Spring 2019 Broadway Preview Guide: A Season of Theater Geniuses Making Their Broadway Debuts

It’s a thrill that Annette Bening, Paul Dano, Adam Driver, Santino Fontana, Ethan Hawke, Glenda Jackson, John Lithgow, Laurie Metcalfe and Kelli O’Hara are among the celebrated performers returning to Broadway. But it’s the Broadway newcomers that make the Spring 2019 Broadway season feel especially promising:  Three MacArthur “Genius” winning theater artists — Tarell Alvin McCraney (best known for the Oscar-winning movie “Moonlight”), Taylor Mac (The 24-Decade History of Popular Music) and  Dominique Morisseau (Skeleton Crew, Pipeline) — are all making their Broadway playwriting debuts, Morisseau as the book-writer for a new musical about the Temptations.  Songwriters Anaïs Mitchell  and Joe Iconis  are each debuting on Broadway with their fanatically beloved musicals (Hadestown and Be More Chill, respectively) which are transferring after Off-Broadway runs.

Some quick statistics:

Six revivals, four new plays, five new musicals;

Four Off-Broadway transfers;

At least four shows that are (arguably) political

Two new musical adaptations of memorably quirky movies;

One gender-bending Shakespearean tragedy

Below is the rundown on the 15 shows (so far) opening on Broadway from January to April, 2019, going chronologically by opening dates. Things are likely to change — additions, subtractions, rescheduling — in the weeks and months ahead. For updates, and to see the rest of the Broadway season, check out my Broadway 2018-2019 Season Guide

JANUARY

Choir Boy

MTC’s Samuel J. Friedman Theater
First preview: December 11
Opening January 10, 2019
Written by Tarell Alvin McCraney
Director: Trip Cullman
Cast: Jeremy Pope, Nicholas L.Ashe, J. Quinton Johnson et al
For half a century, the Charles R. Drew Prep School for Boys has been dedicated to the education of strong, ethical black men. Jeremy Pope reprises the role he had in the Off-Broadway production as a gay youth whose appointment as head of the school’s legendary gospel choir sparks tension.

 

True West

Roundabout’s American Airlines Theater
First preview: December 27, 2018
Opening January 24, 2019
Written by Sam Shepard
Director: James Macdonald
Ethan Hawke stars opposite Paul Dano in revival of clash between two brothers.

 

 

MARCH

Be More Chill

Lyceum
First preview: February 13
Opening night: March 10
Book by Joe Tracz based on the novel by Ned Vizzin
Music and lyrics by Joe Iconis
Director: Stephen Brackett
Transfer of the teenage cult musical about high school student  Jeremy Heere who sees himself as a loser but then swallows a pill containing a supercomputer and becomes cool — but at what cost?

My review of Be More Chill Off-Broadway

Kiss Me Kate

Studio 54
First Preview: February 14, 2019
Opening: March 14, 2019
Score by Cole Porter
Director: Scott Ellis
Cast: Kelli O’Hara

Aint Too Proud

Imperial Theater
First Preview: Feb 28, 2019
Opening Date: Mar 21, 2019
Book by Dominique Morisseau
Music by The Temptations
Director: Des McAnuff
Cast: Jeremy Pope as Eddie Kendricks, Ephraim Sykes as David Ruffin, etc.
This new musical helmed by the director of “Jersey Boys” follows The Temptations’ journey from the streets of Detroit to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

APRIL

King Lear

Cort
First Preview: Feb 28, 2019
Opening: Apr 04, 2019
Closing: Jul 07, 2019
Author: William Shakespeare
Director: Sam Gold
Cast: Glenda Jackson, Jayne Houdyshell, Elizabeth Marvel, Aisling O’Sullivan,John Douglas Thompson, Ruth Wilson, Sean Carvajal, Russell Harvard, Matthew Maher

Glenda Jackson takes on the Mount Olympus of roles for men.

Oklahoma!

Circle in the Square
First Preview: Mar 19, 2019
Opening: Apr 07, 2019
Closing: Sep 01, 2019
Authors: Book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II; Music by Richard Rodgers
Director: Daniel Fish
Cast: TBA

The sixth revival of the groundbreaking Rodgers and Hammerstein musical  about love and conflict in the territory just after the turn of the century. This one one the hip production transferring from St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn, where the golden haze is a bit dark and the corn not as high. (My review of the show at St. Ann’s)

Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus

Booth
First preview: March 5, 2019
Opening: April 11, 2019
Writer: Taylor Mac
Director: George C. Wolfe
Cast: Nathan Lane, Andrea Martin, Kristine Nielsen
Marking the Broadway debut of acclaimed theater artist Taylor Mac (A 24-Decade History of Popular Music, Hir.), “Gary” is set just after the blood-soaked conclusion of William Shakespeare’s first tragedy, Titus Andronicus. Civil war has ended and the country is in the hands of madmen. Casualties are everywhere; Lane and Martin portray two servants charged with cleaning up the corpses.  Kristine Nielsen is a midwife found among the casualties, near death.

 

Burn This

Hudson Theater
First Preview: Mar 15, 2019
Opening: Apr 16, 2019
Author: Lanford Wilson
Director: Michael Mayer
Cast: Adam Driver, Keri Russell, Brandon Uranowitz
A revival of Wilson’s 1987 play about four New Yorkers who are brought together after the accidental death of their friend, a young dancer.

 

Hadestown

Walter Kerr
First Preview Date: Mar 22, 2019
Opening: Apr 17, 2019
Author: Anais Mitchell
Director: Rachel Chavkin
Cast: TBD
Singer-songwriter Anaïs Mitchell’s musical, widely acclaimed at New York Theatre Workshop (my review), follows two intertwining love stories — that of young dreamers Orpheus and Eurydice, and that of king Hades and his wife Persephone — as it invites audiences on an epic journey to the underworld and back.

Hillary and Clinton

John Golden Theater
First Preview: March 16
Opening: April 18
Author: Lucas Hnath
Director:Joe Mantello
Cast: Laurie Metcalf, John Lithgow.
Behind closed doors in the state of New Hampshire during the early days of 2008, a former first lady named Hillary (Metcalf) is in a desperate bid to save her troubled campaign for President of the United States. Her husband, Bill (Lithgow), sees things one way; her campaign manager, Mark, sees things another way.

All My Sons

Roundabout’s American Airlines Theater
First Preview: April 4
Opening: April 22, 2019
Author: Arthur Miller
Director: Jack O’Brian
Cast: Annette Bening, Tracy Letts
A revival of Miller’s first hit. In the aftermath of WWII, the Keller family struggles to stay intact and to fight for their future when a long-hidden secret threatens to emerge, forcing them to reckon with greed and post-war disenchantment.

 

Tootsie

Marquis Theater
First Preview: March 29, 2019
Opening: April 23, 2019
Music and lyrics: David Yazbek
Director: Scott Ellis
Cast: Santino Fontana, John Behlman, Julie Halston, Lilli Cooper
A musical adaptation of the 1982 film about an out-of-work actor who assumes the role of a woman on a soap opera, and pretends to be a female actress.

Ink

MTC’s Samuel Friedman
First preview: April 2, 2019
Opening April 24, 2019
Writer: James Graham
Director: Rupert Goold
Cast: Bertie Carvel, Jonny Lee Miller
The rise of a brash, young Rupert Murdoch and the U.K.’s most influential newspaper publisher. Bertie Carvel reprises his Olivier Award-winning performance as Murdoch, opposite Jonny Lee Miller as Larry Lamb, the rogue editor who teamed with him to make over failing daily The Sun.

Beetlejuice

Winter Garden Theater
Opening night: April 25, 2019
Book by Scott Brown and Anthony King
Music and lyrics  by Eddie Perfect
Director: Alex Timbers

Based on the Tim Burton movie, which ells the story of Lydia Deetz, a teenager obsessed with the whole “being dead thing.” Lucky for Lydia, her new house is haunted by a recently deceased couple and a degenerate demon who happens to have a thing for stripes.

 

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Author: New York Theater

Jonathan Mandell is a 3rd generation NYC journalist, who sees shows, reads plays, writes reviews and sometimes talks with people.

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