Broadway shows, especially the musicals, are exciting, emotional and visually thrilling for kids of all ages—and children might just be the best audience for these special kinds of shows. Their minds are open and ready to imagine fantastic things, even before the first curtain rises. Shows like The Lion King, “Aladdin,” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” are sure to be hits with young ones, but don’t be afraid to try something a little more adventurous. We’ve come up with a list of some of the best shows on stage right now that the whole family will enjoy.
- “School of Rock: The Musical.” You may remember the 2003 movie starring Jack Black, about a musician who takes a job as a substitute teacher, and ends up teaching the students a thing or two about rock ‘n’ roll. The stage adaptation features music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, the musical legend behind “Phantom of the Opera” and “Evita.” Kids will love seeing a cast that’s largely their own age, and we can all relate to the longing to express ourselves. Who knows—seeing “School of Rock” may inspire your kid to take piano lessons, or to practice more for the ones he’s already taking.
- Speaking of Andrew Lloyd Webber, there’s no better introduction to the magic of Broadway than “Cats,” the classic tale of a ragtag band of cats. The play first opened in 1981 and is a Broadway legend, now revived back on the stage. There may be aspects of the plot and dialogue that goes over some kids’ heads, but they will remember the beautiful songs and choreography and the mesmerizing costumes and makeup. Like the best stories, it appeals in different ways to young and old.
- “Beautiful: The Carole King Story.” Your kids may not know who Carole King is by name, but they probably know at least one of her classic songs. Beautiful tells the story of King’s incredible life and career, and the mark she has left on music in the last 50 years. The play is full of great costumes and design and, of course, unforgettable songs. Don’t underestimate your kids’ ability to enjoy a wonderful story, and talk with them after the show about following their dreams, overcoming obstacles and making their mark on the world, just like Carole King.
Broadway is a great place to bring a child, and your little ones won’t forget their first experience at the theater. There’s no better time to go—so many plays and musicals are perfect for kids. If you’re picking a show to see with the whole family, consider choosing a production with big lights, big sounds and a story that connects them to the world. Something tells me you’ll be talking about it for years to come.
Adam Young, CEO and founder of Event Tickets Center, has taken his own teenage children to a range of theatrical events since they were young.