Last Updated on 13th February 2023
New York is famous for many things, from the Empire State Building to the melting pot of cultures that makes up its highly diverse population. However, one aspect makes NYC truly stand out among its megalopolis cousins around the world, is Broadway. Here you can find shows that suit almost every taste ranging from abstract philosophical art shows to more established ones such as runaway success, namely Hamilton.
Nonetheless, with the myriad of choices at your fingertips, it can sometimes be a little overwhelming, to say the least. Fear not, for this post shall lead the way and introduce you to some of the best shows featuring some of the best thespians ever to tread those hallowed boards!
There is no use starting a post about the top Broadway shows without mentioning Hamilton at least once, or twice, or actually numerous times. Simply put, this show, developed by the extraordinarily talented Lin-Manuel Miranda, has taken the world by storm and, since its inception, has become a mainstay of the theatrical scene. In fact, its reviews have been so glowing it is often regarded as the best Broadway show to see in New York.
In reality, you can see it anywhere a theatre exists since it has pretty much stormed its way into almost all amateur theatres globally. The show is a somewhat fictionalized (but closer to the actual history than you might think) story about one of the key founding fathers, Alexander Hamilton. If you are a history nut who is prepared to cope with a small degree of artistic license but also happens to love musicals, then this is the show for you. For everyone else, this is also the show for you as it is brilliant, and chocked full of talented actors.
The Lion King
If you grew up on a heady diet of sugary snacks, the Sega Megadrive, and Disney animation, you will love The Lion King. It will take you back to your childhood and transplant you from the hustle and bustle of NYC to the African Plains, where it is set. Furthermore, it could be an excellent introduction for your children to the arts because not only is it a child-friendly production, it’s colourful and exciting enough to keep the attention of even the most Tik Tok-addicted teen.
In fact, it has consistently been one of the best-selling shows on Broadway since it was first introduced in 1997 (only three years after the original animation that captivated so many children). The actors are amazing, the set design is extortionary, and the costumes…well, you will have to see them to believe them, but just so you’re not under any illusion, they are outstanding!
Phantom Of The Opera
This show has been a mainstay for years and is as much a part of the theatrical landscape as Shakespeare is (ok, perhaps that might be a tad hyperbolic, but you get the idea). Although the story was created by the fascinating author Gaston Leroux before the outbreak of the Great War, it was made famous by English composer Andrew Lloyd Webber (also of Cat’s fame).
The show revolves around a man who has become deformed when a publisher’s assistant throws etching acid in his face and consequently wears a mask to cover his appearance (this one isn’t so much for the kids!) Anyway, he then proceeds to take his anger out on other theatre works, and throughout the play, you begin to see his anguish come through. The theatrical play differs slightly from the novel on which it is based, in which the story states his entire face is damaged, while the play changes this to only half.
This could be because it’s too challenging for an audience to experience emotion when a mask obscures the whole face. Whatever the reason, it’s a brilliant show and made even more exciting thanks to Webber and this team’s masterful understanding of musical composition.
This is another exciting component of the whole Broadway scene and one that is full of excitement, intrigue, and, of course, jazzy show tunes! Set against the backdrop of prohibition during the interwar period, Chicago follows the trials and tribulations of an aspiring actress, Roxie Hart, and ultimately her unfortunate downfall as she is incarcerated for murder.
While there was a feature film released based on the same story (2002), the film lacks the energy that a live performance can bring, making it essential for all lovers of the stage to descend to their nearest theatre to observe this once-in-a-lifetime spectacle!
NYC is chock full of exciting, intriguing, mysterious, energetic, and other adjective-filled shows. Each of these offers up a unique chance to watch professional actors ply their trade, mesmerize you and take you into another world if but for a few hours. Moreover, there are plenty more to choose from, and almost everyone can find something they like.