New York, New York. One of the first things that people think of when they think of New York (other than the Statue Of Liberty and Times Square) is Broadway, and your name in lights. There have been long running plays like Les Miserables and Cats, Phantom of the Opera and so many more. But for the fall of 2011, I’m giving you all a look at some of the most intriguing plays to entertain the whole family.
But first, for those who are in the city and decide to go to a play on a whim – TKTS in Times Square is your best friend. Just look for the unassuming booth by the red steps with a snaking line – that is TKTS. TKTS booths are for the seat-of-the-pants planners. The Times Square booth only offers tickets for same-day performances (but at up to half off ticket prices). There is another TKTS booth downtown at the Seaport, but they only offer next day purchases for matinees. If you’re looking for a theater bargain in NYC and don’t mind waiting in line, TKTS is your best bet.
As for popular Broadway shows, there are quite a few. We’ll go through the more family friendly ones, of course.
Supercalafragalisticexpealadocious is a good word to describe this Broadway musical. The colors are bold and bright, the sets are engrossing, the dance numbers fun and exiting. Familiar to everyone who grew up having watched the movie (and trying to pronounce ‘supercalafragalisticexpealadocious’ in one breath), Mary Poppins is familiar and new all at once with an expanded and more involved story line.
On Mondays the stage is typically dark, but come holiday season look for extra shows to be added.
This is another familiar re-invention – the classic Disney movie has become a classic Broadway play in it’s own right. If you happen to get a seat on the orchestra level, you’re in for a surprise at the opening – but I won’t ruin it for you. Perhaps the most stunning aspect of this musical are the costumes, rich colors and scenery. They are absolutely gorgeous, and are the linchpin in the suspension of disbelief that is especially necessary for this Broadway show. Gazelles leap across the stage, lions roar and hyenas cackle.
As with Mary Poppins, Mondays are dark, but also could include additional performances come holiday season in New York City.
Possibly the most popular Broadway show in recent history, Wicked is the story of the witches of Oz, both Glinda the Good and the Wicked Witch of the West. Their youth and how they are portrayed in that movie we all know and love, are two quite different evolutions and stories. If anyone watches Glee, you’ll have heard one of the most popular and powerful songs from Wicked – “For Good.” A story of love, transformation and friendship, Wicked reaches all audiences.
Children under 4 are not admitted, and it’s recommended for children over the age of 8. But if your family is able to see Wicked, there is also a 90-minute backstage tour. As with all the prior plays, Mondays are dark. (Gee, if you want to see a Broadway play, don’t try to see one on Monday…)
The music for this play was written by Sir Elton John. And if you need more reason than that, Billy Elliot is a Tony Award-winning musical that shows you can achieve anything if you follow your dreams. Featuring great songs and funny scenes, this show is a must-see for any kid who wants to dance … or sing! It’s all about having the courage to follow your dreams.
For Billy Elliot, Mondays and Tuesdays are dark, so if you want to see this play, a little planning ahead may be in order.
These are only a handful of some of the most popular Broadway plays on the Great White Way. With prime seats bumping up against $100, it could be difficult to manage at full price, but there are quite a few discounts that you can find – though I would avoid scalpers.
Depending on the age and interests of your family, there are also plays like Rain (about the history and progression of the popularity of the Beatles), How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (popular more with the younger set because of the star – Daniel Radcliffe – than the plot), Spider Man (though there have been known technical difficulties during performances) and the Addams Family.
If you’re planning ahead, ‘Big Fish‘ – an adaptation of the movie of the same name – is set to debut spring 2012, as well as Annie the fall of 2012.
Whatever your adventures in New York City, Broadway is a must-see, whether it be a play or just a walk to see all the names in lights.
About The Author: Amber Daniels is a former Mannhattanite, and now returns only to visit friends and for various conferences New York will always have a place in her heart, no matter where she travels.