The best Broadway shows for kids

Snag tickets to the best Broadway shows for kids this season: Come from Away, Harry Potter and (as always) The Lion King

By Oliver Strand, Danielle Valente, Allie Early and Time Out Kids editors |
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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Photograph: Manuel Harlan

We all know New York is a theater town. This place is bursting with talent, and these are the Broadway shows for kids we know you and your crew will love.

Family-friendly performances range from retellings of Disney princess movies, to musical adaptations of your go-to movies for tweens, to a surprise hit about an obscure airport in Newfoundland. The Great White Way offers something for all ages, and the lineup is totally grool (if you catch our drift). 

RECOMMENDED: More plays for kids in NYC

Enjoy the teenage antics in Mean Girls, watch as the gorgeous stage sets in Harry Potter transport you to a whole new world and sing along with Elsa during Frozen. (Don't try to pretend you don't have "Let It Go" memorized.) 

After you've snagged tickets to these go-to Broadway shows for kids (check out the schedules here) make sure to explore our favorite Off Broadway shows for kids, too! 

Best Broadway shows for kids

1
Photograph: Courtesy Jeremy Daniel
Theater, Broadway

The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical

Longacre Theatre, Midtown West

This YA Greeky mythology mashup is perfect for the whole family. The performance brings Rick Riordian’s popular novel to life in musical form as we follow 12-year-old Percy Jackson as he tracks down who stole the god Zeus’ lightning bolt. Along the way, the brave one must figure out how to control his new powers, solve an Oracle’s riddle, escape from monsters and restore peace between the Greek gods. Ages 8 and up. 

2
Lion King Las Vegas
Photograph: Courtesy Joan Marcus
Theater, Musicals

The Lion King

4 out of 5 stars

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.

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3
Frozen
Photograph: Courtesy Deen van Meer
Theater, Musicals

Frozen

St. James Theatre, Midtown West
Open run
3 out of 5 stars

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.

4
Come From Away
Photograph: Matthew Murphy
Theater, Musicals

Come from Away

Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, Midtown West
Open run
4 out of 5 stars

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.

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5
Wicked
Photograph: Courtesy Tristram Kenton
Theater, Musicals

Wicked

Gershwin Theatre, Midtown West
Open run
4 out of 5 stars

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.

6
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Photograph: Courtesy Matthew Murphy
Theater, Drama

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Lyric Theatre, Midtown West
Open run
5 out of 5 stars

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.

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7
Photograph: Cylla von Tiedemann
Theater, Musicals

Aladdin

New Amsterdam Theatre, Midtown West
Open run
3 out of 5 stars

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.

 

8
Mean Girls
Photograph: Courtesy Joan Marcus
Theater, Musicals

Mean Girls

Open run
4 out of 5 stars

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.

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9
Dear Evan Hansen
Photograph: Joan Marcus
Theater, Musicals

Dear Evan Hansen

Open run
5 out of 5 stars

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.

10
Beetlejuice
Photograph: Courtesy Matthew Murphy
Theater, Musicals

Beetlejuice

Winter Garden Theatre, Midtown West
Open run
3 out of 5 stars

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. 

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11
Theater, Broadway

A Christmas Carol

Lyceum Theatre, Midtown West

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas on the Great White Way: After a run at London’s Old Vic, Charles Dickens’s famed tale will come to life on the Lyceum Theatre stage. Playwright Jack Thorne (the mastermind behind Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) and Tony Award–winning actors Andrea Martin and LaChanze will join forces to put crowds in a holiday state of mind— even if Scrooge is not. Ages 8 and up. 

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