Love on Broadway

Romance takes center stage

Love is in the air, NYC!  As Valentine’s Day approaches, there are plenty of ways to celebrate the year’s most romantic month.  However, for a memorable outing that is uniquely New York, nothing tops catching one of Broadway’s love-themed new productions.  Whether you opt for a rags to riches musical fantasy, a star-powered romantic journey, an iconic underdog story, or a magical fairytale, February is chock full of romantic stories that the whole family will enjoy.

In 1992, Disney’s hilarious rags to riches animated tale Aladdin swooshed into theaters and captured the hearts of families everywhere.  With outstanding voice work by Robin Williams as the genie, exhilarating magic carpet rides, powerful magic lamps and unforgettable songs like “A Whole New World” and “Friend Like Me”, Aladdin was an irresistible cultural phenomenon and wild success.  It’s the story of a poor street boy who falls in love with a princess and has a magical, life-changing event that puts her heart within reach.  Now, over 20 years later, Aladdin arrives on Broadway for the first time, bringing famed composer Alan Menken’s catchy tunes to life.  Make one of your three wishes come true by being among the first to experience this classic love story on stage.  Previews begin 2/26. (New Amsterdam Theatre, 214 W. 42nd St.)

If you prefer glass slippers to magic lamps, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella will not disappoint!  Nominated for 9 Tony Awards last year, this version of the world’s most treasured fairytale has a hilarious, contemporary spin while maintaining the heart and soul of the timeless story.  Don’t miss this magical and sweet romantic fantasy about a young woman who, forced into servitude by her evil stepmother, dreams of a better life.  It’s “the ultimate makeover story” filled with humorous new twists and so much more!  Also, starting 2/4, pop singer Carly Rae Jepsen (“Call Me Maybe”) and actor Fran Drescher will be making their Broadway debuts in lead roles that will run for 12 weeks! (Broadway Theatre, 1681 Broadway)

Another Hollywood star making her Broadway debut this season is Emmy winner Debra Messing (Will & Grace, Smash), who is currently starring in the romantic comedy Outside Mullingar in its world premiere.  Commissioned by the Manhattan Theater Club, Outside Mullingar follows two introverted 40-something misfits who live next door on a cattle farm in rural Ireland.  It’s a story about “an eccentric Irishwoman (Messing) who is trying to make a romantic connection with her shy neighbor (Brian F. O’Byrne).”  Written by Tony and Pulitzer Prize winner John Patrick Shanley and directed by Tony winner Doug Hughes, Outside Mullingar is “a compassionate, delightful play about how it’s never too late to take a chance on love.”  Get your tickets today! (Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, 261 W. 47th St.)

Last – but certainly not least – cap your romantic excursion with the world premiere of America’s ultimate underdog story, Rocky… the musical!  Rocky tells the inspirational story of a struggling Philadelphia boxer who gets a once-in-a-lifetime shot to go into the ring with heavyweight champion Apollo Creed.  For those who look back on Sylvester Stallone’s 1976 Oscar-winning drama as only a genre-defining sports film, it is actually much more.  Rocky is also a romantic, heart-soaring journey that’s perfect theater for this Valentine’s Day month.  It’s the film that inserted, “Yo, Adrian!” into the American lexicon, further demonstrating how Rocky’s most lasting legacy is that of love and persistence.  With previews beginning 2/11 and featuring hits from the film series soundtracks like “Eye of the Tiger” and “Gonna Fly Now”, Rocky is an adrenaline-fueled must-see musical that you’re sure to enjoy. (Winter Garden Theatre, 1634 Broadway)