See these Broadway shows if you loved this season's film awards contenders
After seeing this year's hit movie musicals, check out a live musical on a Broadway stage.
Happy awards season! Between the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards, it’s the greatest time of year for film lovers. And this year, theatre lovers have plenty of reasons to be excited because tons of movie musicals came out and are now nominated for major awards. Some have already won — actors like Andrew Garfield, Rachel Zegler, and Ariana DeBose all took home Golden Globes on January 9 for their performances in movie musicals, putting them in serious contention for Oscar nods.
Did these films get you excited to see a live show? Or are you a film buff who saw these movies and now wants to discover the wonderful world of theatre? Check out these Broadway and Off-Broadway shows in New York based on which awards nominees you loved. Like movies, there are so many different types of theatre out there, and there’s a show for everyone!
If you loved West Side Story on screen, see these Broadway shows.
West Side Story got its kicks at the Golden Globes! The film took home Best Picture (Musical or Comedy), and Rachel Zegler (Maria) and Ariana DeBose (Anita) won for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress in a Musical or Comedy, respectively. And it’s now received seven Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director, and a Supporting Actress nod for DeBose. If you loved Steven Spielberg’s remake of the beloved movie musical, you’ll find these Broadway shows equally cool.
If you like adaptations of classic works like West Side Story, you’ll also like Hadestown, which is also a retelling of an age-old epic love story. West Side Story sets Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet in 20th-century New York, reimagining the feuding families as rival gangs on the Upper West Side. Hadestown, similarly, takes the ancient Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice — in which Orpheus descends into the underworld to rescue and revive his deceased lover — and sets it in a stark industrial factory. Both musicals are about the strength of love in even the most unforgiving circumstances.
Moulin Rouge! The Musical
Love iconic movie musicals? The original West Side Story film stands on its own as a cinematic landmark, and in that way it’s similar to Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge!, which has now been adapted into a stage musical. And if you were captivated by the colorful and lavish design of scenes like “America” in Spielberg’s film, you’ll find yourself just as enchanted when you walk into the Al Hirschfeld Theatre, which has been completely transformed to resemble the titular Paris nightclub for Moulin Rouge! The Musical, about a writer and a showgirl who, like Tony and Maria, fall into a whirlwind, forbidden romance.
Chicago is the musical to see if your favorite part of West Side Story was the choreography. Just as Jerome Robbins made the original West Side Story iconic from a dancing standpoint, Bob Fosse’s choreographic style is practically synonymous with Chicago. You’ll be thrilled by every movement in this show about a wannabe vaudeville star who goes on an unlikely journey to fame: After murdering her lover, her case gets sensationalized in the press and puts her name in the headlines of every newspaper in the city.
If you loved tick, tick… BOOM!, see these Broadway shows.
Countless theatre fans were counting down the minutes until Andrew Garfield won a Golden Globe for tick, tick… BOOM! (which also got a Best Picture nomination), and on January 9 he did just that. (He’s also up for a Best Lead Actor Oscar.) Garfield plays Jonathan Larson in the late composer’s semi-autobiographical show, all about his quest to write the next great musical and make a go of composing before his fast-approaching 30th birthday. Lin-Manuel Miranda chose the show for his film directorial debut, and perhaps unsurprisingly, tick, tick… BOOM! parallels Hamilton in many ways: both musicals are about scrappy young New Yorkers trying to build a legacy. Here are some other shows you might enjoy if you liked the film.
Bobbie, Company‘s leading lady, faces pressure from her friends to settle down on her 35th birthday in Stephen Sondheim’s classic musical. In addition to choosing between a steady career and his passion for composing, Jon feels some of the same pressure as Bobbie from his own girlfriend during tick, tick…BOOM! The two would have a lot to commiserate about when it comes to getting older — so if you related to Jon’s metaphorical ticking clock, you’ll find a kindred spirit in Bobbie as well.
If you really can’t get enough of birthdays, you can see 80 years’ worth of them in Noah Haidle’s new play. Whereas Jon is deciding what will make his life fulfilling at 30 in tick, tick… BOOM!, Ernestine Ashworth, the lead character of Birthday Candles played by Debra Messing, faces that same question at every age from 17 to 101. And if you’re a film and TV fan, you’ll recognize another screen star besides Messing in the play: Enrico Colantoni, of the Veronica Mars franchise.
David Byrne’s American Utopia
The popularity of rock musicals is the same as it ever was. We have Jonathan Larson to thank — the modern success of the genre is often attributed to his musical Rent — but plenty of rock musicians have since made Broadway shows. David Byrne, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and former Talking Heads frontman, is one of them, now performing his theatrical concert American Utopia on Broadway for the second time. If you like shows with rock music, you’ll enjoy this revue of Byrne’s recent music and biggest Talking Heads hits.
If you loved In the Heights, see these Broadway shows.
In the Heights was the first film to kick off 2021 as the year of the movie musical. Anthony Ramos got a Golden Globe nomination for starring as Usnavi, and theatre fans loved the movie — about the tight-knit community of Washington Heights in Manhattan, where creator Lin-Manuel Miranda was born and raised — for the feel-good music, lively dancing, and stunning aesthetic. If you’re one of those fans, check out these live shows on and off Broadway!
Of course we have to recommend Hamilton, Miranda’s most-famous musical, for all you fans of his work out there. And if you’re a fan of New York-centric stories, Hamilton doesn’t disappoint there, either, as the titular Founding Father built his life and career right in Manhattan. Uptown is a lot more quiet in Hamilton than it is in In the Heights, though, but Miranda’s signature hip-hop flair is present in both.
It’s easy to imagine the characters of In the Heights making music with any and all objects around them — manhole covers, spray paint cans, hair dryers, soup cans, and coffee on bodega shelves. So they’d be in good company at Stomp, in which the performers use garbage cans, brooms, sand, and more to create “the rhythm of New York.” If you like street beats, you’ll jam to the music of Stomp as much as that of In the Heights.
Come From Away
Ultimately, In the Heights is a story about community. When hardship strikes Washington Heights — like a major power outage, or financial stress, or the death of a close friend — everyone in the neighborhood bands together. Come From Away, too, tells a story about a close-knit community coming together: that of Gander, Newfoundland, whose residents fed and sheltered 7,000 displaced travelers in the wake of 9/11. You might find yourself similarly inspired by In the Heights's and Come From Away‘s celebrations of friendship, diversity, and solidarity.
If you loved Cyrano, see these Broadway shows.
Cyrano, a new film adaptation of the 2018 musical, got two Golden Globe nominations: for Best Picture (Musical or Comedy), and Peter Dinklage for Best Actor as the titular lead. Based on the 1897 Edmond Rostand play Cyrano de Bergerac, the musical follows a nobleman who, despite his impeccable wit and intelligence, believes he’ll never win the love of the beautiful Roxane because of his appearance. So when she tells him she’s got her eye on another man, Cyrano helps that man win her over rather than confess his true feelings. The story is a romantic tragedy (like Hadestown, mentioned earlier), and there are plenty more shows you’ll like if you enjoyed the story of Cyrano.
Dear Evan Hansen
The intrigue of Cyrano happens through letters — Roxane thinks her new lover is writing her poetic, romantic letters, when it’s really Cyrano doing the writing for him. Misinterpreted letters, too, are the focus of Dear Evan Hansen. The titular character writes letters to himself as a form of therapy, but when the parents of a deceased classmate think their son was writing to Evan, Evan goes along with it and has to figure out how to tell the truth without ruining his relationships with his loved ones. Dear Evan Hansen also got the movie musical treatment this past year, too, but nothing beats seeing the Tony-winning show live on stage.
Girl From the North Country
This story of guest house boarders in 1930s Minnesota is a somber one, so fans of tragedies like Cyrano will find the same emotional range in Girl From the North Country. The Laine family, who owns the inn, and their guests are all at a crossroads in their life when they enter the inn, and their interactions with one another change the trajectory of all their lives. Like Cyrano, Girl From the North Country is also a period drama, albeit from vastly different eras but with rich period music nonetheless. Cyrano is set in 17th-century France, and Girl From the North Country is set in 1930s America, with the score of Bob Dylan’s music being played on real instruments from the era.
Fans of period dramas and tragic romances will also enjoy Intimate Apparel, which follows an obstacle-filled romance in 1905 New York. Based on a 2003 play by Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage, this new opera sees Esther, a Black seamstress, seek love with two different men: a worker on the Panama Canal who she only knows through letters, and the Jewish man who sells her fabric and whom she can never publicly be with. Fans of the lavish Cyrano film will not only appreciate the similar themes, but the elegance of the costumes and the production as a whole.