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CULTURE TALKISSUE 17

On Either Side of the Atlantic

By Nayum Faruki

This summer as you head out West – either to London or to New York City – there is a theatre play waiting to be seen, to be experienced and to be remembered. Theatre enthusiast Nayum Faruki selects some of her favourite acts for all those seeking a more culturally enriching experience at the holiday destination of their choice on either side of the Atlantic.

This summer if you find yourself vacationing in New York or London, and want to escape the big city crowds in queues and on the streets, the best way to do so is by visiting the theatre. Both cities pride themselves on having a thriving theatre industry that leave audiences with unforgettable experiences.

There’s nothing like watching live theatre. It keeps you grounded in the present and the thrill of watching onstage performers feed off your energy is absolutely exhilarating. So whether you are on your own, with family or visiting friends, treat yourself to a play!

It may be tough to navigate through all the different musicals playing.  To make this easier here is a short guide to what you should watch and when you could watch it.

Fun Shows for Kids

Frozen

Playing in New York

Open-ended run on Broadway

Based on the Disney animation Frozen, the play brings us the same story of Elsa and Anna, the two sisters from Arendelle. You can expect to hear the same songs you know and love. Amidst songs like Let it Go which we all have heard a million times, you can expect new songs as well as great amounts of Disney magic on stage.

School of Rock

Playing in New York and London

Open-ended run on Broadway and West End

Based on the 2003 Jack Black movie, School of Rock is an empowering show for children that teaches them the importance of standing loud and standing proud. This show is great not just for kids but for parents as well. It follows the life of Dewy Finn, a man who impersonates his friend as a substitute teacher at an elite prep school and starts a band with the students.

SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical

Playing in New York

Open-ended run on Broadway

Based on the classic Nickelodeon cartoon, SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical features music written by iconic musicians like David Bowie, Panic! at the Disco, Steven Tyler and The Plain White T’s just to name a few. With immersive sets and amazing acting, a great time is guaranteed. 

Wicked

Playing in New York and London

Open-ended run on Broadway and West End

Wicked serves as a prequel to The Wizard of Oz. It tells us of the history behind the Wicked Witch of the West  (Elphaba) and Glinda The Good Witch. Wicked is one of the best-known musicals in the world, it is truly a Broadway classic with messages about friendship and loyalty.

Shows For Teenagers, Young Adults & The Young at Heart

Mean Girls The Musical

Playing in New York

Open-ended run on Broadway

Based on the 2004 insanely quotable movie Mean Girls, the musical lets us into the lives of Cady Herron and “The Plastics” through an all-new lens. It’s the same story and the same characters from before, but with over-the-top and hilarious songs and dances. This is an all-star Broadway cast that brings the writing of Tina Fey to life, in such outstanding ways.

Dear Evan Hansen

Playing in New York

Open-ended run on Broadway

Dear Evan Hansen is the Tony award-winning original musical written by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, the composers responsible for the music of La La Land and The Greatest Showman. The story follows Evan Hansen, a socially awkward teenager who reflects on the world around him and struggles to find his place in society. This is a show I recommend parents to go see with their teenagers as it makes for good conversation and insight to both perspectives of raising a child and of growing up.

Book of Mormon

Playing in New York and London

Open-ended run on Broadway

and West End

This musical is not for the faint of heart! It has been written to be offensive to anyone and everyone. Following the story of two Mormon missionaries who travel to Uganda to preach the Mormon religion, the show is guaranteed to make an audience laugh in ever so unconventional ways.

Waitress

Playing in New York

Open-ended run on Broadway

Written by Grammy-nominated musician Sara Bareilles, the musical follows the life of Jenna Hunterson, a waitress with an emotional dependency on baking pies, as she navigates through an abusive relationship with her husband. The feel-good music creates a light atmosphere that counters the heavy-heartedness of the show’s content.

Kinky Boots

Playing in New York and London

Open-ended run on Broadway and West End

Kinky Boots, written by the legend herself – Cyndi Lauper, is the story of Charlie Price who unexpectedly inherits his father’s shoe factory. In an attempt to keep the factory running, he starts catering exclusively to drag queens. The experience of watching this musical is very similar to that of attending an over-the-top dance party.

Classic Shows for (somewhat) Classy People

Hamilton

Playing in New York and London

Open-ended run on Broadway and West End

This ground-breaking rap musical by Lin Manuel Miranda tells the story of Alexander Hamilton, an American founding father. With a diverse cast, a Pulitzer Prize award for drama as well as a record-breaking 16 Tony nominations, consider yourself lucky if you get your hands on tickets to this show.

The Phantom of the Opera

Playing in New York and London

Open-ended run on Broadway and West End

The Phantom of the Opera tells the story of the “phantom” of the Paris Opera House and his obsession over Christine Daae, a lead soprano. This musical has the most immaculate sets and costumes; it is the perfect theatre experience for anyone who is looking for a suspension of disbelief.

My Fair Lady

Playing in New York

Runs until June 23rd on Broadway

Based on the play Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw and adapted from the Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison classic, My Fair Lady is back on Broadway and is a delightfully hilarious musical with a hint of old-world Hollywood nostalgia. 

Nayum Faruki
Nayum Faruki

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