Which Broadway Show Should I See?
Seeing a Broadway show is expensive. This is one of the basic facts of life and one of that is most unfortunate. I know so many people who are discouraged from experiencing live theatre because of the high ticket prices, which is really a shame because it is one of the most exciting and immersive forms of entertainment there is. Because it costs so much, you want to make sure you’re going to see a show that will be worth the dinners you might have to skip or the limbs you might have to sell in order to afford it. And I’m here to help! Here are my go-to recommendation whenever anybody asks me which show to see:
This is, without a doubt, my favorite show on Broadway right now. In my 17 years of seeing shows, I can’t recall being so moved, so excited, so energized, and so overall impressed by any other production. Based on the classic children’s book by Roald Dahl, it tells the story of a brilliant little girl who uses positivity, brains, and just a little bit of magic to overcome her odds. And between a terrifying headmistress (played hilariously by an imposing man in drag) and parents who give a new meaning to “neglectful”, this is no easy task. But even more impressive than the character’s arc is the role of Matilda herself. She rarely leaves the stage, has to sing her heart out, dance some of the most inventive choreography on Broadway, deliver lengthy monologues, and even speak Russian. And most impressively, the role is played by a rotating cast of 9 to 11 year olds. It is truly a marvel to behold.
Aside from the title character, the show that she carries is superb. The score, by British comedian-slash-musician Tim Minchin, is beautiful and haunting with some of the cleverest lyrics you’ll ever hear (think the music of Danny Elfman meets the words of, well, Roald Dahl). The direction is energetic and yet the scenes of tenderness and fragile emotions take their time perfectly. The choreography is simply jaw-dropping. The set, costumes and lighting are all appropriately spectacular.
This is the perfect show for a family, but don’t worry if you don’t have kids! There is literally something for everybody in this show. Most memorably, the act two opener “When I Grow Up” is a gorgeous paean to the optimism and hope of childhood. Using a huge swing-set, the ensemble of young performers delivers a joyful yet emotionally-resonant number. It will stick with you long after you leave the theater; in fact, just writing about it is giving me actual goosebumps two years after seeing it. I really cannot say enough good things about Matilda. Why are you still reading this? Go! See it!
Look for Part II with two more recommendations.