yale, moved to the New York Theatre Workshop, and slammed full force into Broadway not long after. It discusses in uncomfortable depth the potentially destructive intersection of race, power dynamics, and sexuality.

Hadestown

Hadestown debuted in early 2019 and won a total of 8 Tony Awards, including “Best Musical” and “Best Original Score” its opening season – the most Tonys of any Broadway show in 2019. This critically acclaimed musical combines the incredible talents of Anais Mitchell and Rachel Chavkin to create something entirely new and compelling.

The story follows two popular myths, those of Orpheus and Eurydice and King Hades and wife Persephone, as two star-crossed lovers the border to hell and back…or not. In this modern adaptation, Orpheus dives headfirst into the underworld to save his love, only to find that the underworld is so much darker than he could have ever envisaged.

Plays capture the heart, the mind, and the imagination, all the while showing us what we didn’t know we wanted to see. They sweep us away into their world of bright colors, glittery costumes, and dramatic exits, stage left.