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On And Off Broadway Shows For Grandkids

By Alice Burdick Schweiger

The hottest shows your grandkids will love


There’s something magical about going to an NYC theatrical production—it’s a delightful experience that the kids will likely remember for years to come. Whether in NYC or on the road, here’s some child-friendly musicals—that are also fun for adults:

broadwayAladdin. An impoverished street kid falls in love with a princess, discovers an ancient magic lamp. Music by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman. All ages. New Amsterdam Theater, 214 W. 42nd St. (866) 870-2717.


Fiddler On The Roof. The story of Tevye, the father of five daughters, and the Jewish traditions and life in the shtetl. The much-loved score includes “Tradition,” “Matchmaker, Matchmaker,” “If I Were a Rich Man” and “Sunrise, Sunset.” Age 8 and up. Broadway Theatre, 1681 Broadway. (212) 239-6200.

Finding Neverland. Story of playwright J.M. Barrie who creates the magical world of Neverland and the story of Peter Pan for a widow’s four sons. Age 6 and up. Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, 205 West 46th St. (800) 745-3000.


Hamilton. A groundbreaking, critically acclaimed hip hop/rap musical that’s stirring patriotism for young and old alike. The hottest ticket in NYC, it’s about founding father and first secretary of treasury, Alexander Hamilton. With a diverse, multi-racial cast, this energetic and brilliant show is written by and stars Lin-Manuel Miranda. (In the Heights) In this ambitious musical, kids will learn how Alexander Hamilton came here an orphan from St. Croix with nothing and went on to help create government America thrives on today. Pre-teens and up. Richard Rodgers Theatre, 226 W. 46th St. (800) 745-3000.

Matilda. Based on the novel by Roald Dahl, it’s the story of a child prodigy who outwits her sadistic headmistress. Matilda has a vivid imagination and tries to change her destiny. Ages 4 and up. Sam S. Shubert Theatre,  225 West 44th St. (212)  239-6200.

#3School of Rock. An Andrew Lloyd Webber and Glenn Slater musical (also a movie) about a down on his luck rocker who helps 5th graders form a rock band. Opened to rave reviews and popular with all ages. Winter Garden Theatre, 1634 Broadway. (212) 239-6200.



Wicked. The  story of the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good Witch pre-Dorothy’s arrival in Oz. Age 8 and up. Gershwin Theatre, 222 West 51st St. (800)745-3000.


Here are three more shows, off Broadway, that your grandkids will love!

Gazillion Bubble Show

Son of the legendary bubble blower Fan Wang entertains with gigantic bubbles, magic, and special lighting effects. Age 5 and up. New World Stages, 340 W. 50th St. (212) 239-6200. main12

off broadway











A longtime NYC classic about a high-energy, percussive “band” creating rhythms using garbage can lids, buckets, brooms and sticks and more. All ages. Orpheum Theatre 126 Second Avenue. (800) 982-2787

off broadway





The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show

A 60-minute show features a menagerie of 75 enchanting puppets that faithfully adapt author Eric Carle’s wonderful children’s books: The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse, Mister Seahorse, The Very Lonely Firefly and, of course, The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Age 2-6. 47th Street Theatre, 304 W 47th St. (212) 279-4200.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by author/illustrator Eric Carle has delighted generations of readers since it was first published in 1969 selling more than 41 million copies worldwide. 

off broadway
Author/illustrator Eric Carle

Eric’s well-known books captivated readers with his iconic colorful hand-painted tissue paper collage illustrations and distinctively simple stories, 

introducing generations of children to a bigger, brighter world – and to their first experience of reading itself.

What Does “Broadway Theater” Mean?

Theater size, not location, defines whether a theater is a Broadway one or not.

According to Heather Cross, a New York City travel expert, theater size, not location, defines whether a theater is a Broadway one or not

Lots of people are confused about what exactly defines “Broadway Theater,” so we’ve put together this helpful guide to help you understand the differences between Broadway, Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway theaters and productions. Theater capacity, and not location, is important in the distinction and it helps make it clearer as to what really distinguishes the different types of theater productions.

Although Broadway is an important street that runs through New York City’s Theater District, “Broadway Theater” actually refers to the seating capacity of the theater, as opposed to the theater’s location. Broadway theaters can accommodate an audience of 500 or more; Off-Broadway theaters can accommodate 100-499 patrons; Off-Off-Broadway theaters seat less than 100 people.

Because of this, there are many Broadway theaters in New York City that aren’t on Broadway, and one that is actually outside of the Theater District at Lincoln Center, but still considered a “Broadway Theater” because of its seating capacity. There are also many “Off-Broadway” theaters located in and just outside of the Theater District, though they are located throughout the city as well.

Broadway, Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway theaters all produce musicals and plays. There are usually a few Broadway productions featuring a-list celebrities, but many famous actors participate in smaller theater productions as well.

Generally, Broadway shows have the largest audiences and highest ticket prices.

Christine Crosby

About the author

Christine is the co-founder and editorial director for GRAND Magazine. She is the grandmother of five and great-grandmom (aka Grandmere) to one. She makes her home in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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