A man plays the saxophone close up

In March of 2020, Paul Stache and his wife, Molly Sparrow Johnson – co-owners of the Smoke Jazz Club – saw the looming threat of Covid-19 and were forced to make a tough decision: To shutter their Upper West Side business. They thought it would only be for a few weeks, but like countless other venue owners, it quickly became clear to them that things wouldn’t be so easy. Instead, they were forced to pivot to livestreamed performances, outdoor dining and sidewalk concerts.

Now, after more than two years, their newly renovated club reopened with a four-day celebration from July 21-24. Smoke now features a spacious bar and lounge with a dedicated room for concerts that can accommodate up to 125 people.

Top NYC Shows to See This Summer

As a spike in tourism brings more people to NYC, a wide range of productions will be featured at various times through Labor Day. The following are the top shows, recommended in an article published in Crain’s New York Business.

Into the Woods at St. James Theatre through Aug. 21. This stripped-down version of Stephen Sondheim’s dark fairy tale mashup features Phillipa Soo, Brian d’Arcy James, Joshua Henry, Gavin Creel, Patina Miller, and Sara Bareilles.

Titaníque at Asylum NYC through Sept. 25. This madcap musical mashes together Céline Dion’smusic, elements from RuPaul’s Drag Race, and a cacophony of other unexpected pop culture references.

A Strange Loop at Lyceum Theatre (ongoing). This stirring musical by Michael R. Jackson is the saga of a young Black queer artist writing a musical about a young Black queer artist writing a musical. It won a Pulitzer Prize, the 2022 Tony Award for best musical, and plenty of other awards.

Six at Brooks Atkinson Theatre (ongoing). An energetic pop concert about the six wives of King Henry VIII, this “tragicomedy” runs 90-minutes and features stories set to soaring music.

As You Like It at Shakespeare in the Park Aug. 10-Sept. 11. The Delacorte Theater in Central Park is great place to spend summer nights. This year, the Public Theater’s Shakespearean production returns, featuring music and lyrics by Shaina Taub, and a cast of professional and amateur performers.

Wired by Kinetic Light at The Shed Aug. 25-27. This program received rave reviews in Chicago, and features three members in wheelchairs, who fly through the air and spin across the floor, traced and encircled with light and barbed wire.

Little Shop of Horrors at Westside Theatre Upstairs (ongoing). This plucky off-Broadway production is still a must-see show. Christian Borle does the work of 10 men as the dentist, and Tammy Blanchard and the urchins bring hilarious, slightly tweaked-out soul to the bizarre story.

Come From Away at Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre through Oct. 2. The Canadian musical features rousing shanty songs and a message of welcome. Centered on the tragedy of Sept. 11, it trumpets tolerance, generosity, hope, and faith in humanity.

Sources: Crain’s New York Business, Crain’s New York Business