Top Tips to Make Your Family’s Broadway Experience Magical

Top Tips to Make Your Family’s Broadway Experience Magical

To make your Broadway visit the best it can be, check out these simple tips.


By Lisa G.

BROADWAY! A magical place to share an extraordinary experience with your kids…and give them something they’ll remember for the rest of their lives!

In a world where today’s kids are used to seeing “entertainment” on a phone screen or watching multi-million dollar special effect movies about computer-generated super heroes, a live Broadway show uniquely brings thrills that will dazzle and inspire them in ways like never before.

The lights go down…then suddenly the stage bursts with…real, live performers - some big name stars, some bright new talents.

Wonderful stories unfold with captivating characters, spectacular sets, glorious choreography and mesmerizing music. The crowd roars with applause, laughter and cheers. And, your child is part of it all. There is nothing that comes close!

Just steps from bustling iconic Times Square are classic Broadway theaters, many featuring kid-friendly offerings waiting for your family to experience! To make your family’s visit to Broadway the best it can be follow these simple tips:

TIP # 1: Pick the “RIGHT” Show
You know your kids better than anybody! Consider their ages, interests, personalities, and while you’re at it pick out something that sounds good for Mom and Dad too. Nothing is worse than paying top dollar to see a Broadway performance and ending up with a disinterested or tired child! Check that the show’s content is age appropriate (subject matter and language). You want to select a show that your child will understand, and one where you won’t feel compelled to cover his eyes or ears! NOTE: Some shows have a minimum age, check before buying tickets.

Some great “youthful” suggestions:

Elementary Aged Children:
You can’t go wrong with Disney. The Lion King offers a heart-warming story (that your child may be familiar with), staged with over-the-top colorful sets and AMAZING costumes!! Aladdin, come on! What kid wouldn’t be thrilled to see a genie on a flying carpet right before his eyes!?!

And kids all love watching shows featuring fabulously talented kids their own age. Matilda, based on Roald Dahl’s imaginative world of an extraordinary girl is exhilarating (closes in 2017). School of Rock The Musical – your kids will delight in watching these upbeat young kid-musicians rock it out! The King and I is a sumptuous revival of one of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s masterpieces. And, it just so happens to feature a super-great teacher and an army of adorable kids. And if you can wait (we hardly can), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory comes to Broadway in 2017!

Tweens & Teens:
The way Broadway does things, even “older kids” will love all the above, but for them, you may want to consider some other great choices. My kids’ favorite show ever is The Phantom of the Opera, the longest running Broadway musical featuring a dramatic, somewhat spooky love-story. My kids (and I) also loved Wicked, the untold story of the teenage years of the witches of Oz. Fiddler on the Roof - this great family show has been revived with a totally fresh feel. Something Rotten is something hilarious, a story about writing the world’s first ever musical. And, if somehow you are extraordinarily lucky to secure tickets, the multiple Tony award winning, Hamilton makes American history cooler than ever!

TIP #2: Curtain Time
When buying tickets consider the curtain time that works best for your gang. Afternoon matinees may be better for younger children who may have a hard time making it through an evening performance. And check out the running time. You’ll know how long your kids are willing to sit still. If you are taking a young child to a nighttime show, I strongly suggest an afternoon nap.

TIP# 3: The Price Can be Right
Look for discounts! There are lots of them! Drop by the TKTS booth where they usually have a great selection of discount tickets. Or take advantage of “Kids’ Night on Broadway” when children 18 and younger can see certain shows for FREE when accompanied by a paying adult.

TIP # 4: “Mommy, I Can’t See!”
Choose seats that provide clear views of the stage. Usually the Center Orchestra and Mezzanine sections are best. Spend a few minutes reviewing each venue’s seating chart to determine which seats are best.

TIP # 5: They’re Playing Our Song
I strongly suggest that once you select the show, listen to the soundtrack (and/or watch the movie) with your child. Many kids (and adults) enjoy a show so much more when they know the plot and words to the songs.

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BROADWAY THEATER FAMILY ETIQUETTE (That means “rules.”)

1. Plan to arrive 30 minutes early! Give your family time to use the restrooms before the show begins, find your seats and get situated. It is extremely unsettling for a child to miss the beginning of the story!

2. Souvenirs - Theaters sell a wide variety of souvenirs ranging from T-shirts to dolls to who-knows-what (all are usually quite pricey). If you do not plan to purchase any of these items, tell your children before you enter the theater so they are not disappointed. NOTE: Many stores around the theater district offer discounted souvenirs based on the shows.

3. Turn off your cell phones! No putting it on vibrate either! This goes for them…and YOU!

4. Eat a meal before the show so you don’t get complaints of “I’m hungry!” If your child must snack, bring a quiet one with no noisy wrappers. A snack break during intermission works best. Be warned that while there are refreshments available at the theater, again, they are often over-priced. Throw a bottle of water in your bag just in case.

5. No talking (or belting out familiar tunes during the show). An occasional whisper of explanation to your child is fine. Save long thematic explanations until intermission or after the show.

6. What ever to wear? There is no need to dress up for theater, BUT in our family, we enjoy looking spiffy. It seems to make the experience even more special for the kids!

7. Use the theater’s booster seats - even for preteens! A few inches makes a big difference in a child’s vantage point. If the theater is out of boosters, pile up your coats.

8. Behave! Discuss proper theater behavior before you arrive at the theater. Explain that a good audience member needs to respect the actors on stage and fellow theater-goers by paying attention, sitting still and not making noise.

9. The Grand Finale - When the show is over, be polite and wait for all the actors to make their curtain calls before leaving the theater.

10. Meet? And Greet? Sometimes the performers will stand in the lobby or at the stage door to sign Playbills or take pictures with the audience. Ask the ushers whether the actors will be available to do so.

The most important rule…ENJOY! Broadway shows are truly special. Make sure your kids open their eyes, their ears, their minds and their hearts…and discover their “inner Broadway.”

WHERE TO STAY
We love Hilton Times Square. It’s within easy walking distance of all the theaters. The hotel is a relaxing oasis in the midst of the bustling chaos of Times Square. Conveniently located less than a block from the Port Authority bus station and the center of Times Square, this hotel is perfectly situated for tourist families wanting to be in the heart of the city and the middle of the theater district.


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Lisa G. writes for Hilton Mom Voyage; she’s been traveling all her life…and loving it! Leaving the sunny skies of Miami, Lisa traveled to Philadelphia where she attended the University of Pennsylvania…stayed for law school…met her husband…and joined a big-time law firm. When kids soon followed, Lisa and her new family settled in southern New Jersey. Lisa willingly traded in billing hours for being a full-time mom.

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