Guide to the best Broadway shows for kids in 2022
Read our expert guide to the best Broadway shows for families — including the top shows to see, what you should expect when you arrive, and more.
Going to the theatre is a great way to spend some quality time with family. It's a shared experience parents and kids can both enjoy which, unlike a movie night, gives everyone a break from their screens. Taking children to family-friendly shows is also the best way to instill in them a love of live entertainment which could last their whole life — and maybe even spark a desire to get involved in the arts themselves!
Not every Broadway show is best for families. A show like Chicago, though well-known, might not be appropriate for kids. But not all Broadway shows for kids are created equal, either. Some family-friendly shows are targeted at toddlers, some are better suited for middle schoolers and older, and some are meant to be enjoyed by all ages, young and old, depending on their length and subject matter. To help you decide among the best Broadway shows for families, read below for details on each show's content, length, and what to look out for. We've also answered all your questions about what families should expect at shows on Broadway and how to best prepare for a day at the theatre with your kids.
How old does my child need to be to attend a Broadway show?
Children ages 4 and older are allowed to attend Broadway shows. Broadway theatres do not permit children younger than 4 to enter, as very young children may not be able to sit through long shows and/or may make noise that can disturb other audience members.
How to dress your kids for the theatre
Broadway theatres don't have a set dress code, so you can dress your kids however you (or they) would like. If your family trip to the theatre is a special occasion, you can dress your children up in fancier clothing, but if you all want to wear everyday shirts and jeans, that's acceptable, too. Especially for kids, the most important thing is that their outfit is comfortable, so they don't get irritated by it mid-show. That said, avoid dressing your children in any kind of clothes or shoes that light up or make noise, so their outfit doesn't distract from the performance.
If your kid is a big fan of a show and wants to wear a costume or other clothing inspired by the characters, that's perfectly fine! Just make sure your child is comfortable in the outfit, and that it doesn't include anything — like noisy accessories or a tall headpiece — that would interfere with other audience members' experience.
And no matter what your kids wear, make sure you don't forget their mask!
How early do I need to get to the theatre with kids?
It's best to get to the theatre early, especially with kids. We recommend arriving at the theatre about 30 minutes early, so you and your kids will all have time to use the bathroom, buy concessions, and find your seats before the show starts. Arriving early also gives you and the kids time to walk around the theatre — kids may be fascinated by the ornate decorations, the snacks and merchandise, and all the people, especially if they're in a theatre for the first time. Give them time to take it all in so they're not distracted when the show begins!
What to expect when going to the theatre with kids
When you arrive at a Broadway theatre, everyone in your family will have to show physical or digital proof of vaccination to enter, including all children ages 5 and older, through April 30. Unlike adults, however, kids don't also need to show photo ID. All audience members, including kids, must also wear a mask at all times through May 31. Learn more about Broadway vaccine requirements for kids.
Bags will also be checked at the door, so be sure you aren't carrying any snacks or drinks for your kids. Most theatres will confiscate outside food, but concessions are available for purchase at Broadway theatres. Many venues have, however, temporarily stopped selling them so audience members don't have to remove their masks to eat or drink.
You can likely expect large crowds at a Broadway show, so make sure your kids don't get lost in the crowd while you're walking through the theatre to your seat, the bathroom, or the merchandise table. Kids might get easily distracted by the snacks, the fancy decorations in the theatre, or other kids — there will definitely be plenty of them at a family-friendly show! On the flip side, there's a lot of activity that goes on in a theatre both before and during the show — loud noises, lots of movement, and bright lights. If the stimulation ever becomes too much for your child, you can step out into the lobby or bathroom with them at any time. However, you might not be allowed back into the theatre until intermission or a certain timed entry point during the show.
But above all, you can expect fun! Being with other families and seeing a story come to life with your kids is an experience unlike any other. You can expect lively dancing, music, and storytelling that will take you and your kids to a whole different world for a few hours, and you'll come away with a memory you'll all share forever.
What are the current Covid-19 guidelines for kids at Broadway shows?
Masks are still required at all Broadway shows through May 31. Vaccine protocols, however, are changing. Beginning on May 1, each individual Broadway show will be able to decide whether to continue checking proof of vaccination. Learn more about the most up-to-date vaccine protocols and Covid-19 safety measures for kids at Broadway shows.
Can I bring large bags or strollers to a show?
Broadway theatres do have coat checks for bulky items. However, not all Broadway theatre coat checks will store extremely large bags or strollers, and many Broadway coat checks have been closed since the pandemic. It is recommended that patrons leave large bags and strollers at home if at all possible, as there is little room to store these items at your seat.
Can I bring my own snacks into the show for my kids?
Each theatre's concessions policy is different. Some theatres allow outside concessions, while others will confiscate outside food and drink at the door. Still others only allow water bottles inside. Check the website of the theatre you're attending to find out its specific policy.
Can my kids meet the performers?
Kids are sometimes able to meet Broadway performers at the stage door after the show. Many shows have paused this practice since the pandemic to minimize contact between the performers and audiences. However, in general, performers may come out to sign programs and take pictures. This is not guaranteed, though, even at shows that still have the practice in place. It is up to the performer whether they want to greet fans after a show and is subject to change without warning at each performance.
Where can my family and I eat before Broadway a show?
There are tons of restaurants near Broadway theatres to choose from. Read our recommendations for the best Theatre District eateries for a pre- or post-show meal.
Do Broadway shows accommodate children with disabilities?
Broadway theatres do have specific seating available for wheelchair users. This is the only universal accessibility measure on Broadway. Certain shows do, however, have specific performances that feature closed captions, sign language interpretation, or a "relaxed" experience with minimal sensory stimuli. These are not offered regularly at most Broadway shows, but Roundabout Theatre Company's Broadway and Off-Broadway shows offer these types of performances, and shows like Winnie the Pooh: The New Musical Adaptation have minimal stimuli that is accessible to children with sensory limitations.
Why you should take kids to a Broadway show
There are so many reasons to take your kids to a Broadway show, or any live theatrical experience. For one, theatre is a great form of screen-free fun — they'll get all the fun, immersive entertainment of an online game, and all the fun stories and songs that a children's movie or TV show has to offer, without staring at a phone or computer any more than they already do. Depending on what Broadway show you go to, your children might even be seeing their favorite story come to life!
Broadway and Off-Broadway theatre can also be a part of a larger family outing. You can't talk to your family much during a show, but you can make a whole day of your trip — go to other New York tourist attractions, go shopping, and grab a meal before or after your show. Combined with your trip to the theatre, all these activities will make for a memory that you and your kids can all share and cherish. If kids love the lights and sounds of a Broadway show, they're sure to love the lights and sounds of Times Square and the Theatre District!
Plus, taking children to the theatre while they're young can instill a lifelong passion for the arts. They might want to see more shows as they grow up, or even get involved in singing, dancing, or acting in their own home community.
So when you do take your kids to the theatre and need to pick from the many shows on Broadway, which show do you choose? Read below to learn more about the best Broadway shows for kids in 2022 and family-friendly Off-Broadway shows playing right now.
Kids Theatre Guide to Aladdin
Aladdin is at the New Amsterdam Theatre. See the beloved Disney film come to life in the Broadway musical adaptation, featuring all the characters and hit songs you know and love. You don't need a magic carpet to experience a whole new world at this show. Read the New York Theatre Guide review of Aladdin on Broadway.
What is Aladdin about?
The titular character is an Arabian "street urchin" who dreams of winning over the beautiful Princess Jasmine, but she's only allowed to marry a nobleman. But Aladdin's chance comes when he stumbles upon a magic lamp, which contains a Genie that will grant him three wishes. He uses one of them to transform himself into the respectable, wealthy "Prince Ali," but he has to figure out, with his remaining wishes, how to keep from revealing his true identity, free the Genie from the lamp, and banish the evil vizier Jafar, who wants Jasmine for himself.
What ages is Aladdin appropriate for?
Aladdin is recommended for children ages 6 and older because the show is long, but the theatre admits children as young as 4 years old. The musical retains the family-friendly plot of the Disney film, so there is no content in the musical that would not be suitable for young children. Children are likely to be thrilled by the colorful costumes, high-energy dancing, and all-around beauty of watching a movie they love come to life!
How long is Aladdin?
Aladdin is 2 hours and 30 minutes long, including one intermission. Though the show's content is targeted at all ages, Aladdin is a long musical, and the acts may be difficult for some very young children to sit through.
Kids Theatre Guide to Between the Lines
Between the Lines is at the Tony Kiser Theater from June 14 to October 2. The same-named young adult novel by Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer is now a musical that celebrates the power of imagination.
What is Between the Lines about?
Between the Lines centers on 15-year-old Delilah, a girl who has trouble fitting in at a new school and connecting with her mother. She finds comfort in her favorite book and tells all her worries and secrets to its main character, Prince Oliver. One day, as she's talking to him, he suddenly comes alive and speaks back. Delilah and Oliver become good friends, but Delilah has to figure out what about their friendship is real and what's just fantasy.
What ages is Between the Lines appropriate for?
The Between the Lines novel was written for readers age 12 and older, but the Between the Lines musical is a bonafide family-friendly show that is appropriate for younger children as well. Though older children might relate more to the 15-year-old protagonist, younger children will enjoy the whimsy of the story, such as how a storybook prince comes to life, as well as the music.
How long is Between the Lines?
Blue Man Group is 2 hours and 30 minutes with one intermission. This is a typical length for a musical, and while each act is over an hour, the whimsical, fairytale nature of the show will likely keep children entertained throughout.
Kids Theatre Guide to Blue Man Group
What is Blue Man Group about?
Blue Man Group is a music-and-movement revue without any dialogue. The actors are "blue men" from outer space who are learning about Earth. Throughout the show, they try to figure out how a bunch of different objects work, including everything from paint-splattered drums to PVC pipes to Jell-O, and they even interact with the audience at various points.
What ages is Blue Man Group appropriate for?
Anyone older than 3 years old is allowed into the theatre, and the show is suitable for all ages. Since there is no dialogue, there is no language or content that wouldn't be appropriate for young children. Children are likely to enjoy the silly ways that the Blue Men try to use ordinary objects, as well as their fun onstage "science experiments" and the music they make with real and unconventional instruments. If you sit in the front, you might be in range for paint to splatter on you, but ponchos are provided to audiences in those seats. Children may love the mess, too!
How long is Blue Man Group?
Blue Man Group is 1 hour and 40 minutes with no intermission. The show is lively and moves along quickly, so even without an intermission, it is not too long for young children to sit all the way through.
Kids Theatre Guide to Come From Away
Come From Away is at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre. The musical's story of unpredecented kindness in the wake of tragedy is one of Broadway's most heartwarming shows, and though it deals with some heavy themes, the show can be suitable for families with older children who want to experience a story of generosity and community together. Read the New York Theatre Guide review of Come From Away on Broadway.
What is Come From Away about?
Come From Away tells a true story that happened in Gander, Newfoundland in 2001. After the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, nearly 7,000 plane passengers were diverted to the small Canadian town's airport. The residents of Gander quickly banded together to house, clothe, and feed the passengers, and the musical tells the story of their kindness and the bonds that the locals made with the travelers from all over the world.
What ages is Come From Away appropriate for?
Come From Away is recommended for ages 10 and older. The show contains brief strong language, depictions of drinking, and difficult topics, such as the 9/11 terrorist attacks, racism, and death. However, if your child is old enough that you can talk to them about these topics, the show can be a good introduction. Come From Away is heartwarming above all, and it's a great way to also discuss kindness and compassion with children. Plus, animals are mentioned in the show, so animal-loving families with pets will appreciate that part of the musical, too!
How long is Come From Away?
Come From Away is 1 hour and 40 minutes with no intermission. The show is not very long, and the intended audience is older children and adults, so all audience members should find that the show moves quickly and is a good length for children to sit through.
Kids Theatre Guide to Gazillion Bubble Show
Gazillion Bubble Show is at New World Stages. This unique show combines bubble artistry with intricate lighting effects to create one dazzling spectacle for all ages. Read the New York Theatre Guide review of Gazillion Bubble Show off Broadway.
What is Gazillion Bubble Show about?
Gazillion Bubble Show doesn't have a story like a traditional show; it's more like a circus act, where you go to marvel at the skill of performers doing cool tricks. In this show's case, the performers' specialty is creating beautiful patterns and art with bubbles all throughout the theatre. With the help of laser effects and colored lights, it almost looks as if the bubble shapes come to life!
What ages is Gazillion Bubble Show appropriate for?
Gazillion Bubble Show is recommended for ages 4 and up, but there is no age minimum to attend. Special tickets are available for children under 2 so they may sit in an adult's lap. The show may not be suitable for children who cannot handle a lot of stimulation at once, but otherwise, children who are captivated by lively lights, music, and movement will enjoy all that Gazillion Bubble Show has on display.
How long is Gazillion Bubble Show?
Gazillion Bubble Show is 1 hour and 10 minutes with no intermission. The show is short in order that children of all ages can enjoy it without getting restless or distracted in the middle.
Kids Theatre Guide to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is at the Lyric Theatre. Previously a two-part show, this newest chapter in J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series has been reimagined as an epic one-part play with all the magic intact. If you and your family can't get enough of the books and movies, seeing Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is your chance to enter into the Wizarding World for yourself. Read the New York Theatre Guide review of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on Broadway.
What is Harry Potter and the Cursed Child about?
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child picks up where the last Harry Potter book left off: 19 years after Harry graduated from Hogwarts, when he's sending his own son, Albus, off to school. There, Albus meets Scorpius, the son of Draco Malfoy, and they become fast friends. The play sees the two going on a time-traveling adventure to fix some of the wrongs committed against Harry's peers. But when things go awry, long-dormant dark forces return to the Wizarding World, and Harry, Ron, and Hermione step in to help save the Wizarding World, and their children, once more.
What ages is Harry Potter and the Cursed Child appropriate for?
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is recommended for ages 8 and up, but children as young as 4 years old are allowed in the theatre. The play is nearly four hours long, which very young children might not be able to sit through. The play contains some scary and dangerous situations as the main characters face the villains, but children who are old enough to read and understand the Harry Potter books can also see the show. They will likely be captivated by the special effects that bring the Wizarding World's magic to life, and they'll love seeing their favorite characters on stage in a brand-new story.
How long is Harry Potter and the Cursed Child?
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is 3 hours and 45 minutes, with one intermission. Though young children are allowed in the theatre, the show is very long, and very young children may have some difficulty sitting through each act.
Kids Theatre Guide to The Lion King
The Lion King is at the Minskoff Theatre. Since opening on Broadway in 1997, the musical has become one of the longest-running shows in Broadway history. The intricate, life-sized puppets worn by the actors to become the animal characters are a wholly unique theatrical innovation, and they continue to attract audiences of all ages to join the circle of life in the Broadway audience of The Lion King. Read the New York Theatre Guide review of The Lion King on Broadway.
What is The Lion King about?
Like the 1994 Disney movie of the same name, The Lion King stars a young lion cub, Simba, who is next in line to rule the Pride Lands of Africa after his father, Mufasa. But Mufasa's evil brother, Scar, wants to steal the throne, and he gets rid of Mufasa to do so. The young Simba is devastated, but as he grows up, he learns the confidence and leadership skills he needs to take his place as the rightful king.
What ages is The Lion King appropriate for?
The Lion King is recommended for children age 6 and older because the show is long, but the theatre admits children as young as 4 years old. The musical retains the family-friendly plot of the Disney film, so there is no content in the musical that would not be suitable for young children. Children are likely to be thrilled by the sight of seeing the movie come to life with larger-than-life puppets and costumes, and all the familiar songs they know, like "I Just Can't Wait to Be King" and "The Circle of Life."
How long is The Lion King?
The Lion King is 2 hours and 30 minutes long, including one intermission. Though the show's content is targeted at all ages, The Lion King is long, which may be difficult for some very young children to sit through.
Kids Theatre Guide to The Play That Goes Wrong
The Play That Goes Wrong is at New World Stages. This madcap murder mystery play-within-a-play is filled with physical comedy that'll keep audiences laughing nonstop, and marveling at the talented actors who do oh-so-well at making a show look like it's falling apart at every turn. Read the New York Theatre Guide review of The Play That Goes Wrong off Broadway.
What is The Play That Goes Wrong about?
The Play That Goes Wrong is about an amateur theatre troupe who are about to open their new murder mystery play. However, everything that could possibly go wrong does, and they have to muddle through countless obstacles just to make it to curtain call. Props disappear, actors disappear, the actors who are there forget their lines and trip over themselves, and the set comes crumbling down around them.
What ages is The Play That Goes Wrong appropriate for?
The Play That Goes Wrong is recommended for ages 8 and older. Younger children might not fully get the play-within-a-play concept or every detail of the plot, but they'll still have lots of fun laughing at the many gags and antics that the actors perform on stage. The comedy of people falling down, tripping, banging into things, and saying the wrong thing is funny for all ages.
How long is The Play That Goes Wrong?
The Play That Goes Wrong is 2 hours long, including one intermission. With each half being approximately an hour long, it's not too long for a child to sit through without a break.
Kids Theatre Guide to Stomp
Stomp is at the Orpheum Theatre. Since the 1980s, the show has been an Off-Broadway fixture, known for its unique use of ordinary objects as musical instruments. The show may inspire young audiences' creativity and help them see possibilities for art and innovation in their everyday life.
What is Stomp about?
Stomp isn't an ordinary show — there is no storyline, and there is no dialogue. It's a purely instrumental concert of "the rhythms of New York." But rather than traditional instruments, you'll hear beats played on objects like brooms, garbage cans, lighters, newspapers, hammers, and more.
What ages is Stomp appropriate for?
Anyone 4 and older is allowed in the theatre. The show is a musical revue without plot or dialogue, so anyone of any age can enjoy the sounds and rhythms! However, the show may not be suitable for children who are startled by loud noises.
How long is Stomp?
Stomp is approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes with no intermission. This is a shorter runtime than most Broadway shows, but be sure your child will be able to sit still for the whole performance.
Kids Theatre Guide to Wicked
Wicked is at the Gershwin Theatre. Since premiering in 2003, this magical musical has become an audience favorite and is many theatre lovers' introduction to the world of Broadway. Children and adults who love the story of Dorothy in the land of Oz will enjoy this new look at the characters they think they know. Read the New York Theatre Guide review of Wicked on Broadway.
What is Wicked about?
Wicked is a prequel to the classic story The Wizard of Oz. The main characters are Elphaba and Glinda, known as the "Good Witch" and the "Wicked Witch of the West" in The Wizard of Oz. Wicked sees the two become roommates and, later, best friends at university, and travel to meet the Wizard together. But when they find out that he might not be as "wonderful" as the citizens of Oz think, and Elphaba tries to expose the truth, the girls' friendship devolves. Glinda gets labeled "good" and Elphaba "wicked," and they can only be friends in secret.
What ages is Wicked appropriate for?
Wicked is recommended for ages 8 and up, but children as young as 4 years old are permitted in the theatre. Wicked includes an animated winged dragon, flying monkeys, and a large animated "head" that projects the Wizard's voice before he appears. Some of the characters end up in situations of danger, and there are some loud and sudden noises. Some young children may find these elements scary, though others will enjoy and be thrilled by them.
How long is Wicked?
Wicked is 2 hours and 45 minutes long. The running time includes one 15-minute intermission, giving children a chance to stand up, move around, and talk about the show in the middle.
Kids Theatre Guide to Winnie the Pooh: The New Musical Adaptation
Winnie the Pooh is at Theatre Row from June 18 to July 31. Though based on a children's story, adults and kids alike have enjoyed this new musical adaptation. The show brings nostalgia to older audiences and wonder to younger audiences who are seeing their favorite characters on stage, or perhaps seeing live theatre for the very first time. Read the New York Theatre Guide review of Winnie the Pooh: The New Musical Adaptation off Broadway.
What is Winnie the Pooh about?
Winnie the Pooh follows all the beloved characters from the Winnie the Pooh books and movies — including Christopher Robin, Eeyore, Tigger, Piglet, Owl, Rabbit, Kanga and Roo, and of course, the titular bear — on a new musical adventure through the Hundred Acre Wood. The characters are brought to life with intricate, life-sized puppets.
What ages is Winnie the Pooh appropriate for?
Winnie the Pooh is recommended for ages 3 and up. However, children (and adults!) of all ages are permitted in the theatre; there is no age minimum. Children younger than 1 may sit in an adult's lap, but everyone 1 and older must have their own ticket.
The show also has also been designed with minimal flashy effects, in order to be accessible to children with sensory and/or stimulation limitations.
How long is Winnie the Pooh?
Winnie the Pooh is approximately one hour long, so even young children can sit through it. If a child does become restless due to length or stimulation, there are quiet areas in the lobby where an adult can take them to relax.
Gillian Russo has a B.A. in journalism and theatre from Fordham University. Her writing about theatre and the arts has been featured on New York Theatre Guide, TodayTix Insider, Broadway News, Plays To See, Backstage Magazine, and more.