Although we typically think of Memorial Day Weekend as the official start of summer, this Thursday is July 4th so it’s another big marker as far the official summer season starts and I thought I’d tell you what you should see on Broadway this summer if you’re planning on traveling to New York!
I’m not sure if I’ve ever mentioned it here, but I went to school for theatre management and even though I no longer work directly in the industry, I still see a ton of theatre on the regular. So if there’s a show that you’re curious about, ask me, because I’ve probably seen it!
Now let’s get onto my recommendations.
It’s Your First Broadway Show Ever
Wicked, Waitress, or Pretty Woman: I’m probably going to be thrown some serious shade for recommending any of these, but I’ve seen all three of these (I’ve seen Wicked in multiple cities over the years in fact) and they’re all super fun, traditional Broadway shows. They all have big productions (Wicked and Pretty Woman, especially) and very talented casts, not to mention memorable scores. There’s also a pretty good chance you’re familiar with The Wizard of Oz, or the movies Waitress or Pretty Woman.
You’ve Been to Broadway Before and You Want To See Something New
Oklahoma, Hadestown, or Come From Away: I know Oklahoma doesn’t sound like anything “new” but take my word for it: this production is ace and it’s so entertaining. I was never bored and you get served chili and cornbread at intermission! What could be bad there? Come From Away is a little show about a small town in Nova Scotia that was inundated with halted planes on September 11th and how the town came together to help all of these people. The staging is really cool and the music is stellar, as well. If you keep up on theatre news, you’ll know that Hadestown won the Best Musical award at the Tony Awards three weeks ago, so tickets might be hard to get, but it’s a very unique show. It’s a jazzy retelling of the Greek myth of Hadestown (google it) and I was particularly impressed by the lighting. The cast is also fantastic.
You’re a Movie Buff
Moulin Rouge, Mean Girls, or Aladdin: I will be transparent and say that I haven’t seen Moulin Rouge yet because it literally just began previews, but from what I’ve been reading online, it is mesmerizing and gorgeous. I’m making plans to see it ASAP. I saw Mean Girls in the winter and it was super fun. There are small parts here and there that are different from the movie, so you’ve been warned, and they bring social media into the fold, but it’s still a script with a ton of heart. And just because you may not have liked the new live-action Aladdin, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t see the stage version. It’s like the Aladdin On Ice that you grew up with except minus the freezing temperatures and having to ignore that Jasmin wore a fur-lined coat in the Arabian Desert. (Just me?)
You Need To Take A Straight Guy Who Was Born in the 80’s to a Show
Beetlejuice or Book of Mormon: Book of Mormon is OLD now (it opened in 2011) but it’s still the perfect show to take your boyfriend or uncle or wiseass best guy friend to see. But I’d have to plead with you to go see Beetlejuice first. I saw Beetlejuice a few months ago when it was in previews and I haven’t laughed as hard at a show since probably Hand to God (if you saw it, you know what I’m talking about). This is not for the faint of heart, and as far as I know, it sticks pretty close to the movie, but it’s also as crass and dirty as it can possibly be while still being allowed to live at the Winter Garden Theatre. Seriously, Beetlejuice was hilarious. Your boyfriend will love it.
You Want To See a Celebrity Onstage
Burn This: Right now, with Kerri Russell and Adam Driver, this play is your best option. I saw it in May and I actually enjoyed it. Kerri Russell is OK, but Adam Driver was great. It’s about two friends and what happens when they’re now-deceased best friend’s brutish brother comes to pick up his belongings in New York City.
You’re a Music Person
The Cher Show or Ain’t Too Proud: If you love Cher or The Temptations, these shows are for you. I haven’t personally seen Ain’t Too Proud because I’m not a fan imparticular of The Temptations but I’ve heard it’s good. I saw The Cher Show on a whim, not knowing anything about Cher herself, and I loved it. you will be up and dancing by the end.
You Love a Good 3-Hour Play
The Ferryman or To Kill a Mockingbird: Who doesn’t love a good three-hour play? Personally, if it’s well written and well acted, sign me up. I saw both the aforementioned shows and my goodness, they’re both remarkable. Aaron Sorkin adapted the famous novel and currently, Jeff Daniels stars as Atticus Finch, but he will be exiting soon and Ed Harris will be replacing him, so, not too shabby either! The Ferryman is a much more low-key three-hour play that transferred to New York straight from a sold-out run in London. It’s very, very British but it might be the quickest three hours you’ll ever spend in a theatre.
You’re a Politics Junky
What the Constitution Means to Me or Ink: In case you need your politics fill while you’re away from home and unable to watch CNN for 17 hours a day, check out either of these. Manhattan Theatre Club‘s lovely production of INK is a biographical play about everyone’s favorite (/s) newspaper owner Rupert Murdoch and how he bought the Daily Sun and turned it into what it is today. I saw it in early June and it is (also) very British but very good. What the Consitution Means to Me is written and performed by Heidi Schreck about her formative years as a child traveling around the country and competing in (and winning) competitions about the constitution and what it means to her. It’s a little more stream-of-consciousness than it probably should be, but it’s still entertaining and it’s definitely the show we all need right now when most of the country probably has never read the constitution.
So, those are my two cents on that. There are lots of whats to get cheap tickets to almost all of the shows above, so if you’re curious, let me know and I’d be glad to help you out!
Until then, happy summer theatre-going!