Seeing a Broadway show can be an incredible way to connect and have fun with your family. The best Broadway shows for families are suitable for a variety of age ranges and are sure to be entertaining for everyone in the family.
Best Broadway Shows for Families
Musicals for kids, tweens, teens, and adults alike can feel tricky to find, but there are actually plenty of great options to choose from.
The Lion King
The Lion King, a hilarious and moving play, is a classic family favorite that deals with themes such as coming of age, death, and loss, as well as friendship. In The Lion King, Simba, a young lion, experiences the tragic loss of his father at the hands of his evil uncle. Simba then embarks on a journey to become the new leader of the pride. The play is about two-and-a-half hours long and is appropriate for children around the age of eight and older.
Cats is one of the longest running Broadway shows and is based on a book by T. S. Eliot. The show focuses on a group of cats called the Jellicles, who are attempting to decide who will be allowed to reach Heaviside Layer and experience reincarnation during their annual Jellicle Ball. The show runs for about two hours and twenty minutes and is appropriate for children ages eight and older.
Frozen, the musical, is based on the movie and follows the journey of two sisters, Elsa and Anna. The musical deals with themes such as love, coming of age, self-acceptance, and sisterhood. Elsa, who is newly named Queen, is struggling to control her magical freezing powers and runs away in hopes of protecting the kingdom and her sister, but instead ends up setting off an eternal winter. Anna embarks on a journey to bring back her sister and save the kingdom of Arendelle. This musical is appropriate for children ages six and older and runs for two hours.
Wicked explores the relationship between Glinda, the good witch, and Elphaba, the green wicked witch. The show delves into Elphaba's family history and deals with themes such as power, friendship, judgment, and family. The play explores the notion that not everything is as it seems, especially when it comes to preconceptions about people. The play runs for about two hours and forty-five minutes and is appropriate for children ages eight and older.
Hamilton, created by Lin-Manuel Miranda, explores the life of Alexander Hamilton and uses traditional show tunes, as well as Pop, Hip-Hop, and R&B music to add a modern flair to the musical. Hamilton focuses on themes such as conflict, reconciliation, language, power, and honor. The musical won 11 Tony Awards and a Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The show runs for about three hours and is suitable for children ages 10 and older.
Once follows the story of "guy", a musician who is on the brink of giving up music and instead opts to repair vacuums at his family's shop. He then meets a woman, referred to as "girl" who helps re-spark his passion for music. This musical deals with themes such as love, friendship, and perseverance. Once runs for two hours and thirty minutes and is appropriate for kids 13 and up.
Billy Elliot is based on the film with the same namesake and follows the story of a young boy who dreams of becoming a ballet dancer against the backdrop of Durham's hyper-masculinized idea of manhood. Despite his father's dream of Billy becoming a boxer, Billy pursues his dream. This musical deals with themes of sexuality, gender stereotypes, and family. The musical is appropriate for those ages 13 and up due to mature themes and profanity.
Shrek the Musical
Shrek the Musical is based heavily on the first movie and takes some elements from the sequels. The story focuses on Shrek and Donkey rescuing Fiona and bringing her to Lord Farquaad so in return, Shrek can have his swamp back, which has since become overrun with fairytale creatures. Themes include embracing your uniqueness, love, and friendship. This musical runs for a little over two hours and is suitable for children ages six and older.
Beetlejuice is based on the Tim Burton movie and follows the story of a teenager named Lydia who is misunderstood by her family and is dealing with the loss of her mother. Lydia and her father move into a home, which is haunted by a couple who passed away there and have asked Beetlejuice to teach them how to haunt their property. Themes include family, connection, and loss. This musical runs for two-and-a-half hours and is appropriate for kids ages 13 and older.
Hairspray, set in the 1960s, follows the story of Tracy, a young teen who dreams of dancing on a famous television show but faces rejection due to the way she looks. This musical focuses on themes such as racism, discrimination, perseverance, and friendship. The run time is about two hours and is appropriate for kids ages 10 and older.
Annie follows the story of an orphan who is on a mission to find her parents. Once adopted by Oliver Warbucks, a billionaire, he vows to help Annie find her true parents. Not knowing that her parents have passed, many imposters attempt to claim Annie as their child, as Warbucks has offered cash to anyone who can validate that they are her true parents. This play focuses on themes such as love, betrayal, friendship, and greed. The play runs for two-and-a-half hours and is appropriate for children ages six and older.
Anything Goes is a love story that takes place on the SS American and focuses on the character Billy Crocker, who falls in love with the engaged Hope Harcourt. The musical runs for about two hours and forty-five minutes and is appropriate for children ages 12 and older.
Beauty and the Beast
Based on the movie, Beauty and Beast focuses on a prince who is under a spell and has turned into a beast for being selfish and unkind. Meanwhile, while seeking refuge after a wolf attack, Belle's father attempts to stay at the prince's castle, but the prince locks him away. Belle finds her father and makes a deal with the price to keep her captive instead of her father. Themes include love, friendship, and family. Beauty and the Beast runs for two-and-a-half hours and is appropriate for children ages eight and older.
Thirteen the Musical
Thirteen focuses on the story of Evan Goldman, a young man who is prepping for his upcoming Bar Mitzvah while also dealing with his parents' pending divorce and an upcoming move from New York to Indiana. The musical deals with themes such as friendship and transitioning from child to teenager. Thirteen runs for an hour and a half and is appropriate for children ages 12 and older.
SpongeBob SquarePants the Musical
Based on the cute cartoon, SpongeBob SquarePants the Musical takes the audience on an adventure as SpongeBob and his pals attempt to save Bikini Bottom from a Volcano eruption that may destroy the town. The play runs for about two-and-a-half hours and is suitable for children ages five and older.
Kid-Friendly Musicals on Broadway
Family-friendly plays can make for an enjoyable activity for your whole family, but there are a few tips to keep in mind. Be sure to check out the musical's major themes and age rating before purchasing tickets to ensure that you are comfortable with what your children will be viewing. Keep in mind that age ratings are merely a suggestion, and it's important to consider your child's maturity level as well. If themes are mature, it's a good idea to prepare your children beforehand and help them process these themes after the play.