NYC Broadway Week is quickly approaching! It’s a wonderful time of year when Broadway shows do 2-for-1 deals on tickets, and it’s a great way to see shows on a budget, and it spans not one, not two, but three weeks this year! Check out our recommendation on shows to see between January 17 and February 15.
If Waitress hadn’t opened in the same Broadway season as Hamilton, it would have been a shoe-in to win the Best Musical award. Based on the 2007 film of the same name, Waitress follows a woman named Jenna (played by Jessie Mueller) who bakes amazing pies and is pregnant and trapped in an unloving marriage. Mueller is utterly magnetic as Jenna, and Sara Bareilles’ score is breathtaking. As an added bonus, it’s also one of the only Broadway musicals with an all-female creative team (director, writers, and choreographer), and it shows, since the musical is unapologetically about women.
Even if you’re the kind of theater snob who disdains Andrew Lloyd Webber, it’s easy to be won over by his newest show, School of Rock. Based on Richard Linklater’s 2003 movie starring Jack Black, the show follows a schlubby rocker who finds himself by pretending to be a substitute teacher at a snooty school, and introduces his students to the joy of music. The score is effervescent, combining the best songs from the movie (like “School of Rock”) with original compositions like the ultra-catchy “You’re in the Band” and “Stick it to the Man.”
It’s Wicked. It’s a classic. Sure, it’s so popular that it’s probably overrated, but it’s a solid show regardless, with a score that, if you’re reading this article, you probably already know all the words to. Also, “Defying Gravity” will always be cool. Plus, you can catch Peter Scolari, who just won an Emmy for Girls, as the Wizard.
Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 is a musical that you might not like. Despite that, it’s a musical that’s very much worth seeing. It’s the kind of show that’s difficult to categorize, but is best described as an electronic folk opera, since it’s almost entirely sung-through, with only one line of spoken dialogue. Denée Benton and Josh Groban lead the cast as the title characters, but the best reason to see it is because it is a show that’s performed in stereo. “Immersive theater” is a term that’s thrown around all the time now, but The Great Comet is a show that really surrounds the audience, with the cast performing in and around the theater, not just behind a traditional proscenium arch. Protip: for the best viewing experience, opt for seats in the front mezzanine.
In Transit isn’t a show that breaks new ground for musical theater, but it’s a charming show nonetheless. Performed entirely a cappella (with arrangements by Deke Sharon, who arranges songs for the Pitch Perfect movies, The Sing-Off, and Straight No Chaser, your mom’s favorite a cappella group that isn’t Pentatonix), it’s an ensemble musical following a group of New Yorkers as they deal with the difficulties of being in your late 20s and early 30s. Margo Seibert is particularly winning as Jane, an aspiring actress, who, in her capable hands, feels fresher than the typical trope of a struggling would-be starlet. Justin Guarini (yes, the runner-up to Kelly Clarkson on American Idol) costars.
Also, BroadwayCon (Broadway’s response to Comic-Con) is Jan 27-29, so if you want to go to panels about shows in addition to seeing shows, you can do that during Broadway Week.
More information on Broadway Week is available at nycgo.com/broadway-week.
Katie is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer. She loves musicals, superhero movies, and romantic comedies, and can be found on Twitter @kbuenneke.