Spend Your Fourth of July Weekend On Broadway

Spend Your Fourth of July Weekend On Broadway

As we head into the Fourth of July holiday weekend, here are some current running Broadway musicals that will get you in the patriotic mood.

Lin-Manuel Miranda and company in "Hamilton" (©Joan Marcus)


"Hamilton"

This pick was a given because America wins the last major battle of the Revolutionary War—leading to our independence from the British—during “Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down),” which was one of the songs performed on the 70th Annual Tony Awards telecast earlier in June. I do understand how hard it is to get tickets to this—I haven’t seen it since it opened on Broadway either. I did see it at The Public and then once in previews thanks to lottery tickets both times. Keep entering—people actually do win and get to see the show from the front row. Nominated for a record-breaking 16 Tony Awards this year and winner of 11, including Best New Musical, “Hamilton” is the absolute best American history lesson I’ve had since Mrs. Love’s fifth grade Social Studies class.

 

"The Color Purple"

Winner of Best Musical Revival at the Tony Awards, “The Color Purple” features strong women who rise above challenges placed on them because of gender, skin color and social status. Set at the beginning of the 20th century, audiences follow Celie (Cynthia Erivo, Tony winner for Best Actress in a Musical) as she grows up and learns to love herself amid the hardships she endures. This musical features a Fourth of July picnic, which fits with our patriotic theme, but it is the hard work and tenacity of Celie that truly captures the American spirit. "I'm Here" is one of the most powerful ballads I've ever heard and Erivo truly knocks it out of the park.

 

"Waitress"

“As American as apple pie” is still something I hear every now and again, so embrace that dessert frame of mind and go see “Waitress.” I’ve been listening to the soundtrack to this show pretty much non-stop since it was released because Sara Bareilles’ score is both funny and heartbreakingly beautiful. (I’m listening to it right now as I’m typing this out.)  “Bad Idea” is still my favorite song from the show, but I cannot get over Jessie Mueller’s performance of “She Used to Be Mine,” which was also featured on the Tony Awards telecast. "Waitress" will make you laugh, cry and crave pie—which you can get at the show!

 

Alex Brightman and the cast of "School of Rock" (©Matthew Murphy)


"School of Rock"

“Now repeat after me—I pledge allegiance to the band!” After you pledge your allegiance to the band in “You’re in the Band,” you’ll be fine giving Mr. Schneebly (well, really Dewey Finn…) full command because Tony-nominated Alex Brightman is the best fake substitute teacher on Broadway. Like “Waitress,” “School of Rock” is based off a major motion picture and has seamlessly transferred to the Great White Way. The addition of music—score by Sir Andrew Lloyd Weber with lyrics by Glenn Slater—has enhanced an already solid story and gives audiences a more in-depth peek into the students’ home lives. This is a family-friendly show that parents and kids alike will love. And, yes, all those kids on stage are playing their instruments live!

 

"Shuffle Along, or, the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed"

Closing July 24 to coincide with lead actress Audra MacDonald’s maternity leave, there are precious few chances to see her, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Billy Porter, Joshua Henry, Brandon Victor Dixon and the rest of this talented company tap dance the heck out of Savion Glover’s amazing choreography in this new musical based on the story of how the 1921 Broadway musical “Shuffle Along” came to be. Tap dancing has a rich history in the U.S, dating back to the early- and mid-1800s. By time the 1920s rolled around, tap dancing became more athletic and acrobatic. I was in awe of the dance numbers in "Shuffle Along" and am always grateful to witness Glover's work.

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