It couldn’t be more of a blockbuster season on Broadway. Spring debuts some long-awaited shows offering fresh takes on movie fans’ favorites, whether it’s the New York premiere of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, adding an eighth installment to the beloved book series, or a musical adaptation of Tina Fey’s coming-of-age comedy Mean Girls.
Though the stories may be mostly familiar, neither dedicated theatergoers nor true fans will want to miss any of it — though scoring a ticket may be more of a challenge than usual.
We’ve rounded up the biggest shows, paired with some very similar productions without the brand names to see when you find out that getting your hands on those Frozen tickets may require some magic of your own.
If you can’t see Harry Potter, try Admissions
It’s been 11 years since the last Harry Potter book was published, but 19 have gone by in Cursed Child, which opens April 22.
You probably already know that, having rushed out to devour the script when it was published, to see how our spell-casting protagonists are coping with their pasts and how the fallout impacts their own young wizards.
However, seeing it will take some time. It’s hard enough to get one ticket to a hot show, but the play is split into two parts, and tickets sell out almost immediately each time they’re released.
However, you can watch a muggle parent wrestle the consequences of her actions in Admissions, which opens March 12. A mother faces a dilemma as she fights for a more racially equitable admissions policy at her (non-magical) school, and realizes that her crusade might lead to consequences that blow back on her own son.
If you can’t see Mean Girls, try The Boys in the Band
Yes, Mean Girls is going to bring all of your favorite one-liners to the stage, with a “fetch” score and all-new Queen Bees attached, with a script by Tina Fey who also wrote the movie. Choosing this one for girls’ night out is a sure bet — but if you’re looking for something that takes social climbing to the next level, throw some real shade with the queens of The Boys in the Band.
This snarky play, one of our earliest “gay plays” from the 1960s, isn’t actually a musical, so don’t let the name fool you. But the cast cachet more than makes up for it with Zachary Quinto, Andrew Rannells, Jim Parsons and Matt Bomer. It’s still on the horizon, opening May 31, but you’ll want to snag tickets to this one fast.
If you can’t see Frozen, try Flight
Disney’s latest animated feature officially joins The Lion King and Aladdin on Broadway on March 22. The film’s composers are back and have doubled the number of songs. The stage adaptation also delves deeper into the family dynamics between Elsa and Anna — if possible, with even more heart.
But it’s also one of today’s hottest tickets. If you like the themes but are willing to leave the fantasy behind, try Flight at the McKittrick Hotel (through April 8). Rather than Arendelle princesses, it follows poor immigrant brothers trying to make their way in a world that won’t accept differentness.
More visual art than theater, the show isolates participants in private viewing booths for a storytelling experience they aren’t likely to forget or replicate anytime soon.
If you can’t see Angels in America, try Children of a Lesser God
Tony Kushner’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play about the AIDS crisis Angels in America returns to the stage on March 25, at a time when its themes could not be more relevant, ranging from political activism to immigration and climate change.
But it’s also a tough ticket to get, especially since the show has been split into two parts for a total of 7.5 hours, with Nathan Lane and Andrew Garfield starring.
However, you can score tickets to Children of a Lesser God, which opens April 11. A much shorter revival, starring Joshua Jackson and Lauren Ridloff, it’s about a teacher and janitor who fall in love at a school for the deaf in the midst of controversy. It raises similar questions about how to love under scrutiny and with greater values at stake, especially when you have to fight to have your voices heard.