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Spoiler alert: the dad dies.

Worth going

The Lion King

Spoiler alert: the dad dies.

Our Thoughts

The production values make this show a staple for any tri-state area field trip. Catch the work that made director Julie Taymore famous before her injurious mega-flop, Spiderman the Musical. If you are interested in the lion king, note that it consistently sells out and discount tickets are hard to come by.

About

Lion cub prince Simba grows up in the African heartland until tragedy forces him to run away. He ultimately learns to take his rightful place in the animal kingdom, in this musical version of the Disney animated film.

It turns out you just needed a drink to understand iambic pentameter.

Worth going

Drunk Shakespeare

It turns out you just needed a drink to understand iambic pentameter.

Our Thoughts

Thou will have much merriment and libations in this rowdy show. The first thing that happens in the intimate set made to look like a library is that the lead actor takes several shots, setting the mood for the rest of the performance. The actors loosely perform a Shakespearean play with plenty of interludes for audience interaction, jokes, and of course, more booze.

About

The stage is set in a hidden library with over fifteen thousand books. Five professional New York actors meet as members of "The Drunk Shakespeare Society". One of them has at least 5 shots of whiskey and then they overconfidently attempt to perform a major role in a Shakespearean play. Hilarity and mayhem ensues while the four sober actors try and keep the script on track. Every show is different depending on who is drinking... and what they're drinking!

Going harder than Elphaba on body paint since 1991.

Worth going

Blue Man Group

Going harder than Elphaba on body paint since 1991.

Our Thoughts

Self described as "unique theatrical experience like nothing else", the group of Blue Men rhythmically banging on drums and splattering paint has become a ubiquitous cash cow. Mocked on TV shows such as Arrested Development, the Blue Man Group has certainly penetrated pop culture, in part due to their replicable success in cities across the U.S. with permanent venues in New York, Boston, Chicago, Las Vegas, and Orlando. While it's easy to make fun of, it is a guaranteed good time for those who are new to the Blue Man experience and we think it's well worth going to. After all, it's been running since 1991 and still going strong!

About

Blue Man Group is comedy, theater, rock concert and dance party all rolled into one. This wildly popular phenomenon delivers an unforgettable multi-sensory experience.

Bound to leave you in stitches, and not just because the stars are puppets.

Must see

Avenue Q

Bound to leave you in stitches, and not just because the stars are puppets.

Our Thoughts

This raunchy puppet show follows a recent college grad as he navigates his way through the real world (well, realish anyway). With classic songs like "Schaudenfreude" and "The Internet is for Porn," this show will have you laughing out loud. This is an excellent choice for friends from out of town because the tickets are affordable and it will teach them what it's really like to live in New York City.

About

Humans and puppets interact in this tale of twenty-somethings learning how to live and love in New York City. Think "Sesame Street" with adult themes, humor and song.

The popular, War and Peace-inspired musical makes its Broadway transfer.

Must see

Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812

The popular, War and Peace-inspired musical makes its Broadway transfer.

Our Thoughts

Our review is forthcoming.

About

"Natasha, Pierre & THE GREAT COMET of 1812 stars multi-platinum recording artist Josh Groban in his Broadway debut. Inspired by a 70-page slice of War and Peace, this "vibrant, thrillingly imagined new musical" (The New York Times) is "stunning and blazingly original" (Entertainment Weekly) and brings us just inches from Tolstoy’s brash young lovers as they light up Moscow in a “heaven-sent fireball" (The New York Times) of romance and passion."

The Phantom of the Opera is there...to bore you to fucking tears.

Skip it

Phantom of the Opera

The Phantom of the Opera is there...to bore you to fucking tears.

Our Thoughts

In this show that has literally run for longer than we've been alive, you get exactly what you expect from an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical -- you're bored, the ballads are long, and inexplicably your mom still loves it.

About

Based on the novel Le Fantome de L'Opera by Gaston Leroux, Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical depicts a disfigured musical genius who haunts the catacombs beneath the Paris Opera and exerts strange control over a lovely young soprano.

Strangers in a strange land, with some good music.

Worth going

The Band's Visit

Strangers in a strange land, with some good music.

Our Thoughts

The music is excellent, but it's not worth going if you are in the back of the theater. This is a perfect example of a show that just can't handle the size of a large broadway house. The subtle emotions of the actors are lost if you aren't up front and personal. If you have a good seat, however, definitely go check this one out. It's nice to see a story about the Middle East that doesn't just focus on the conflict in the area. Overall, this is an interesting slice of life piece with heartwarming moments and some great songs. And hey, who knew Monk was so good on stage?

About

An Egyptian Police Band arrives in Israel to play a concert. After a mix up at the border, they are sent to a remote village in the middle of the desert. With no bus until morning and no hotel in sight, these unlikely travelers are taken in by the locals. Under the spell of the desert sky, their lives become intertwined in the most unexpected ways.

A Disney classic guaranteed to leave you humming with 90s nostalgia.

Worth going

Aladdin

A Disney classic guaranteed to leave you humming with 90s nostalgia.

Our Thoughts

Take a magic carpet ride with this critically well-received, family-friendly stage adaptation of the classic Disney movie. You can't go wrong with a score by the ubiquitous and brilliant Alan Menken. And let's be honest: you thought Aladdin was hot as fuck when you were nine.

About

Based on the 1992 animated film, Disney's Aladdin tells the story of a street-smart commoner whose whole life changes with one rub of a magic lamp.

A Kander & Ebb classic plagued by minor celebrity stunt casting.

Skip it

Chicago

A Kander & Ebb classic plagued by minor celebrity stunt casting.

Our Thoughts

The revival of this classic Kander and Ebb musical, which follows the trial of Roxy Hart after she has murdered her husband and risen to Amanda Knox-esque stardom, opened on Broadway in 2003 and has been plagued by minor celebrity stunt casting ever since. We recommend seeing the movie and spending your money on a more recent show. When it finally closes staring a 45-year-old Lindsey Lohan, we'll say "they had it coming."

About

Roxie Hart murders her unfaithful lover and finds herself competing with fellow jailed murderess Velma Kelly for the best lawyer — and best vaudeville bookings — in 1920s Chicago.

Dolly ain't got nothing on Bette or Bernadette.

Skip it

Hello, Dolly!

Dolly ain't got nothing on Bette or Bernadette.

Our Thoughts

Look no further than this classic, if not dated, revival to teach you the essential lessons in life: getting a wife is cheaper than hiring a housekeeper and the best way to catch a husband is to buy a hat with ribbons. Yes, the leading ladies that have filled this role such as Bette Middler and Bernadette Peters are legends and it's incredible to see them on stage. And the scene where Dolly eats an elaborate meal while the rest of the cast looks on in silence is hilarious. But, not even this exceptional cast can make that cringe-y feeling go away that they somehow missed the mark on whether this is a straight retelling of a sexist show or satiric commentary on views in this bygone era. We hate to disagree with the NYTimes on this who gave it a critic's pick, but you can feel free to skip this one. Hopefully the next time it's revived on Broadway, it'll be updated for a more modern audience.

About

In 1890s New York City, the bold and enchanting widow Dolly Levi is a socialite-turned-matchmaker. Her latest clients seeking assistance are the cantankerous "half-a-millionaire" Horace Vandergelder and a young artist named Ambrose, who is in love with Horace's niece, Ermengarde. Dolly's scheming soon involves Horace's employees as well as a New York hatmaker, as she tries to cover up her own secret romantic designs.

A fun musical, which is anything but a drag.

Worth going

Kinky Boots

A fun musical, which is anything but a drag.

Our Thoughts

Music and lyrics by Cyndi Lauper and book by Harvey Fierstein proves to be a winning combination in this delightful musical. This show is full of heart and humor, and even a lesson in business: a failing shoe factory is saved by catering its footwear to hold a man's weight for its drag queen customers. You'll wish The Economist would take a lesson from this musical and be a little more entertaining while explaining a business case study.

About

Charlie Price has suddenly inherited his father’s shoe factory, which is on the verge of bankruptcy. Trying to live up to his father’s legacy and save his family business, Charlie finds inspiration in Lola. A fabulous entertainer in need of some sturdy stilettos, Lola turns out to be the one person who can help Charlie become the man he’s meant to be. As they work to turn the factory around, this unlikely pair finds that they have more in common than they ever dreamed possible.

Cats! The musical we all love to hate.

Skip it

Cats

Cats! The musical we all love to hate.

Our Thoughts

If you've seen a production of Cats and enjoyed it, then you will love this version. Otherwise, we give this a hard pass. Not only does this revival do nothing new with the material, the original score and "plot" (that's a generous term) is simply terrible. Andrew Lloyd Webber only writes 4 lines of music and manages to stretch it to over 2 hours by repeating the chorus nonstop. This show has been giving musicals a bad reputation for decades and is no way representational of a good Broadway show.

About

Based on T.S. Eliot’s “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats,” this wonderfully imaginative show features breathtaking music, including one of the most treasured songs in musical theater — “Memory.” Winner of 7 Tony Awards® including BEST MUSICAL, CATS tells the story of one magical night when an extraordinary tribe of cats gathers for its annual ball to rejoice and decide which cat will be reborn. Featuring a cast of beautiful dancers and singers and the original Tony-winning sets and costumes, this beloved hit is still Broadway’s most unforgettable event. Experience CATS for the first time as it begins a new life for a new generation… or let it thrill you once again!

An expensive and pretentious haunted house for adults.

Skip it

Sleep No More

An expensive and pretentious haunted house for adults.

Our Thoughts

This popular and long-running show has spawned a deluge of similar "immersive" productions, all of which fail as works of theatre but are nonetheless a fun night out. Don't expect to ascertain much of the plot of Macbeth. If not for the price, we might recommend this show. Tickets are $100+ and discounts are scarce.

About

An immersive production inspired by Shakespeare’s Macbeth, told through the lens of a Hitchcock thriller. An unexpected location will be exquisitely transformed into an installation of cinematic scenes that evoke the world of Macbeth. The audience has the freedom to roam the environment and experience a sensory journey as he or she chooses what to watch and where to go.

A high screlting (screaming + belting) Stephen Schwartz masterpiece.

Must see

Wicked

A high screlting (screaming + belting) Stephen Schwartz masterpiece.

Our Thoughts

This mega-hit fractured fairytale tells the story of the Wizard of Oz from the Wicked Witch's perspective. Everyone loves a high belt and a Steven Schwartz score. You really can't go wrong with this beloved, long-running show.

About

Long before Dorothy arrives, there is another girl, born with emerald-green skin-smart, fiery, misunderstood, and possessing an extraordinary talent. When she meets a bubbly blonde, their initial rivalry turns into the unlikeliest of friendships... until the world decides to call one “good,” and the other one “wicked.”

School of Rock gets an F for originality.

Skip it

School of Rock

School of Rock gets an F for originality.

Our Thoughts

This unnecessary adaptation of the movie demonstrates that Broadway has run out of new ideas. The show nearly mimics the the movie scene for scene and the show's star, Alex Brightman, could be a Jack Black impersonator. This show is only worth going to with young kids who will get a kick out of the very talented young people on stage. Otherwise, save yourself the trip and Netflix the movie instead.

About

Down-on-his-luck wannabe rock star Dewey Finn poses as a substitute teacher at a prestigious prep school to make ends meet. When he discovers his students’ musical talents, he enlists his fifth-graders to form a rock group and conquer the Battle of the Bands.

Cirque du Soleil but with a plot and showtunes!

Worth going

Paramour

Cirque du Soleil but with a plot and showtunes!

Our Thoughts

The creatives at Cirque have yet to find the right balance of story and spectacle, and the plot of this circus musical is formulaic and forgettable. But the acrobats! This fast-paced, high-flying stunt show is still a lot of fun and definitely worth seeing.

About

Set in the glamorous world of Golden Age Hollywood, this groundbreaking event from Cirque du Soleil spins the tale of a beautiful young poet forced to choose between love and art.

You saw it in 3rd grade. Now see it again. It's still really loud!

Worth going

Stomp

You saw it in 3rd grade. Now see it again. It's still really loud!

Our Thoughts

Stomp has been around since the '90s and a production still runs in downtown Manhattan. The show is the same: an ensemble of percussionists and dancers makes music with everyday objects like brooms and trash cans. It's fun but only if your ears can tolerate all the banging.

About

Matchboxes, brooms, garbage cans, Zippo lighters and more fill the stage with energizing beats at STOMP, the inventive and invigorating stage show that's dance, music and theatrical performance blended together in one electrifying rhythm.

Yet another middle-of-the-road biographical jukebox musical.

Skip it

On Your Feet!

Yet another middle-of-the-road biographical jukebox musical.

Our Thoughts

This musical about the life of Gloria Estefan will leave you underwhelmed and ironically seated for most of the performance. While we admire the challenges Ms. Estefan has overcome, this show offers little as a piece of theatre.

About

On Your Feet! is the story of Emilio and Gloria Estefan, two people who—through an unwavering dedication to one another and their pursuit of the American dream— showcased their talent, their music and their heritage to the world in a remarkable rise to global superstardom.

A favorite of President Obama and the toughest ticket in town.

Must see

Hamilton

A favorite of President Obama and the toughest ticket in town.

Our Thoughts

You've heard of Hamilton. The relevant information: tickets (excluding resale) are sold out for the rest of the year. Your best bet for tickets is playing the digital lottery.

About

From bastard orphan to Washington's right hand man, rebel to war hero, loving husband caught in the country's first sex scandal to Treasury head who made an untrusting world believe in the American economy, HAMILTON is an exploration of a political mastermind. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Eliza Hamilton, and lifelong Hamilton friend and foe, Aaron Burr, all attend this revolutionary tale of America’s fiery past told through the sounds of the ever-changing nation we’ve become.

A new Alan Menken musical about a boy from the Bronx.

Skip it

A Bronx Tale

A new Alan Menken musical about a boy from the Bronx.

Our Thoughts

Tries to be Jersey Boys meets West Side Story. Fails on both accounts. We recommend watching the movie and saving yourself a few bucks instead.

About

"A musical version of Chazz Palminteri's solo show, which tells the story of Calogero Anello, a young boy from a working class family who gets involved in the world of organized crime." - Playbill

NSFW, South Park-style musical satire.

Must see

Book of Mormon

NSFW, South Park-style musical satire.

Our Thoughts

This crowd pleaser opened in 2011 and quickly spawned productions in multiple cities and two national tours. If you haven't already seen it, this is a great pick for comedy fans and anyone dragging a reluctant friend or significant other to a musical.

About

Two young Mormons embark on a mission to spread the gospel in Uganda.

A Pasek & Paul musical about the death of a high school student.

Must see

Dear Evan Hansen

A Pasek & Paul musical about the death of a high school student.

Our Thoughts

Another mega-sensation a la Hamilton hits Broadway with Dear Evan Hansen. Be warned: You will absolutely ugly cry while watching a heart wrenched family grieve the death of their son and Evan Hansen struggle to contain the lies he told to comfort them. Amazing all around -- from the singing to the acting to set design that cleverly captures texting and viral video clips -- it's no wonder Dear Evan Hansen is a hit.

About

All his life, Evan Hansen has felt invisible. But when a tragedy thrusts him into the center of a rapidly evolving controversy, he is given the opportunity of a lifetime: the chance to be somebody else.

A lot like Jersey Boys, except it's about a woman.

Skip it

Beautiful

A lot like Jersey Boys, except it's about a woman.

Our Thoughts

Beautiful chronicles the life of songwriter Carole King, who wrote hits like "You've Got a Friend," in traditional jukebox-musical-biography style (a la Jersey Boys). Save yourself a hundred bucks and wait for the movie version, coming out in 2016.

About

Long before she was Carole King, chart-topping music legend, she was Carol Klein, a Brooklyn girl with passion and chutzpah. She fought her way into the record business as a teenager and, by the time she reached her twenties, had the husband of her dreams and a flourishing career writing hits for the biggest acts in rock ‘n’ roll. But it wasn’t until her personal life began to crack that she finally managed to find her true voice.

You'll finally be inspired to skip your Seamless order and turn on your oven.

Worth going

Waitress

You'll finally be inspired to skip your Seamless order and turn on your oven.

Our Thoughts

Based on the eponymous 2007 movie, this musical features the songs of pop singer Sara Bareilles who's ballads of women finding their inner strength fits perfectly into the theme of this story. Jessie Mueller, fresh from her Tony-winning run in “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical" will make you feel all the feelings with her emotional acting and soulful voice.

About

Jenna, a waitress and expert pie maker, is stuck in a small town and a loveless marriage. When a baking contest in a nearby county offers her a chance at escape, Jenna must weigh her commitments against a rare shot at freedom and recognition. Her customers, co-workers, and the town’s handsome new doctor all offer her conflicting recipes for happiness but Jenna must ultimately decide for herself.