I’ve always loved the theater. From the time I was a small child, my mother would take me to see performances at our local community theater. Any time the high school was putting on a show, I was always there, in the front row. Playbill in hand. I was drawn to the costumes, the singing, and the unique personalities of each character. I had no idea what to expect when I attended my very first Broadway performance. And the entire experience far exceeded my expectations. The music, the costumes, the size of the theater. It was equal parts overwhelming and magical.
If you’ve never taken your children to see a Broadway play, you really should consider it. Now more than ever there are a number of performances that are designed specifically for a younger audience. This means the length, subject matter, and length are geared toward families with children. If you’re not sure where to start, this list of the top Broadway shows for kids should help.
A unique twist on the classic Wizard of Oz, Wicked won four of 10 Tony Award nominations in 2004. Wicked is considered the untold story of the witches of Oz. Your children are probably familiar with the Wicked Witch of the West, but this musical will put an entirely new spin on the classic story.
Wicked tells the tale of Glinda, the good witch, and Elphaba, the wicked witch. It reveals how they first met and the events that lead to a broken friendship, which sent the young witches on very different paths. Wicked is the 14th longest running show in London Theater history and can still be found on Broadway in New York City. This show is recommended for children ages 7 and older.
2. The Lion King
The Lion King on Broadway is based on the classic Disney tale. If your child loves animals, The Lion King is a spectacle for all the senses. Humans are transformed into animals on stage. Some, larger than life. The makeup and costumes are truly one of a kind. Your child will likely recognize some of the songs showcased in this show, as many are taken directly from the Disney film and artist Elton John.
The storyline is pretty similar, as well. A story of a young lion cub, Simba, who finds his place as King. Simba encounters a variety of different animals and challenges along his journey. This play is sure to please children of all ages but is recommended for those age six and older.
If you’re looking for a more non-traditional Broadway show for slightly older children, Stomp might be exactly what you’re looking for. If you’ve had to remind your children to throw away their garbage and not play with it, this off-broadway show will break all the rules.
Stomp showcases performers creating heart-pounding music in unconventional ways. Performers use garbage cans, lids, brooms, and buckets to create a symphony for the eyes and ears. The music is also coupled with dancing and engaging lighting and colors.
Older children will understand the underlying humor of this show, as the actors don’t speak but use gestures and body language to create a funny and engaging performance. Younger audience members will simply be mystified by the sites and sounds of Stomp. The show is recommended for children of all ages but those under the age of four are not permitted in the theater.
Another favorite Disney story, Aladdin on Broadway is a beautiful mix of music, costumes, humor, and a magical love story. Aladdin is created by the same producer who brought The Lion King to Broadway and it’s seen in many of the costumes and music used in the performance.
Aladdin is one of the most magical Disney stories of a young boy who finds a magic lamp and is granted three wishes by a quirky and hilarious Genie. Your entire family with be taken along on this magic carpet ride and it won’t disappoint. Aladdin is recommended for children ages six years and older. Anyone attending the show under the age of 14 must be accompanied by an adult.
5. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
It was only a matter of time before Broadway adopted a Harry Potter performance, with Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. With such wizardry, mystery, and magic, the story of Harry Potter was truly made for Broadway. And the public agrees. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was nominated for 10 Tony Awards and six Outer Circle and Critics Awards, including Best Play.
With eight Harry Potter movies you may wonder where did Broadway even begin? The performance brings us to a time when Harry is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic. Harry has also grown into a husband and father to three children, one of which is “cursed” with Harry’s legacy. The story brings past and present to light in a showcase of splendor.
It’s important to note that this is a two-part performance and recommended for children ages 10 years and older. Children younger are permitted, but no one under the age of four is allowed in the theater. Children 15 years of age and younger must be accompanied by an adult.
Introduce Your Children to Theater
The theater is an amazing and magical place where anything is possible. Bringing your children to a Broadway performance means exposing them to amazing costumes, music, acting, and an experience for all the senses. What are your favorite Broadway shows for kids?