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Top 5 Broadway Shows for Kids

Family-Friendly Fare on the Great White Way

By

Broadway Dims Their Lights In Honor Of Paul Newman
Stephen Lovekin / Staff/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

1. The Lion King

Why: Without a doubt, the perennial favorite choice for a child’s first Broadway show is Disney’s The Lion King. Winning 6 Tony Awards, Julie Taymor’s visionary and innovative production, based on the Academy Award-winning animated film, helped spur renewed interest in Broadway for the younger generation.

What: The Lion King tells the story of Simba as he grows up on the African pride land, learning valuable lessons about family and love. Scored by pop-rock icon Sir Elton John, this gorgeous musical with triple-threat actors and African animal puppetry is a feast for the eyes and ears. The theatre is wheelchair accessible, and the show runs 2 hours 30 minutes with one Intermission. Tickets start at $72.50.

Where: Minskoff Theatre, at the Marriott Marquis in Time Square, 1535 Broadway, corner of 45th Street

When: Mondays are dark, but extra performances may be added on holidays.

  • Tuesday – 7 p.m.
  • Wednesday – 2 p.m., 8 p.m.
  • Thursday – 8 p.m.
  • Friday – 8 p.m.
  • Saturday – 2 p.m., 8 p.m.
  • Sunday – 3 p.m.

2. Wicked

Why: Why not?! It’s the most successful musical in recent history, breaking all the Broadway box office records — and for good reason.

What: Based on the novel by Gregory Maguire, Wicked is a prequel to the famous story The Wizard of Oz. This show is darker in lighting and tone than the familiar Judy Garland flick, but the language is clean and the minimal violence occurs offstage, in Greek style. At 2 hours 45 minutes, Wicked may be too long for restless small children, but it has become the family and teen must-see Broadway show. Tickets start at $51.25.

Wicked: Behind the Green Curtain backstage tours are also available. Cast members from the show lead the 90-minute tour, which features a close-up look at Tony-winning costumes, sets, original costume and set renderings, and more.

Where: The Gershwin Theatre, 222 West 51st Street, between Broadway & 8th Avenue

When: Mondays are dark, but extra performances may be added on holidays.

  • Tuesday – 7 p.m.
  • Wednesday – 2 p.m., 8 p.m.
  • Thursday – 8 p.m.
  • Friday – 8 p.m.
  • Saturday – 2 p.m., 8 p.m.
  • Sunday – 3 p.m.

3. Billy Elliot, the Musical

Why: The music was written by Sir Elton John. But if you need more reason than that, Billy Elliot is a Tony Award-winning musical that shows you can achieve anything if you follow your dreams. Featuring great songs and funny scenes, this show is a must-see for any kid who wants to dance ... or sing!

What: Declared by Time Magazine as the “Best Musical of the Decade,” Billy Elliot, the Musical features a cast of 50 performers, including children. The role of “Billy Elliot” is expertly sung, acted, and danced by three boys simultaneously. But there are plenty of songs and laughs for grown-ups to love as well. Strong language may make this show inappropriate for kids under 8, but children under 4 are not permitted in the theatre. It runs 2 hours 45 minutes with one Intermission. Tickets start at $41.50.

Where: Imperial Theatre, 249 West 45th Street, between Broadway & 8th Avenue

When: Mondays and Tuesdays are dark, with two matinees on Sunday. Extra performances may be added on holidays.

  • Wednesday – 2 p.m., 8 p.m.
  • Thursday – 8 p.m.
  • Friday – 8 p.m.
  • Saturday – 2 p.m., 8 p.m.
  • Sunday – 2 p.m., 7:30 p.m.

4. Mary Poppins

Why: What’s not to love about this musical the whole family can see? Mary Poppins features old-school Technicolor costumes, sets, huge dance numbers, and performers who are excited to perform for you.

What: Following governess "Mary Poppins" and her two young charges through a slew of adventures, this revival has all the bells and whistles of a traditional, lavish book musical. The big musical numbers and special effects that bring Mary Poppins to life will leave you in awe. All ages love this colorful show that runs 2 hours 45 minutes with one Intermission. Wheelchair accessible, this theatre itself is a beloved landmark. Tickets start at $31.50.

Where: New Amsterdam Theatre, 214 West 42nd Street, between 7th & 8th Avenues

When: Mondays are dark, but extra performances may be added on holidays.

  • Tuesday – 8 p.m.
  • Wednesday – 2 p.m., 8 p.m.
  • Thursday – 8 p.m.
  • Friday – 8 p.m.
  • Saturday – 2 p.m., 8 p.m.
  • Sunday – 3 p.m.

5. ImaginOcean

Why: Because it’s fun! Watch this ultra-cool journey through the sea with three friendly fishes: Dorsel, Bubbles, and Tank. With catchy songs and special effects, your kids will love their time in ImaginOcean.

What: Technically, John Tartaglia’s musical about life under the sea is Off-Broadway, but great nonetheless. It's performed with puppets under blacklight for a unique visual experience. At 50 minutes, ImaginOcean is perfect for kids who might not be old enough to sit through a 2- or 3-hour show. The theatre is wheelchair accessible, and tickets start at $39.

Where: New World Stages - Stage Five, 340 West 50th Street, between 8th & 9th Avenues

When: This show is dark Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.

  • Wednesday - 11 a.m., 2 p.m.
  • Saturday - 11 a.m., 2 p.m., 4 p.m.
  • Sunday - 12 noon, 3 p.m.
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