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The best Broadway shows to see with your parents

These Broadway plays and musicals feature timeless stories, songs, and humor and are perfect options for adult families looking to have an entertaining time.

Allison Considine
Allison Considine

Do you need to plan a weekend in New York City for your parents, who think you are their personal tour guide? Are your in-laws, who you want to impress, finally coming for a visit? Maybe your mom, who works too much and you miss terribly, has a long layover from a work trip, and you have just enough time to dazzle her with your grown-up life in the Big Apple. The answer to all is Broadway.

Taking your family to a big, brassy musical or a thought-provoking drama on Broadway is the equivalent of holding a trump card. It says, “I live in New York, and my life is exciting.” The world-class sets, dazzling costumes, live orchestras, and top-tier talent will impress anyone — even your steely father-in-law.

Experiencing the magic of a Broadway show with your family — whether you hang out often otherwise or not — is unparalleled. A pre-show dinner and a post-show drink make for a perfect night out. Seeing theatre also offers an opportunity to sit quietly in the dark and avoid conversation, if that’s what you want.

Check out our guide to the best shows to see with your parents, whether they’re coming for a visit or you’re in charge of the family trip to New York.

Get tickets to a Broadway show on New York Theatre Guide.

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The Cottage

If your parents are happily married, take them to The Cottage by Sandy Rustin. Otherwise, this romantic comedy about a tangled web of extramarital affairs might not hit. This romp, directed by Jason Alexander of Seinfeld fame, features some familiar faces, including Eric McCormack from Will & Grace and long-time Saturday Night Live cast member Alex Moffat.

Hilarity ensues when one woman decides to come clean about her latest affair with her husband and her partner’s wife. The drama!

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The Shark Is Broken

Your parents likely remember the first time they saw Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster Jaws in the summer of 1975. Ask them about it! Go down memory lane with the biting new play The Shark Is Broken and experience movie history. It’s co-written by Joseph Nixon and Ian Shaw, who stars as his father and the film’s star, Robert Shaw.

The Shark Is Broken offers a behind-the-scenes peek at the off-camera drama between Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss, and Roy Scheider, heightened by the filming mishaps — namely, the mechanical shark's constant malfunctions. Prepare to laugh at this deep dive into movie history.

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Some Like It Hot

There’s nothing better than a good old-fashioned musical. Actually, there is — a new musical with modern sensibilities that features an extensive ensemble, big song-and-dance numbers, and more set pieces and period costumes to count. Some Like It Hot is a revamped version of the classic 1959 film starring Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon, and Tony Curtis. So if your parents are film buffs, this is the musical to see.

The musical, a 2023 Tony Award nominee for Best Musical, is set in the Prohibition era and follows two musicians who disguise themselves as women after witnessing a mob hit. But their disguises end up teaching them about their truest selves.

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Chicago has razzle-dazzled audiences for decades for good reason. The iconic Bob Fosse choreography and catchy show tunes like “All That Jazz” have helped make this John Kander and Fred Ebb musical one of the longest-running shows on Broadway. There’s no question — your parents will love it.

The true crime story follows a cabaret singer and a housewife in Prohibition-era Chicago, both accused of killing their husbands. Paint the town at Chicago today.

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A Beautiful Noise

Parents love jukebox musicals, especially ones featuring their generation's beloved music. If your family road trips were set to tunes like “Sweet Caroline” and “Forever in Blue Jeans,” then A Beautiful Noise: The Neil Diamond Musical is your ticket.

The musical showcases the legend’s greatest hits and tells the story of his life and career, from his start in Brooklyn to the world’s biggest stages. Good times never seemed so good!

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This musical has a lot of heartland heart, making it a perfect show for parents visiting from outside the city. Added bonus if your parents are sitcom fans, for Shucked has the feel of one, packing its runtime with nonstop one-liners and puns, many about corn.

Shucked is about a farmgirl who seeks outside help when her isolated rural town's corn crop starts to die. The 2023 Best Musical Tony nominee features countrified show tunes and celebrates family — the blood and found kinds.

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Back to the Future: The Musical

Whether the original movie came out when you were growing up or when your parents were, you can all agree that it brings back 1.21 gigawatts of nostalgia and fun. Plus, its time-bending story is really one about family: Teenager Marty McFly has to get his parents back together when he time-travels to 1955 and almost breaks them up while there.

He bonds with his parents more in the process and even changes all their futures for the better. You might bond with your parents at this show, too, while rocking out to "Johnny B. Goode" and "The Power of Love" together.

Get Back to the Future: The Musical tickets now.

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For more information about family-oriented Broadway shows and NYC attractions and experiences, check out our guides to the best things to do in New York City and NYC trips with kids.

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