What Broadway show you should get tickets for based on your favorite Thanksgiving food
Thanksgiving is already the perfect holiday for theatre fans — you get to start the day by watching a parade full of Broadway performances, and watching your family reminisce, chatter, and debate at the dinner table can be live entertainment in and of itself. But after all that, you might want to see a real Broadway show and don’t know where to start. We’ve got you!
We’ve paired each classic Thanksgiving food with a Broadway show to help you decide which show to see next. Or you can use this guide to help you buy theatre tickets for all the different people on your holiday shopping list, no matter what their taste!
Like turkey, Chicago is a classic. A staple. The one thing you know you can always count on when you’re filling your plate — or filling your New York itinerary. Chicago has been on Broadway for 25 years and shows no signs of stopping. And the plot, centered around a housewife that turns an alleged murder into her ticket to stardom, is full of intrigue, drama, and razzle dazzle. It’s meaty. It’s juicy. Just like the perfect Thanksgiving turkey.
Stuffing: Jagged Little Pill
Stuffing is true to its name. It fills you up, not with just bread, but a whole cornucopia of ingredients — some people even add berries, nuts, veggies, herbs, and more to their Thanksgiving stuffing. If that’s you, Jagged Little Pill is your ideal show. There are as many Grammy-winning songs in Jagged Little Pill as ingredients in homemade stuffing — the musical borrows its score from Alanis Morissette’s landmark 1995 album of the same name. Jagged Little Pill also tackles many modern social issues like mental health, addiction, race, and sexuality by way of the Healy family, whose members are each navigating one or more of these. All these ingredients come together for a musical stuffed with searing relevance.
Green beans: The Lehman Trilogy
The Lehman Trilogy, an epic chronicle of the rise and fall of the Lehman Brothers financial firm, is perfect for the Thanksgiving diner who reaches for the green beans first. Like green beans, The Lehman Trilogy might not be the kids’ favorite, but it’s full of healthy (read: entertaining) nutrients that keep you coming back for more.
Cranberry sauce: Diana: The Musical
There’s no better way to describe Princess Diana than with kindness and sweetness, as she remains known for her generous outreach to those in need. Sweetness, too, is exactly what you get with cranberry sauce. But it’s not all sweet — you also get a little tartness, and Diana has that, too. Diana is an endearing figure now, but she was put under an unforgiving media spotlight while she was alive. The musical shows her battling that bitterness to achieve a better, sweeter legacy.
Mashed potatoes: Girl From the North Country
Mashed potatoes are another staple, much like the music of Bob Dylan that forms the basis of Girl From the North Country (whose second act is actually set on Thanksgiving!). And like the musical, mashed potatoes are deceptively simple. Anyone who enjoys twists on a plain, classic mashed potato — like adding garlic, cheese, or herbs — will appreciate not only Dylan’s understated songs, but the complex vocal and instrumental arrangements they’ve been transformed into for the show’s rousing ensemble of singers.
Sweet potatoes: Come From Away
Sweet potatoes are warming and, well, sweet, made even more so as part of a casserole topped with toasted marshmallows or pecans. And like a sweet potato casserole, Come From Away will make you feel warm and at home. The Newfoundlanders are the epitome of sweetness, welcoming thousands of plane passengers into their town and housing and feeding them. The schoolteacher Beulah, for example, introduces the guests to fish au gratin — that is, fish and cheese. It’s an odd combo, much like sweet potato, marshmallow, and pecan, but oh-so-delicious.
Brussels sprouts: Aladdin
A lot of people discover the joy of Brussels sprouts when they’re older. Like with green beans, they may have disliked the vegetable as kids, but as adults, they learned how to roast them with just the right herbs and seasonings to bring out their innate, truly delicious flavor. If you can appreciate that kind of transformation, you’ll be enchanted by the story of Aladdin, a street urchin who transforms into an unmissable prince. Plus, if you loved the Aladdin Disney film as a child, you’ll be delighted to know that the musical has transformed the tale into a lavish spectacle that’s just as enthralling for adults.
Mashed turnip: Slave Play
Mashed turnip is an enigma. The first time you had it, you might have grabbed it thinking it’s mashed potato and were met with an unexpectedly sharp taste. Similarly, everything in Slave Play is not as it seems — the main setting, the MacGregor Plantation, is much more than that, but to reveal it all would spoil the show. And rather than being sweet, Slave Play is more akin to the savory, slightly bitter turnip, as the show takes an uncompromising look at race relations by way of interracial couples who have fallen out of love.
Dinner rolls: Ain’t Too Proud
If you always look forward to a comforting staple like dinner rolls, then what better show for you than Ain’t Too Proud, a show filled with classic music? You’ll hear all The Temptations’ greatest hits like “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg,” “My Girl,” and “Get Ready” as you watch how they became some of R&B and soul’s most influential pioneers and one of the most popular musical groups of all time. If warm, buttery dinner rolls don’t put your taste buds on “Cloud Nine,” then a night with the old-fashioned delight that is Ain’t Too Proud will put you there, too.
Tofurkey or turducken: David Byrne’s American Utopia
If you opt for a main dish like a tofurkey or a turducken rather than a traditional bird, you like the unconventional. And David Byrne’s American Utopia is unlike any other show on Broadway. The former Talking Heads frontman leads an 11-piece troupe in a theatrical concert of his recent songs and greatest hits. The sets and costumes are minimal, so Byrne and the company add personal anecdotes and pedestrian dancing to make American Utopia part concert, part storytelling experience.
Pumpkin pie: Waitress
There’s simply no other show that pairs better with pie than Waitress. If you like pumpkin pie — or apple, or pecan, or any other kind of pie — this is the show for you. The central character, Jenna, is a pie chef at a diner who comes up with plenty of recipes that will make your mouth water, if the smell of apple pie wafting from the onstage convection oven hasn’t done that already. Luckily, you can buy little mason jars of pie to eat right at the theatre.
No favorite: Company
If you like all Thanksgiving foods equally or you can’t pick, maybe food isn’t as important to you as the people you share it with. Company is all about friendships and relationships, the people you go through life with. And the show is framed around a birthday party, a celebratory gathering not unlike a Thanksgiving dinner. Likewise, if you don’t have a favorite food because you’re hosting the party, and cooking, cleaning, and dealing with bickering relatives is more frustrating than anything, you’ll still appreciate Company: The musical addresses people’s annoyances and shortcomings in relationships, too.