Here are 13 must-see shows featuring some of NYC’s hottest dancers and choreography. Check each show’s website for ticket information.
BILLY ELLIOT THE MUSICAL
Synopsis: Billy Elliot is the son of a poor English coal miner who is embroiled in the union strike of 1984. When Billy accidentally stumbles into a ballet class full of girls, instead of his usual boxing class, his life is changed forever.
Showstopper: “Express Yourself”
Dance skills needed: Billy almost never leaves the stage and performs difficult tap and ballet numbers. (He also sings and acts with a Geordie accent!) The other young performers in the show (the fabulous ballet girls and Billy’s best friend) are also triple threats. —Kate Lydon
Synopsis: Roxie Hart commits murder, skyrocketing her to front-page fame in 1920s Chicago—but only until the next leading lady comes along.
Showstopper: “All That Jazz”
Dance skills needed: Stretch out for splits, jetés and battements. Work on your attitude and other basic turns, and brush up on your knowledge of Fosse style. —Brianne Carlon
IN THE HEIGHTS
Synopsis: When one of the Heights residents wins $96,000 in the lottery, the tight-knit Washington Heights community is turned upside down. As some dream of the type of life money can buy, others are comforted by their niche in northern Manhattan.
Dance skills needed: Andy Blankenbuehler choreographed this Latin-infused, hip-hop musical, so you’ll need fast feet, smooth-moving hips and the ability to get down with your hip-hop self—while singing, of course. —Alison Feller
THE LION KING
Synopsis: Based on the 1994 Disney film, The Lion King follows Simba and his pals on a journey through the African jungle. With lavish sets, elaborate costumes and powerhouse musical numbers, it’s no wonder the show has become a Broadway staple.
Showstopper: “Circle of Life”
Dance skills needed: Tons of energy! The choreography is African dance based, so be prepared to do a lot of jumping. —Alison
THE LITTLE MERMAID
Synopsis: Watch Princess Ariel glide around the stage (until she gets her legs, of course!) to win Prince Eric’s heart!
Showstopper: “Under the Sea”
Dance skills needed: Brush up on your roller-skate, tap and theater-jazz skills. —Lauren Levinson
Synopsis: Sophie has 24 hours before her wedding to figure out which of the three men from her mother’s past is her father.
Showstopper: The finale!
Dance Skills Needed: Everyone needs to perform pirouettes and partnering; stylized jazz for girls and toe touches for boys earn extra points. —Brianne
Synopsis: This timeless Disney movie flies to the stage with practically perfect nanny Mary Poppins helping the Banks household remember how to smile. With eye-popping sets, candy-colored costumes, jubilant choreography and the sounds of favorite tunes, this classic serves up fun with a spoonful of sugar.
Showstopper: “Step in Time”
Dance Skills Needed: Dancers need to do it all: ballet, tap, modern, jazz and musical theater. —Lauren Kay
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
Synopsis: The longest-running Broadway musical, The Phantom of the Opera follows Christine Daaé’s guidance by her “angel of music”—a disfigured musical mastermind, known to the actors as the “Phantom of the Opera,” who falls (obsessively) in love with her.
Dance skills needed: You’ve got to feel comfortable dancing both on pointe and in heels. A good voice is a plus. —Monica Levy
Synopsis: The revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classic musical, based on excerpts from James Michener’s 1948 novel Tales of the South Pacific, depicts the racially tinged struggles of Americans stationed in the South Pacific during World War II.
Showstopper: “There Is Nothin’ Like a Dame”
Dance Skills Needed: Tap training is required for most of the men and several of the women, and one of the girls has a brief stint on pointe. —Margaret Fuhrer
WEST SIDE STORY
Synopsis: The violent gang rivalry between NYC’s Upper West Side Jets and the Puerto Rican Sharks escalates when Tony, a Jet, falls in love with Maria, a Shark.
Showstopper: “Dance at the Gym”
Dance skills needed: Excellent technique and control are required to pull off Jerome Robbins’ classic jazz choreography. Think lots of quick turns, high jumps and, of course, the trademark finger-snapping tuck jumps. —Alison
Synopsis: In this musical prequel to The Wizard of Oz, we meet Glinda the Good Witch and the Wicked Witch of the West long before the days of Dorothy.
Showstopper: “Dancing Through Life”
Dance skills needed: Modern, ballet and partnering skills will help you get through this high-energy show. Choreography includes plenty of flipping, turning and twisting. —Alison
Synopsis: The cast of five guys portrays a Christian boy band, complete with *NSYNC-infused choreography and smooth harmonies.
Showstopper: “Number 918”
Dance skills needed: Brush up on your boy-band skills, like precise arm movements, head bobbing and lots of jumping. Perfecting your comedic timing wouldn’t hurt either! —Monica
Synopsis: There’s no talking or singing in this show, but you can still expect a whole lotta noise. The dancers in Stomp make music (and fun!) with pipes, plungers, buckets and brooms—plus a handful of humor and audience participation.
Showstopper: It’s all rhythmically genius!
Dance skills needed: An excellent sense of rhythm and the ability to multitask. Think stomping, clapping, drumming and beat-boxing at the same time. —Alison