On & Off-Broadway "Must-See" Shows This Holiday Season

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Here’s our updated guide for the Fall/Winter season of 2015 for “must-see” shows on and off Broadway in the Big Apple.  They’re all pretty different, but we’re certain there’s one here that will speak to you.

Misery

UYC

I’ve seen a few of these books-turned-to-Broadway performances over the years (i.e. A Time To Kill, Gypsy), and have to give it to the folks behind Misery, this was the most entertaining yet!

You’ll love this if: You’re a Stephen King, Bruce Willis, or Laurie Metcalf fan!  Truly one of those “the stars take over Broadway” pieces, it’s a powerful performance that brings to life one of Stephen King’s most acclaimed novels.

SummarySuccessful romance novelist Paul Sheldon (Bruce Willis) is rescued from a car crash by his “Number One Fan,” Annie Wilkes (Laurie Metcalf), and wakes up captive in her secluded home. While Paul is convalescing, Annie reads the manuscript to his newest novel and becomes enraged when she discovers the author has killed off her favorite character, Misery Chastain. Annie forces Paul to write a new “Misery” novel, and he quickly realizes Annie has no intention of letting him go anywhere. The irate Annie has Paul writing as if his life depends on it, and if he does not make her deadline, it will.

On Your Feet!

UYC

Holy moly, this show couldn’t get any better than if Gloria herself were on stage!  I smell a Tony award here…!

You’ll love this if: You’re a Gloria fan (duh!), but also even if you’ve NEVER heard one of her songs before, I promise you’ll still get totally into this one!  It’s the iconic Broadway musical for 2015–solid story line with amazing music and dance numbers that make you smile, laugh, cry, sing along, and leave the theater high-kicking.  Not to play favorites, but this is my #1 choice of musical this season!

SummaryON YOUR FEET! is the story of 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. Set to Gloria’s chart-topping, smash hits such as “Rhythm Is Gonna Get You,” “1-2-3,” “Mi Tierra,” and “Conga,” in addition to new music penned by the Estefans, the show will be choreographed by four-time Drama Desk nominee Sergio Trujillo (Jersey Boys, Memphis) with a book by two-time Drama Desk nominee Alexander Dinelaris (The Bodyguard Musical, Zanna Don’t).

The Lion King

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Ok, this show has been on Broadway for the longest.  I saw it last fall and loved it so much I jumped at the chance to see it again…like a fine wine, it only gets BETTER with age.  Seriously, I 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.

SummaryGiraffes 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.

Matilda

UYC

As Joanne says, “Really a terrific afternoon at the theater, such an entertaining show.  This is today’s score and representative of today’s Broadway…original, inventive and feisty! This cast of kids, including the older set, are exceptionally gifted and stage confident – both as a collective chorus and in their quirky choreography – while the adult members strongly shine in their respective roles.”  Check out her full review here.

You’ll love this if: This is a solid number for the whole family–in fact, when I went for the Veteran’s Day matinee, I was one of the only people not toting kids along!  But while “family friendly”, it is a bit darker than, say, the likes of The Lion King or Cinderella, and doesn’t include all the musical numbers they’ll be able to sing by heart.  So if it’s your kid’s first time visiting Broadway, you may have more luck with one of the Disney tried and trues, and save this for when they are a bit more experienced in the art of theater going…trust me, it will be a wonderful experience for all of you.

SummaryThe Tony Award-winning Matilda The Musical is the story of an extraordinary girl who dreams of a better life. Armed with a vivid imagination and a sharp mind, Matilda dares to take a stand and change her own destiny.

Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus

UYC

You guys all know the book Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, right?  Ok, take that, put it on stage with a brilliantly talented stand-up comedian, and you have yourself one helluva show!

You’ll love this if: You’re on a date night–seriously, doesn’t get any better than this!  Peter Story does a hysterical job of making key points from the book shine through, using personal anecdotes about himself and his wife, video clips, and interactions with the audience.  Gives lots of laughs and fodder for you to play around with well after the show is over!

Summary: This hysterical show will have couples elbowing each other all evening as they see themselves on stage. Sexy and fast paced, this show is definitely for adults, but will leave audiences laughing and giggling like little kids!

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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