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The Best Broadway Shows for Kids

Updated October 8, 2019 4.9k votes 400 voters 21.2k views39 items

 

From tiny tots to high schoolers, kids of all ages will enjoy these great Broadway musicals. While many are running on Broadway currently, the rest will most likely be produced again in revivals so parents should be sure to keep an eye both on Broadway and this list of the best Broadway shows for kids.

A large portion of the Broadway shows kids will love are musicals. After all, what child can resist singing along with their favorite characters? Shows like The Lion King are familiar to kids already and the elaborate sets and colorful dance numbers will hold their interest for the duration of the show.

Other exciting Broadway productions might be more appropriate for older children. Hairspray, based on the film of the same name, touches on the subject of social inequalities, a subject that junior high and high school students can appreciate and relate to. Of course, the show is also fun - the music is memorable, as are the characters, so older kids are sure to not only enjoy this Broadway show but also learn more about the history of the American social landscape.

On this list, readers will find all of the greatest Broadway shows for children, including those that have been produced recently and those that were originally staged long ago. Vote up the best Broadway shows for kids below and see where the shows your kids love rank! Then check out our list of the best musical movies for kids.

 

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    The Lion King

    Mark Mancina, Elton John

    CharactersScar, Simba, Mufasa, Pumbaa, Nala

    The Lion King is a musical based on the 1994 Walt Disney Animation Studios' animated feature film of the same name with music by Elton John, lyrics by Tim Rice, and book by Roger Allers and Irene...  more
  • 2
    144
    29

    Beauty and the Beast

    Alan Menken, Linda Woolverton

    CharactersBelle, Gaston, Beast, Babette, Wardrobe

    Beauty and the Beast is a musical with music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, and book by Linda Woolverton. Adapted from Walt Disney Pictures' Academy Award-winning 1991 animated...  more
  • 3
    132
    23

    Peter Pan

    Carolyn Leigh, Adolph Green

    CharactersCaptain Hook, Tinker Bell, Peter Pan, Wendy Darling, Mr. Smee

    Peter Pan is a musical adaptation of J. M. Barrie's 1904 play Peter Pan and Barrie's own novelization of it, Peter and Wendy. The music is mostly by Mark "Moose" Charlap, with additional music by...  more
  • 4
    129
    29

    Annie

    Martin Charnin, Thomas Meehan

    CharactersAnnie, Oliver "Daddy" Warbucks, Miss Agatha Hannigan, Daniel Francis "Rooster" Hannigan, Lily St. Regis

    Annie is a Broadway musical based upon the popular Harold Gray comic strip Little Orphan Annie, with music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Martin Charnin, and the book by Thomas Meehan. The original...  more

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    Every Song in Annie, Ranked by Singability#7 of 35 The Best Broadway Musicals of the '70s

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    122
    26

    The Little Mermaid

    Alan Menken, Howard Ashman

    CharactersAriel, Ursula, Prince Eric, Flounder, Sebastian

    The Little Mermaid is a stage musical produced by Disney Theatrical, based on the animated 1989 Disney film of the same name and the classic story of the same name by Hans Christian Andersen about a...  more
  • 6
    112
    37

    Wicked

    Stephen Schwartz, Winnie Holzman

    CharactersWicked Witch of the West, The Wizard, Glinda the Good Witch, Boq, Doctor Dillamond

    Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz is a musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and book by Winnie Holzman. It is based on the 1995 Gregory Maguire novel Wicked: The Life and...  more

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    The Best Songs in Wicked, Ranked by Singability#1 of 49 Stage Musicals That Would Make Great Movies

  • 7
    145
    65

    Mary Poppins

    Richard M. Sherman, Robert B. Sherman

    CharactersMary Poppins, Michael Banks, Jane Banks, Bert, George Banks

    Mary Poppins is a musical with music and lyrics by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman (the Sherman Brothers) and additional music and lyrics by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, and a script by...  more

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    #9 of 71 The Best Musicals Based on Movies#6 of 9 All The Broadway Musicals Based On Disney Movies, Ranked

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    84
    29

    Newsies

    Alan Menken, Harvey Fierstein
  • 9
    93
    36

    Matilda the Musical

    Dennis Kelly, Tim Minchin

    CharactersMatilda Wormwood, Harry Wormwood, Michael Wormwood, Zinnia Wormwood, Amanda Thripp

    Matilda the Musical is a stage musical based on the 1988 children's novel of the same name by Roald Dahl. It was adapted by Dennis Kelly, with music and lyrics by Tim Minchin. The musical's narrative...  more
  • 10
    106
    56

    Cinderella

    Oscar Hammerstein II, Richard Rodgers
  • 11
    88
    41

    Hairspray

    Scott Wittman, Marc Shaiman

    CharactersVelma Von Tussle, Edna Turnblad, Little Inez, Seaweed J Stupps, Motormouth Maybelle

    Hairspray is an American musical with music by Marc Shaiman, lyrics by Scott Wittman and Shaiman and a book by Mark O'Donnell and Thomas Meehan, based on John Waters’s 1988 film of the same name. The...  more
  • 12

    CharactersSnoopy, Charlie Brown, Lucy van Pelt, Patty, Sally Brown

    You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown is a 1967 musical comedy with music and lyrics by Clark Gesner, based on the characters created by cartoonist Charles M. Schulz in his comic strip Peanuts. The...  more
  • 13
    73
    34

    Seussical

    Stephen Flaherty, Lynn Ahrens

    CharactersGrinch, Cindy Lou Who, The Cat in the Hat, Horton the Elephant, Vlad Vladikoff

    Seussical is a musical by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty based on the books of Dr. Seuss that debuted on Broadway in 2000. The play's story is a rather complex amalgamation of many of Seuss's most...  more
  • 14

    CharactersGrinch, Cindy Lou Who, Max the Dog, Grandma Who

    Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical, or simply How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical, is a seasonal musical adaptation of the Dr. Seuss book How the Grinch Stole Christmas!....  more
  • 15
    78
    42

    Mamma Mia!

    Björn Ulvaeus, Catherine Johnson

    CharactersRosie, Sophie, Harry Bright, Sam Carmichael, Bill Austin

    Mamma Mia! is a jukebox musical written by British playwright Catherine Johnson, based on the songs of ABBA, composed by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, former members of the band. The title of...  more
  • 16
    109
    81

    The Sound of Music

    Richard Rodgers, Russel Crouse

    CharactersFraulein Maria, Louisa von Trapp, Marta von Trapp, Gretl von Trapp, Kurt von Trapp

    The Sound of Music is a multiple Tony Award-winning musical by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II and a book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse. It is based on the memoir of Maria von...  more
  • 17
    50
    29

    Pinocchio

    Jerome Coopersmith, Mary Rodgers
  • 18
    65
    50

    Cats

    Richard Stilgoe, Andrew Lloyd Webber

    CharactersRum Tum Tugger, Jellylorum, Bombalurina, Old Deuteronomy, Bustopher Jones

    Cats is a musical composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber, based on Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot, and produced by Cameron Mackintosh. The musical tells the story of a tribe of cats...  more

    More Cats 

    Every Song in Cats, Ranked by Singability#4 of 87 The Most Popular Broadway Musicals of All Time

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    49
    36

    Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

    Richard M. Sherman, Robert B. Sherman
    Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is a stage musical based on the 1968 film produced by Albert R. Broccoli. The music and lyrics were written by Richard and Robert Sherman with book by Jeremy Sams....  more
  • 20
    47
    34

    The Secret Garden

    Marsha Norman, Lucy Simon

    CharactersMary Lennox, Colin Craven, Martha Sowerby, Dickon Sowerby, Ben Weatherstaff

    The Secret Garden is a musical based on the 1911 novel of the same name by Frances Hodgson Burnett. The musical's script and lyrics are by Marsha Norman, with music by Lucy Simon. It premiered on...  more
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    50
    40

    White Christmas

    Irvin Berlin, David Ives
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    50
    42

    Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

    Andrew Lloyd Webber, Tim Rice

    CharactersPotiphar, Potiphar's Wife, Joseph, Pharaoh, Reuben

    Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is a musical or operetta with lyrics by Tim Rice and music by Andrew Lloyd Webber. The story is based on the "coat of many colors" story of Joseph from...  more

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    #12 of 29 The Very Best Sung-Through Musicals#16 of 49 The Best Grammy-Nominated Musical Theater Albums of the 1980s

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    51
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    The Phantom of the Opera

    Charles Hart, Richard Stilgoe

    CharactersErik, Christine Daaé, Carlotta, Viscount Raoul de Chagny, Madame Giry

    The Phantom of the Opera is a musical with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Charles Hart. Richard Stilgoe and Lloyd Webber wrote the musical's book together. Stilgoe also provided...  more

    More The Phantom of the Opera 

    #4 of 66 The Best Tony Award Winning Musicals#2 of 33 The Best Broadway Musicals of the 80s

  • 24
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    Shrek the Musical

    Jeanine Tesori, David Lindsay-Abaire
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    43
    47

    Tarzan of the Apes

    David Henry Hwang, Phil Collins
    Tarzan of the Apes is a novel written by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the first in a series of books about the title character Tarzan. It was first published in the pulp magazine All-Story Magazine in...  more

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    #83 of 161 The Greatest American Novels#161 of 1,236 The Best Novels Ever Written

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