5 Top Picks on Broadway Shows for the Holiday Season

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I give my regards to Broadway, (and Off-Broadway), as much as humanly possible.  I see a lot of shows, so narrowing them down for a seasonal roundup is no easy feat, as you can probably imagine.  But, despite all the really great theater that’s out there right now, here are five really great shows that struck our hearts a little bit deeper, made us laugh a little bit harder, and had us talking a little bit longer than most. They’re all pretty different, but we’re certain there’s one here that will speak to you.

The Lion King

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OK, this show has been on Broadway for the longest.  But I must shamefully confess, until this fall, I had never seen it.  I guess I was just thinking, “hmm, ginormous animal heads on actors strutting around on stilts?  there’s just no way that can ever be on par with beauty and the beast or aladdin.”  I couldn’t have been more wrong.  I seriously had chills during the opening scene as the animals came down the aisles, and those chills didn’t subside until long, long after I left the theater that evening.

You’ll love this if: Obviously, if you loved the original Disney movie, you’ll have a great time singing along (in your head, of course) to every single number.  A totally appropriate show for kids, and honestly, I just can’t think of any adult who wouldn’t absolutely love this.  Let’s just call it a MUST see for all ages.

Summary: Giraffes strut, birds swoop, gazelles leap – the entire Serengeti comes to life. And as the music soars, Pride Rock slowly rises from the stage. This is THE LION KING. A spectacular visual feast, this adaptation of Disney’s much-loved film transports you to a dazzling world that explodes with glorious colors, stunning effects and enchanting music. At its heart is the powerful and moving story of Simba, and his epic journey from wide-eyed cub to his destined role as King of the Pridelands.

Disgraced

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I usually err on the side of musicals over plays when picking my Broadway shows.  And yet.  Disgraced completely blew me out of the water, and I can honestly say it was the most moving play I’ve ever had the experience to see.  It deals with a lot of tough topics…religion, race, affairs, nature versus nurture and how it shapes us from an early age…perhaps instilling ideas that can never quite be shaken.

While I personally disagreed with the way they presented the Islam religion, I would certainly recommend this to anyone looking for a deep show that provokes hours (yes, HOURS) of discussion afterwards.  Whether you leave the theater feeling wowed or infuriated, the point is you WILL feel, and you will feel strongly.  Isn’t that what Broadway is all about?

You’ll love this if: You’re open to a show discussing deep topics that are usually discouraged at the dinner table (politics and religion).  It’s not a feel good show, in fact, the ending is pretty depressing.  But it will leave you anything but speechless and provides tons of fodder for conversation post-show.

Summary: DISGRACED is the story of a successful Muslim-American attorney who has renounced his religion and secured a coveted piece of the American Dream. Living high above Manhattan’s Upper East Side, he and his artist wife host an intimate dinner party that is about to explode. Witty banter turns to vicious debate, and with each cocktail comes a startling new confession, painting an unforgettable portrait of our perception of race and religion.

Love Letters

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You’ll recall from Joanne’s full length review that we’re enormous fans of this Broadway delight.

You’ll love this if: You are a romantic at heart, and can appreciate a show with no sets, no elaborate costume changes, no blocking, no stage directions…but a really beautiful story unfolding of the lives of the two thespians.  Expect your heart to be flooded with emotions, the warm and fuzzy kind.

Summary: LOVE LETTERS is a disarmingly funny and unforgettably emotional portrait about the powerful connection of love. Two friends, rebellious Melissa Gardner and straight-arrow Andrew Makepeace Ladd III have exchanged notes, cards and letters with each other for over 50 years. From second grade, through summer vacations, to college, and well into adulthood, they have spent a lifetime discussing their hopes and ambitions, dreams and disappointments, and victories and defeats. But long after the letters are done, the real question remains: Have they made the right choices or is the love of their life only a letter away?

Sex Tips From A Gay Man To Straight Women

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You’ll blush, you’ll laugh, you’ll have the most titillating 80 minutes of theater, quite possibly ever.

You’ll love this if: You like to laugh and laugh and laugh and laugh.  This is a show to go to with a group of friends, bachelorette party, or even your significant other (mine loved it!)  Have a few cocktails beforehand, and be prepared for a truly fun and entertaining night at the theater.

Summary: In this hilarious new romantic comedy based on the best-selling book of the same title, audiences are welcomed into a fun-filled world of insider advice that could only be culled from that most insightful of individuals: the gay man. The play is set at a local university auditorium where the English department holds its monthly meet the authors event.

Robyn is the shy and studious moderator of the event and this month’s featured author is Dan Anderson of Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man. With the help of a hunky staged assistant named Stefan, Dan aims to turn this meet the authors event upside down with a highly theatrical, audience interactive sex tip seminar.

Will Stefan’s muscles be used for more than moving more than heavy scenery? Will the power of Dan’s tips prove too titillating for even Robyn to resist? As with everything at this event…that is for Dan to know, and you to find out!

Cabaret

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As Joanne says, “This is my 3rd visit to a revival of “Cabaret” and I can assure you that like good wine, it improves with age. This is a vintage year.”  Check out our full review here.

You’ll love this if: You’re looking for a tried and true classic.  It’s an intimate theater which will have you up close and personal to the cast…the singing, dancing, and story line will have you high-kicking long after you leave the theater.

Summary: Right this way, your table’s waiting at Cabaret, John Kander, Fred Ebb and Joe Masteroff’s Tony-winning musical about following your heart while the world loses its way.

Jessica Tiare Bowen
Jessica Tiare Bowen lives in the juicy Big Apple with her adorable pink-nosed chihuahua, Gillman. He's the inspiration for her first published children's book, "Park Avenue Pound Puppy." The book is the combined result of her two greatest passions: pooches and penning stories.

Her passions include art, urban hikes through Manhattan, drinking coffee with 3 creams and 6 sugars, making extremely detailed itineraries and traveling to far away places, singing along to Broadway shows, Netflix movie nights, discovering incredible treasures at Goodwill and thrift stores, and listening to stories from little people under 7 and big people over 70.

She started her career as New York City Teaching Fellow, teaching elementary school and theater arts at a special education school in the South Bronx for 6 years. She is now a Special Education School Improvement Specialist working in public schools throughout New York City. She is the Editor-In-Chief of the online New York City travel magazine, Used York City. The magazine focuses on finding the best of New York...as used by New Yorkers. She is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, and an ASPCA Ambassador.
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