In case you haven’t heard, Broadway is reopening this year. The New York arts and theater scene is iconic to say the least, and it’s truly a travesty that Broadway in NYC has been closed since last March. Alas, Broadway is reopening (and the city theater landscape more widely) this September. Broadway shows for 2021 are set to reopen on September 14. While scrambling for tickets, it may be overwhelming to consider what shows to prioritize. So, we’ve rounded up some Broadway shows to look forward to in 2021.
Check out these Broadway shows in 2021
Anyone new to the city, or even just visiting, probably has a few Broadway shows on their bucket list. While “Wicked,” “The Book of Mormon,” “Phantom of the Opera,” “Hamilton” and “Dear EvanHansen” are certainly worth the hype, Broadway has much more to offer than these headliners.
Moreover, although Disney shows are notoriously well-received, you can probably skip “Aladdin” and “The Lion King” if you have to narrow down your options. You already know those stories. You already know those songs. You may not have seen a flying carpet in real life, but – spoiler alert! – it’s really just a drone. Broadway tickets are way too expensive to not be amazed by something original and unconventional – and dazzling.
Now, what is Broadway without a jukebox musical or two? Over the years, Broadway musicals like “Rock of Ages”and “American Idiot” have set an awesome precedent. A couple of newer shows, though, are proving to live up to these examples. “Jagged Little Pill” is certainly among this class. Revolving around Alanis Morissette’s absolutely iconic (and somehow still underrated) 90s album, this show includes hits from the album – yes, “Ironic” and “You Oughta Know” included – as well as a few new numbers that are tonally similar.
Now, not everyone loves musicals. For those interested in seeing a play that’s still worth the Broadway price tag, there are equally distinctive, vivid options in the drama department. For example, “Thoughts of a Colored Man” opens this coming October. This Broadway show takes place right in Brooklyn and wrestles with the specific socio-economic challenges and cultural issues of the same city wherein you watch its events unfold.
There’s nothing off about off-Broadway
We’re not going to pretend there’s any huge difference between the production value or performances offered by off-Broadway shows. They’re ridiculously well-made and worth a ticket as much as anything on Broadway. Additionally, they often diverge from traditional theater in a way that just makes the entire experience more exciting.
For instance, “The Imbible: A Spirited History of Drinking” is a one-man show that’s educational as well as, ahem, intoxicating. The ticket price even includes three drinks! This show is only for those over the age of 21, though.
For those not interested in drinking, and those traveling with underage guests, there are so many other options in the off-Broadway repertoire. “The Play That Goes Wrong” is a timeless favorite for anyone in your group. And it’s a laugh if there ever was one. And, for our musical lovers, “Jersey Boys” is another jukebox musical to win hearts. We must admit that we’re slightly biased, as we have a soft spot for Jersey in our hearts.
Running in the other direction
Wait, what about going to performances that aren’t associated with Broadway at all? The city is rife with independent talent and local theaters that are too often overshadowed by the monolith of Broadway musicals and shows. That fact is obvious even when watching street performances. To keep New York pushing the envelope of culture, it is imperative that we support smaller productions.
You can do so by seeing what’s on at a smaller theater in the city, starting with The Cell and PS 122 in Manhattan, most notably. Comedy clubs, too, have been instrumental in defining performance culture in New York. There’s always Caroline’s, where the lineups range from lesser known comedians to current SNL stars. The Bell House and its sister venue, Union Hall, are also known to host comedy shows, with Brandon Wardell among future performers.
Regardless of where you want to go or what you want to see, there’s always going to be a hole-in-the-wall, diamond in the rough NYC venue that will catch your eye. From music to comedy to theater to art, keep an open mind – and don’t be afraid to walk into a venue that otherwise may not seem to be your scene. You’ll thank yourself for it, we promise.
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