For the uninitiated, Broadways are basically musicals located in the heart of NYC, surrounded by Times Square, Theatre District and Lincoln Centre along Broadway street in Manhattan. The only other comparable theatre stretch is London’s West End.
Boring? Artsy Fartsy? Something your literature teacher would be proud of? Broadway musicals range from highlighting social problems such as Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Flower Drum Song, to simply watching actors and actresses twirl in the air and disappear as in Spiderman and Pippin. How’s that for boring. With so many musicals available that stretch from all kinds of genre, here are our top picks that we guarantee will make your time and money worthwhile:
A Tony Award-winning musical for both its original and 2013 revival version, Pippin is sure to entertain as you join them “for an hour or two” as they’ve got “magic to do”, combining circus tricks, singing, dancing and acting. Now that is multitasking.
To watch the full version of “Magic to Do, skip to 1:41
The cast is currently on tour. Click here to purchase tour tickets.
9. MATILDA THE MUSICAL
Based on a book of the same name by Roald Dahl, watch as little children belt out songs and put your childhood to shame. At that age, our lives were a question of whether we would get caught cheating in class, never mind performing in front of a 500-seat audience. It’s little wonder Matilda bagged 5 Tonys in 2013.
Watch it on Broadway here.
8. THE SOUND OF MUSIC
Self explanatory title there. The Sound of Music is where all your childhood music (of which their origins always eluded you) comes from. Another classic by Rodgers and Hammerstein, most of the songs have become worldwide classics, such as “Edelweiss”, “Do-Re-Mi”, “My Favourite Things”, “Climb Every Mountain” and more. (So now you know!) Set in Salzburg, Austria, and winning 5 Tony Awards, the musical was so successful that Salzburg tourism thrives on The Sound of Music tours.
The cast is on tour, click here for tour tickets.
Watch as 6 wives sing about killing their husbands
This classic boasts to be the 2nd longest running Broadway in history, with its revival holding the record of longest running musical revival. With hits such as “All that Jazz”, Chicago is a story about hot, sexy, femme fatale criminals. Apparently, the characters are based loosely on real women murderers in Chicago during the Jazz age.
Now playing on Broadway, buy tickets here.
6. MARY POPPINS
A Disney classic and everyone’s childhood fantasy. Mary Poppins made kids all over the world wish for a magical nanny and thought all British umbrellas were charmed. An enchanting tale of magic and kinship, Mary Poppins is entertaining for people of all ages with award-winning special effects and musical numbers. It also taught its audiences how to spell the world’s longest word in the English dictionary.
Don’t blame us for getting the word stuck on repeat in your head
Unfortunately, you can no longer catch Mary Poppins on Broadway as the production closed in March 2013 to make way for Aladdin on Broadway.
5. JERSEY BOYS
Like Beatles but a singing, acting and dancing version. 4
incredibly sexy boys take the stage and charm you off your feet, with hit songs such as “Cant Take My Eyes Off You”, “Big Girls Don’t Cry”, “Sherry” and more. It won Best Musical in the 2006 Tony Awards and also won 3 other Tonys.
Click here to catch the boys in action on Broadway.
4. LES MISÉRABLES (or Les Mis for the 90% of you that cannot pronounce it)
The darkest and heaviest musical of the list here with very little humour, Les Miserables is based on a novel by Victor Hugo. It tells a thrilling epic story of social injustice and politics, revolution and the struggle of redemption. Spinning many other adaptations and 2 Broadway revivals, the original production won 8 Tony Awards.
Catch this epic tale on Broadway now.
3 & 2 – It’s a tie!
This touching musical version of the film is a must-watch for anyone heading to NYC, with costumes and effects comparable or even surpassing the animated version. Located in the Minskoff Theatre since 2006, Lion King is the highest grossing Broadway production of all time, attracting both locals and tourists alike. It is also the 3rd longest running Broadway, spinning off many international productions and winning 6 Tony Awards. The musical score also includes hit songs from the film version such as “Hakuna Matata”, “Can You Feel The Love Tonight”, “I Just Cant Wait to Be King” and “Circle of Life”. The cast is also known to goof off and surprise lucky bystanders. Watch as they take over the airport and subway.
Book your tickets in advance here. During peak periods, you will need to book weeks in advance to get a seat.
No Broadway list is complete without Wicked. Redefining good and wicked, every thing you’ve heard and known about the witches in Wizard of Oz gets torn apart in this retelling of the true story. Of friendships, betrayal, love and good, this musical is bound to tug at your heartstrings and keep you entertained at the edges of your seat. Wicked popularized the concept of untold stories, retelling a story from the villain’s point of view and has influenced recent classic adaptations such as Frozen (retelling of The Snow Queen) and Maleficent (retelling of Sleeping Beauty).
How enemies end up best friends
Note: Idina Menzel (voice of Elsa in Frozen) and Kristin Chenoweth (Maleficent in Decendants) played the original Elphaba and Glinda.
As Wicked is a box office hit and is very popular among locals and especially tourists, you may need to book weeks or even months in advance in order to catch this production. Located at the Gershwin Theatre, get your tickets here.
1. PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
And finally, meet the best Broadway musical of all time. The set, costumes, musical numbers by Andrew Lloyd Webber, plot and orchestration are phenomenal. Still running in Broadway since 1988, it is by far the longest running Broadway in history, highest worldwide grossing musical and 2nd highest grossing in Broadway (after Lion King). Phantom of the Opera is considered the most successful musical of all time and has 7 Tonys to its name. Get blown away as the theatre dims and you enter a different fantasy realm. We highly recommend watching this if you have to choose only one Broadway to watch in your entire life. (But why torture yourself that way?)
You can get tickets here.
Now that we’ve come to the end of our list, what are your top 10 Broadways of all time? Do you agree with us? Comment below to let us know if we have missed any out or if you recommend us to check some productions out!
Neil Patrick Harris Bonuses: