There are whispers that we’re in the middle of a golden age on Broadway, and New Yorkers aren’t the only ones to benefit. Some of the best theater productions in America and the best musicals are available in almost every state thanks to touring companies who crisscross the nation bringing critical darlings and big-budget buzzy shows (hello, Wicked!) to audiences. And yes, Hamilton is among them. We’ve rounded up the Broadway shows on tour in 2016, so that you can see the best of Broadway without having to step foot in Manhattan.
Broadway shows on tour
Come and meet those dancing feet: The stage adaptation of Busby Berkeley’s 1933 backstage romp about an understudy getting her big break (thanks to the leading lady’s ankle break) hit the road in a new incarnation in 2015. Directed by book co-author Mark Bramble and choreographed by Randy Skinner (both of whom served in the same roles for the 2001 Broadway revival, which won the Tony Award for best revival), this new non-Equity production will feature a cast of eager, fresh-faced tap dancers listening to the lullaby of Broadway.
Playing until July in Athens, GA; Easton, PA; Stamford, CT; Utica, NY; Erie, PA; Detroit, MI; London, ON; Elmira, NY; Worcester, MA; Danville, KY; Fort Wayne, IN; Toledo, OH; Bloomington, IN; West Lafayette, IN; South Bend, IN; Springfield, IL; Chicago, IL; Wausau, WI; Spokane, WA; Tucson, AZ; Tempe, AZ; Wilmington, DE; Columbia, SC; North Charleston, SC; Columbus, GA; Daytona, FL; Augusta, GA; Durham, NC; Akron, OH; New Brunswick, NJ; Brookville, NY; Salisbury, MD; Syracuse, NY; Scranton, PA; Los Angeles, SC; Dallas, TX; Fort Worth, TX; Tulsa, OK.
A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder
This Edwardian romp is filled with zany sight gags and the grandest show tunes in years, with a plum role for the lead, playing a gallery of twits, snobs and prigs. These scions and heirs to the D’Ysquith clan must fall so that a distant relative, Monty Navarro, can rise. The lush but loony score has music by Steven Lutvak, who collaborated on exceedingly witty lyrics with book writer Robert L. Freedman. It has become a clichéd grumble amongst those exiting new musicals that you can’t remember any tunes, but Lutvak and Freedman buck the modern trend. Their songs, too organic and surprising to be dismissed as pastiche, assimilate influences from Gilbert and Sullivan, Sondheim and English music hall.
Playing until July in Des Moines, IA; Memphis, TN; Denver, CO; Salt Lake City, UT; Las Vegas, NV; Tempe, AZ; Los Angeles, CA; Houston, TX; Toronto, ON; Seattle, WA.
One of Disney’s latest Broadway projects, Aladdin brings the 1992 animated film to a whole new world of live action. Nominated for five 2014 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, the show brings to life Aladdin, Jasmine, Genie and Jafar, pairing “Friend Like Me” and other well-loved tunes from the movie with new numbers written for the stage by Academy Award–winning original composer Alan Menken and adapter Chad Beguelin.
Playing from April 2017 in Chicago, IL.
James Lapine’s slightly edgier revival of the beloved rags-to-riches musical (starring Heidi Gray as the spunky orphan, Lynn Andrews as her slatternly foe and Gilgamesh Taggett as her billionaire rescuer) is grimmer in tone than the 1977 original. But darned if Annie doesn’t still recharge Broadway like a copper-topped battery of hope. Stick up your chin! And grin! “Tomorrow” never dies.
Playing until May in Cleveland, MI; Pensacola, FL; Orange Park, FL; Clearwater, FL; Bowling Green, KY; Springfield, OH; West Lafayette, IN; Owensboro, KY; Springfield, IL; Cedar Falls, IA; Niceville, FL; Jackson, MS; Shreveport, LA; Maumelle, AR; Clemson, SC; New Philadelphia, OH; Easton, PA; New Brunswick, NJ; Syracuse, NY; Scranton, PA; Binghamton, NY; Erie, PA; Elmira, NY; Worcester, MA; Washington, D.C.; New Haven, CT; Bloomington, IN; Evansville, IN; Fort Wayne, IN; Flint, Mil Peoria, IL; Cedar Rapids, IA; Des Moines, IA; Pueblo, CO; Lincoln, NE; Sioux Falls, SD; Grand Forks, ND; Calgary, AB; Edmonton, AB; Tempe, AZ; Portland, OR.
Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
This Boomer-era bio-musical shares some virtues with its titular singer-songwriter: humility, earnestness and dedication to craft. If Douglas McGrath’s book never achieves the dramatic grit or comic zip of Jersey Boys, at least director Marc Bruni’s production maximizes the amiability of the central figure, a woman with an amazing gift and some bad luck in love. Sure, it does seem that stretches of Broadway’s hit jukebox musical consist of situations such as this: “Carole, you’ve got to write us a hit!” “I’ve written something.” “It’s a hit!” Still, Beautiful loves its diligent, long-suffering pop genius, and makes it easy to do the same. By the time King, maturing fast, gets around to recording “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” you may find a lump in your throat for this great lady.
Playing until September in Chicago, IL; St. Louis, MO; Rochester, NY; Buffalo, NY; Philadelphia, PA; Cleveland, OH; Charlotte, NC; Tampa, FL; Orlando, FL; Fort Lauderdale, FL; Atlanta, GA; Houston, TX; Dallas, TX; Los Angeles, CA; Denver, CO; San Diego, CA; San Francisco, CA.
Beauty and the Beast
The first of Disney’s animated screen properties to make the leap to live action on Broadway back in 1994 (no doubt helped by audiences’ strong affection for the 1991 film, the first animated feature to earn an Oscar nomination for best picture), Beauty ran in New York through 2007. But touring presenters NETworks launched a new tour in 2010 with the original creative team on board (though with a non-Equity cast), so Belle, the Beast, that cad Gaston and a cabinet full of singing and dancing dinnerware could ask you to be their guests in your city soon.
Playing until July in Jackson, FL; Atlanta, GA; Savannah, GA; Newport News, VA; Philadelphia, PA; University Park, PA; Bangor, ME; Portland, ME; West Point, NY; Toronto, ON; Warren, OH; Paducah, TX; St. Louis, MO; Columbus, OH; Pittsburgh, KS; Palm Desert, CA; Mesa, AZ; San Jose, CA; Spokane, WA; Las Vegas, NV; Cincinnati, OH; Houston, TX; Corpus Christi, TX; Sioux Falls, SD; Lawrence, KS; Fayetteville, AR; Baltimore, MD; Springfield, IL; Springfield, MO; Detroit, MI; Saginaw, MI; Chicago, IL; Nashville, TN; Denver, CO; Fort Lauderdale, FL; Dallas, TX; Kansas City MO.
Blue Man Group
Three deadpan blue-skinned men with extraterrestrial imaginations star in this national phenomenon, a show as smart as it is ridiculous. They drum on open tubs of paint, creating splashes of color; they consume Twinkies and Cap’n Crunch; they engulf the audience in a roiling sea of toilet paper. For sheer weird, exuberant fun, it’s hard to top the long-running treat.
Playing until July in Overland Park, KS; Clinton Township, MI; Flint, MI; Grand Rapids, MI; Cleveland, OH; Rochester, NY; Buffalo, NY; Montgomery, AL; Athens, GA; Ft. Worth, TX; Pittsburgh, PA; Muncie, IN; Shreveport, LA; Jackson, MS; Huntsville, AL; Charleston, WV; Knoxville, TN; Jacksonville, FL; Hershey, PA; Wilmington, DE; Eugene, OR; Seattle, WA; Bakersfield, CA; Modesto, CA; Redding, CA; Arcata, CA; Great Falls, MT; Idaho Falls, ID; Bozeman, MT; Ames, IA; Dayton, OH; Wichita, KS; Topeka, KS; Oklahoma City, OK; Richmond, KY; Morgantown, WV; Wabash, IN; Greenville, SC; New Orleans, LA; Wausau, WI; Hartford, CT; Charlotte, NC.
The Book of Mormon
If you like South Park, you’ll love this satirical free-for-all crafted by Trey Parker and Matt Stone and composer-lyricist Robert Lopez (co-writer of the chart-topping “Let It Go.” As you laugh your head off at perky Latter-day Saints tap-dancing while fiercely repressing gay tendencies deep in the African bush (ahem), you will be transported back a decade and more, when The Producers and Urinetown resurrected American musical comedy, imbuing time-tested conventions with a healthy dose of bad-taste humor. Brimming with cheerful obscenity, sharp satire and catchy tunes, The Book of Mormon is a sick mystic revelation, the most exuberantly entertaining Broadway musical in years.
Playing until August in Eugene, OR; Sarasota, FL; Reno, NV; Clearwater, FL; Tucson, AZ; San Diego, CA; Charlotte, NC; New Orleans, LA; Sacramento, CA; Memphis, TN; Costa Mesa, CA; Cincinnati, OH; Knoxville, TN; Indianapolis, IN; Honolulu, HI; Columbus, OH; South Bend, IN; Des Moines, IA; Minneapolis, MN; Omaha, NE; Peoria, IL; East Lansing, MI; Grand Rapids, IO; Chicago, IL.
The Bridges of Madison County
First a best-selling book, then a 1995 movie starring Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep, this tale of a photographer and the unhappy Italian wife he tenderly romances has returned as a ravishing new musical. The score is by Jason Robert Brown (The Last Five Years), while Marsha Norman wrote the book. Bartlett Sher’s emotionally sensitive and visually rich storytelling make this more than “chick-lit” with tunes—it’s a highly moving story of second chances and moral choices.
Playing until July in Houston, TX; Dallas, TX; Tempe, AZ; Las Vegas, NV; Pittsburgh, PA; Dayton, OH; St. Louis, MO; Fayetteville, AR; West Palm Beach, FL; Charlotte, NC; Nashville, TN; East Lansing, MI; Kansas City, MO; Minneapolis, MN; Washington, D.C.; Greenville, SC.
Bullets Over Broadway
Woody Allen’s 1994 period flick about the rocky marriage of art and commerce returns as a fizzy, jazzy musical romp. Director-choreographer Susan Stroman (The Producers) fills the stage with cheeky dances and sexy chorines. The show might be lightweight and nostalgic, but it’s got top-notch showmanship and craft. Who knew Broadway could still be this much fun?
Playing until May in Seattle, WA; Bellingham, WA; Ft. Collins, CO; Pueblo, CO; Peoria, IL; Aimes, IO; Orange, TX; San Antonio, TX; Abilene, TX; Tulsa, OK; Amarillo, TX; Sioux Falls, SD; Bartlesville, OK; Pensacola, FL; Clearwater, FL; Sarasota, FL; West Palm Beach, FL; Key West, FL; St. Paul, MN; Chicago, IL; Bloomington, IN; Cape Girardeau, MO.