5 Edgy Theatre Experiences to Book in NYC


Looking for something a little different? While shows like “Wicked” or “Waitress” are tourism standards for good reason, some visitors like to dig a little deeper. There are hundreds of shows in the City that Never Sleeps, taking place all over Broadway and at off-Broadway and off-off-Broadway venues. The New York City theater scene offers something for everyone. Whether you’re a theater junkie who’s already seen all the iconic shows of Broadway or you just have a taste for unusual fare, you’re bound to find something to love in this list of alternative theater experiences.

‘Ghost Light’

Image via Flickr by Mike Appel

Third Rail Project’s “Ghost Light” takes you through a series of dreamlike landscapes where you will experience a “benevolent haunting” through the mystique of theatricality and performance. This immersive experience takes you into unseen corners of the theater. You will be walking and climbing stairs and will at times be separated from your group, so dress comfortably and be prepared to check your bags. This show is not suitable for children. You can see it at the Claire Tow Theater.


With three Tony Award nominations under its belt, including a nomination for Best Play, “Indecent” has moved from off-Broadway to the main strip at the Cort Theater. According to New York Times reviewer Charles Isherwood, “‘Indecent’ sheds an eye-opening light on a little-known time when theatrical history, Jewish culture and the frank depiction of homosexuality intersected, with explosive results.” The show tells the behind-the-scenes story of Sholem Asch’s

“God of Vengeance,” a play that prompted an obscenity charge and conviction in the 1920s for featuring a brothel and a lesbian love story (the conviction was successfully appealed). A cast of just seven actors tells the story of the creative minds behind that explosive show.

‘Marvin’s Room’

Perhaps you remember the film adaptation of “Marvin’s Room,” which featured a powerhouse cast that included Diane Keaton, Meryl Streep, Hume Cronyn, and Robert De Niro. Or maybe you remember the original play that debuted in 1990 and featured Mark Rosenthal. The Roundabout Theater is staging a revival of Scott McPherson’s dark comedy about death, dying, life, and living, starring two edgy ’90s icons: Janeane Garofalo and Lili Taylor. In 1991, New York Times reviewer Frank Rich described “Marvin’s Room” as “one of the funniest plays of this year as well as one of the wisest and most moving.” It opens at the American Airlines Theater in late June.

‘Sleep No More’

Punchdrunk’s “Sleep No More” is a darkly cinematic adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Macbeth,” presented in an immersive style. Audience members are free to wander and choose their own paths through the story’s epic world, so your journey through the play will be uniquely your own. Let your curiosity guide you through this voyeuristic theatrical experience at The McKittrick Hotel.

‘The Box Show’

In the off-off-Broadway production of “The Box Show” at the People’s Improv Theater, Dominique Salerno performs an amazing array of work from inside a cube. Her cube becomes the inside of the Trojan Horse, where warriors prepare one another for battle, or a dance floor where a courtship takes place. The show is funny but with moments of poignant darkness that bring it texture and give the show a marvelous synergy.

From interactive Shakespearean adventures to a woman in a box, New York City has your offbeat entertainment needs covered.

Lauren Haas is a nomadic freelance writer and serial entrepreneur currently based in St. Louis, MO.

About Heather Jones

I'm just a mom of two boys living in Northern Colorado. I enjoy walks around the lake, bible journaling, volunteering at my church and reading a plethora of Christian self help books.

Heartfully Heather


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Heather Jones

I'm just a mom of two boys living in Northern Colorado. I enjoy walks around the lake, bible journaling, volunteering at my church and reading a plethora of Christian self help books.

19 thoughts on “5 Edgy Theatre Experiences to Book in NYC

  1. Ghost Light and Box Show for me! You started and ended with the two I would most like to see! I wish I could get back to NYC and do these things! The only two times I have been have been for business and I could not do fun stuff! Well actually there was another time but I was 14 years old so I did not get to pick what we did haha.

  2. These sound like fantastic shows! We saw book of mormon when we visited NYC and it was perfect because my partner isn’t exactly a play or musical kind of guy! But he loved the book of mormon and so did I. If we get back there i’d love to add some of these to the must see list

  3. Awesome list! I’ve never been to New York but I’m hoping to travel there one day. Thank you so much for the recommendations.

  4. It’s so refreshing to see something different than the typical Broadway shows (not that there is anything wrong with them at all!) I love seeing smaller theaters getting publicity!

  5. I want to go back to New York and catch up with some or their Broadway show. The Box Show sounds like something my hubby and I would love to check it out. Thanks for the recommendations!

  6. I’ve never seen or heard of any of these! But they sound very intriguing and I’d love to have the opportunity to experience them one day. Neither my husband nor myself have ever been to New York City, but we desperately want to go sometime soon!

  7. Of the 5 you’ve listed, I think Sleep No More appeals to me the most. I love Shakespeare and one of my most memorable experiences is watching MacBeth being performed on a castle ruin near Oxford University when I was a student.

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