Best Broadway Shows for Kids, Teens and Tweens

Tuesday, February 18, 2020
One of the top questions I hear as a travel blogger and mom is, 'What are the best Broadway shows for kids?'  People particularly want to know which ones are best for first time Broadway visitors. So here's a lowdown on some of the best Broadway Shows for kidsn teens and tweens (*I will update this post as often as I can so that Broadway choices are current!).

Keep in mind that I haven't seen every show on this list. But I tried to ask fellow parents and friends for their opinions on what they've seen, so rest assured I put a lot of thought into my choices. Also good to note:

-Shows with an * indicate that it's ending soon, so check the date listed for final performance

-official recommended age is listed for each show, as well as any thoughts I have for age appropriateness. Most shows are recommended for ages 8 and up unless otherwise stated. But you know your child best and should be able to determine if they can sit for a lengthy performance or if they need a shorter show! For example, Frozen is officially recommended for ages 8 and up, but if your child is younger and you think they can sit through a performance and enjoy it, go for it!

-also note that many theaters do not permit children under the age of 4 to be in their audience. This varies by show and venue, so always check before purchasing tickets.

-some of the shows I mentioned are Off-Broadway productions, but that doesn't make them any less special. What's the difference between the two? Years ago the label came from the location of the theater but that's no longer the case. Now it's simply based on the number of seats in the theater. Theaters with more than 499 seats are considered Broadway. Theaters containing between 99 and 499 seats are Off-Broadway.

Best Broadway Shows for Kids

Aladdin (recommended for ages 8 and up): Aladdin is a true Disney classic, features favorite characters from the film and an amazing, familiar score that can't be beat. Between the costumes, new songs added, and incredible scenery, you can't go wrong.

Frozen (recommended for 8 and up): You'll be belting out 'Let it Go' the moment you enter the theater, with this stunning set (and costumes), imaginative storyline and catchy tunes. Disney on Broadway is always a favorite!!

The Lion King (recommended for ages 6 and up): Based on the hit Disney movie, The Lion King is a beautiful show, complete with kids' favorite characters from the film and an incredible musical score. The puppets and life-like scenery are something kids will never forget.

Wicked (recommended for 8 and up): Wicked is a prequel to The Wizard of Oz. The show is recommeded for ages 8 and up because there are complex themes here of beauty standards, morality and even fascism. The flying monkeys can be a little scary, too. But the music is amazing and many kids will love seeing well known characters from Wizard of Oz.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (recommended for 10 and up): this one is a must-see for Harry Potter fans, but keep in mind that it's shown in two parts, and is based on J.K. Rowling's book of the same name. The theater is absolutely stunning and quite an immersive experience for Potter fans.

Gazillion Bubble Show (recommeded for all ages): 'you have to see it to bubblieve it,' says their slogan, promising a show filled with bubble artistry and wonder. It's been playing in New York City for 12 years now, so it's truly a fan favorite. You can even have a birthday party here!

Blue Man Group (recommended for ages 5 and up): Blue Man Group is considered an off-Broadway show, but it's been entertaining audiences for decades now and is a New York favorite. Quirky and colorful, loud and messy, be prepared for non-stop fun!

photo from The Lion King Musical Facebook page

Better for Teens or Tweens (12 and up)

Beetlejuice (recommended for 10 and up): although your kiddos might have enjoyed the movie, Beetlejuice on Broadway has some raunchy moments that might not be geared towards the younger crowd (sexual references, foul language and drug use are noted here).

Mrs. Doubtfire (Coming soon!! Premiering March 9th on Broadway) Based on the hit movie starring Robin Williams, Mrs. Doubtfire comes to New York City this March. I don't have a recommended age yet, but I added it to my teens and tweens section since it deals with divorce.

Dear Evan Hansen (recommended for 12 and up): Dear Evan Hansen is one of the first plays that people recommend for teenagers, due to its incredible acting and outstanding storyline. But note that it revolves around serious subject matters like suicide, grief, anxiety, depression, and loneliness. If you're looking for an upbeat, lighter show, this one might not be for you.

Hamilton (recommended for ages 10 and up): Hamilton isn't geared towards kids but many teens and tweens enjoy it thanks to its contemporary score (rap, R&B, pop) and engaging performances.

Mean Girls (recommended for 10 and up): Tiny Fey, who wrote the original cult classic of the same name, also penned the Broadway rendition of Mean Girls. Funny scenes and a strong musical score, this one touches on all the same themes as the movie- bullying, fitting in, and, well, dealing with those mean girls that we all know so well.

Phantom of the Opera
(recommended for 10 and up): a classic tale with an incredible, haunting soundtrack. I saw it before the age of 10 but some kids might get a little frightened by the phantom himself and the overall somber spookiness of the show. 

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