The Best Broadway Show Reviews: A Guide to the Must-See Productions
By: Ryan Gaydos
Discriminating critics agree that the Big Apple is home to some of Broadway’s best shows, including acclaimed plays, musicals and revivals. If you’re searching for an extraordinary theater experience, New York City should top your list!
- The Book of Mormon
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
- Kimberly Akimbo
- A Doll’s House
- The Lion King
- Moulin Rouge! The Musical
- Some Like It Hot
Broadway shows are a vital part of the cultural fabric in New York City, drawing millions each season to witness the apex of live theatrical entertainment. With new musicals, plays and revivals premiering every session, some for only short runs while others remain popular for years on end – it’s no wonder they often earn prestigious accolades at the Tony Awards. Aiming beyond the mainstream, star-driven dramas and family films, our theater critics have assembled a list of truly distinctive productions that are currently captivating audiences on Broadway. Check out these top picks for Broadway’s artistically ambitious offerings!
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Despite the immense amount of indicators that Broadway is still struggling, several productions have continued to thrive. The longest-running Broadway show in history – “The Phantom of the Opera” – and this year’s Tony Award winner for best musical – “A Strange Loop” – are two shows that prove resilience can be found within adversity. Nevertheless, both productions have announced plans to close their run on Broadway soon after a successful tenure.
Last week, Broadway saw 27 shows viewed by 225,731 people and generating an impressive $29 million – quite the contrast to March 2019 prior to COVID-19’s intrusion. Back then there were 34 plays running with 286,802 viewers cumulatively who contributed a whopping $35 million in ticket sales. Here are the top picks from theater critics for performances currently on Broadway.
The Book of Mormon
If you are a devout worshiper of Broadway musicals, then it’s time to rejoice! Trey Parker and Matt Stone of South Park have teamed up with composer Robert Lopez (Avenue Q) to create this outrageously funny satire that is sure to outshine The Producers and Urinetown. Through their perfect blend of naughty humor and sugary goodness, they tell the story of two mismatched Mormon missionaries in Uganda. It promises laughter galore!
Lin-Manuel Miranda is a special person who is the first to mix hip-hop music and musical theater. He makes songs that sound like they are on the radio and tells stories about Alexander Hamilton, one of the Founding Fathers of America. A lot of different kinds of people act out his stories in a way that will make you feel excited.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Step into the enchanting world of Harry Potter, brought to life on Broadway! Jack Thorne wrote an amazing book that John Tiffany directed. It is 20 years after J.K. Rowling’s famous series of books. You will be so happy and excited when you watch this show! Every scene will make you feel great!
Sixteen proves to be anything but sweet for the titular heroine of Kimberly Akimbo, a poignant and exuberantly joyous musical by David Lindsay-Abaire and Jeanine Tesori. Magnificently portrayed by Victoria Clark, she suffers from an ailment that accelerates her aging process at alarming speed. But then two agents of disruption enter into her life: Aunt Debra (the irrepressible Bonnie Milligan), who shakes up her perspective with riotous humor; and Seth (the beguiling Justin Cooley), an anagram enthusiast classmate. Cleverly crafted yet profoundly touching in its idiosyncrasies, Kimberly Akimbo was the premiere new musical sensation of 2021 – even more so on Broadway!
Alfred Uhry and Jason Robert Brown wrote a story about a tragedy that happened in 1913 Georgia. It was only on stage for a short time, but Michael Arden brought it back to life. Ben Platt and Micaela Diamond were some of the actors in the show. You should go see this classic play at the Parade!
A Doll’s House
Director Jamie Lloyd’s vivid interpretation of A Doll’s House is sure to leave a lasting impression on its audience. Jessica Chastain captivates as Nora Helmer, the pioneering feminist anchoring Ibsen’s 1879 masterpiece. The production shows us her performance very closely. We can see every tough choice she has to make. It is amazing how one woman can fight against everyone else and stand up for herself.
Step into the otherworldly realm of Hadestown, Anaïs Mitchell’s captivating and effervescent new musical! It is a modern-day version of the classical Orpheus and Eurydice myth. Yet underneath this traditional story lies an entirely unique experience thanks to Mitchell’s beguiling score combined with Rachel Chavkin’s breathtaking staging – come see for yourself just how alive these age-old tales can be!
The Lion King
Julie Taymor is an amazing director and designer. She made Disney’s story and music sound like it came from Africa. Her puppets look like real animals from Africa. This show has been one of the most popular on Broadway because of her creative ideas.
Moulin Rouge! The Musical
Natalie Mendoza and Aaron Tveit bring the ill-fated romance of Baz Luhrmann’s 2001 movie to life in this Alex Timbers directed, over-the top adaptation. Drawing on more than 75 pop hits, its jukebox megamix with ornate showmanship will dazzle you with a brilliant splendour rarely seen before!—Adam Feldman
Six is a musical about Henry VIII’s six wives. They tell their stories and express their feelings through songs. It is a mix of old English history and modern pop music. The songs will make you want to get up and dance! You won’t forget this exciting show!
Some Like It Hot
Directed by Casey Nicholaw, Some Like It Hot is a fantastic adaptation of the 1959 classic film. Christian Borle and J. Harrison Ghee take center stage as Prohibition-era musicians who attempt to flee from the mob by masquerading in an all-girl band led by Adrianna Hicks. This musical comedy boasts vibrant production values that breathe new life into its source material while still remaining sensitive to modern audiences. Though it may stumble at first, this hit’s end will leave you beaming with delight!
Wicked, the musical prequel to The Wizard of Oz, is not only an entertaining show with a witty book by Winnie Holzman and pop-inflected score from Stephen Schwartz – it also touches on complex themes such as morality, beauty standards, and surprisingly even fighting fascism. With these elements combined together in perfect harmony – you’ll find yourself soaring!
Broadway May Finally be Ready to Welcome one of its Few Missing Pieces: a Las Vegas-style Casino!
Despite the conflict it may bring, Actors’ Equity Association, a labor union for actors and stage managers, is backing up the casino proposal.
This suggests that there will be a twisted journey ahead as this plan passes through an extensive approval process.