Flowers, candy, cards … these are the usual suspects come Mother’s Day and for good reason — what mom doesn’t appreciate a little floral love? But the same gift year after year can start to feel a little, well, boring. Mix it up by inviting Mom out for a night at the theater. This season, there is a bouquet of Broadway musicals and plays to choose from, including nostalgic visits with Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons and Carole King as well as bittersweet parent-child encounters in some of the theater’s most poignant plays. Here are our top picks for the best shows to see with Mom this year, perfect for cementing your status as favorite child.
This exuberant, long-running musical featuring the song catalogue of ABBA is the obvious choice for mom, not just for the title, but also for the mother-daughter plotline: A former pop singer encounters three former lovers on the eve of her daughter’s wedding on an exotic Greek island. Even if she’s seen the show or the 2008 film version starring Meryl Streep and Amanda Seyfried, Mom will get up and boogey to “Dancing Queen,” “Take a Chance” and “The Winner Takes It All.” Get tickets
Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
Mom will love the songs spanning from the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s in this bio-musical tracing Carole King’s journey from Top 40 songwriter to iconic performer. The hit-filled score includes her collaborations with husband Gerry Goffin (“Locomotion,” “Will You Love Me Tomorrow”) and her generation-defining solo efforts (“You’ve Got a Friend,” “I Feel the Earth Move”), as well as chart-toppers by her best friends Cynthia Weill and Barry Mann (“You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling,” “He’s Sure the Boy I Love”). Jessie Mueller embodies Carole and Liz Larsen makes a lasting impression as her mother, with whom King had a strong relationship. Get tickets
Mothers and Sons
Terrence McNally’s beautiful new play explores the connections between mothers and children, and offers a view of the new definition of family. Tyne Daly gives a shattering performance as Katherine, a Dallaswidow visiting Cal, the former lover of her son who died of AIDS 20 years ago. The result is sad, funny and moving all at the same time. Get tickets
The Bridges of Madison County
The best-selling novel comes to Broadway, featuring a breathtakingly emotional performance by Tony nominee Kelli O’Hara singing one of the most beautiful scores of the season. In the tender love story O’Hara stars as Francesca, a lonely housewife in 1960s Iowa homesick for her native Italy. On one fateful weekend while her husband Bud (Hunter Foster) and their two children are away at the state fair, she meet a handsome photographer (Steven Pasquale) and her life is never the same. Get tickets
Moms and daughters will bond over this tale of the witches of Oz in the pre-Dorothy era. The misunderstood Elphaba is a symbol of female empowerment for all ages as she learns to use her own special abilities and defy gravity. Get tickets
Mom will think she’s actually seeing Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons live at this Tony winning show that follows the band’s meteoric career. Hits like “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Walk Like a Man,” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” are recreated with eerie precision. Get tickets
A Raisin in the Sun
Lorraine Hansberry’s classic 1959 drama returns to Broadway in a highly praised production starring Denzel Washington and LaTanya Richardson Jackson as a son and mother struggling with racism and striving to realize the American Dream of owning their own home. This is also an iconic play about the evolution of the American family, as Jackson’s Lena comes to terms with a changing world and Washington’s Walter Lee overcomes his frustrations after a devastating financial loss. Get tickets
See our complete guide to Mother’s Day in New York City.