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Broadway 2017-2018 Preview Guide

 

Harry Potter, Olaf the snowman and Spongebob Squarepants all plan to perform on Broadway this season, as will Michael Moore, Mark Rylance and Elizabeth McGovern; new plays by Ayad Akhtar and Tracy Letts; and revivals of My Fair Lady, M. Butterfly, and Carousel.

Below is a list of Broadway shows that have nailed down their opening dates and/or theaters for the 2017-2018 season. This list, which is organized chronologically by opening date, will be updated periodically, because the schedule is sure to change – shows will be added, especialy in the Spring; some will drop out; opening dates will be delayed or moved up. If theater is evanescent, this list is even more so.

 

JUNE

1984

Theater: Hudson
Author: Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan
Director: Robert Icke
First Preview: May 18, 2017
Opening: June 22, 2017
Cast: Reed Birney, Tom Sturridge, and Olivia Wilde
Website:
Twitter feed: @RevisedTruth
Stage adaptation of George Orwell’s classic dystopian novel

Marvin’s Room

Theater: American Airlines
Author:  Scott McPherson.
Directors: Anne Kauffman, Whitney White.
First Preview: June 8
Opening: June 29
Cast: Janeane Garofalo, Lili Taylor, Celia Weston
Website
Twitter feed: @RTC_NYC 

The play by Scott McPherson (who died in 1992 at age 33) that was turned into the 1997 star-studded film. “Estranged sisters Lee and Bessie have never seen eye to eye. Lee is a single mother who’s been busy raising her troubled teenage son, Hank. Bessie’s got her hands full with their elderly father and his soap opera-obsessed sister. When Bessie is diagnosed with leukemia, the two women reunite for the first time in 18 years.”

 

 

AUGUST

The Terms of My Surrender

Theater: Belasco

Author: Michael Moore

Directors:  Michael Mayer and Noah Racey

First Preview: July 28

Opening: August 10

Cast: Michael Moore

Website

Twitter feed: @MooreBroadway

Michael Moore makes his Broadway debut in what promises to be a stand-up routine to take down Trump.

 

Prince of Broadway

 

Theater: Samuel J. Friedman

Author: David Thompson

Directors: Harold Prince and Susan Stroman

First Preview: August 3

Opening: August 24

Cast:

Website

Twitter feed: @MTC_NYC 

A look at the career of director and producer Harold Prince through musical numbers from shows he helmed, including West Side Story, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Fiddler on the Roof, Cabaret, Evita, Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd, The Phantom of the Opera.

 

 

OCTOBER

 

Time and the Conways

 

Theater: American Airlines

Author: J. B. Priestley

Director: Rebecca Taichman

First Preview: September 14

Opening: October 10

Cast: Elizabeth McGovern

Website

Twitter feed: @RTC_NYC

A revival of a play that was last on Broadway in 1938. Elizabeth McGovern will play Mrs. Conway, who in 1919 Britain, is full of hope at her daughter’s lavish 21st birthday celebration. Jump 19 years ahead, and the Conways’ lives have transformed unimaginably

 

M. Butterfly

Theater: TBA

Author: David Henry Hwang

Director: Julie Taymor

Opening: October 26

Cast: Clive Owen

Website

Twitter feed:

Owen will play a married French diplomat in China who carries on a 20-year affair with a mysterious Chinese opera singer—all without realizing that the singer is a man. Producers said the author will introduce “new material inspired by the real-life love affair between French diplomat Bernard Boursicot and Chinese opera singer Shi Pei Pu that has come to light since the play’s 1988 premiere.”

 

NOVEMBER

 

Junk

Theater: Vivian Beaumont

Author: Ayad Akhtar

Director: Doug Hughes

First Preview: October 5

Opening: November 2

Cast: Steven Pasquale

Website

Twitter feed: @LCTheater

 

From the Pulitzer winning author of Disgraced. Set over 30 years ago, “Junk” – as in “junk bonds” — is a play about “how money became the only thing of real value.”

 

The Band’s Visit

Theater: Ethel Barrymore

Authors: Itamar Moses, book; David Yazbek, songs.

Director: David Cromer

First Preview: October 7

Opening: November 9

Cast: TBA

Website

Twitter feed: @TheBandsVisit

The widely acclaimed Off-Broadway musical moves to Broadway! Based on the 2007 independent film, it follows an Egyptian police band that arrives in the wrong town Israel to play a concert.

My review when it was Off-Broadway.

 

 

DECEMBER

 

Once on this Island

Theater: Circle in the Square

Authors: Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty

Director: Michael Arden,

First Preview: November 9

Opening: December 3

Cast:

Website

Twitter feed: @OnceIslandBway 

A revival of the musical about Ti Moune, a fearless peasant girl who falls in love with a wealthy boy from the other side of the Caribbean island. When their divided cultures threaten to keep them apart, Ti Moune, guided by the island gods, sets out on a remarkable quest to reunite with the man who has captured her heart.

 

 

Spongebob Squarepants

Theater: Palace

Author: Kyle Jarrow and Tina Landau

Director: Tina Landau

First Preview: November 6

Opening: December 4

Cast:

Website

Twitter feed: @SpongeBobBway

New musical based on the hit Nickelodeon cartoon series

The score features original songs from a mix of classic and contemporary artists, including Cyndi Lauper, Sara Bareilles, John Legend, Panic! at the Disco, and the late David Bowie.

 

The Children

Theater: Samuel J. Friedman

Author: Lucy Kirkwood

Director: James Macdonald

First Preview: November 28

Opening: December 14

Cast: Francesca Annis, Ron Cook, Deborah Findlay

Website

Twitter feed: @MTC_NYC

In a remote cottage on the lonely British coast, a couple of retired nuclear engineers are living a very quiet life. Outside, the world is in utter chaos following a devastating series of events. When an old friend turns up at their door, they’re shocked to discover the real reason for her visit.

 

Farinelli and the King

Theater: Belasco

Author:  Claire van Kampen

Director: John Dove

First Preview: December 5

Opening: December 17

Cast: Mark Rylance

Website

Twitter feed: @FarinelliBway

 

Mark Rylance plays King Philippe of Spain who is entranced by Farinelli, one of the greatest celebrities of his time – a castrato “with a voice so divine it has the power to captivate all who hear it.”

 

 

MARCH

 

The Minutes

Theater: TBA

Author: Tracy Letts

Director: Anna D. Shapiro

First Preview: February 6, 2018

Opening: March 8, 2018

Cast:

Website

Twitter feed:

“A town’s proud history, the legend of a local hero, the coveted privilege of reserved parking: nothing is sacred during the town council meeting at the heart of Tracy Letts’ new play.”

 

Escape to Margaritaville

Theater: Marquis

Authors: Greg Garcia and Mike O’Malley

Director: Christopher Ashley

First Preview: February 16

Opening: March 15

Cast: Paul Alexander Nolan, Alison Luff as Rachel and Lisa Howard

Website

Twitter feed: @buffettmusical 

 

 

APRIL

 

My Fair Lady

 

Theater: Vivian Beaumont

Authors: Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe

Director: Bartlett Sher.

First Preview: March 22

Opening: April 19

Cast: TBA

Website

Twitter feed: @LCTheater

 

 

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Theater: Lyric

Author: Jack Thorne

Director: John Tiffany.

First Preview:

Opening: April 22

Cast: TBA

Website

Twitter feed: @HPPlayNYC

 

 

A play written by Jack Thorne based on an original story by him, directory John Tiffany and Harry Potter novelist J.K. Rowling “While an adult Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. “

 

Sometime in Spring

 

Carousel

Theater: TBA

Author: Rodgers and Hammerstein

Director: Jack O’Brien

First Preview: March 23, 2018

Opening: TBA

Cast: Jessie Mueller, Joshua Henry, Renee Fleming

Website

Twitter feed:

 

Frozen

Theater: St. James Theater

Author: Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Robert Lopez, Jennifer Lee

Director: Michael Grandage

First Preview: TBA

Opening: TBA

Cast:  Caissie Levy (Elsa), Patti Murin (Anna), Jelani Alladin (Kristoff), Greg Hildreth (Olaf), John Riddle (Hans) and Robert Creighton (Duke of Weselton)

Website

Twitter feed: @FrozenBroadway

 

Check out last season’s Broadway guide

Broadway 2016-2017

Also:

What Broadway Shows Should I See? Top 10 Suggestions.

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Monsoon Wedding Musical: Broadway Bound at Berkeley Rep

Mira Nair, the filmmaker of such celebrated movies as Salaam Bombay and Mississippi Masala, is directing a musical adaptation of her 2001 film Monsoon Wedding that is currently on stage at the Berkeley Repertory Theater, with plans to move to Broadway.

Let’s hope it does.

The story of the many family members who converge on Delhi for an arranged marriage is lively, colorful, and tuneful. It also has something to say – about the bridging of cultures, about the effects on individual families of globalization, but mostly about love in its many forms. It would also be the first musical on Broadway since Bombay Dreams (which ran for about nine months in 2004) to feature a South Asian cast, characters, and story.

Many stories, really. If some of the subplots from the movie have been shorn from the musical, Monsoon Wedding is still an extravagantly woven tapestry whose central thread is the wedding of Hemant (the golden voiced baritone Michael Maliakel), who is from New Jersey, and Aditi (a lovely Kuhoo Verma), the only daughter of a privileged Indian family that has seen better days. Hemant and Aditi have never met – and, we learn soon enough, Aditi already is involved with a husband…which is to say, she is having an affair with a married man. There are plenty of other complications.

If the story may need some further streamlining and some of the lyrics rethinking before a New York run, the work of the creative team — especially the exciting choreography by Lorin Latarro (“Waitress,” “American Idiot”) the bright, enchanting costumes by Arjun Bhasin, and the pulsating, eclectic score by Vishal Bhardwaj — meld Broadway-level entertainment with what feels like an authentic glimpse into present-day Indian culture. The musical is full of delightful little moments – such as when the father of the bride, Jaaved Jaaferi (Lalit Verma) sings “You will learn to love each other just as I learned to love your mother” – with the music is full-out swing-era jazz, and Jaaferi… letting loose.

Monsoon Wedding
Book by Sabrina Dhawan
Music by Vishal Bhardwaj
Lyrics by Susan Birkenhead
Directed by Mira Nair
Scenic design by Mikiko Suzuki MacAdams, costume design by Arjun Bhasin, lighting design by Donald Holder, sound design by Scott Lehrer, projection design by Peter Nigrini, music supervision by Carmel Dean, music direction by Greg Kenna, and choreography by Lorin Latarro

Cast: Bissell (Shashi Chawla), Meetu Chilana (Grandmother), Emielyn D. Das (Aliya Chawla), Namit Das (PK Dubey), Sharvari Deshpande (Ria Verma), Palomi Ghosh (Vijaya/Naani), Rohan Gupta (Varun Verma), Jaaved Jaaferi (Lalit Verma), Dani Jazzar (Swing), Mahira Kakkar (Pimmi Verma), Namita Kapoor (Swing), Krystal Kiran (Saroj Rai), Michael Maliakel (Hemant Rai), Ali Momen (Vikram/Congress), Anisha Nagarajan (Alice), Andrew Prashad (Mohan Rai/Tameesuddin), Alok Tewari (Tej), Levin Valayil (Lottery), Kuhoo Verma (Aditi Verma), and Sorab Wadia (Cl Chawla)

Monsoon Wedding is on stage at Berkeley Repertory Theater through July 16, 2017.

Photographs by Kevin Berne

Roman Holiday: Broadway Try-out in San Francisco

“Roman Holiday,” a musical running briefly at San Francisco’s Golden Theater in a traditional pre-Broadway tryout, grafts more than a dozen songs by Cole Porter onto the 1953 movie that turned Audrey Hepburn into a star. It is the story of a young princess of an unnamed country who plays hooky in Rome for 24 hours with a man who she doesn’t know is a newspaperman (Gregory Peck in the movie.) He recognizes her, and with the aid of his photographer, is planning to turn her foray into a scoop.

The musical has added two characters to the movie. Francesca (portrayed with old-fashioned seductive verve by Sara Chase) is the Italian girlfriend of the photographer, Irving (Jarrod Spector, best-known for his Tony-nominated performance in Beautiful.) Francesca is a chanteuse, which is how the show shoehorns Porter hits “Night and Day,” “Begin the Beguine” and “You Do Something For Me.” The other character, the Countess, is Princess Anne’s dotty aunt, and she may well exist simply so that the hilarious Georgia Engel could be added to the cast.

Co-producer Paul Blake and director Marc Bruni are the same team behind “Beautiful: The Carol King Musical,” which also had a Broadway try-out in San Francisco.

In my review of Beautiful when it opened on Broadway in 2014, I wrote that “the story serves as an efficient delivery system for Carole King’s surprisingly diverse hits – not much more, nothing less,” but that the cast was its secret weapon.

It’s tempting to call “Roman Holiday” an inefficient delivery system for Cole Porter’s hits. There’s less rationale for its existence. Broadway is not exactly unexplored territory for the witty and elegant composer, and Porter’s lyrics don’t quite fit the plot. But in the spirit of try-out, I’ll root for the show, which is designed by top Broadway talent, including costume designer Catherine Zuber (who delights in War Paint — especially those hats!) and set designer Todd Rosenthal (whose sets for August Osage County and The M-f with the Hat were so impressive) – although he might want to rethink the animated projection of a little cartoon scooter traveling the map of Rome, a poor substitute for the travelogue that was the movie.

I wish I could say something like: The musical’s leads are so good they nearly erase the memory of Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn in the movie. But all I can say is that Drew Gehling (who played the hot doctor in Waitress) as Joe the newspaperman and Stephanie Styles as Princess Anne are attractive performers with lovely voices.

“Roman Holiday” is on stage at San Francisco’s Golden Gate Theater through June 18, 2017. 

Photographs by Joan Marcus

2017 Tony Award Winners: Dear Evan Hansen, Oslo, Jitney, Hello Dolly

 

 

“Dear Evan Hansen” won best musical and five other awards at the 71st annual Tony Awards, the most of any show. “Oslo” won best play, “Jitney” best play revival, “Hello, Dolly!” best musical revival.

Below is the complete list of the winners of the 2017 Tony Awards, listed in red with an asterisk*

(Highlighted show titles link to further information. Also listed are my personal preferences — not predictions — as well as the results of a survey in which I asked you to pick your personal preferences — not predictions — in 15 of the 24 categories.)

Best Musical

Nominated:

Dear Evan Hansen
Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812
Groundhog Day
Come From Away

My preference: Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812

Your preference: Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 and Dear Evan Hansen (a tie)

*Winner: Dear Evan Hansen

Best Play

Nominated:

A Doll’s House, Part 2
Indecent
Oslo

Sweat

 

My preference: Sweat

Your preference: A Doll’s House Part 2

*Winner: Oslo 

Best Revival of a Musical

Nominated:

Hello, Dolly!
Falsettos
Miss Saigon

My preference: Hello, Dolly!

Your preference: Hello, Dolly!

 

*Winner: Hello, Dolly!

Best Revival of a Play

Nominated:

Jitney
Present Laughter
Six Degrees of Separation
The Little Foxes

My preference: Jitney

Your preference: Jitney

*Winner: Jitney

Best Book of a Musical

Come From Away
Irene Sankoff and David Hein

Dear Evan Hansen
Steven Levenson

Groundhog Day The Musical
Danny Rubin

Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Dave Malloy

My preference: Steven Levenson, Dear Evan Hansen

 

*Winner: Steven Levenson, Dear Evan Hansen

Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics)
written for the Theatre

Come From Away
Music & Lyrics: Irene Sankoff and David Hein

Dear Evan Hansen
Music & Lyrics: Benj Pasek & Justin Paul

Groundhog Day The Musical
Music & Lyrics: Tim Minchin

Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Music & Lyrics: Dave Malloy

My preference: Dave Malloy, Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812

*Winner: Benj Pasek & Justin Paul Dear Evan Hansen

Best Lead Actress in a Musical

Nominated:
Denee Benton, Great Comet
Christine Ebersole, War Paint
Patti LuPone, War Paint
Bette Midler, Hello Dolly
Eva Noblezada, Miss Saigon

My preference: Patti LuPone, War Paint

Your preference: Bette Midler, Hello, Dolly

*Winner Bette Midler, Hello, Dolly

Best Lead Actor in a Musical

Nominated:

Christian Borle, Falsettos
Josh Groban, Great Comet
David Hyde Pierce, Hello Dolly!
Andy Karl, Groundhog Day
Ben Platt, Dear Evan Hansen

My preference: Ben Platt, Dear Evan Hansen

Your preference: Ben Platt, Dear Evan Hansen

 

*Winner:  Ben Platt, Dear Evan Hansen

Best Lead Actress in a Play

Nominated:

Cate Blanchett, The Present
Jennifer Ehle, Oslo
Sally Field, The Glass Menagerie
Laura Linney, The Little Foxes
Laurie Metcalf, A Doll’s House, Part 2

My preference: Laura Linney, The Little Foxes

Your preference: Laurie Metcalf, A Doll’s House, Part 2

*Winner: Laurie Metcalf, A Doll’s House, Part 2

Best Lead Actor in a Play

Nominated:

Denis Arndt, Heisenberg
Chris Cooper, A Doll’s House Part 2
Corey Hawkins, Six Degrees of Separation
Kevin Kline, Present Laughter
Jefferson Mays, Oslo

My preference: Jefferson Mays, Oslo

Your preference: Kevin Kline, Present Laughter

*Winner:  Kevin Kline, Present Laughter

Best Featured Actress in a Musical

Nominated:

Kate Baldwin, Hello Dolly
Rachel Bay Jones, Dear Evan Hansen
Stephanie J. Block, Falsettos
Jenn Colella, Come From Away
Mary Beth Peil, Anastasia

My preferences: Rachel Bay Jones, Dear Evan Hansen and Mary Beth Peil, Anastasia

 

Your preference: Rachel Bay Jones, Dear Evan Hansen

*Winner: Rachel Bay Jones, Dear Evan Hansen

Best Featured Actor in a Musical

Nominated:

Gavin Creel, Hello Dolly
Mike Faist, Dear Evan Hansen
Andrew Rannells, Falsettos
Lucas Steele, Great Comet
Brandon Uranowitz, Falsettos

My preference: Mike Faist, Dear Evan Hansen

Your preference: Lucas Steele, Great Comet

*Winner: Gavin Creel, Hello Dolly

Best Featured Actress in a Play

Johanna Day, Sweat
Jayne Houdyshell, A Dolls House Part 2
Cynthia Nixon, The Little Foxes
Condola Rashad, A Dolls House Part 2
Michelle Wilson, Sweat

My preference: Jayne Houdyshell, A Dolls House Part 2

Your preference: Cynthia Nixon, The Little Foxes

*Winner: Cynthia Nixon, The Little Foxes

Best Featured Actor in a Play

Nominated:

Michael Aranov, Oslo
Danny DeVito, The Price
Nathan Lane, The Front Page
Richard Thomas, The Little Foxes
John Douglas Thompson, Jitne

My preference: John Douglas Thompson, Jitney

Your preference: Danny DeVito, The Price

*Winner: Michael Aranov, Oslo

Best Choreography

Nominated:

Andy Blankenbuehler, Bandstand
Peter Darling and Ellen Kane, Groundhog Day
Kelly Devine, Come From Away
Denis Jones, Holiday Inn, The New Irving Berlin Musical
Sam Pinkleton, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812

My preference: Andy Blankenbuehler, Bandstand

Your preference: Sam Pinkleton, Great Comet

*Winner: Andy Blankenbuehler, Bandstand

Best Direction of a Musical

Nominated:

Christopher Ashley, Come From Away
Rachel Chavkin, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Michael Greif, Dear Evan Hansen
Matthew Warchus, Groundhog Day The Musical
Jerry Zaks, Hello, Dolly!

My preference: Rachel Chavkin, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812

Your preference: Rachel Chavkin, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812

*Winner: Christopher Ashley, Come From Away

Best Direction of a Play

Nominated:

Sam Gold, A Doll’s House, Part 2
Ruben Santiago-Hudson, August Wilson’s Jitney
Bartlett Sher, Oslo
Daniel Sullivan, Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes
Rebecca Taichman, Indecent

My preference: Rebecca Taichman, Indecent

Your preference: Sam Gold, A Doll’s House, Part 2

*Winner: Rebecca Taichman, Indecent

Best Scenic Design of a Play

Nominated:

David Gallo, August Wilson’s Jitney
Nigel Hook, The Play That Goes Wrong
Douglas W. Schmidt, The Front Page
Michael Yeargan, Oslo

My preference: Nigel Hook, The Play That Goes Wrong

*Winner: Nigel Hook, The Play That Goes Wrong

Best Scenic Design of a Musical

Nominated:

Rob Howell, Groundhog Day The Musical
David Korins, War Paint
Mimi Lien, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Santo Loquasto, Hello, Dolly!

My preference: Mimi Lien, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812

*Winner: Mimi Lien, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812

Best Costume Design of a Play

Nominated:

Jane Greenwood, Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes
Susan Hilferty, Present Laughter
Toni-Leslie James, August Wilson’s Jitney
David Zinn, A Doll’s House, Part 2

My preference: Toni-Leslie James, August Wilson’s Jitney

*Winner: Jane Greenwood, Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes

Best Costume Design of a Musical

Nominated:

Linda Cho, Anastasia
Santo Loquasto, Hello, Dolly!
Paloma Young, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Catherine Zuber, War Paint

My preference: Catherine Zuber, War Paint

*Winner: Santo Loquasto, Hello, Dolly!

Best Lighting Design of a Play

Nominated:

Christopher Akerlind, Indecent
Jane Cox, August Wilson’s Jitney
Donald Holder, Oslo
Jennifer Tipton, A Doll’s House, Part 2

My preference: Christopher Akerlind, Indecent

*Winner: Christopher Akerlind, Indecent

Best Lighting Design of a Musical

Nominated:

Howell Binkley, Come From Away
Natasha Katz, Hello, Dolly!
Bradley King, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Japhy Weideman, Dear Evan Hansen

My preference: Bradley King, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812

*Winner:  Bradley King, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812

Best Orchestrations

Nominated:

Bill Elliott and Greg Anthony Rassen, Bandstand
Larry Hochman, Hello, Dolly!
Alex Lacamoire, Dear Evan Hansen
Dave Malloy, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812

My preference: Bill Elliott and Greg Anthony Rassen, Bandstand

*Winner: Alex Lacamoire, Dear Evan Hansen

SPECIAL TONY AWARDS

Lifetime Achievement in the Theater

James Earl Jones

Regional Theatre Award

Dallas Theater Center

Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award

Baayork Lee

Special Tony Award

Gareth Fry & Pete Malkin, Sound Designers for The Encounter

Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre

Nina Lannen

Alan Wasser

Tickets to A Dolls House Part 2\

Tickets to Anastasia

Tickets for Bandstand

Tickets to Dear Evan Hansen

Tickets to Great Comet\

Tickets to Hello, Dolly!

Tickets to Indecent

Tickets to Oslo

Tickets to Sweat

Tickets to The Little Foxes

Tickets to The Play That Goes Wrong

Tickets to War Paint

What Broadway Shows Should I See? Top 10 Suggestions

“I just want you to pick the shows for me,” an out-of-town friend, planning a visit to New York, said to me recently, exasperated that I was trying to determine his taste in theater before making some recommendations.

This is the time of year when people turn their attention to Broadway, for two reasons — it’s the summer, a good time to visit New York; and their interest is piqued thanks to the annual three-hour TV commercial for Broadway known as the Tony Awards broadcast.

Below are some suggestions, listed alphabetically under several categories, starting with long-time hits. They are recommendations based largely on my taste.

 

FOUR LONG-TIME HIT MUSICALS

These musicals have proven to be audience favorites, but a caveat: The original casts have long since moved on.

THE BOOK OF MORMON
The Eugene O’Neill Theater
Opened: March 24, 2011
Director: Jason Moore and Trey Parker
Twitter feed: @BookofMormonBWY
This musical by Trey Parker and Matt Stone (book), the creators of South Park, and Robert Lopez, one of the composer-lyricists for “Avenue Q” and “Frozen” (music and lyrics) is about the founder of the Church of Latter-Day Saints and his modern disciples. It is outrageous, irreverent in one way, but also deeply reverent to (even while parodying) the best traditions of the Broadway musical.

My review of The Book of Mormon: Ridiculing Religion, Worshiping The Great White Way

Tickets to Book of Mormon

 

THE LION KING

Minskoff Theater (200 West 45th Street)
Opened: November 13, 1997
Twitter: @TheLionKing
Based on the 1994 Disney animated film about the coming-of-age of a young lion in the African jungle, this musical offers African-inflected music by Elton John, lyrics by Tim Rice and the visual magic of Julie Taymor. Taymor is the director, a composer and lyricist for some of the songs. But above all, she is the designer of the costumes, masks, and puppets — and it is these visuals that make this show a good first theatrical experience.

Tickets to Lion King

THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
Majestic Theater (247 West 44th Street)
Opened: January 26, 1988
Twitter: @PhantomBway
The Phantom of the Opera, based on a 1911 French novel by Gaston Leroux, is about a disfigured genius named Erik who lives in the catacombs of the Paris Opera House and falls in love with Christine, an aspiring singer whom he helps…until an old flame of Christine’s named Raoul steps back into the picture.
However, the story in the musical, written and composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber — with more than its share of 1980′s heavy power ballads — is starting to take second place to the story of the musical, which is the longest-running Broadway musical of all time, and the most profitable. I find this show too loud and overwrought for my taste, but it is the one exception I’m making to the list of recommendations based on my personal taste, because it’s a tourist favorite, and admittedly visually stunning – people still ooh at the falling chandelier.

 

Tickets to Phantom of the Opera

 

Wicked NY

WICKED
Gershwin Theater (222 West 51st Street)
Opened: October 30, 2003
Twitter: @WICKED_Musical
The musical tells the story of “The Wizard of Oz” from the witches’ perspective, more specifically from the Wicked Witch of the West, who was not, as a child, wicked at all, but just green-tinted, taunted, and misunderstood. There is so much to like about this musical, the clever twists on the familiar tale, the spectacular set, and music that is a lot more appealing in context (such as the song “Defying Gravity”) that I will forgive the contortions necessary to tack on a happy ending.

Tickets to Wicked

FOUR GREAT NEW PLAYS

Broadway is full of “straight” (non-musical) plays, which don’t tend to have long runs and aren’t publicized as much, but can be more substantive, stimulating and satisfying (and less expensive.)

laurie Metcalf, Chris Cooper and Jane Houdyshell

A DOLL’S HOUSE PART 2
John Golden Theater (252 West 45th Street)
Opened: April 27, 2017
Twitter: @DollsHousePart2

The main pleasures in A Doll’s House, Part 2, are rooted in the chance to watch four accomplished performers in this compelling, and surprisingly humorous sequel to Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, written 138 years after that first play by Lucas Hnath, making his Broadway playwriting debut. Laurie Metcalf is magnificent as Nora, returning home 15 years after she left her husband and children, with an urgent ulterior motive, and encountering Chris Cooper as Nora’s husband Torvald, Jayne Houdyshell as her former nanny Anne Marie, and Condola Rashad as her daughter

More on A Doll’s House Part 2

Tickets to A Doll’s House Part 2

INDECENT
Cort Theatre (138 West 48th Street)
Opened: April 18, 2017
@IndecentBway

There are many reasons to find deep satisfaction in Indecent, a fascinating backstage tale strikingly staged about a century-old Jewish drama entitled “God of Vengeance,” which featured a scandalizing kiss between two women that caused its Broadway cast to be prosecuted for obscenity. It marks the long-delayed Broadway debut of Paula Vogel, who at 65 is one of the theatre community’s most admired playwrights and playwriting teachers.

It is proof that a play can explore a range of frighteningly relevant issues and be simultaneously enlightening, moving and entertaining. There is so much delightful music in the show that it often feels like a musical.

More on Indecent

Tickets to Indecent

OSLO
Vivian Beaumont Theatre
150 West 65th Street
Opened: April 13, 2017

@LCTheater

“Oslo” explores the little-known story of how a Norwegian couple instigated and pushed along the secret negotiations that led to the famous moment when Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat shook hands at the White House in 1993. The play offers a lucid refresher course on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, provides entertainment that is both surprisingly funny and suspenseful. It also leaves us with a sense that maybe even the world’s most unsettling situations can someday be settled.

More on Oslo

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Khris Davis and Will Pullen

SWEAT
Studio 54 Theatre (254 West 54th Street)
Opened: March 26, 2017
Twitter; @SweatBroadway

Playwright Lynn Nottage won this year’s Pulitzer Prize in Drama for this play about a group of friends and family members who hang out in a bar in Reading, Pennsylvania, which was identified in 2010 as the poorest city in America. Like Grapes of Wrath, it offers a devastating look at social and economic breakdown, told not with rants or statistics, but through a riveting tale about good people in a bad situation.

More on Sweat

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TWO BELOVED NEW MUSICALS

DEAR EVAN HANSEN
Music Box Theatre
239 West 45th Stree
Opened: December 04, 2016
Twitter: @DearEvanHansen

Ben Platt gives an extraordinary performance as Evan Hansen, an anxious high school student with no real friends who becomes the center of attention when a classmate he barely knew commits suicide and, through a misunderstanding, people think that Evan was his best friend.  Evan turns that misunderstanding into a lie, and the lie gets out of hand. The musical offers insights into an array of issues, from adolescent insecurity to the downside of social media, while keeping us emotionally engaged with the characters. The songs by Pasek and Paul are tuneful and deeply felt.

More on Dear Evan Hansen

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Lucas Steele as Anatole and Denee Benton as Natasha

NATASHA, PIERRE AND THE GREAT COMET OF 1812
Imperial Theatre  (249 West 45th Street)
Opened: November 14, 2016
Twitter: @GreatCometBway

They’ve made a party out of what looks on paper like unlikely material —  a sing-through musical with  an unwieldy title based on  70 pages of Tolstoy’s War and Peace. But Dave Malloy’s eclectic score is tuneful, the performances are terrific, and the stagecraft is groundbreaking.  Director Rachel Chavkin and set designer Mimi Lien in particular deserve kudos for re-creating on Broadway something very close to the kind of immersive theater that’s lately been intriguing theatergoers all over the world. (Josh Groban as Pierre leaves in July.)

More on Great Comet

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WHAT ABOUT GREAT CHOREOGRAPHY?

 

Check out Bandstand and On Your Feet (which is closing August 20),

 

WHAT ABOUT HAMILTON?

Javier Munoz and cast

I loved Hamilton,  Off-Broadway ,  on Broadway  and now with the new cast , finding it ground-breaking and breathtaking. You have to decide whether it’s worth spending the kind of money that it would take to get a ticket this summer — and not just from the resellers, but from the show itself, where top ticket prices are $849. My feeling is you shouldn’t need to choose between seeing a show and taking a trip to Europe.

There IS a daily lottery online  where you can try your luck at snagging one of the tickets for only  $10 (because Hamilton’s face is on the ten-dollar bill.)

Tickets to Hamilton

WHAT ABOUT HELLO, DOLLY! AND COME FROM AWAY?

This is my taste, remember?

More on Hello, Dolly!

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More on Come From Away

Tickets to Come From Away

 

ON A LIMITED BUDGET?

There ARE ways to get affordable tickets to Broadway shows, especially if you are willing to 1. Wait until the day of the performance, and 2. Live with uncertainty. Getting tickets to a hit Broadway show for as little as $10 (and no more than $80) takes time, luck, knowledge and/or ingenuity. Most shows now have digital lotteries and “rush” tickets. For a show-by-show breakdown on the discounts available, check out Broadway for Broke People

 

DON’T FORGET OFF-BROADWAY

Some of the best shows on Broadway began Off-Broadway. Off-Broadway shows tend to be more adventurous and less expensive. But they also tend to have more limited runs, and be less publicized. Off-Broadway shows don’t get the attention they deserve. A willingness to hunt a little will pay off in a satisfying discovery, and bragging rights possibly for years to come.

Norm Lewis and Carolee Carmello

To pick one current example of a terrific show Off-Broadway: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Sweeney Todd, Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler’s glorious murderous musical, began in 2014 in Harrington’s, one of London’s oldest working pie shops. An impressively detailed replica of Harrington’s has now set up shop Off-Broadway at the Barrow Street Theater, including the pies

More on Sweeney Todd (The show now has an All-American cast, led by Norm Lewis and Carolee Carmello.)

Tickets to Sweeney Todd

LOOK OUT FOR THE NEXT HIT

Check out my latest monthly calendar of openings to what’s newly available on Broadway, Off-Broadway and Off-Off Broadway.

 

Watch Anastasia, A Bronx Tale, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Come From Away, Dear Evan Hansen, Great Comet at Stars in the Alley

Performers from more than 20 current Broadway shows offered a free concert in Shubert Alley this week, to celebrate the Broadway season just past, and whet appetites for the Tony Awards on Sunday, June 11th.

Watch below videos of some of the performances

Watch Telly Leung of Aladdin, Corey Cott of Bandstand, Michael Xavier of Sunset Boulevard at Stars in the Alley

Once again, Broadway offered its free two-hour concert in Shubert Alley today, featuring the casts from more than a dozen current musicals.

Below, watch Telly Leung of Aladdin, Corey Cott of Bandstand, and Michael Xavier of Sunset Boulevard.

More to come.

2017 Tony Awards – Who YOU Want As Winners

Here are the results of the survey in which I asked you to pick your personal preferences (not predictions) in 15 of the 24 categories in the 71st annual Tony Awards.

Best Musical

Nominated:Come From Away, Dear Evan HansenGroundhog DayNatasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812, 

*Your preference: Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812,

 

Best Play

Nominated:A Doll’s House, Part 2Indecent  Oslo
Sweat

Your preference: A Doll’s House, Part 2

 

Best Revival of a Musical

Nominated: Hello, Dolly!FalsettosMiss Saigon

Your preference: Hello, Dolly!

 

Best Revival of a Play

Nominated: JitneyPresent LaughterSix Degrees of SeparationThe Little Foxes

Your preference: Jitney

 

Best Lead Actress in a Musical

Nominated: Denee Benton, Great Comet; Christine Ebersole, War Paint; Patti LuPone, War Paint; Bette Midler, Hello Dolly; Eva Noblezada, Miss Saigon

Your preference: Bette Midler, Hello, Dolly!

Best Lead Actor in a Musical

Nominated: Christian Borle, Falsettos; Josh Groban, Great Comet; David Hyde Pierce, Hello Dolly; Andy Karl, Groundhog Day; Ben Platt, Dear Evan Hansen
Your preference: Ben Platt, Dear Evan Hansen

Best Lead Actress in a Play

Nominated: Cate Blanchett, The Present; Jennifer Ehle, Oslo; Sally Field, The Glass Menagerie; Laura Linney, The Little Foxes; Laurie Metcalf, A Doll’s House, Part 2

Your preference: Laurie Metcalf, A Doll’s House, Part 2

Best Lead Actor in a Play

Nominated: Denis Arndt, Heisenberg; Chris Cooper, A Doll’s House Part 2; Corey Hawkins, Six Degrees of Separation; Kevin Kline, Present Laughter; Jefferson Mays, Oslo

Your preference: Kevin Kline, Present Laughter

Best Featured Actress in a Musical

Nominated: Kate Baldwin, Hello Dolly; Rachel Bay Jones, Dear Evan Hansen; Stephanie J. Block, Falsettos; Jenn Colella, Come From Away; Mary Beth Peil, Anastasia

Your preference: Rachel Bay Jones, Dear Evan Hansen

Best Featured Actor in a Musical

Nominated: Gavin Creel, Hello Dolly; Mike Faist, Dear Evan Hansen; Andrew Rannells, Falsettos; Lucas Steele, Great Comet; Brandon Uranowitz, Falsettos

Your preference: Lucas Steele,Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812

Best Featured Actress in a Play

Johanna Day, Sweat; Jayne Houdyshell, A Dolls House Part 2; Cynthia Nixon The Little Foxes; Condola Rashad, A Dolls House Part 2; Michelle Wilson, Sweat

Your preference: Cynthia Nixon, The Little Foxes

Best Featured Actor in a Play

Nominated: Michael Aranov, Oslo; Danny DeVito, The Price; Nathan Lane, The Front Page; Richard Thomas, The Little Foxes; John Douglas Thompson, Jitney

Your preference: Danny DeVito, The Price

Best Choreography

Andy Blankenbuehler, Bandstand; Peter Darling and Ellen Kane, Groundhog Day; Kelly Devine, Come From Away; Denis Jones, Holiday Inn, The New Irving Berlin Musical; Sam Pinkleton, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812

Your preference: Sam Pinkleton, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812

Best Direction of a Musical

Christopher Ashley, Come From Away; Rachel Chavkin, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812; Michael Greif, Dear Evan Hansen; Matthew Warchus, Groundhog Day The Musical; Jerry Zaks, Hello, Dolly!

Your preference: Rachel Chavkin, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812

Best Direction of a Play

Sam Gold, A Doll’s House, Part 2
Ruben Santiago-Hudson, August Wilson’s Jitney
Bartlett Sher, Oslo
Daniel Sullivan, Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes
Rebecca Taichman, Indecent

Your preference: Sam Gold, A Doll’s House, Part 2

* Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 is separated by only a single percentage point from Dear Evan Hansen,
Jitney is separated by three percentage points from The Little Foxes.

More than 350 people have replied to this survey,  which is still open.

2017 Tony Award Winners — YOUR Pick?

Make your pick for 15 of the 24 categories in the 71st annual Tony Awards, honoring Broadway’s best. The awards ceremony will take place on June 11th at Radio Music Hall in New York City. Most of it will be broadcast live on CBS.
.

This is for who and what YOU want to win, not who you think the Tony voters will pick — preference, not prediction. I’ll post the results later this month.

Watch 4 Best Musical Tony Nominees of 2017: Video Highlights

Watch videos from the four Broadway musicals nominated for the 2017 Best Musical Tony Award, listed alphabetically.

Above each of the show’s video(s) is a link to a post with production photographs and my review

Come From Away

Dear Evan Hansen

Groundhog Day

Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812

Bonus videos:

The three videos below are of songs from Great Comet as performed at Bryant Park before the show moved to Broadway. However, the performers from each of the three songs — Amber Gray, Brittain Ashford and Denee Benton — are those who sing the respective songs on Broadway)