A Night Out on Times Square celebrates the musical variety on offer in Times Square. Our imaginary journey takes us to Broadway—new shows, revivals, and shows on tour—as well as clubs and cabarets. Here we sample a smorgasbord of musical genres—show tunes, pop and rap, jazz and folk. Of course, our selections are only the tip of the iceberg. If you would like to know more about our selections and their sources, we present a short guide for your information. The guide follows the order of the selections in our program.
Empire State of Mind
Music and Lyrics: Alicia Keys, Shawn Carter
Originally released in 2009, the song is about New York City. The title takes its name from Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind.” Keys released a second version of the song in 2010.
King of New York
Newsies: The Musical
Music: Alan Menken
Lyrics: Jack Feldman
Book: Harvey Fierstein
Broadway premiere: March 2012
Newsies was inspired by the true story of the Newsboys Strike of 1899 in New York City. When mega-publishers Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst raise distribution prices, Jack Kelly rallies his fellow newsies to strike.
All I Ask of You
Phantom of the Opera
Book and Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber
Lyrics: Charles Hart
Broadway premiere: January 1988
The longest-running show in Broadway history, Phantom of the Opera first opened on London’s West End in 1986. The brainchild of Andrew Lloyd Webber, Phantom is based on Gaston Leroux’s horror novel, which tells the story of the Phantom who haunts the stage of the Paris Opera and falls in love with a beautiful soprano.
Music: John Kander
Lyrics: Fred Ebb
Book: Fred Ebb, Bob Fosse
Broadway premiere: June 1975
In the 1920s, the press and public were riveted by the subject of homicides committed by women. Chicago, set in jazz-age Chicago, is based on a 1926 play by reporter and playwright Maurine Dallas Watkins, who covered the 1924 trials of two women accused of murder.
The musical is a satire on corruption in the administration of criminal justice and “celebrity criminals.” Following its first run on Broadway, Chicago was revived in 1996, and this production holds the record as the longest-running musical revival and the longest-running American musical in Broadway history.
I’m Not That Girl
Music and Lyrics: Stephen Schwartz
Book: Winnie Holzman
Broadway premiere: October 2003
Building on characters and settings from L. Frank Baum’s classic 1900 novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, Wicked is told from the perspective of two witches in the Land of Oz—Elphaba (the Wicked Witch of the West) and Glinda (the Good Witch). The story traces their complicated relationship—opposing personalities, viewpoints, and love for the same man—as well as their reactions to the Wizard’s corrupt government.
I Just Can’t Wait to Be King
The Lion King
Music: Elton John
Lyrics: Tim Rice
Book: Roger Allers, Irene Mecchi
Broadway premiere: October 1997
Based on the 1994 Walt Disney animated feature film, The Lion King tells the tale of young Simba who overcomes adversity to become king of the pride. The musical features actors in animal costumes and giant hollow puppets.
The Music Man
Music, Lyrics, Book: Meredith Wilson
Broadway premiere: December 1957
The Music Man, the story of “Professor” Harold Hill, a con artist selling musical Instruments and uniforms to unsuspecting Iowa country folk, is Meredith Wilson’s love letter to turn-of-the-century midwestern America. Premiering in 1957, it has rarely been out of production, and is, in fact, enjoying a rousing revival on Broadway this year.
Music and Lyrics: Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Robert Lopez
Book: Jennifer Lee
Broadway premiere: March 2018
Based on the 2013 film of the same name, Frozen centers on the relationship between two sisters who are princesses. Elsa has an uncontrollable power to freeze objects and people, and, after inheriting the throne, inadvertently causes the kingdom to become permanently frozen, nearly killing her sister, Anna. To save the day, Elsa must sacrifice and show true love.
Stupid with Love
Music: Jeff Richmond
Lyrics: Neal Benjamin
Book: Tina Fey
Broadway premiere: April 2018
A coming-of-age story, based on a book by Tina Fey, Mean Girls takes us through the minefield that is high school for just about everyone—cliques, thwarted love, power struggles, wholesale meanness, and, finally, reconciliation and acceptance.
Don’t Tell Mama Piano Bar Segment
A fixture on the New York club circuit since 1982, Don’t Tell Mama has played host to cabaret singers, Broadway stars, and lovers of show, pop, and folk music. The name of the club comes from a song from Kander and Ebb’s musical Cabaret: “Don’t Tell Mama.” In our show, we are using the piano bar setting to feature some of the singers and songwriters that we lost to COVID—Armando Manzanero, K.T. Oslin, Charley Pride, and John Prine.
Jagged Little Pill
Music: Alanis Morissette, Glen Ballard
Lyrics: Alanis Morissette
Book: Diablo Cody
Broadway premiere: December 2019
Inspired by Alanis Morissette’s 1995 album, Jagged Little Pill deals with pain, healing, and empowerment. Running on Broadway from December 2019 to December 2021, the show won two Tony awards, as well as the Grammy Award for best musical theater album.
Moulin Rouge! The Musical
Music and Lyrics: Various
Book: Josh Logan
Broadway premiere: June 2019
Based on the 2001 film Moulin Rouge, this jukebox musical is set in the Montmartre Quarter of Paris at the turn of the 20th century and tells the story of Christian, a young composer, who falls in love with Satine, the star of the Moulin Rouge. The score is a combination of original songs and popular music. “Nature Boy” was written in 1947 by eben ahbez and recorded by Nat King Cole in 1948. In “Chandelier,” written by Australian songwriter Sia in 2014, Christian, distraught over his separation from Satine, vows to get drunk on absinthe, forget everything, and “swing from the chandelier.” The musical won the Tony for Best Musical in 2019.
The Schuyler Sisters
Hamilton: An American Musical
Music, Lyrics, Book: Lin-Manuel Miranda
Broadway premiere: February 2015
Hamilton tells the story of American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton. The show’s score draws from hip-hop, R&B, pop, soul, rap, and traditional style show tunes, and casts non-white actors. Miranda described Hamilton as being about “American then, as told by America now.” Hamilton opened on Broadway in August 2015 and took home 11 awards, including Best Musical, at the 70th Tony Awards. “Burn,” sung by Eliza, Hamilton’s wife, is her response to the revelation about Hamilton’s extramarital affair and the heartbreak and public humiliation that drive her to burn his love letters to her. “The Schuyler Sisters” introduces Angelica, Eliza, and Peggy who are excited to be in a new age “amidst the powder keg of the early days of the revolution.”
Welcome to the Rock
Me and the Sky
Come from Away
Music, Lyrics, Book: Irene Sankoff, David Hein
Broadway premiere: March 2017
Set in a small town in Newfoundland during the week following the September 11 attack, Come from Away tells the true story of what happened when 38 planes were ordered to land unexpectedly at Gander International Airport. The characters in the musical are based on real Gander residents and some of the stranded travelers they housed and fed. “Me and the Sky” is based on the experience of Beverly Bass, the first female captain for American Airlines, who was forced to land in Gander during the September 11 attacks. Come from Away is the longest-running Canadian musical on Broadway.
You and Me (But Mostly Me)
The Book of Mormon
Music, Lyrics, Book: Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, Matt Stone
Broadway premiere: March 2011
A satirical examination of the beliefs and practices of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the musical traces the adventure of two missionaries as they attempt to preach the faith of the Church to the inhabitants of a remote Ugandan village. Written by the creators of South Park, the musical ultimately endorses the power of love and service.
What’s Love Got to Do with It
Tina Turner: The Musical
Music and Lyrics: Various
Book: Katori Hall
Broadway premiere: November 2019
A jukebox musical featuring the songs of Tina Turner, this musical depicts her life from her humble beginnings in Tennessee to her transformation into a rock and roll star. “What’s Love Got to Do with It?” was composed by Terry Britten and Graham Lyle.
Birdland Jazz Club Segment
The famous Birdland jazz club opened its doors in 1949 on Broadway and West 52nd Street—the heart of Manhattan’s theatre district. Home to some of the greatest names in bebop, the club was named after famed sax player Charlie “Yardbird” Parker. Other star attractions included trumpeters “Maxie” Kaminsky and Miles Davis, drummer Art Blakey, and saxophonists Cannonball Adderley and John Coltrane. “Birdland,” with music by Josef Erich Zawinul and lyrics by Jon Hendricks, was written in 1977. Zawinul, an Austrian jazz keyboardist, was one of the creators of jazz fusion, a musical genre that combined jazz with rock. “Nocturne for the Blues (Harlem Nocturne)” is a jazz standard from 1939, with music by Earle Hagen and lyrics by Dick Rogers.
The Music That Makes Me Dance
Music: Jule Styne
Lyrics: Bob Merrill
Book: Isobel Lennert
Broadway premiere: March 1964
Based loosely on the life and career of Broadway star, film actress, and comedian Fanny Brice, Funny Girl charts Brice’s rise to fame and the rocky relationship between her and entrepreneur and gambler Nick Arnstein. The show’s producer, Ray Stark, was Brice’s son-in-law via his marriage to her daughter Frances. A showcase for Barbra Streisand, Funny Girl was revived in April 2022, with a new book by Harvey Fierstein.
Music, Lyrics, Book: Anaïs Mitchell
Broadway premiere: March 2019
The Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, celebrating the power of music, has inspired composers from Monteverdi, to Glück to Offenbach. Hadestown offers a modern twist to the myth. Eurydice, attempting to escape poverty induced by climate change, goes to a hellish industrial underworld. Her lover, Orpheus, a poor singer-songwriter, comes to rescue her and to show others how to escape. Like the myth, Hadestown does not have a happy ending. But, as Hermes sings at the end: “Someone’s got to tell the tale, whether or not it turns out well.”
Make You Feel My Love
Girl from the North Country
Music and Lyrics: Bob Dylan
Book: Conor McPherson
Broadway premiere: March 2020
Using Bob Dylan’s songs as background and dramatic color, Conor McPherson’s script highlights small-town middle American life in the depths of the Great Depression, embodied by the drifters and fugitives who end up in a boarding house in Duluth, Minnesota.
You Could Drive a Person Crazy
Music and Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim
Book: George Furth
Broadway premiere: April 1970
Among the first book musicals to deal with contemporary dating, marriage, and divorce, Company tells the story of Bobby, a perpetually single man living in New York City, who seeks advice from and shares bachelor stories with his married friends who want him to “grow up” and get married. In a revival of Company in London in 2018, the character of Bobby was changed to Bobbie, a female role, with Sondheim’s approval. The West End production moved to Broadway in 2020 and was slated to open on Sondheim’s 90th birthday. However, the production came to a halt due to the coronavirus pandemic. The revival finally opened in December 2021.
Music: Matthew Sklar
Lyrics: Chad Beguelin
Book: Chad Beguelin, Bob Martin
Broadway premiere: November 2018
Four Broadway actors, down on their luck and looking for a cause, travel to the conservative town of Edgewater, Indiana, to help a lesbian student banned from bringing her girlfriend to the high school prom. With the help of like-minded students, the school puts on a more inclusive prom, including both LGBTQIA+ and straight couples.
She Used to Be Mine
Music and Lyrics: Sara Bareilles
Book: Jessie Nelson (adapted from the book by Adrienne Shelly)
Broadway premiere: September 2016
Based on the 2007 film of the same name, Waitress tells the story of Jenna, a baker and waitress in an abusive relationship with her husband. Unexpectedly pregnant, she begins an affair with her doctor. She sees a pie baking contest and its grand prize as a way out of her troubles. Waitress made history on Broadway with the top creative spots filled by women—composer and lyricist Sara Bareilles, Jessie Nelson as book adaptor, Diane Paulus as director, and Lorin Latarro as choreographer.
What Becomes of the Brokenhearted
Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations
Music and Lyrics: The Temptations
Book: Dominique Morisseau
Broadway premiere: March 2019
This jukebox musical is based on the story and music of The Temptations—an American vocal group from Detroit, who released a series of successful singles and albums during the 1960s and 1970s. The Temptations and are among the most successful groups in popular music.
SIX: The Musical
Lyrics, Music, Book: Toby Marlow, Lucy Moss
Broadway premiere: October 2021
A British import, SIX is a modern re-telling of the lives of the six wives of Henry VIII, presented as a pop concert. The six Queens take turns singing and telling their story to see who suffered the most with Henry, and who should therefore become the group’s lead singer. SIX started life at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2017, a presentation by Cambridge University students, followed by professional productions on London’s West End, Broadway, and internationally. SIX was the first new musical to open on Broadway since the beginning of the pandemic.
You Will Be Found
Dear Evan Hansen
Music and Lyrics: Benj Pasek, Justin Paul
Broadway premiere: November 2018
Evan Hansen, a high school senior suffering with social anxiety, is assigned by his therapist to write letters to himself. One of his letters is mistakenly made public, inadvertently leading to the suicide of a fellow student. Evan invents an important role for himself in the tragedy, which leads to unhappiness and disruption in the community. After confessing to his role, Evan mentally writes himself one last letter, taking responsibility for the impact he has had on his community. Dear Evan Hansen had its world premiere at Arena Stage in Washington, DC, before moving to Broadway in 2018. At the 71st Tony Awards, it won six awards, including Best Musical, Best Book, and Best Score.