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Best of summer: 5 new must-see Broadway and Off-Broadway shows

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Anything Goes (Broadway)
In olden days, a glimpse of a show this much fun was looked on as commonplace. Now it’s shocking how effervescent this revival is — thanks to Cole Porter’s melodies and dynamo Sutton Foster as showgirl Reno Sweeney. During the Act 1 finale, when she belts out the chorus of the title song one more time after some exhausting hoofing, you’ll get a kick out of her. (Tickets: Telecharge.com)

The Book of Mormon (Broadway)
From the twisted minds of South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone and Avenue Q co-writer Robert Lopez comes an irreverent hit musical about two Mormons in Uganda. The hilarious songs, featured on a cast album available on iTunes, have audiences assuming a new missionary position — doubled over with laughter. (Telecharge.com)

The Normal Heart (Broadway)
Joe Mantello stars as a prickly, rant-prone activist in the early days of the AIDS crisis. The star-studded revival of Larry Kramer’s 1985 drama, running through July 10, has lost none of its rawness or emotional power. (Telecharge.com)

Sleep No More (Off Broadway)
Something wickedly wonderful this way comes to Off Broadway: a mash-up of Macbeth and ’30s film noir that combines elements of theater, dance, and haunted house. The audience don masks and wander around five floors of elaborately decorated rooms, or follow mostly silent actors like a bloody Lady Macbeth as she strips and gets into a bathtub. No two people will see the exact same show — though everyone gathers for the finale, a stunning slow-motion banquet scene. (SleepNoMoreNYC.com)

War Horse (Broadway)
A kids’ story about a gawky British teen who enlists in WWI to find his beloved steed is brought to memorable life thanks to life-size horse puppets. Three operators handle each horse, making the wire, wood, and mesh contraptions seem like flesh-and-blood characters capable of moving us to tears. (Telecharge.com)

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