By Meghen Jones
Take a moment to close your eyes and picture this: the stage is set, the actors and actresses are taking their places, and the tunes from the orchestra pit begin to fill your ears. Instantly, a warm, familiar feeling kicks in as you imagine all the theatrical productions you’ve seen throughout the years that have touched you in some way. Plus, there’s nothing quite like being surrounded by other theatre-loving individuals.
Maybe you’re a New York City veteran, or maybe this is your first time visiting, but either way, there’s something particularly special about attending a Broadway show—no matter how many times you have had the opportunity to do so. The costumes are perfectly designed, the stage perfectly set, and the performers… yep, you guessed it— the very definition of perfection! But, when it comes to choosing a show, where exactly do you start?
Not only are there hot, new releases to consider each year, but there’s a continuing rotation of “oldies but goodies,” like The Phantom of the Opera, The Book of Mormon, and our personal favorite of all time, The Lion King! Given your meager student budget, we know that the cost of a live Broadway performance means that you must be very thoughtful in your selection. Keeping this in mind, we’ve decided to do all the hard work for you with uCribs’ comprehensive list of the 6 Broadway shows that you cannot miss this season!
To Kill A Mockingbird
It wasn’t too long ago that you were a high school student, so you might recall those required summer reading lists fairly well. You’d always put off that dreaded list until the last minute, so that you could focus on summer break’s finer points, like poolside chill sessions, ice cold popsicles, and of course, being able to devote entire days to Riverdale binges with no repercussions. But at some point, push came to shove, and you probably had to buckle down with Harper Lee’s time-enduring classic, To Kill A Mockingbird. If you’re like us – and the rest of the world – you might have been surprised by your love for this definitive novel. Published in 1960, To Kill A Mockingbird became a Pulitzer Prize-winning, global phenomenon, and now, it hits the Broadway stage.
Inspired by Harper Lee’s own childhood, To Kill A Mockingbird reflects upon the racial injustices of the American south. It tells the story of Atticus Finch, a well-regarded lawyer, who symbolizes integrity and righteousness during his representation of Tom Robinson, a black man accused of crimes against Mayella Ewell, a white woman. This story—full of trial and tribulation for the Finch family and their neighbors—is told through the eyes of Scout, Atticus’ young daughter. If you’re looking to be taken on an eye-opening, cross-generational journey, this play, starring the brilliant Jeff Daniels, is one for you.
Embracing the importance of familial bonds between two sisters, Frozen hit the scene as one of Disney’s most groundbreaking animated films. And no one—and we mean, no one—could seem to let go of Idina Menzel’s “Let It Go.” Now, Frozen fans can enjoy the timeless tale of Elsa and Anna on Broadway. Sit back, relax, and witness every twist and turn of Anna’s unforgettable journey with a selfless mountain man, Kristoff. Through snow and ice, Anna trudges through the harsh winter wilderness to reunite with her sister, Elsa, who is battling to find her place in the world and harness the power that lies within her.
Aside from presenting an endlessly entertaining live version of the blockbuster movie, the musical features all of your favorite songs, including “Love Is an Open Door,” “In Summer,” and of course, “Let It Go”—plus a few new ones for everyone to enjoy. Ultimately, Frozen upholds themes of love, family, and growth, so you’re sure to catch some major inspirational vibes upon leaving the theatre. Not to mention, the extraordinary special effects and lavish costumes will give you chills! Prepare to kick back in your plush theatre seat, and enjoy a night of magic as you see Frozen “For the First Time in Forever”—you see what we did there?
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
You own the Harry Potter movie anthology and proudly rock your Gryffindor scarf every time you experience the slightest bit of on-coming cold weather. Now, it is time for diehard Potterheads like yourself to come together once more to share your love for all things Harry Potter. Dubbed one of the most highly anticipated plays in Broadway history, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child opened its doors to NYC muggles last year! And now, it’s your turn to witness this two-part play, which tells the eighth story of the Harry Potter franchise and brings the Wizarding World to life through jaw-dropping illusions.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child follows Harry into adulthood where his life, unfortunately, hasn’t gotten any easier as a husband, a father of three school-aged children, and an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic. And as Harry continues to grapple with his past, his youngest son, Albus, must carry the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. Told through spell-binding songs and choreography to match, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a modern musical favorite that still sells out shows weekly!
Do you remember the first time you saw Tina Fey’s classic high school tale, Mean Girls? We’re sure you do—just like we’re certain you still quote it every chance you get. Mean Girls delves into the life of Cady Heron, a transfer student from Africa, who becomes part of Regina George’s merciless clique after transferring to North Shore High School. But, of course, the story doesn’t end here. Trying to balance fitting in with overthrowing Regina’s reign is no easy task, but in her efforts, Cady learns that you cannot cross a Queen Bee without getting stung.
As your memory jogs itself of every “O-M-G moment,” you’ll be nothing short of rolling in the aisles if you decide to attend this all-new musical. Produced by none other than Saturday Night Live’s Lorne Michaels, Tina Fey teams up with her hubby, composer Jeff Richmond, and lyricist Nell Benjamin of Legally Blonde to create the most fetch musical Broadway has seen in years. So, book your seats for this all-out musical romp, depicting the torment and trauma of our teen years. Who knows? You might even get to sit with Ms. Regina George and her clique—you go, Glenn Coco!
Hamilton is not like any ordinary Broadway musical, and audiences knew this immediately from its inception. But, now, instead of chuckling at Lin Manuel-Miranda’s unprecedented musical, audiences are giving standing ovations. Reigning as one of the most revolutionary musicals of all time, this Broadway smash-hit holds a record-breaking number of 16 Tony nominations, 11 of which were won. Hamilton reflects upon the life, achievements, and scandals of Alexander Hamilton, a Founding Father of the United States and a major influencer of the U.S. Constitution, through modern Hip-Hop songs written by Manuel-Miranda.
Even winning a Pulitzer Prize, Hamilton has not gone unnoticed by those outside of the theater community, and it continues to set records—selling out shows since 2015 at sky-high ticket prices. And if you’re feeling a little hesitant about backing a musical all about American history, don’t worry. If anything, the show will pump you up to learn even more about the subject— instead of feeling like some lame extra credit assignment. Even though the original cast is long gone, the show remains exciting, electrifying, and eccentric. But, that’s what we love about it so much!
The Lion King
Every once in a while, a musical comes along that resonates with audiences, young and old. The Lion King is one of those musicals. Growing up, you thought it was the best Disney movie of all time, and you’ll definitely still feel the same way after seeing it live on Broadway. As one of Broadway’s longest-running musicals, The Lion King is clearly still a winner in everyone’s book. There’s just something so nostalgic about the story of Simba’s coming-of-age story as he learns to navigate the world after his father, King Mufasa’s untimely death.
And if there’s one thing that makes The Lion King absolutely stand out from the rest, it’s the majestic animal puppets that frequent the performance. Talented actors and actresses make these puppets come to life with their own body movement and disciplined skill. So, venture back into the Pride Lands once more, and enjoy this stunning performance— rich in African cultural tradition. If anything, this Hamlet-inspired story will teach you about the power of love, community, and embracing your own destiny. Sure, the plot itself may be far from carefree, but what can we say to wrap up this section other than “Hakuna Matata?”
With the new year now in full gear, the 2019 Broadway season is well underway. New productions and long-running shows continue to grace the stages of multiple theaters, and this just means more opportunity when it comes to choosing what you want to see. Will you pay a visit to your old friend Harry Potter to see what he’s up to in his adult life? Or, will you waste another Wednesday trying to sit with The Plastics even though you forgot to wear pink? Whatever you decide, we, at uCribs, support your love for the performing arts and encourage you to take a break from your busy schedule to attend a show at your leisure. Whether you’re riding solo or with a group of friends, a little theatrical entertainment never hurt anybody!