If you want to catch the wonderland that is Broadway…well, you don’t always have to go to the theater.
During this holiday season, four of the all-time hits are represented by snow globes on steroids. They are called “show globes,” featuring symbols of these iconic shows:
The Lion King
Ain’t Too Proud
Dear Evan Hansen
The globes, each large enough to hold several people (or a lion and a witch), are on display on Broadway Plaza, between 45th and 46th streets in Times Square.
The event is sponsored by, not surprisingly, the Times Square Alliance. It is celebrating the city’s return to action after the pandemic closed theaters and had dropped tourism to the area by as much as 90 percent.
So there, in one globe, now fast friends, are the Wicked Witch and the Good Witch. They are Elphaba—a name actually formed by the initials of the original author of The Wizard of Oz, who was L. Frank Baum—and Glinda. The two are wearing witch costumes and pose in front of the imaginary Land of Oz skyline.
In another of these bubbles, smiling, standing proud, are two singers from the Temptations, the singing group that inspired Ain’t Too Proud. These five fellows from Detroit took over the music world in the 1960s, surging to more than 40 hits that wound up in the top 10. Their music was combined with their movements, and finger-snapping and toe-tapping was inevitable when they were on stage.
It’s not much of a trip to Africa in the Show Globe setting—and, spear in hand, a warrior wearing a lion’s head stands poised, wielding a spear. The Lion King is based on the 1994 Disney film, but the musical springs to live with real people wearing fantastic costumes, alongside puppets.
The music is by Elton John, but the original story—of a young lion who returns to avenge his father’s death—may owe a bit of the story-line to Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
Near this African adventure there is an urban landscape for Dear Evan Hansen, the coming-of-age musical. Evan is a bullied teen-ager who seeks help. His therapist advises that the youngster write letters to himself, expressing his fears and longing.
The globes are the centerpiece of a revitalized Times Square—the local shops, restaurants and attractions are offering special deals. To capture one you may be interested in, log on to:
If you’re coming to Times Square now, it really does look like old times—the “bleachers” are back and that means you can rest your weary bones sitting on the benches that rise over the street, overlooking the Great White Way. And there are lines again for TKTS, which offers theater-goers discounted tickets, Broadway and off-Broadway, some as much as 50 percent off.
Of course, most of those non-New Yorkers in the area these days are visiting from the rest of the United States. Little by little, as the pandemic subsides, the now-familiar accents of folks from around the world will mingle with the sounds of New York. For now, you have a rare double-bill—the excitement of the Great White Way and room to actually make your way on it.