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Theater Shows for Church Groups


By Joan Marcus, courtesy “Phantom of the Opera”
Broadway’s menu of musicals ranges from safe to scandalous in content, which can make selecting the right show for a church group a difficult proposition for travel planners. If you’re planning travel for a youth group or travelers with conservative tastes, it helps to do your homework ahead of time.

To highlight some of the best bets for church groups, we asked Stephanie Lee, president of, to recommend shows that are safe for the whole family. Here are some of her picks:

Disney’s Shows
— The maker of classic family movies and television shows has a musical production arm that has created some of the most successful shows in recent times. Perhaps the most celebrated is “The Lion King,” which continues to play to capacity crowds on Broadway and has since the 1990s. Last year, Disney introduced “Newsies,” based on its beloved live-action film from 1992. The company’s upcoming production of “Aladdin” should be a great fit for church groups as well.

“Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella” — In 1957, television network CBS aired the first showing of “Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella,” a version of the classic fairy tale featuring music by the legendary composing duo. That version was revived and reproduced for television over the years and then opened as a Broadway show this January with a new script and other adaptations for the stage. The production received nine Tony nominations, including best musical revival.

“Annie” — After a six-year, record-setting run on Broadway after it opened in 1977, “Annie” has returned to the stage to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the original show. The production opened in the fall of 2012 and features all of the favorite songs and characters that made “Annie” a fixture in American storytelling. It has been nominated for the Tony for best musical revival.

“The Phantom of the Opera” — In 1988, “The Phantom of the Opera” opened on Broadway; in 2012 it celebrated its 10,000th Broadway performance. This show holds the record as the longest-running production on Broadway and shows no signs of slowing down. Although some of the production techniques may seem dated to modern audiences, the enduring and compelling story of love and music continues to resound with audiences.