Many consider the concrete jungle that is New York City to be the center of the universe, and we'd be rather hard-pressed to argue otherwise (although Tokyo might give it a run for its money). What can be with undiluted gusto, however, is that its realm of musical theatre is unmatched anywhere else on the planet.
With an array of long-term shows that have been running nightly since before many of our time (we’re looking at you, Phantom of the Opera), plus a constant lineup of ever-changing short-term residences, theatre aficionados visiting New York City are absolutely spoiled for choice. Here are 10 Broadway shows that everyone visiting NYC should consider.
10 The Book of Mormon
Turn it off! Light a lightbulb! You can all but guarantee that after walking out of The Book of Mormon, not only will you have that song stuck in your head, but you’ll be wondering a.) why you didn’t find a way to see the show sooner, and b.) what on Earth is a spooky Mormon hell dream?
The Book of Mormon has been nominated and won more awards than pretty much any other musical in its genre. It is able to blend flawless choreography with crude humor, and even teach the audience a little about a new culture along the way.
9 Newsical the Musical
One of the most enjoyable elements to Newsical the Musical can also be its only major downfall, being that the show’s content is constantly changing. As the name suggests, the musical deals with news and current events, so the performance you see one year could be entirely different to the one you see the next.
Nevertheless, in a world of such steadfast seriousness, it’s nice to be able to take a step back and poke fun at some of the otherwise-troubling things going on in the world. It’s a chance to see reality from a different light, and that’s always refreshing.
If you fell in love with the children’s movie back in 1996 (and let’s be honest, who didn’t?) when it hit the big screens, then the stage adaptation is all but certain to get you just as riled up and enthused. It features all the classic characters, plus a handful of new and improved songs, scenes and personas, all with the beloved Matilda charm and humor we became so fond of.
This is generally one of the more popular shows playing, so make sure to scout out tickets well ahead of schedule.
7 Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (1 & 2)
The Harry Potter series has magically transfixed fans across the world with its unique allure and plentiful loveable characters for decades now - first with J. K. Rowling’s seven books, then with the eight blockbuster films, and finally, now, with a two-part live stage performance.
At the Lyric Theatre on West 43rd Street, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child brings some of our favorite on-screen elements to life while introducing another twist to the overall narrative of the wizarding world. The Cursed Child has won plenty of awards in its relatively short tenure and is certainly deserving of a viewing.
Since opening at New York’s Gershwin Theatre late in 2003, Wicked has remained a staple of the Broadway lineup, becoming one of those shows that can hardly put a foot wrong. It’s expanded internationally as well, with mainstays in Melbourne and London, just to name a couple.
The story follows the untold, behind the scenes journey of the various witches of Oz (think Wizard of Oz). Wicked is widely considered to be one of the most impressive musicals of the decade, welcoming audiences from near and far eager to catch a glimpse into the secret lives of the members of Oz.
5 Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird
As the adaptation of one of the most critically acclaimed and respected books of the last century, To Kill A Mockingbird takes on an entirely new facade on stage, impressing viewers with each step along the way. Held at the Shubert Theatre, the 2 hours and 35 minute-long show has only been a mainstay since late 2018, however, it hasn’t taken long to make a statement.
For those traveling through the Big Apple, who take a liking to literature, Aaron Sorkin’s adaptation of Harper Lee’s classic is not to be missed.
4 Phantom of the Opera
If you thought that Wicked! has been around for a while, Phantom of the Opera makes it appear as though it just debuted yesterday. Over at the Majestic Theatre, the 2 hours and 30 minute-long show is by far and away the longest-running on Broadway, having welcomed visitors from all corners of the globe since its opening night on January 26th, 1988.
The musical plot traverses through the life of a beautiful singer by the name of Christine, whose love with a phantom… well… you’ll just have to see it for yourself.
3 Mean Girls
Based on the smashing teen comedy film hit of the same name, this show is bound to get audience members laughing their socks off as they’re taken on a journey through the hell-hole that can be high school. At about two and a half hours, based out of the August Wilson Theatre, Mean Girls showcases the struggles and rewards, the highs and lows of moving from suburban small-town life to a big city where, at that age, popularity means everything.
We just hope that the performance is slightly more inviting than Regina George and the gang’s Christmas rendition.
2 The Lion King
As one of the most popular animated films of all time, The Lion King’s spotlight has never really faded. Thanks to the recent live-action remake of the film being released in box offices across the globe, the popularity of the classic story has been reignited, skyrocketing its name into the forefront of our minds yet again.
What better way to quench your Lion King thirst than by checking out the one-of-a-kind, kin-friendly, revered musical at Manhattan’s Minskoff Theatre? It’s fun for all ages, and you can bet your bottom dollar that Circle of Life will be stuck in your head for days.
Without swaying too far away from the family-friendly realm just yet, Disney’s beloved classic film, Aladdin is time and money well spent. In fact, echoing The Lion King before it, Aladdin also just went through a live-action remake which propelled it back to the forefront of our minds, with Will Smith starring as Genie to stand in for the irreplaceable Robin Williams.
No matter if you’re a child of age or a child at heart, audiences are all but guaranteed to have a blast at this visually vibrant, iconic musical performance at the New Amsterdam Theatre.