Best Musical Theatre Shows to Catch on Vacation

Best Musical Theatre Shows to Catch on Vacation

The girls and I are huge musical theater buffs and love seeing Broadway shows.  Of course, our favorite place to see a show on Broadway, but since we don’t live anywhere near NYC, our next best bet is to see a touring show.  And seeing shows isn’t just for when we’re home.  I love seeing shows in other cities and checking out new theaters. It’s also a great activity for solo travel. I scored great a seat at Ford’s Theatre in Washington D.C. for Ragtime because I only needed a single seat.  Not to mention that I got to check out a great, historic theater.

Kinky Boots

Kinky Boots was my first Broadway show, and it is phenomenal!   Brendan Urie (Panic! at the disco) played the lead role of Charlie recently, and my girls were so disappointed that we couldn’t arrange a quick trip to see him take over the show. Cyndi Lauper did the music, and we listen to the soundtrack a lot.

We’ve also seen the tour of this show.  I didn’t love it quite as much as the Broadway version, but that may have just been because my seats weren’t as great.

Who Will Want to See It?

Anyone who loves shoes,  rockin’ music, or a great show about acceptance and finding yourself. This is a fun show with a great message.

Can You Take The Kids?

I think this show is fine for middle school and up.  The only “mature” theme is that a drag queen plays a prominent role. One song is called “The Sex is in the Heel,” but it is about sexy shoes. There’s no sex in the show.

Something Rotten

show

We’ve seen Something Rotten one both on Broadway and on tour and both shows were amazing! This is probably my overall favorite show. Sadly, it has closed on Broadway, so you’ll have to find a tour if you want to see it.  I’ll admit, the family grumbled a bit when they heard I was taking them to a show about Shakespeare, but this show is a comedy that takes a lot of jabs at Shakespeare and is one of my all-time favorites.  This show is pure fun!

Who Will Want to See It?

Don’t let the Shakespeare theme scare you off.  This show great! Anyone who enjoys comedic musical theater will enjoy this show.

Can You Take the Kids?

Yes!  I’d say ages 10 and up will enjoy this show. There are a couple of mature jokes, but I think the worst will go over younger kids’ heads.

Fun Home

I’ve seen Fun Home on tour in both Washington D.C. and Dallas, and it was phenomenal both times. It is one of the best shows I’ve seen, although it is more gut-wrenching than light-hearted. Fun Home is based on the graphic novel-memoir of Allison Bechtel as she navigates life from childhood through adulthood.  Allison is a lesbian, and her father is a closeted gay, and Fun Home focuses on the impact of that father/daughter relationship. I think it’s mandatory watching for parents of lesbians. My gay daughter said this was one of the most relatable shows she’s ever seen.

Fun Home has closed on Broadway and is currently on tour.

Who Will Want to See It?

Anyone in the LGBTQ community and their allies should see this. If you’re a little afraid of LGBTQ themes, you should also see this to gain a little perspective.  If you’re an unapologetic homophobe, this probably isn’t for you.

Can You Take the Kids?

This show is NOT for young kids.  I’d recommend mid-teens and up, and there will be some awkwardness if you see this with your kids.

Matilda

show

We saw Matilda on Broadway, but it is now closed and is not currently on tour in the U.S.  You can catch it in London , or on tour in Ireland, the U.K. and Australia. Matilda is based on Roald Dahl’s book about a precocious girl who loves books and lives with some pretty terrible adults. The set is amazing, and the kids in the show are wonderful.

Who Will Want to See It?

Anyone who loves Roald Dahl. Anyone who loves fun, bubbly musical theater. Just because it’s a show about kids, starring kids, doesn’t mean it’s not a great show for adults, too. Kenny was a little surprised at how much he enjoyed this show.

Can You Take the Kids?

Absolutely. If your kids are old enough to read Roald Dahl, they’re old enough to see this show.

Rock of Ages

I may lose all my theater-cred for this, but this is one of my absolute favorite shows. It’s really all about the music here. This show is total cheesy 80’s-rock goodness. It’s the music we grew up on, and DH and I both loved this show.

Rock of Ages no longer on Broadway, but it is touring and has a long-term engagement in Las Vegas .

Who Will Want to See It?

Anyone who grew up on 80’s rock. If you’ve seen the movie, the live show is even better. Everyone in the audience was rocking out during this show.

Can You Take the Kids?

Probably late-middle school and up on this one. It’s an 80’s rock musical–there is sex and drug use.  My teens have no interest in this show–their loss!

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

Ok, Gentleman’s Guide may be our least favorite show.  It won the Tony in 2014, and I just don’t get it.  All of us were both bored with this show–but maybe it’s just us.

Who Will Want to See It?

Anyone who thinks a Tony-winning show has to be great.

Can You Take the Kids?

Probably late-middle school and up on this one.

Book of Mormon

book of mormon

Book of Mormon is by the guys who brought you SouthPark.  It is the same, unrepentant, offensive humor with even fewer constraints. It is a fun show, but only if you understand what you’re in for.

You can see Book of Mormon in NYC, London, Melbourne, or on tour.

Who Will Want to See It?

Those who appreciate Southpark-type humor in a musical setting.  If you are at all offended by blasphemy, don’t see this show.

Can You Take the Kids?

No! I wouldn’t even see this show with my high school kids.  I might let them go without me, but I don’t need the awkwardness of them sitting next to me during this show.

Cabaret (Revival)

Cabaret is a musical theater classic that has been through many revivals. There’s a reason–it stands the test of time.  Although it’s set in the 1930’s, the themes addressed in Cabaret are still relevant today.

Who Will Want to See It?

Anyone with an interest in classic musical theater. Anyone with an open mind who enjoys a high-quality show.

Can You Take the Kids?

Well, it is set in a Cabaret. I’d say high school and up. There are definitely mature themes. But this show offers some great teaching moments about individuality and acceptance, and a history lesson, too.

Hair

The last show we saw was a revival of Hair at our local experimental theater. Hair originated in the 60’s and tracks the lives of a group of hippies during the summer of love.

We did not love this show.  Maybe because we weren’t around to appreciate the 60’s.  But I also didn’t find the quality of the show to be worthy of the price point of the tickets. It felt more like our volunteer community theater troupe.

Who Will Want to See It?

Those who lived through the 60’s and appreciated the counter-culture. There are some good themes that are really relevant right now.  It would have been nice to see this show modernized a bit, or at least to recognize the symmetry between what was happening 50 years ago vs. today.

Can You Take the Kids?

Hard no.  The show page warns of drug use, profanity, and nudity, and it’s not kidding.

Coming up for us:

We’ve got tickets to Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen in NYC in January.  I’d like to add Come From Away, too, as I’ve heard so many great things about it and the girls love the soundtrack.

We’ve also seen:

Phantom of the Opera

Wicked

Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Revival)*

American Idiot* (loved this, and the kids are mad they can no longer see it!)

The Wizard of Oz*

Shrek: The Musical*

The Little Mermaid*

Pippen*

Ragtime*

Jekyll & Hyde*

Finding Neverland (just the girls, but they loved it)

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime* (just the girls and they enjoyed it)

*To the best of our knowledge, these shows are no longer touring

What are your favorite shows?  Do you like to catch shows while on vaction? Let us know in the comments!

I am a 40-something lawyer and mom of 3 teenage girls. I love exploring new places, and when I can't be on the road, I'm planning my next trip. Over the years, I've learned a lot about how to travel in a pack of five. Our trips range from budget-friendly road trips with the family, to more luxurious trips for work, either solo or with my husband, Kenny.

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