Broadway is, without a doubt, one of the greatest things about living in New York. This world class and historic form of entertainment is right on your doorstep and offers something for absolutely everyone. Even if you’re not particularly drawn to jazz hands or people who sing their way through life (I obviously love both these things) there is a musical or play on the Great White Way for your enjoyment.
I know lots of New Yorkers who have never seen a Broadway musical and similarly, I know lots of first time visitors looking for the perfect experience, but with so much choice which show is right for you?
You might think that you can just buy tickets for the one that LOOKS the best and go, but lately I’ve noticed that when people don’t do a little bit of research, they end up sitting through something they hate and the Broadway experience is ruined! For example, at Christmas, my sister and I decided to take our Mum to see a matinee of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert. We were fully aware that the musical is about a rag tag group of drag queens making their way across Australia in a camper van. The Bette Middler produced show was right up our alley for a girls’ afternoon. However, we were surrounded by people who were clearly shocked by their choice of show – including families with very young children. Most of the content of the show was fine for kids, but the language and sexual references certainly weren’t. You could tell that some patrons hadn’t even googled the show! Rookie mistake.
So here, without further ado is your very own personal musical guide. If you’re a Broadway buff, you’ll want to see some of the newer offerings (I’ll detail my Broadway wish list for the new season in another post). But for first timers, here’s a rough, reliable guide to some brilliant Broadway Musicals:
Wicked: An All-Rounder
You’ve heard people talking about Wicked. It has something to do with the Wizard of Oz right? The main actress in it is painted green? Right?
Wicked is my favorite show currently playing on Broadway. This prequel to The Wizard of Oz has all the elements that make up a perfect show for everyone. The storyline will keep you enthralled, yet it is familiar enough to make people think, I get that! The set is intricate, well designed and a spectacle in itself. The characters are likable and the script is comedic as well as touching. Best of all, the music is mind blowing. Men, women, children – this show is for everyone. Be prepared to get goosebumps during Defying Gravity.
Avenue Q: Not quite On Broadway
Avenue Q has been around for almost ten years but it’s still absolutely hilarious. While on Broadway it won three TONY awards, including Best Musical and in 2009 it moved to the New World Stages theatre for an off-Broadway production. It’s off-beat take on Sesame Street is for Mature Audiences and this is a great one to take your reluctant male friend or boyfriend to, especially if he has a sense of humor! The script may not be as controversial as The Book of Mormon, but it’s still sure to make you giggle at a much lower price. *I saw this for the third time this weekend and it still makes me cry with laughter.
The Lion King: A Familiar Spectacle
When Disney makes Broadway musicals, it pulls out all the stops. The Lion King is another show that has been on Broadway for quite awhile and it continues to delight audiences of all ages. Never fear if you’re a fan of the movie, the musical takes an almost identical script and adds new songs, an authentic African feel and costumes that are stunning, artistic and appropriate. Kids will love this one!
Jersey Boys: Nostalgia at its Best
There’s a reason why Jersey Boys has always been a really hot ticket on Broadway: nostalgia. I guarantee that you will know most of the songs in the score which includes hits like, “Big Girls Don’t Cry”, “Oh What a Night” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You”. The plot details the career of the legendary Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons and includes some hilarious incidents, celebrity appearances and show stopping musical numbers. This is the one to take your parents to, but I’ve seen this parent-less on more than one occasion!
Phantom of the Opera: Classic Great White Way
Nothing says Broadway like this Andrew Lloyd Weber classic musical. Phantom of the Opera opened at the Majestic Theater in 1988 and has been there ever since, making it the longest running show in Broadway history! Compared to the newer, more technological musicals, this one might seem a bit old school – but you can’t beat the haunting music of Lloyd Weber or the fantastic staging that has made this show famous. This one is for all ages.
Priscilla: Queen of the Desert: Girl’s Night Out
As mentioned above, Priscilla: Queen of the Desert is a perfect addition to a girl’s night out. This show is guaranteed to make you dance in your seat from start to finish with numbers like “I Will Survive”, “Material Girl”, “Shake Your Groove Thing” and “I Say a Little Prayer”. In addition to drag queens, unbelievable costumes and a hilarious script, there is a touching lesson to be learned. Plus, this one is right in the middle of Time Square – handy!
So, what’s the best way to score tickets?
- Hit the TKTs booths in person for great discounts. Check this link for instructions and for a list of shows featured at the booths last week: http://www.tdf.org/TDF_ServicePage.aspx?id=56
- Buy tickets online in advance from the show’s website
- Sometimes you can get a better deal by actually walking into the theater’s box office. Check the web price and then stroll into the box office to see if they have better seats or a better price.
Broadway buffs: Any recommendations for first timers?