There’s so much to see and do when you’re in New York for Westminster. One of the great things to take advantage of is the plethora of shows on Broadway, and even at this late date you can still get tickets for even the best shows.

The Broadway League’s website tells us that there are currently 40 theaters on Broadway, so no matter what your tastes and preferences there’s sure to be something you’ll enjoy. Off Broadway offers some exciting shows as well. Tickets generally range from $20 up to $150, and sometimes are available even at the most sought-after times for the most popular shows, although of course at a higher price.


Enduring Favorites

A number of shows have been playing in New York for a long time, as well as familiar titles that have returned to Broadway. At the Palace Theater at 1564 Broadway “Annie” may have a special appeal for dog lovers. Sunny, the dog that plays Sandy in the show, was rescued from a shelter in Houston, and for every ticket to “Annie” that’s sold before December 31 this year, Pedigree will donate $2, up to $1 million, to the Pedigree Foundation, a nonprofit that helps shelter dogs find homes.

That aside, the show got rave reviews from the New York Times, USA Today, the Washington Post and many more. Harper’s Bazaar said, “There is arguably not a single musical that is more appropriate or able to lift New Yorkers’ spirits…”

“Chicago” is playing at the Ambassador at 219 W. 49th St., “The Lion King” at the Minskoff at 1515 Broadway and “Mama Mia” at the Winter Garden at 1634 Broadway. “The Phantom of the Opera” is still at the Majestic at 247 W. 44th. This was the first show I ever saw on Broadway – in fact I’ve seen it twice at the Majestic – but I’m just one of several million people who’ve done so, since it’s been playing there since January 9, 1988. In 2006 it became Broadway’s longest running show ever, and it’s an honor that I think is well-deserved.

Other perennial favorites: “Wicked” is in its 10th year at the George Gershwin Theater on 51st Street. “Jersey Boys” opened on November 6, 2005, and is still at the August Wilson Theater on 52nd Street. Who could possibly make a better Maggie in Tennessee Williams’ classic “Cat On a Hot Tin Roof” than the sultry, sexy Scarlett Johansson? She’s in the show at the Richard Rogers Theater at 266 W. 46th St. Although the Tony award-winning actress’s latest venture has gotten mixed reviews since it opened in January, perhaps it would be worth the risk.

The Critics’ Choices

As for the shows that critics have chosen as the ones worth seeing, the New York Times//LINK “New York Times” to provides its audience with its Critics’ Picks to help theatergoers choose among the many offerings on Broadway. “The Book of Mormon,” the story of two Mormon boys sent on an improbable journey,is one of these, from the creators of “South Park” and the co-creator of the musical “Avenue Q.” The musical comedy, which opened in March 2011, is playing at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre on 49th Street.

One of the most unique of the Critics’ Picks is “The Mystery of Edwin Drood,” playing at Studio 54 on 54th Street.NYT critic Charles Isherwood notes that the Rupert Holmes novel of the same name has been “refashioned…into a live parlor game for theatergoers,” where the story has a different ending every night, depending on who the audience decides committed the crime. That’s right – the audience gets to participate in what sounds like the most fun show currently on Broadway.

The next Critics’ Pick opened on Broadway in March 2012 after a run Off Broadway. “Once,” set on the streets of Dublin, covers one week in the lives of an Irish musician and a Czech immigrant, whose shared love of music becomes a human love story.The love-hate story embodied in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” is also among the critics’ favorites. Playing at the Booth Theaterat 222 W. 45th, this rendition of the classic play opened in October last year, exactly 50 years after the original first opened on Broadway. Isherwood makes one yearn to see this production when he says that “the soul ache this superlative staging leaves behind is accompanied by a feeling far more emotionally enriching: the exhilaration of a fresh encounter with a great work of theater revitalized anew.”

And last, but not least, among the Critics’ Picks is “a seriously silly, absurdly enjoyable arena-rock musical” called “Rock of Ages,” playing at the Helen Hayes Theater at 240 W. 44th Street. It’s the story of a bunch of late 1980s rockers and their groupies facing the demise of a legendary Hollywood club, and it’s filled with music in which baby boomers – and others – will revel.

Of course, with 40 theaters on Broadway, and great shows playing Off and Off-Off Broadway as well, there’s lots more to choose from. For a complete list of what’s playing, visit the New York Theatre Guide or the Broadway League’s ILoveNYTheater website, where you can also buy tickets for every show. If you have trouble getting the tickets you want, speak to the concierge at your hotel. I’ve found that’s a very efficient way to get theater tickets in New York.

If you’re looking for a restaurant near Piers 92/94, you’ll find a list of 50 right here on Best In Show Daily. Want to get out with your dogs after dinner? Check out “Finding The Great Outdoors in The Big Apple.”