Kids today spend around seven hours a day in front of a screen of some type being entertained by electronic devices. Why not treat them to live entertainment in the form of a Broadway show? One of the benefits of living in this region is our proximity to the Great White Way. Just a short train trip, and you and your kids will be in the heart of New York’s theater district, soaking in the joy and majesty of an awe-inspiring musical. We selected current performances perfect for different age groups.
For little kids: Matilda
Inspired by the Roald Dahl book, Matilda tells the story of an extraordinary young girl with magical powers surrounded by terrible adults (including her parents). An avid reader, she decides to make her own destiny, freeing herself, her school mates and her kind teacher. With fun staging, catchy songs & over-the-top characters, Matilda is perfect for little ones Broadway bound for the first time. (Think of it as a modern-day Annie.)
Back-up: Cinderella, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s take on the fairy tale, is appearing for the first time on Broadway. The kids in your crew may recognize “Call Me Baby” singer Carly Rae Jepsen as the shoeless princess & parents will instantly recognize the signature nasal voice of Fran Drescher as the mean stepmother.
For boys: Stomp
Depending on your son, it may be easier to get him to the dentist than a Broadway show. Change his perspective with the off-Broadway phenomenon Stomp, an energetic drum-and-dance extravaganza. Performers use everyday objects (hammer handles, garbage cans, inner tubes, brooms) to create music and interact with audience in fun ways. The show can get loud, has no narrative to follow and is a 100-minute intermissionless show—perfect for a young boy’s attention span.
Back-up: Yo Adrian, what about Rocky, a musical telling of the famed Sly Stallone movie. (Stallone actually helped write the book for the show. Shocking, I know.) If you’re having a hard time convincing your son to go, just tell them they’re going to see a boxing match—it’s technically the truth.
For teens: Wicked
The beloved Broadway musical is based on the Gregory Maguire retelling of the story of the Wicked Witch of the West. It touches on the ides of unlikely friendships and first loves, following pretty and popular Glinda and green-skinned Elphaba as they make their way through college and discover the real Oz.
Back-up: Book of Mormon comes from the creators of South Park—so you should know up front that it’s incredibly irreverent. (READ: This is not a musical for parents who are easily offended and who don’t want to expose their teens to some adult themes.) That being said, the award-winning musical is about two young Mormons sent to Uganda to convert locals, and they wake up to a world plagued with AIDs, poverty and violence. While the show is known for getting laughs from its crowd, it’s also offers a deeper look at religion and our world.
For you: Kinky Boots
Cyndi Lauper wrote the music and lyrics, and Harvey Fierstein the book, to this 2013 Tony winner about a shoe factory owner in Britain who forms a relationship with a drag queen to save his family business. The show’s themes range from finding yourself to learning to accepting others—it’s both touching and funny.
Back-up: Hedwig & the Angry Inch. I’m biased here because I absolutely love the music to this beautifully haunting show about a rock ‘n roll band fronted by a transgender singer. It’s reminiscent of ‘70s rock operas—perfect for fans of David Bowie and early Elton John.