I grew up on musicals. I’ve loved them as long as I can remember. My mom and I were season ticket holders to the local University Concert Series and saw countless traveling productions. Our house is full of musical soundtracks and Broadway show piano books. The typical go-to radio station we listen when we’re in my mom’s car is Sirius XM’s “Broadway” channel. In fact, recently my mom and I were having a conversation in which we were trying to remember what the first live musical I saw was. (She couldn’t remember, but thinks it was something like “Annie.”)
There’s just something about seeing a live musical — the live singing, the carefully crafted choreography, the music beat that you can feel in your chest, the dazzling costumes and the intricate moving sets — that simply captivates me. And it’s not just watching/listening to musicals that I love — I played lead piano in the pit orchestra for five of my high school’s musicals and then accompanied a local community theater production after graduating. Those were so much fun to do.
I love when I hear a song from one of my favorite musicals and can’t help but start singing along, or when the opening few notes of a song start playing and I know within a second what song it is and which show it’s from. I love how simply hearing a certain song from a musical I grew up listening to can bring back so many memories.
My love for musicals and my love for travel intersect. One of my favorite places in the world is New York City, and one of my favorite things to do there is see Broadway shows. My mom and I have kind of made it a tradition to go to New York once a year and see shows (we’ve done this the past three Januarys.) Although many of the touring productions we’ve seen have been fantastic, there’s no question that Broadway is the top of the top (I mean, it’s Broadway.) I always get so excited for our nights out to see a show: dressing up a bit, going out to eat at a nice restaurant before the show, then making our way over to the theater. I honestly get a rush of adrenaline when the house lights go down and the orchestra starts playing the overture.
There’s also just so much excitement at the fact that I’m on Broadway, seeing the best of the best actors and the highest quality of production. I’ve loved every Broadway show I’ve seen (well, except one…) and each show has provided a special experience shared with my mom.
Here are the Broadway shows I’m lucky to have had the opportunity to see so far:
Catch Me If You Can: My very first Broadway show! I hadn’t seen the movie so it was all new to me, but it was cute and enjoyable. And I saw it starring Aaron Tveit!
Wicked: So magical. One of my favorites. Everything from the phenomenal costumes to jaw-dropping gorgeous sets, and, of course, the incredible music. Wicked is definitely a show I’d love to see again.
Addams Family: We got half-price tickets to see this one afternoon on a whim, and I’m glad we did! This show was funny, had cool sets and catchy music. And we got to see the original cast, which was pretty cool.
Something Rotten: I had really no idea what this musical was, but we got half-price tickets to see it when we couldn’t get in to another show we wanted. This show was hysterical and especially great if you were musical-lovers like us because it made so many allusions to different shows.
Kinky Boots: Cindy Lauper’s music really made this show amazing. And watching grown men dance around in high heels was quite impressive.
Book of Mormon: Lol’d literally throughout this entire show. So crude, yet so funny.
Finding Neverland: This was the show our cousin, Robert, was in! Really great and emotional storyline, and extra special that we had a family member in it, that Matthew Morrison was the lead, and that Robert gave us a backstage tour afterwards!
Matilda: Okay, the one Broadway show I’ve seen that I didn’t like. Not sure why I didn’t like it, I know it’s a really popular show. But, I wasn’t feeling it.
Cats: Definitely among the top three musicals I’ve ever seen. I loved it so much I wanted to buy tickets to see it again the next night, but, sadly, the show didn’t play on Wednesdays. Seeing this musical has an entire backstory that I won’t write about here for it is far too long, but I will include the photo and my Facebook post I did so you can read the story.
Hamilton: There are no words for this. It is Hamilton. I knew the soundtrack by heart before seeing the show, and it definitely lived up to all the hype. The smartest, best-written musical out there.
Besides just New York, my mom and I also like to seek out musicals in other cities we travel to. We saw Billy Elliot on the West End in London, which was fabulous. We saw West Side Story in Chicago, and in Las Vegas I’ve seen The Lion King and Phantom of the Opera. Seeing shows during my travels to cities like these that are known for productions are more than just fun nights out at the theater, they are special experiences that help shape my memories of that city and that trip. At this point, I can’t imagine going to NYC and not seeing at least one Broadway show. And, this summer when I’m in London, I’m hoping to go see Les Miserables!