Family-friendly shows to take your kids to this summer
See these Broadway and Off-Broadway musicals geared toward audiences of all ages, even the youngest children.
Summer's here, which means school is out and it's time for a family vacation. And what better thing to do with the family than see a show together? It's never too early to give your kids a love and appreciation for the theatre, and you'll all enjoy a few hours of entertainment and have a memory to share for life.
Broadway and Off-Broadway theatres have plenty of shows that your entire family will love, from Disney musicals to hilarious plays to stories based on your kids' favorite books and movies. Here are some family-friendly shows running right now.
Winnie the Pooh: The New Musical Adaptation
Take a trip to the Hundred Acre Wood with this enchanting new show based on Disney's Winnie the Pooh. Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore, and more — they're all here in an original story that features cuddly-looking puppets and new songs. And at a fast 65 minutes, this show is perfect for the little Piglets in your life. Winnie the Pooh runs off Broadway until July 31 at Theatre Row.
For ages: 3+
Little Shop of Horrors
Sure, this musical is about a giant plant that has a taste for human flesh, but Little Shop of Horrors has delighted youngsters of all ages since it first premiered on stage in 1982. This Off-Broadway revival tends to inspire shrieks of delight in adults and children. And don't worry about gore; there's no blood on stage, though the show might inspire a small fear of dentists. The jokes about domestic violence and sadism might go above little ones' heads, but the antics of Seymour the flower shop clerk and his giant plant, Audrey II, will keep their attention. Little Shop of Horrors has a two-hour running time and is currently playing off Broadway at the Westside Theatre.
For ages: 5+ (Kids under 4 will not be admitted)
Take a ride to a whole new world with Disney's Broadway stage adaptation of Aladdin, which does feature the magic carpet as well as other dazzling stage special effects — youngsters are guaranteed to be amazed by the "Friend Like Me" sequence. The show does contain some moments that you might have to explain, such as why Jasmine has to marry a prince. But if your kid can sit through a superhero film, they can sit through 2.5 hours of Aladdin, and in this musical, the actors fly right in front of you. Aladdin is running on Broadway at the New Amsterdam Theatre.
For ages: 6+ (Kids under 2 will not be admitted)
The Lion King
Teach your children about the Circle of Life with the long-running and much-beloved stage adaptation of Disney's The Lion King. It features some of the most amazing puppets ever seen on a Broadway stage, and kids will gasp in surprise when the antelopes frolic down the aisle at the top of the show. Certain moments might be frightening for the very young ones (there is a death scene), and the show is long. But if they're familiar with the film and have the attention span for a 2.5-hour musical, The Lion King is the perfect introduction to the magical world of live theatre. The Lion King runs on Broadway at the Minskoff Theatre.
For ages: 6+ (Kids under 2 will not be admitted)
If your kids are obsessed with The Wizard of Oz, take them to this show. Wicked tells the backstory of the green Wicked Witch of the West and how she may have been misunderstood. This musical has some of the best special effects on Broadway — there are flying witches and flying monkeys galore — and original songs that are guaranteed to stick in young one's heads. (Beware, they may want to listen to "Popular" on loop after.) If you want to teach your kids about how life isn't just black and white, but has some gray and green, too, then Wicked is a great conversation starter. Wicked on Broadway has a 2.5-hour running time, and it runs at the Gershwin Theatre.
For ages: 8+ (Kids under 5 will not be admitted)
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
If your child is a devout Potterhead who quickly consumed all seven books, then they will want to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which follows Harry Potter's son Albus and his own adventures through Hogwarts. Unlike in the films, the magic happens right in front of you on stage, and it looks just as real. The flying dementors, fireballs, Polyjuice Potion transformations, and wizard battles will be enough to make your whole family ask, "How did they do that?!" The play runs 3.5 hours, with one intermission, but for the Potter devotees, it won't be long enough. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child runs on Broadway at the Lyric Theatre.
For ages: 8+ (Kids under 4 will not be admitted)
The Play That Goes Wrong
A group of actors tries to put on a play and it keeps going awry: The set breaks, people miss their cues, and there are pratfalls galore. The running time is 2 hours, and there's never a dull moment. The Play That Goes Wrong has enough physical humor and sight gags to make even the crankiest of kids smile. The Play That Goes Wrong is currently running off Broadway at New World Stages.
For ages: 8+
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