by Sarah Cassidy
Staff Broadway Geek
If you are a theatre nerd, such as myself, you know that one of the best parts about living in New York is going to see Broadway shows. While most of the shows out on Broadway now are great, there are a few in particular that have really blown me away. So, here is my guide to the best shows on Broadway.
Dear Evan Hansen
At this point, I’m pretty sure creatures living on Mars have heard about Dear Evan Hansen. Not only did it win six Tony Awards in 2017, but it has truly captured the hearts of everyone who has seen it (or those who just love the soundtrack). The story dives into the life of Evan Hansen— a socially awkward teen who longs to have a friend. So after the death of one of his classmates, Connor, Evan jumps at the opportunity to develop a relationship and he quickly implants himself into Connor’s death through his family and the use of social media. I am not exaggerating when I say this musical is a rollercoaster; you will laugh, you will cry, you will want to scream. It is heartbreaking in the best way possible and will upset even the strongest theatre lovers out there. One of the best parts about this show is that it is extremely relatable. Everyone, especially young adults, can somehow relate to Evan’s character as we all deal with the stresses of school, making friends and being true to ourselves. I can keep going on and on about how life changing this show is, but I think it’s better that you check it out yourself.
I have never met anyone who has not fallen in love with Wicked. I don’t even think those kind of people exist. Once you step into Gershwin Theatre, you are almost immediately transported to Oz. Wicked is the story of two college roommates who struggle to connect due to their incompatible personalities and interests. Oh, and also the fact that one of the roommates has green skin (which is probably a turnoff for many). Through all of this, they soon become friends and navigate through the land of Oz. One of the best parts of the show is definitely the soundtrack. The composer and lyricist of the show, Stephen Schwartz, is a Broadway legend and truly captures this eccentric story through the tunes of the show. It isn’t hard to quickly get addicted to songs like “Popular” or to start belting out “Defying Gravity” whenever you are feeling down. Once you see it, you will know what I mean.
Yes, I am saying Anastasia is one of the best musicals on Broadway right now. Yes, I know that it is based off a children’s movie. And yes, you can argue with me on this one. I saw Anastasia over the summer after listening to the soundtrack for months and it truly blew my mind. I am not a massive Disney fan so the idea of the typical princess love story did not originally appeal to me. But I decided to see the show anyway and I am so glad that I did. Based off the 1997 film, Anastasia tells the story of Anya, a young girl who longs to know where she comes from. By aligning with two con men, she goes on a journey to find out who she truly is. The music is addicting, the sets are phenomenal, and the story is captivating. I also need to mention that the lead actress in the show, Christy Altomare, is truly one of the best actresses on Broadway—not that I’m biased or anything. Anyway, just go see the show. You won’t regret it.
The Band’s Visit
Last but not least is a little show called The Band’s Visit. Well, I guess I can’t consider this show ‘little’ anymore after it won ten Tony awards. Honestly, before the Tony’s, no one knew what this show was about. However, the messages that this show produces are so powerful and relevant to today’s society that we all need to hear this story. The show is based off a 2007 film and tells the story of an Egyptian band who ends up in a forgotten Israeli town. The locals and foreigners quickly begin to integrate together, creating an astounding story about music, love and wakefulness. If you want to see and hear some of the most amazing musicianship on Broadway, this is the show to see. Before hearing the soundtrack to this show, I was never introduced to much music with Muslim influences. I have to say that the soundtrack is full of bops. I can honestly listen to it for days. If you also want to become addicted to Egyptian music, I recommend going to see this musical immediately.