Best Broadway shows for kids
There's a reason why Simba's story continues to draw in crowds year after year: It's an amazing production with gorgeous sets, unique puppetry and a moving score from Elton John and Tim Rice. Most importantly, the cast is fresh and the musical numbers are sharp. This isn't some faded, tired musical for out-of-towners—it's for lovers of the theater, and seeing The Lion King live is something like a rite of passage for New York kids. Unconvinced? Ask the 100 million+ audience members worldwide who've seen the performance. Ages 8 and up.
If your little Disney princess has belted out "Let It Go" a few thousand times, maybe it's time to hear it performed in key—maybe it's time to catch Frozen on Broadway. This musical has captivated audiences since its Disney debut in 2013; now that Frozen 2 the movie will be released this winter, you should reacquaint yourself with the tale of friendship, hardship and love. The imaginative set, sweet story and musical numbers truly make Frozen a super-cool production (pun intended). Ages 8 and up.
One of the more unlikely musicals on Broadway this season is an excellent choice for the family: Come from Away is the tense but humane story of an airport in Gander, Newfoundland, where 38 planes and more than 6,000 passengers were forced to land on September 11, 2001. It raises big topics, but in such a way that invites thoughtful discussion. Ages 10 and up.
Based on novelist Gregory Maguire's 1995 adult variation on L. Frank Baum's Oz mythology, Wicked provides a prequel to the children's book and movie. The musical addresses complex themes, such as standards of beauty, morality and–believe it or not–opposition to fascism. Thanks to a witty book by Winnie Holzman (creator of ’90s angstfest My So-Called Life) and Stephen Schwartz's robust score, Wicked soars. While children five and up are permitted in the theater, little ones might be afraid of the flying monkeys—we recommend this show for kids that are a tiny bit older. Ages 8 and up.
The world of Harry Potter is now on Broadway, Hogwarts and all, and it's a triumph of theatrical magic. Set two decades after the final chapters of J.K. Rowling’s world-shaking kid-lit heptalogy, the two-part epic Harry Potter and the Cursed Child combines grand storytelling with astonishing stagecraft. Richly elaborated by director John Tiffany, the show looks like a million bucks (or, in this case, a reported $68 million); the Lyric Theatre has been transfigured from top to bottom into an immersive experience. It works: The experience is transporting. Ages 10 and up.
This adaptation of the Disney classic tops the rest with its kiddie-crowd-pleasing laughs and upbeat music, which includes songs such as "A Whole New World" and "Friend Like Me," plus several new tunes. Kids will be dazzled by the color-drenched production and awe-inspiring special effects: confetti cannon, anyone? Ages 8 and up.
Undeniably the groolest movie adaptation to hit Broadway, Mean Girls brings the Plastics' antics to stage by way of laugh-out-loud scenes, strong musical numbers...and strong personalities. Journey alongside Cady as she makes her way from Africa to a U.S. high school, and falls in with quite an interesting clique. Theater-goers will appreciate the fact that Tiny Fey, who penned the cult classic, also wrote the Broadway rendition of the high school romp—this show is totally fetch. Ages 10 and up.
In this captivating original musical, a high school student is thrust into social relevance after a classmate's suicide. Benj Pasek and Justin Paul's score combines well-crafted lyrics with an exciting pop sound, and Steven Levenson’s book gives all the characters shaded motives. Since the subject matter can be heavy, we suggest saving this one for the older kids in your brood. Ages 12 and up.
Broadway is a little bit spookier thanks to this imaginative retelling of Tim Burton's beloved 1988 film. Much like the movie, the Beetlejuice musical focuses on ghosts trying to get rid of hapless mortals who are setting up shop in their home. The darkly eerie yet vibrant set and costumes make the gothic story entertaining, but be forwarned: Some language and subject matter are not appropriate for little ghouls. Ages 12 and up.