With Mother’s Day fast approaching, people will be scrambling their brains to come up with the perfect gift to give their beloved Mother. After the standard bouquet of flowers and the usual Sunday morning brunch, Mother might enjoy a wonderful day/night at the theatre. Musicals have always been of great enjoyment to mothers, families and audiences in general. And there is no kind of Musical Theatre like the kind that is currently in New York City, Broadway to be exact (although some of the best Broadway shows are also touring the country). Below is a list of 10 musicals that are currently running on the Great White Way (with other productions around the world) that would be a great gift for Mother on the special holiday.
Mothers and Daughters
What many consider to be the ultimate Mother’s Day musical on Broadway today is the juggernaut pop hit featuring the songs of 1970’s super-band ABBA that also has a quirky romantic comedy story that Mom will love to boot. Every fan of the show walks out singing the tunes and telling people what great fun they had at the theatre. It is a simple (yet complicated) story of Donna Sheridan who lives on a Greek Island and is planning her daughter Sophie’s wedding. Sophie, who has never known her father, has invited the three possible Daddies to the wedding (without her Mom’s knowledge) and the chaos goes from there. The show is currently playing to sold out crowds at the Winter Garden Theatre on Broadway and several other places around the world. It also was turned into a hit movie in 2008 starring the legendary Meryl Streep as Donna. On Broadway, the show currently features Tony Award winner Beth Leavel as Donna. As said before, the show features several of ABBA’s hit songs including the title tune, “Voulez-Vous,” “S.O.S.,” and, of course, “Dancing Queen.” Tickets can be purchased through the show’s official site Mamma Mia! The Musical.
It is the phenomenon Broadway has known for the past 7 years. The story of The Wizard of Oz told from a new perspective: The Wicked Witch of the West. With a pop-influenced score by Oscar winning songwriter Stephen Schwartz, the show is based on the 1995 novel by Gregory Maguire. The green girl and how she came to be known as that title is at the forefront here alongside the relationship she shares with the Witch known as Glinda the Good. The show has been so embraced by audiences that everything surrounding it has become a hit including the Cast Album, the Companion Book and the Make-Up line begun at Sephora soon after the show opened in 2003, truly capitalizing on the “Girl Power!” tone of the show and its audience. The musical plays to sold out crowds on Broadway (at the humongous George Gershwin Theatre) and also in London, San Francisco, Australia and two U.S. National Tours. The Broadway show currently features Mandy Gonzales and Katie Rose Clarke as Elphaba (the Green Witch) and Glinda, respectively. Links on how to get tickets to any of the show’s productions can be found at the show’s website, Wicked: The Musical.
Quite possibly the most successful Broadway revival, Chicago is constantly called “The Hottest Show on Broadway.” It’s the revival of the John Kander-Fred Ebb-Bob Fosse hit that satirizes murder and the Justice system in the 1920’s. With it’s slick Fosse-style choreography and it’s brassy, jazzy Kander & Ebb score, the show has had a revolving door of cast members to play the musical’s set of characters that Mom would enjoy. The musical was such a phenomenon after it’s 1996 opening that it was turned into an Oscar Winning film adaptation in 2002 starring Renee Zellweger, Richard Gere and Catherine Zeta-Jones. The Broadway production currently is playing at the Ambassador Theatre. The show also plays in several places around the world and has a sold out U.S. Tour.
The Bad Boys of Broadway
Maybe your Mom might like a Bad Boy for her theatrical experience. The tale of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons has served as the storyline for hit Tony Award winning musical. Their rising the pop charts from the streets and stoops of New Jersey to their downfall and eventual break-up, the story is infused the hit songs by the group and other hits from the 1960’s. The show is playing on Broadway, in London, Australia, Las Vegas, Toronto and in a North American Tour. The Broadway production (currently playing at the August Wilson Theatre) features Michael Longoria as Frankie Valli. Tickets can be found through the show’s official site, Jersey Boys.
West Side Story
Bad Boys can also be in landmarks. The legendary Jerome Robbins creation now has a successful Broadway revival that Mom can enjoy. The classic Romeo and Juliet tale set against the warring street gangs of 1950’s Upper West Side New York City. Mom might enjoy the energetic Robbins-style choreography of the angry young Jets and Sharks or Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim’s classic jazz-influenced score or the romance of the young lovers Tony and Maria (currently played on Broadway by Matt Hydzik and Tony nominee Josefina Scaglione, respectively). The show is such hit at Broadway’s Palace Theatre now that the producers are financing a U.S. National Tour that is to begin later this year. Tickets for the show can be found through the show’s website, West Side Story.
The House of Mouse
Disney has been one of the dominating forces on Broadway in the last 20 years. And if you really want to give Mom a great gift, take her to the show about everyone’s favorite nanny. The show is currently selling out to families on Broadway, in London and a new U.S. National Tour. At Broadway’s New Amsterdam Theatre, Laura Michelle Kelly takes on the part made famous by Julie Andrews on film. The show features all of the Sherman Brothers songs featured in the film along with new songs written specifically for the show. Tickets can be purchased through Disney’s Theatrical website, Disney On Broadway.
The Lion King
Disney’s biggest hit on the Great White Way is the Tony Award winning hit for over 10 years now, The Lion King. Inventively directed by Julie Taymor, the hit animated film has become a stage phenomenon full of puppetry, masks and costumes that marvel the eye. The show follows the story of the young lion cub Simba who is destined to follow his father, Mufasa, as king of Pride Rock. But his wicked uncle Scar stands in his way. Complete with the Elton John-Tim Rice songs from the film, the show is full of color, rhythm and especially fun for the entire family. Tickets for this show can also be purchased through Disney’s Theatrical website, Disney On Broadway.
A Little Romance
The Phantom of the Opera
If Mom is looking for a little romance for Mother’s Day, the first place to look is the most successful musical ever. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s smash hit about the Opera ghost and his enduring love for the young ingenue has been selling out since its debut in the late 1980’s. And it is currently still a box office hit at Broadway’s Majestic Theatre, where it has played since its opening in 1988. The show currently stars John Cudia as the title role and Jennifer Hope Willis as the object of his affections. The musical also is playing worldwide: London, Sydney, Tokyo and Las Vegas. Tickets for all the show’s productions can be found through the Official website.
The classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical has now enjoyed a successful Broadway revival that Mom can fall in love with. The story of romance on the Isles of the South Pacific during the second World War has been a hit for audiences for over 50 years. With its soaring score and endearing characters, it currently plays on Broadway at Lincoln Center’s Vivian Beaumont Theatre (starring Laura Osnes as Ensign Nellie Forbush) and also is enjoying a sell-out U.S. National Tour. Tickets for the Broadway production can be found through Lincoln Center’s official website.
Hot Time in the City
In the Heights
If Mom wants a little flavor, heart or just an authentic New York story for her time, then one might want to taker her to the 2008 Tony Award winner. The story follows the neighborhood characters of Spanish Harlem part of Washington Heights. With a knock-out, hip-hop-influenced score by original star Lin-Manuel Miranda, the show currently serves as a top hit for audiences. At the Richard Rodgers Theatre, High School Musical star Corbin Bleu takes on the part (originated by Miranda) of Usnavi, a Bodega owner who serves as the audience’s guide into the world of The Heights. Tickets for the Broadway production or its Tour can be found at its Official website.
These 10 shows, among several others on Broadway today, can serve as the perfect gift for Mom on her special day. To all the Moms out there, I hope you enjoy the holiday and get everything you wish for, including the love and appreciation of your children.