By Lori Simmons Zelenko
With May comes Mother’s Day, so why not take in a matinee based on your kids’ favorite entertainment, hit Disney movies, super popular Nickelodeon shows or the magic and mayhem of Harry Potter? By the time they arrive on Broadway, there’s such brilliant color and witty imagination infusing these favorite characters that adults will find their afternoon of theater will be more fun than they ever imagined.
The Palace Theatre
Facing total annihilation of their undersea world, the stakes are high, higher than ever before, as the lives of SpongeBob (played by the exuberant Ethan Slater) and all of Bikini Bottom hang in the balance. And just when all hope seems lost for this favorite Nickelodeon character, a most unexpected hero rises-up and takes center stage. Get ready to dive to all-new depths of theatrical innovation at SpongeBob SquarePants, where the power of optimism really can save the world! Visually imaginative on a level that’s sure to charm parents and well as kids, the show is designed by David Zinn whose whimsy brings on delicious fits of giggles.
SpongeBob SquarePants features original songs by Yolanda Adams, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith, Sara Bareilles, Jonathan Coulton, Dirty Projectors, Alex Ebert of Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, The Flaming Lips, John Legend, Lady Antebellum, Cyndi Lauper, Panic! At the Disco, Plain White T’s, They Might Be Giants and T.I., as well as a song by David Bowie with additional lyrics by Jonathan Coulton.
FROZEN: THE BROADWAY MUSICAL
St. James Theatre
Fans of Disney’s hit movie Frozen (the highest grossing animated feature ever) are in heaven now that the film has arrived on Broadway as a musical. But it’s a more sophisticated tale than the film, the added complexity ages it up with adult as well as kid appeal. The story of two isolated, separated sisters whose ice-melting journey to find each other is loosely based on Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen. The plot revolves around Elsa’s ice powers, which accidentally used as a youngster result in keeping her apart from her sibling Anna for much of their childhood, despite their desire to be close to one another.
Sadly orphaned, Elsa (Caissie Levy) is crowned queen of the kingdom of Arendelle. But once an ice queen, always an ice queen, she accidentally freezes her own kingdom. Trying to learn her lesson, Elsa leaves Arendelle to find herself, while Anna (Patti Murin) takes up with the lively ice deliveryman Kristoff (Jelani Alladin) and Olaf (singing puppeteer Greg Hildreth) and together they set out to find her sister. Deeper and longer than the movie, Frozen appeals just as much to moms and dads accompanying kids. as it does to Elsa’s-in-training, the girls and even boys who relate to this story of a family whose icy frost warms through twelve new songs, each one as delightful as a favorite frozen concoction on a sunny day.
Based on the 2013 film written by a trio of Oscar® winners, Frozen features music and lyrics by the creators of the film score Kristen Anderson-Lopez (Up Here, Winnie the Pooh, In Transit) and EGOT-winner Robert Lopez (Avenue Q, The Book of Mormon, Up Here) and a book by Jennifer Lee (Zootopia, Wreck-It Ralph), the film’s screenwriter and director (with Chris Buck). Frozen won 2014 Oscars for Best Song (“Let It Go”) and Best Animated Feature.
HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD
The Lyric Theater
When Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts 1 and 2 opens on Broadway it will be in the Lyric Theatre which is being completely transformed in preparation for the North American premiere of this eagerly anticipated production. No doubt Harry Potter fans will be sleeping on the sidewalks hoping tickets will magically appear. The critically acclaimed play is something to look forward to, it’s won 22 major theatre awards in the UK and is the most-awarded production in the history of Britain’s prestigious Olivier Awards, winning a record-breaking nine awards earlier this year including Best New Play and Best Director.
Based on an original story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a new play by Jack Thorne, is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage, bringing together some of the most exciting talent working in the theatre today. Seven members of the award-winning Original West End Company will reunite on stage for the Broadway premiere.
What’s it all about? Well, it’s always difficult being Harry Potter. Apparently, it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children. While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is directed by John Tiffany with movement by Steven Hoggett, set by Christine Jones, costumes by Katrina Lindsay, music & arrangements by Imogen Heap, lighting by Neil Austin, sound by Gareth Fry, illusions & magic by Jamie Harrison, and music supervision & arrangements by Martin Lowe.
HOW TO SEE THE PLAY
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is one play presented in two parts. Parts 1 and 2 can be seen together on the same day or on consecutive evenings (recommended).