Broadway is always big on Thanksgiving. If Olaf the snowman, for example, isn’t on stage in “Frozen” at the St. James on Thanksgiving Day, he IS in the air as a balloon in the Thanksgiving Day parade, AND “Frozen” has TWO performances both the day before and the day after Thanksgiving Day.
Below is the Broadway schedule for Thanksgiving Week, with links to my reviews, followed by five of these I most recommend, and another five that are especially suitable for young children.
Five Broadway shows are scheduled to perform on Thanksgiving Day — Chicago, Jagged Little Pill (which hasn’t opened yet), The Lightning Thief, Phantom of the Opera, and Waitress. All the others are dark that day, but most have added matinees on Wednesday or Friday, and 15 have even added performances on the Monday, before Thanksgiving.
And, let’s not forget the Broadway shows performing at the 93rd Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, kicking off at 9 AM (and broadcast on NBC): Ain’t Too Proud, Beetlejuice, Hadestown, Tina…and, as usual, the Radio City Rockettes. (All performances are early in the broadcast.) Also glimpse Broadway veterans Billy Porter, atop Rexy in the City float from COACH, Idina Menzel on the Deck the Halls float from Balsam Hill, and Lea Michele on the Central Park float from Macy’s.
Here are four shows that have opened this year, and one that’s a must-see if you can afford it (or win the lottery), listed in alphabetical order. Many of these are difficult to get last-minute tickets to at the box office — check there first (or the show’s website) — or, if you’re open to risk, try the lower-priced lotteries and/or rush tickets (which are available the day of the show.) I also link below to a secondary market ticket seller.
AIN’T TOO PROUD: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THE TEMPTATIONS
Imperial Theater (249 West 45th St. NYC)
Opened: Mar 21, 2019
Fans of 1960’s Motown are in for a treat in this musical whose performers can sing and dance as well as the Temptations — and act too.
Walter Kerr (219 W 48th Street, New York, NY 10036)
Opened: April 17, 2019
This sung-through musical taking place in Hell adapts the Greek myth of retrieving his wife Eurydice from the Underworld. Anaïs Mitchell’s score features sweet and sexy folk music, rocking jazz, and down-home blues.
Hadestown also has $39 standing room when the show is sold out.
Richard Rodgers (226 W. 46th St., New York, NY)
Opened: August 6, 2015
There IS a daily lottery online where you can try your luck at snagging one of the tickets for only $10 (because Hamilton’s face is on the ten-dollar bill.)
Opened: November 17, 2019
This is a long, ambitious play in nearly seven hours over two parts about three generations of gay men in New York. It is worth your time for the astonishing performances, including that of Lois Smith.
$40 General Rush
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD
Shubert Theater (225 W 44th Street, New York, NY 10036)
Opened: December 13, 2018
Aaron Sorkin has adapted Harper Lee’s beloved novel to focus more on the murder trial of an unjustly accused black man who is defended by Atticus Finch. But Scout, her brother Jem and her friend Dill still feature in the show, all played by adults. A largely new cast led by Ed Harris and Nina Grollman has just taken over,
General rush: $29 to $49
Broadway shows for young children
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!
Disney celebrated The Lion King’s 20th anniversary on Broadway last year 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.
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.
$30 in person lottery
for Harry Potter fans
$40 TodayTix digital lottery (for both parts)
and for Charles Dickens fans