Beloved classics come alive on the Broadway Stage.
New York City is a wondrous place with many hidden treasures that have inspired writers, artists and filmmakers throughout the ages. Among the many sights to see from Central Park to the Statue of Liberty there are also the stories of the people who visit this great city and of those who call it home. These stories are part of what keep the spirit of the city alive. What also makes the city so unique is that it also affords opportunities to escape and explore other worlds without ever having to leave the island of Manhattan. Whether an exotic restaurant or an enigmatic art exhibit, the city has everything to offer. The theatre of Broadway is no exception. Each night in the theatres that line the streets of Times Square, audiences are whisked off to far off places. The stages of Broadway give life to countless beloved books, stories and movies in flights of imagination that only the magic of live theatre can capture. Nothing can rival the experience of seeing a cherished character come alive onstage in a flash of song, dance and blinking lights. Aladdin, Finding Neverland, The Lion King, and Matilda are all shining examples of treasured tales onstage.
Inspired by the 1992 animated Disney classic, the Tony Award nominated musical Aladdin is a family favorite that takes audiences on a magic carpet ride eight times a week. With a soaring score by Alan Menken featuring “Arabian Nights,” “A Whole New World,” and “Friend Like Me,” Aladdin is the story of a young pauper who magically turns into a prince after a chance encounter with a Genie in a lamp. In his pursuit of the beautiful Princess Jasmine, Aladdin learns, with the help of his friends that true magic comes in learning to be oneself. With eye popping effects and showstopping dance numbers Aladdin is a feel good hit that everyone can enjoy. James Monroe Inglehart continues his Tony Award winning performance as the Genie. (New Amsterdam Theatre, 214 W. 42nd St. New York, NY)
Also drawing inspiration from a cinematic story is the new musical Finding Neverland which is based on the 2004 film of the same name. With stars Matthew Morrison of TV’s Glee and Kelsey Grammer of Frasier, Finding Neverland is the story behind the creation of the timeless childhood tale Peter Pan. After his latest show is a flop, the struggling playwright J.M. Barrie is struck with severe writer’s block. When he meets the Llewelyn-Davies family in Kensington Gardens, the widow and her four children inspire Barrie to write the story of the boy who wouldn’t grow up. Based on actual events with a pop-infused score by Gary Barlow and Eliot Kennedy and choreography by Mia Michaels from So You Think You Can Dance, Finding Neverland is an uplifting classic in the making. (Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, 205 W. 46th St. New York, NY)
Now in it’s eighteenth year on Broadway the groundbreaking musical The Lion King continues to wow audiences with it’s imaginative and highly theatrical take on the beloved Disney cartoon. The Lion King follows the adventures of Simba, a young prince who must overcome his painful past to become king of the African Serengeti. Elton John’s award winning score featuring the songs “The Circle of Life,” “Hakuna Matata,” and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” is given new life with traditional African orchestrations. Julie Taymor’s groundbreaking puppets and artistry makes this a theatrical event that continues to inspire audiences worldwide with its tale of family and redemption. (Minskoff Theatre, 200 W. 45th St. New York, NY)
Last but certainly not least is the smash hit musical adaptation of the much loved Roald Dahl novel Matilda. Matilda tells the story of the spirited Matilda Wormwood as she navigates a world populated by cruel and ridiculous adults including her absent-minded parents and authoritarian principal, Miss Trunchbull. With a knack for storytelling, mischief and even magical powers, she inspires those around her including her timid teacher Miss Honey and quirky classmates to stand up for what they believe in while facing their fears. With dazzling dance sequences and whimsical set pieces Matilda has sung her way into theatregoer’s hearts since the show first transferred from the West End. Featuring soon-to-be classic songs “When I Grow Up” and “Revolting Children,” Matilda stays with audiences long after they leave the Shubert Theatre. (Shubert Theatre, 225 W 44th St. New York, NY).
(Photo Credit: Joan Marcus)