Your First Broadway Show: How to Choose the Best Experience for You
Your first Broadway show is an experience you’ll never forget. Whether you’re coming for the lights, the energy of the big city, or knowing that you’re seeing some of the best theater in the world, you won’t be disappointed. There are so many reasons to see a Broadway musical or play, but did you know that there are dozens of performances going on every night? Consider the questions below to help you compare and contrast the shows playing right now and find one that suits your tastes and interests.
Who’s coming along?
Are you headed out for a date night in the city, or bringing the kids along for the adventure? Broadway shows are unforgettable for children and adults alike, but some shows may be more family-friendly than others.
It’s a safe bet that a kid of any age would enjoy a show like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, an adaptation of Roald Dahl’s classic children’s book. It borrows songs from the beloved 1971 film adaptation starting Gene Wilder, but introduces many new tunes as well.
But don’t assume all musicals are geared toward children; some are better suited for an adult audience. Chicago, the Tony-award winning play about murder and ambition in the Prohibition era, is currently playing at the Ambassador Theater. The show features catchy songs, brilliant costumes and plenty of dark humor. Teenagers and up would enjoy the show, but it’s probably better to leave the little kids at home for this one.
Do you want big or small?
Do you love the energy of a large cast, big musical numbers and a swelling orchestra? If that’s the case, you’ll have no shortage of outstanding shows to choose from. Wicked, a musical that tells a slightly different version of the classic Wizard of Oz tale, has been stunning audiences and selling out venues for nearly 15 years, raking in over $1 billion around the world. You can see it for yourself at the iconic Gershwin Theatre, the biggest theater on Broadway.
But maybe you tend to prefer small theaters, art house films and dramatic storytelling? Consider seeing a show at Circle in the Square Theatre, one of the smallest Broadway venues. Not only does this theater have an intimate 776 seats, but seating wraps almost entirely around the stage, completely immersing you in the story. Go there to see Once on This Island, an inspiring musical about love and hope in the face of disaster.
Do you want music?
Did you think that all Broadway shows are musicals? It’s a common misconception, and while many of the most famous shows to appear on Broadway feature song and dance, there’s plenty more to choose from.
Non-musical plays, referred to as “straight” shows in Broadway lingo, are a great option for a lower-key theater experience. If you’re looking for a drama that still brings some laughs, try Marvin’s Room, a Broadway revival of Scott McPherson’s 1990 play about family, relationships and death. It was adapted into a film starring Leonardo DiCaprio in 1996 and made its Broadway debut this summer.
Sometimes a story from the past can seem completely relevant to the world we live in today. That’s what the creators of 1984 were thinking when they brought George Orwell’s novel to the stage. In its first run in London, children under the age of 13 were barred from attending, and the visual and sound effects have even caused people to faint or become sick. It’s not an easygoing theater experience, but if you want a challenging, unforgettable show, 1984 may be the Broadway play for you.
There’s a show out there for every age, interest and mood. All you have to do is a bit of research to find the right fit for you. You can browse tickets for hundreds of Broadway shows by theatre here. After that? Your first Broadway experience is sure to be a smash hit.