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What to See on Broadway Thanksgiving Week 2017

Scroll below for the Broadway schedule for Thanksgiving week.

On Thanksgiving Day this year, theater lovers will be able to see “SpongeBob SquarePants”  twice — both as a balloon and as the Broadway musical in the 91st annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. What we won’t be able to see on Thanksgiving Day is the Broadway musical on Broadway. It’ll be dark that day.

BUT

A number from that show, along with one from Tony-winning musical  “Dear Evan Hansen” and “Once on This Island” will be on NBC and Telemundo.

That’s a cranberry pie on her head.

“Waitress” WILL be performing on Broadway that day — AND you can also watch its cast during the parade, on CBS.

And Thanksgiving WEEK is full of performances — extra ones on the Monday before and the Friday after turkey day.

Below is the Broadway schedule for Thanksgiving Week, and my recommendations for new shows that have opened this season so far, and for evergreens suitable for young children.

 

Recommended New Shows

The first two are on Broadway (both of them recent transfers from Off-Broadway), the other three Off-Broadway.

The Band’s Visit

This wonderful musical adaptation of an off-beat Israeli film, about an Egyptian police orchestra that gets lost and winds up in a dinky desert town in Israel, features David Yazbek’s exquisite Middle Eastern score and delicious lyrics, a spot-on cast led by the incomparable Tony Shalhoub and Katrina Lenk, and a story adapted by Itamar Moses that’s both doleful and droll. Click on the link above to watch a video excerpt of “Welcome to Nowhere.”

Latin History for Morons

John Leguizamo’s sixth solo show offers the anarchic comic spirit and extraordinary mimicry with which his fans are familiar, but goes in a promising new direction. The show is a combination of fascinating nuggets of actual history mixed with political commentary, eclectic comic shtick, and a funny, tender story of the performer’s efforts to connect with his family.

 

The Migration

Thanksgiving weekend is the last time in New York to see Step Afrika’s dance theater inspired by  Jacob Lawrence’s Migration series — 60 paintings that depict the mass exodus of African-Americans from the rural South to the industrial North.

Jesus Hopped The A Train

Two killers in adjoining prison cages face off about God in this killer revival of one of the earliest plays by Stephen Adly Guirgis, the streetwise New York playwright of such acclaimed recent dramas as the Pulitzer-winning Between Riverside and Crazy and Broadway’s The M-F With the Hat. Foul-mouthed funny and intense and thought-provoking,  the play is a promising start to Guirgis’ 2017-2018 “residency” at New York’s Signature Theatre.

Oedipus El Rey

That Oedipus will kill his father and marry his mother is fated and – 2,500 years after Sophocles wrote Oedipus Rex – familiar. But Luis Alfaro’s modern adaptation of Sophocles’ tragedy, set in the Chicano barrio of South Central Los Angeles, turns it into something new, shocking, graphic…definitely not for young children.

 

Broadway shows for young children

Major Attaway as the Genie

Aladdin

The genie ( now Major Attaway)  is the one who provides the bulk of the entertainment, morphing from showbiz master of ceremonies to carnival barker to infomercial huckster to game show host to Cab Calloway-like zoot-suiter to disco dj to hip-hopper in a Hawaiian shirt, to yes, a sparkling-suited magical genie who emerges amid smoke from a little lamp. Every number over which he presides – nearly every moment he is on stage –  answers the question that fans of the 1992 film Aladdin might have wondered about: How would Disney be able to translate to the stage the protean cartoon character of genie voiced by Robin Williams at his peak?  Also new to the cast: Telly Leung as Aladdin!

Tickets to Aladdin

The Lion King

CircleofLifefromLionKing

Disney just celebrated The Lion King’s 20th anniversary on Broadway with lots of self-congratulations, but in this case it is deserved. Based on the 1994 Disney animated film about the coming-of-age of a young lion in the African jungle, this musical offers African-inflected music by Elton John, lyrics by Tim Rice and the visual magic of Julie Taymor. Taymor is the director, and a composer and lyricist for some of the songs. But above all, she is the designer of the costumes, masks, and puppets — and it is these visuals that make this show a good first theatrical experience — and worthwhile for any theatergoer no matter how experienced.

Tickets to The Lion King

 

School of Rock

School of Rock

In his first original musical on Broadway in a decade, Andrew Lloyd Webber has chosen to adapt a movie with a plot that could hardly be sillier, and supplies a new score that could hardly be more addictive. School of Rock – The Musical is full of both hard-charging rock n roll and supremely catchy melodies.

An implicit message of the musical — that rocking and stomping are far more important to fourth graders than math or history – could make a convincing case for the depravity of rock n roll. But if anybody is still alive to be receptive to that argument, they’re sure to be won over by the thrilling performances by the baker’s dozen of talented kids, several sure to share stardom with the adults.

Tickets to School of Rock

Wicked

Wicked NY

Wicked NY

The musical tells the story of “The Wizard of Oz” from the witches’ perspective, more specifically from the Wicked Witch of the West, who was not, as a child, wicked at all, but just green-tinted, taunted, and misunderstood. There is so much to like about this musical, the clever twists on the familiar tale, the spectacular set, and music that is a lot more appealing in context (such as the song “Defying Gravity”) that I will forgive the contortions necessary to tack on a happy ending.

Tickets to Wicked

Tickets to Hamilton

Broadway’s Thanksgiving Week Schedule

As the Broadway schedule below for Thanksgiving week indicates, only four shows are scheduled to perform Thanksgiving Day: Cats, Chicago,The Phantom of the Opera, and Waitress.  Every other show is dark that day. But most have added matinees on Friday.Some dozen of the shows have also added a performance on the Monday before Thanksgiving.

The show names in the chart below are linked to my reviews, or other relevant articles, when available. (Several of the shows haven’t opened yet.)  I put an asterisk next to those shows that I enjoyed without reservation. (Or just one reservation — tickets are expensive.)

Crossed out dates = canceled performance
“Dark” means there are never performances
for this show on this day of the week
Bold faced dates= added performance
Italic dates= different curtain time

This schedule is subject to change, so please check

SHOW Mon. Nov. 20 Tue. Nov. 21 Wed. Nov. 22 Thu. Nov. 23 Fri. Nov. 24 Sat. Nov. 25 Sun. Nov. 26
*Aladdin DARK 7pm 1p, 7pm 7pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 8pm 3pm, 6:30pm
Anastasia DARK 7:30pm 2pm, 7:30pm 7:30pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 8pm 3pm
* The Band’s Visit DARK 7pm 2pm, 7pm 7pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 8pm 3pm
Beautiful DARK 7pm 2pm, 7pm 7pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 8pm 3pm, 7pm
*The Book of Mormon DARK 7pm 2pm, 7pm 7pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 7pm
A Bronx Tale DARK 7pm 2pm, 7pm 7pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 8pm 3pm
Cats 8pm 7pm 7pm 8pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 8pm 3pm, 7pm
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory 7pm 7pm 1pm DARK 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 8pm 1pm, 6:30pm
Chicago 8pm 8pm 8pm 8pm 2:30pm, 8pm 2:30pm, 8pm 2:30pm, 7pm
Come From Away 7pm 7pm 2pm, 7pm 7pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 8pm 3pm
*Dear Evan Hansen DARK 7pm 2pm, 8pm 7pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 8pm 3pm
*Hamilton DARK 7pm 2pm, 8pm 7pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 8pm 3pm
Hello, Dolly! DARK 7pm 2pm, 8pm 7pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm
Home for the Holidays 7pm OPENING DARK 7pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 8pm 1pm, 5pm
Junk DARK 7pm 2pm, 8pm 7pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 8pm 3pm
Kinky Boots 8pm 7pm 2pm, 8pm 7pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 8pm 3pm
*Latin History for Morons DARK 7pm 2pm, 8pm 8pm 8pm 2pm, 8pm 3pm
*The Lion King DARK 7pm 2pm, 8pm 7pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 8pm 3pm, 6:30pm
M. Butterfly DARK 7pm 2pm, 7:30pm 7pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 8pm 3pm
Meteor Shower 8pm 8pm 2pm, 8pm 7pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 8pm 3pm
Miss Saigon 8pm 7pm 2pm, 8pm DARK 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 8pm 4pm
Once on This Island 8pm 8pm 8pm DARK 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 8pm 3pm, 7:30pm
The Parisian Woman DARK 7pm 2pm, 7pm 7pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 8pm 3pm
The Phantom of the Opera 8pm 7pm 8pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 8pm DARK
The Play That Goes Wrong 7pm 7pm 2pm, 7pm 7pm 2p, 8pm 2pm, 8pm 3pm
*School of Rock 7pm 7pm 2pm, 7pm DARK 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 7pm
SpongeBob SquarePants 7:30pm 8pm 8pm 7pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 8pm 3pm, 6:30pm
Springsteen on Broadway DARK 8pm 8pm 8pm 8pm 8pm 3pm
Time and the Conways 8pm 8pm 2pm, 8pm 8pm 8pm 2pm, 8pm 3pm
*Waitress DARK 7pm 7pm 7pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 8pm 3pm, 7pm
*Wicked DARK 7pm 2pm, 7pm 7pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 7pm
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About New York Theater

Jonathan Mandell is a 3rd generation NYC journalist, who sees shows, reads plays, writes reviews and sometimes talks with people.

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