Credit: Joan Marcus

This article may only serve you well for the next few days, but it may just be the difference between access to the season’s hottest tickets and standing in line with your visiting relatives at the same old tourist shows (which, for what it’s worth, are all still deserving of your patronage).

If you want to stay ahead of the Tony Awards race—and you haven’t already nabbed seats to red-hot, celeb-driven shows like Skylight, The Audience, and Fish in the Dark—then employ the recommendations of EW’s stage staff, highlighting the five shows worth considering before the April 28 Tony nominations make it damn near impossible to get inside the theatre without breaking at least a dozen New York property laws.

Something Rotten!

It’s not just because Smash alums Brian d’Arcy James and Christian Borle (above, as a Jagger-esque Shakespeare) are flat-out hilarious. The brand new musical reeks (that’s a good thing) with originality and an abiding love of Broadway, and boasts the cleverest lyrics of any new show this year. Fortunately, there’s little name recognition to the peculiar title, which means you can sneak in before the nominations spill the secret to everyone else.

(Selling through Sept. 6)

Credit: Joan Marcus

Fun Home

By now you’ve likely heard of the intimate Public Theater production that made the big leap to Broadway—and audiences haven’t been leaving with dry eyes since. Alison Bechdel’s coming of age (and coming out) story is one of the frontrunners for Best Musical, and there’s no doubt that its fighting stance against bigger, showier musical juggernauts places it in a class of its own. Be sure of this: Getting tickets will go from difficult to impossible.

(Selling through Sept. 13)

Credit: Angela Sterling

An American in Paris

Robert Fairchild plays the Gene Kelly role in the stage adaptation of the 1951 film musical, and to say he does sweet service to Kelly’s legacy is a jubilant understatement. Fairchild alone is the reason to get your foot in the door before the rest of New York wises up and realizes the musical theater magic happening on the Palace Theatre stage. But it doesn’t hurt that the rest of the choreographically-gifted cast—and the immaculate direction and choreography by Christopher Wheeldon—are equally worthy of your time and attention.

(Selling through Nov. 22)

Credit: Johan Persson

Wolf Hall

Gird your theater-loving loins for both parts of this epic historical drama (not to be confused with the PBS mini-series or the Hilary Mantel book series on which it’s based) about the rise of Thomas Cromwell in King Henry VIII’s court. Even if you’re not a history buff, trust that this must-see piece of theater will be equal parts surprising and accessible. Just expect to give up about eight and a half hours for the whole endeavor, which coincidentally is exactly how long the Tony Awards ceremony runs every year.

(Selling through July 5)

Credit: Joan Marcus

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

It was one of the fall’s most in-demand tickets (that doesn’t involve an A-list celebrity), and since the theatre community caught it back in the autumn months, you’ve got a golden window of opportunity to see the British import about an autistic boy solving mysteries under the stars. It captivated New York’s imagination and could also clean up at the Tonys, assuming momentum has not waned. Still, we expect the nominations love for its stellar design and breathtaking lead performance to surely bump box office, which has been wavering just above 90 percent in the new year.

(Selling through Sept. 30)