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New York City Theatre: Broadway Musicals

November 22, 2009 - by City Guide News Desk
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Click on show title for more information. For a complete list of Broadway plays, click here. For tickets to select shows, click here.

Billy Elliot - One of London’s biggest success stories is now a Broadway superstar. Set against the backdrop of a struggling English coal-mining town, the show -- a celebration of a determined young boy’s dream to follow his passion for dance despite all odds -- is a study in inspirational and entertaining musical theatre. Peter Darling’s stunning choreography is well matched by Elton John’s score and hand-picked cast, including three young performers who alternate in the role of Billy.

Bye Bye Birdie - A star-studded cast takes the stage this exuberant revival of the hit 1960s rock n’ roll musical comedy. The story centers on the publicity stunt concocted by rock star Conrad Birdie’s manager and his secretary after the teen idol is drafted into the army: one last kiss from a lucky teenage fan on TV’s The Ed Sullivan Show. The score is full of ’60s hit songs including “Put On a Happy Face,” “Kids,” and “A Lot of Livin’ To Do.”

Chicago - Kander & Ebb’s “musical vaudeville” about those murderous tootsies Roxie Hart and Velma Kelly offers a delicious cavalcade of colorful characters who stop at nothing to get what they want! A must-see!

Fela! - This revolutionary new musical, based on the life of groundbreaking African composer, performer and political activist Fela Anikulapo Kuti, is directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner Bill T. Jones. After a successful sold-out run Off-Broadway, this powerful theatrical event uses Kuti’s pioneering music -- a blend of jazz, funk and African rhythm and harmonies -- to explore this important artist/activist.

Finian’s Rainbow - Set in the mythical southern state of Missitucky, this beloved vintage musical pits a charming Irish dreamer and his headstrong daughter against the host of complications that await them in their newly adopted land: a bigoted southern Senator, a credit crisis, a pesky leprechaun and, of course, a love affair that gives birth to some of the most witty, charming and heartfelt songs ever written for the stage, including “That Old Devil Moon” and “If This Isn’t Love.”

Hair - This revival of the groundbreaking musical follows a group of free-spirited young pacifists (“the tribe”) during the Vietnam War. The “Dawning of the Age of Aquarius” -- again. Peace man!

In the Heights - This vibrant show centers on a tight-knit Latino community at the top of the island of Manhattan. With a score pulsing with energy, the story follows the hopes and dreams of three generations as they struggle to forge an identity in a neighborhood on the brink of transition.

Irving Berlin's White Christmas - New York’s newest holiday tradition, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas tells the fun and uplifting story of two showbiz buddies who put on a show in a picturesque Vermont inn -- and find their perfect mates in the bargain. Full of dancing, laughter and some of the greatest songs ever written, this musical classic guarantees a merry and bright theatrical experience for the entire family. (Thru 1/3)

Jersey Boys - Based on the life story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, this musical chronicles a group of blue-collar kids’ rise to superstardom.

The Lion King - Disney’s Lion King is a treasure trove of stunning visual magic as it follows Simba, the lion cub, as he grows up to be the king of the jungle.

A Little Night Music - Based on Ingmar Berman’s film Smiles of a Summer Night, this spider’s web of romantic intrigue is set in a country house in 19th-century Sweden. This first Broadway revival of Sondheim’s Tony winner stars Angela Lansbury and Catherine Zeta-Jones.

Mamma Mia! - Set on a mythical Greek isle, this hit musical romance incorporates 22 ABBA songs into a story about a single mother and her daughter on the eve of the daughter’s wedding.

Mary Poppins - Disney’s beloved 1964 Oscar-winning film about the world’s most beloved nanny is now an unforgettable stage musical filled with both original songs and irresistible new ones.

Memphis - In this original story set in the smoky halls and underground clubs of the segregated 1950s, a young white DJ named Huey Calhoun falls in love with everything he shouldn’t: rock and roll and an electrifying black singer. Featuring a score by Bon Jovi founding member David Bryan and Joe DiPietro.

The Phantom of the Opera - One of Broadway’s greatest attractions, Gaston Leroux’s thriller about a young soprano and the mysterious figure who loves her, has achieved the legendary status most shows only dream of! Now’s the time to experience -- or re-experience -- Andrew Lloyd Webber’s haunting “Music of the Night.”

Ragtime - Based on E.L. Doctorow’s acclaimed epic novel, this revival of 1998’s Tony-winning musical turns back the clock to the dawn of the 20th-century in New York City -- a time and place when anything was possible and ragtime music filled the air. Personal journeys come alive as historic figures offer guidance and diversion -- among them escape artist Harry Houdini, auto tycoon Henry Ford, educator Booker T. Washington, and infamous entertainer Evelyn Nesbit.

Rock of Ages - Following a successful Off-Broadway run, this fast-paced retro musical arrives on Broadway with a score made up of 1980s hits by Journey, Bon Jovi, Styx, REO Speedwagon, Pat Benatar, Twisted Sister, and many others. Set at a Hollywood rock club facing demise, the show tracks an aspiring young rocker, a small-town girl chasing her dreams, and all kinds of complications.

Shrek the Musical - Based on both the story and characters from William Steig’s book Shrek! and the Oscar-winning animated film, this new production follows the popular ogre as he rescues Princess Fiona (accompanied by his wisecracking sidekick Donkey, of course!) and metes out justice to the evil Lord Farquaad. Bonus features: A chorus of sassy fairytale characters and an original new score. (Thru 1/3)

South Pacific - Based on James Michener’s Tales of the South Pacific, this dynamic revival of one of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s greatest successes (the unforgettable score runs the gamut from “Some Enchanted Evening” to “Honey Bun”) centers on two very different love stories set against a WWII backdrop.

West Side Story - More than 50 years ago a Romeo & Juliet-inspired show, with a score by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim, changed musical theatre forever. It’s now back on Broadway bringing its compelling story of gang rivalry and young love to new generations. Directed by Arthur Laurents, who penned the original book, this new production builds on the show’s raw power and emotion to create a fresh experience unlike any that came before it.

Wicked - Set in Oz long before the arrival of Dorothy, this musical follows the two young girls who grow up to become the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good.

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