When it comes to Broadway shows, people always want to know: What are the shows that the critics have blessed?
It makes sense. Tickets are expensive, and you want to make sure you’re getting the most for your dollars (with a lot of glitz and theatrics to boot).
So what are the shows that got the biggest raves from the people who get paid to review this stuff?
Let’s start with the newest winner, The Book of Mormon. This mega-smash musical from the South Park guys and one of the geniuses who wrote Avenue Q is the hands-down, must-see Broadway hit of basically forever. Don’t believe it? The New York Times (yes, that New York Times) called it “the best musical of this century.” Entertainment Weekly cheered, “A perfect Broadway musical. This is what 21st-century Broadway can be.” And the Washington Post gushed, “The Book of Mormon deserves worship.”
Then there’s Avenue Q, the delightfully naughty twist on kids’ educational shows about life, like Sesame Street. The New York Times gushed for this one, calling it “inspired, with a pitch-perfect ensemble.” The New Yorker cheered, “The most fun on stage this year!” And Time Magazine couldn’t helping adding, “It has heart!”
Another critics’ fave? Billy Elliot. This international smash-hit musical about the boy who dreamed of ballet while his buddies were off in boxing class has danced onto Broadway and charmed everyone along the way. The New York Times raves that it “sends audiences into a mass swoon… seductive, smashing and intoxicating.” The New York Post hails it as “the best gift from Britain since Harry Potter.” And the Daily News goes so far as to say, “So exhilarating that at times you feel like leaping.”
And last but not least (and hardly least, considering this elite grouping of Broadway smashes), there’s The Lion King. The New York Times called this one “a major Broadway event… one of the most memorable, moving and original theatrical extravaganzas in years.” The New Yorker exclaimed, “It’s like being in a dream awake.” And USA Today raved, “Theatre to roar for… from the very first minutes of The Lion King you feel yourself on a whole new ground – no – in a whole new world.”
What’s better than that?