Broadway shows with an NYC connection
The ball has dropped in Times Square ushering in a new year of magic on Broadway. If your heart is still pounding with NYC pride, keep that feeling alive by experiencing the best of what NYC Theater has to offer – from Tony-winning masterpieces to brand new potential contenders. As an added bonus, this month’s recommendations all have New York City or New Jersey influences that make them perfect choices for immersing yourself in the history and culture of Gotham!
Kinky Boots is one of the hottest shows on Broadway, racking up a season high 13 Tony nominations in 2013 and winning 6, including Best Musical and Best Score. Based on a true story, Kinky Boots is a colorful, funny, and heartwarming musical tale of a failing British footwear gallery that switches gears and starts producing kinky boots. Even though it takes place in the English midlands, the production talent is pure New York with music by Cyndi Lauper (Girls Just Want to Have Fun) and book by Harvey Fierstein (Newsies) – both NYC natives! (Al Hirschfeld Theatre, 303 W. 45th St.)
In 2012, the Tony-winner for Best Score was Newsies, a high-energy and exhilarating musical inspired by the real-life Newsboys Strike of 1899 that took place in – you guessed it – New York City! Also featuring a book by NYC native Harvey Fierstein, the musical is based off of the 1992 feature film starring a young Christian Bale. The music is contagious, with hits like “Seize the Day” and “Carrying the Banner” holding a special place in the hearts of Millennials who chanted along in their youth – and for many – still do today (‘All for one and one for all!’). (Nederlander Theatre, 208 W. 41st St.)
Another sure-to-please Tony-winner on Broadway is Jersey Boys, the rags-to-riches musical tale of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. Featuring classic songs like “Sherry”, “Big Girls Don’t Cry”, “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” and “Oh, What a Night”, Jersey Boys is a terrific way to ring in the New Year. It’s a jukebox musical with heart that will have you tapping your feet from the very first notes! (August Wilson Theatre, 245 W. 52nd St.)
For many NYC visitors, the New Year is a special time for celebration and unity – for reflection and nostalgia. For sports fans in town for the Super Bowl, those sentiments are particularly potent and meaningful. The sport of baseball inspires the same feelings as illustrated in Bronx Bombers, a new American play that “takes a fascinating look at how and why the Yankees have remained so undeniably great and so powerfully inspirational”. It achieves this by “following beloved icon Yogi Berra and his wife Carmen through a century of the team’s trials and triumphs, bringing generations of Yankee greats together on one stage.” Whether or not you live by the ADIDAS acronym (All day I dream about sports), you’ll cherish this time exploring America’s favorite pastime. (Circle in the Square Theatre, 235 W. 50th St.)
Lastly, for some glamorous, high-adrenaline musical revue, experience American Idol sensation Fantasia Barrino light up the stage in After Midnight. Featuring the music of Harlem’s Golden Age greats like Duke Ellington – and set against a narrative of Langston Hughes poetry – After Midnight introduces you to “the new Jazz Age” with the help of an orchestra of 17 world-class musicians and an ensemble of 25 vocalists, dancers, and performers. It is said that Jazz is America’s only true art form, and what better way to experience that than in a city that nourished its routes and helped it evolve: New York City. (Brooks Atkinson Theatre, 256 W. 47th St.)