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Broadway Poll: Favorite Fall 2017 Show?

Broadway Fall 2017 collageChoose the show that you are most looking forward to. The list below is for shows that have opening dates on Broadway from September 2017 to January 2018 as of this writing, and they are listed chronologically by opening date.
For more information about any of the shows, read my Broadway 2017-2018 Preview Guide.

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Ticket Giveaway: Indecent

Indecent Dance Photo

Ticket Givewaway: Win two tickets to see Indecent for free. I loved this show, a fascinating backstage tale written by Paula Vogel and wondrously staged by  Rebecca Taichman (who won a Tony for it) about a century-old Jewish drama called “The God of Vengeance.” That Yiddish play featured a scandalizing kiss between two women, which resulted in the Broadway cast being prosecuted for obscenity. Indecent explores a range of frighteningly relevant issues,  and it is at times inexpressibly heartbreaking. But it is not only enlightening and moving; it is rousing entertainment; with so much dancing and singing and toe-tapping music you’re likely to remember it as a musical.

I was delighted Indecent was given a reprieve — the producers had announced it would end June 25 , but then decided to extend through August 6th.

And I’m  even more delighted to offer a pair of tickets. To enter the contest for the tickets, just answer this question:

What is your favorite show that explores serious issues in an entertaining way?

Update:  I am asking for you to talk about how a show is serious AND also entertaining. (Some of you have only been answering how it’s serious.)

The Rules:

  1. Please put your answer in the comments at the bottom of this blog post, because I will choose the winner at random, using Random.org, based on the order of your reply, not its content.
  2.  But you must answer the question, complete with description, or your entry will not be approved for submission.
  3. This contest ends Wednesday July 19, 2017 at midnight Eastern Time, and I will make the drawing no later than noon the next day. You must respond within 12 hours or I will pick another winner.

 

The winner will get a voucher for two tickets to see Indecent between July 26 and July 29. (The voucher must be submitted by July 21st.)

 

Update: There are two winners, chosen at random on Random.org based on the order of their reply:

Erin Quill, number 12 in order of reply.

Mike Ming, number 45.

Discount codes for the rest of you, to save up to 35 percent on tickets through August 6, 2017, when Indecent ends on Broadway.
Balcony seats from $39
Mezzanine seats from $71
Select Orchestra seats at $89

3 WAYS TO BUY YOUR TICKETS:
1. ONLINE: Click Here
or Visit TelechargeOffers.com & enter code:
INLSP110
2. BY PHONE:
Call 212-947-8844 & mention code:
INLSP110
3. IN PERSON: Print this offer & bring to CORT THEATRE, 138 W. 48th St. NY, NY

 

 

 

IND_TitleTreatment

Watch Groundhog Day at Bryant Park, 3 Songs

Andy Karl, Barrett Doss and more than a dozen other cast members of the Broadway musical “Groundhog Day” performed three songs at the Broadway at Bryant Park lunchtime concert today: Nobody Cares, If I Had My Time Again, and Seeing You

Fourth of July Patriotism on Broadway: Excerpts from Hamilton to Hello Dolly

As Americans celebrate our 241st Fourth of July, it’s bracing to realize that the most patriotic new show on Broadway is “Come From Away,” a musical about Canada.

But American patriotism on Broadway is not just a thing of the past, in musicals such as George M and Will Rogers Follies.  Several current Broadway shows offer their own patriotic moments, albeit filtered through the 21st century. Excerpts below

Alexander Hamilton in Hamilton

America, you great unfinished symphony
You sent for me
You let me make a difference
A place where even orphan immigrants can leave their fingerprints and rise up
I’m running out of time, I’m running and my time’s up 􏰀 Wise up􏰀
Eyes up

 

Bandstand

A group of World War II veterans who’ve formed into a band rebel against the sponsors of a song contest

All they want to do is
use our uniforms and wave us around like flags. We’re not props, Donny. We’re not for sale. We’ve already given them everything we got. We’re goddamn United States veterans, and these people wouldn’t know real sacrifice if it slapped ’em in the face.

 

The Schuyler sisters in Hamilton

ANGELICA 
I’ve been reading Common Sense by Thomas Paine. So men say that I’m intense or I’m insane.
You want a revolution? I wanna revelation
so listen to my declaration
ELIZA/ANGELICA/PEGGY 
“We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal.”
ANGELICA
And when I meet Thomas Jefferson… I’m a compel him to include women in the sequel.
ELIZA 
Look around look around at how lucky we are to be alive right now!
ELIZA/ANGELICA/PEGGY 
History is happening in Manhattan and we
Just happen to be in the greatest city in the world

 

Emilio Estefan in On Your Feet

(A record company executive has just told him to change his name and his music in order to “cross over” outside “the Latin market”)
When I first got to Miami there was a sign in front of the apartment building next to ours. It said, “No Pets. No Cubans.” Change my name? It’s not my name to change. It’s my father’s name. It was my grandfather’s name. My grandfather, who we left behind in Cuba to come here and build a new life. Now, for 15 years I’ve worked my ass off and paid my taxes. So, I’m not sure where you think I live… but this is my home. And you should look very closely at my face, because whether you know it or not… this is what an American looks like. We’ll do it on our own.

 

Dawn in Waitress

Dawn is talking with her fellow waitresses about her personal profile for a dating site

 Dawn: “Ecstatically alive, enthusiastically American, dynamic and witty, I am a woman of many passions, including a rare turtle collection. I love the History Channel.
Jenna: Now that’s nice
Dawn: Note: I have played Betsy Ross in 33 Revolutionary War Reenactments.”
Jenna: ….Okay…. That’ll set you apart from the crowd –
Dawn: I’m calling myself “NewDawnRising.”

 

Ogie in Waitress

Ogie has responded to Dawn’s profile.

Ogie: So I’ll pick you up on Sunday at 7?
Dawn: Maybe?
Ogie: Maybe! Maybe! There’s a reading at Rainard Park of the Federalist Papers.
Dawn: How do you know about that?
Ogie: I played Paul Revere in 42 Revolutionary War re-enactments. Well actually, 40 times technically I was the standby Revere but 2 times Paul was out – so I did actually play it, although one of those times I got injured halfway through, I had a bayonet issue– fell off my horse and had to have my spleen removed.
Dawn: “One if by land, two if by sea…”
Ogie: “…and I on the opposite shore will be!”

 

War Paint

Helena Rubinstein gets back in the cosmetics game

This is the time to reach my goal.
My American moment. I hereby take a vow.
I vow to win the heart and soul
Of American women. This is my mission now.
I’ll show them they have faces of power and resplendence,
a backbone and a basis
to assert their independence.
When they achieve their rightful role, their American moment, equal and adored, that American moment
will be my reward.

Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden make the most of war-time rationing during World War II

Through thick and thin, Manila to Berlin!
Or helping defend our freedom from “the enemy within” –
America will make it!
No enemy can break it!
With make-up made to take it on the chin!
Necessity is the mother of invention!
Brains and brawn! Brains and brawn! Dusk to dawn! Women win!

Hello, Dolly!

When the whistles blow
And the cymbals crash
And the sparklers light the sky
I’m gonna raise the roof
I’m gonna carry on
Give me an old trombone
Give me an old baton
Before the parade passes by!

 

Marvin’s Room Review: Dying, and Laughing, and Loving

There’s a story told in “Marvin’s Room” of a young man named Clarence who took a swim during a beachfront picnic, dunking down into the water and popping back up several times, each time laughing harder, which got his friends and family to laugh along with him.

“Laughing and choking looked the same on Clarence,” the storyteller concludes. “He drowned right in front of us.”

The anecdote can be taken as playwright Scott McPherson’s sly commentary on his own play, a 1991 comedy about two sisters who reunite after a 20-year estrangement. So much is so sad in the lives of Bessie (Lily Taylor) and Lee (Janeane Garofalo, in her Broadway debut) as to make the audience fully justified in wondering: Should we be laughing at this?

Yet laugh we do, thanks to the playwright’s subversive worldview, and a production directed with unflashy effectiveness by Anne Kauffman (The Nether, A Life, etc. etc), who is, remarkably, making her Broadway debut. She steers the uniformly credible cast through a sometimes flighty comedy ultimately grounded in compassion.

Bessie has been taking care of her father, Marvin, who has been dying for the last 20 years. (We only see Marvin in vague shadow, behind the glass brick of the room he never leaves.)   She is also in effect the caretaker of Marvin’s sister Aunt Ruth (Celia Weston), whose brain has been wired to stop the debilitating back pain she’s had since birth. In the first scene of the play, we see Bessie in a doctor’s office, and eventually learn she has leukemia.

Her illness leads to the visit to Bessie’s Florida house by her sister Lee, who makes the trip from her home in Ohio with her two children, Charlie (Luca Padovan) and Hank (Jack DiFalco). One of the three may be a match for a bone marrow transplant. Hank had to be borrowed temporarily from the mental institution to which he has been committed for burning down the family house.

So what is funny about any of this?

It’s all in the spin. Three quick examples: In that first scene, Bessie is increasingly nervous dealing with Dr. Wally (Triney Sandoval), a doctor who is so absent-minded that he calls Bessie June, which is the name of his dog; has trouble finding or even identifying his doctor’s tools; and rips open a sterile bag of cotton balls with his teeth. In Bessie’s house, the wiring in Aunt Ruth’s brain keep on causing the garage door to open. When in Ohio Lee tells 17-year-old Hank about his aunt Bessie’s condition, he says: “This is the first I’ve heard of her. “

Lee: “,,,,Well I know I’ve mentioned her. She’s my sister.”

Hank: “I didn’t know you had a sister.”

Lee: You know how at Christmas I always say, ‘it looks like Bessie didn’t send a card this year either.’”

Hank:Oh yeah.”

They get away (sometimes just barely) with the wackier of these comic touches because they are counterbalanced by the more realistic ones, and because the actors pull it off.

It probably needs to be said that the eight performers of this production must labor against the memory of the 1996 film with its impossibly starry cast — Meryl Streep and Diane Keaton as the sisters, Leonardo diCaprio as the troubled son Hank, even Robert DeNiro as the absent-minded doctor. (Bit parts went to Cynthia Nixon, Hume Cronyn, and Kelly Ripa!) But there is only one memory from the movie that intruded on my appreciation of the Broadway production – the heartbreaking moment when Diane Keaton as the frail Bessie says how lucky she has been to have been able to take care of her father and her aunt; “I’ve had such love in my life.” It’s not that there is anything wrong with Taylor’s delivery, only that Keaton’s was so memorable. As Lee, Janeane Garafola, who started her career as a stand-up comedian, is a thoroughly competent dramatic actress (if not yet Meryl Streep), giving a straightforward performance in a role that is not as substantive as Lee’s sister.

It is Bessie who is really the soul of “Marvin’s Room,” her selflessness and efficiency not just contrasting with the selfishness and/or incompetence of those around her, but subtly transforming nearly everybody, including her sister. We see this effect even in the largely comic character of Aunt Ruth, whose portrayal by Celia Weston is one of the two stand-out performances in this revival. We also see Bessie’s effect in the other stand-out performance, Jack DiFalco as Hank. The playwright depicts the character benevolently, making Hank’s deranged arson into little more than a punch line, almost a rite of passage for sullen teenagers. Still, DiFalco, in impressive contrast to the blunt-force performance he gave as a criminal teenager of the future in Mercury Fur (a style required for that play), creates a character with more of an internal life than an external one. He has a deadpan delivery, but somehow lets us know there’s struggling, and thinking and growing going on in there.  It is a character we not only believe, but feel for. We wind up sharing in the playwright’s guarded optimism in the face of defeat, all the more singular since, shortly after the debut of his play,Scott McPherson died of AIDS, at the unholy young age of 33.

 

Marvin’s Room
Roundabout’s American Airlines Theater
Written by Scott McPherson; Original music by Daniel Kluger
Directed by Anne Kauffman
Scenic Design by Laura Jellinek; Costume Design by Jessica Pabst; Lighting Design by Japhy Weideman; Sound Design by Daniel Kluger; Hair and Wig Design by Leah J. Loukas; Makeup Design by Leah J. Loukas
Cast: Janeane Garofalo as Lee, Lili Taylor as Bessie, Celia Weston as Ruth, Jack DiFalco as Hank, Carman Lacivita, Nedra McClyde, Luca Padovan as Charlie, Triney Sandoval as Dr. Wally

Running time: 2 hours and 15 minutes, including a 15-minute intermission

Tickets: $47 to $147

Marvin’s Room is scheduled to run through August 27, 2017

1984 Review: Orwellian Horror Show on Broadway

It would seem just the right timing for the first adaptation on a Broadway stage of “1984,” George Orwell’s chilling 1949 novel of a future totalitarian society. The book long has been so thoroughly lodged in popular consciousness that it gave rise to the word Orwellian, but it shot to the top of bestseller lists this year with the inauguration of Donald Trump and the rise of “fake news” and “alternative facts” as real-world synonyms for Orwell’s fictional vocabulary of “Doublethink,” “Newspeak,” and “Thoughtcrime.”

The stage version as written and directed by British theater stars Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan is certainly an intense and disorienting experience, with a fine cast featuring a spot-on Reed Birney, a stirring Tom Sturridge and Olivia Wilde in a memorable Broadway debut; as well as some attention-grabbing stagecraft executed with technically impressive precision. But Icke and Macmillan avoid the kind of explicitly anti-Trump commentary that we’re getting used to on the stage (i.e. Building the Wall; Julius Caesar at the Public.) And for all the ample reminders in “1984” the play of why “1984” the novel is so unsettling, fans of the horror movie genre might find more to appreciate here than those theatergoers who have come to the Hudson Theater expecting some special intellectual, emotional or contemporary political illumination of George Orwell’s dystopian novel.

The basic plot is more or less intact. We are introduced to Winston Smith (Tom Sturridge), bureaucrat at the Ministry of Truth, which means he makes up lies all day, rewriting history and erasing from all records any once-honored heroes who have fallen out of favor with “Big Brother,” the leader who may or may not actually exist. Secretly, however, Winston rebels. He does this first by starting a diary, and then by falling in love with a waitress named Julia (Olivia Wilde.)

The scenes between Winston and Julia in their hideaway in an antique shop are the most engaging in the production – in part, ironically, because we see them in close-up on a large screen. (The actors are somewhere off-stage performing in front of a camera.) The creative team’s use of this livestreaming turns out to be one of the cleverest of the sly ways they make the audience realize how unreliable the reality in the play is, and how complicit we are in the constant stream of betrayals.

Yet the disorientation that is threaded throughout the production is too often indistinguishable from confusion. Icke and Macmillan have added a framing device of a group of characters talking about Winston’s diary (which may be the same as the book “1984”) in what is apparently the year 2050 (which, it might be worth pointing out, is 33 years in the future, just as the year 1984 is 33 years in the past.) These future characters pop in and out of the play in the beginning and the end and apparently in the middle, portrayed by the same actors who are Winston’s betrayers and torturers in 1984 or the present-day (it’s never quite clear what era we’re in.)

Sure, along the way, we get exposed to some of the alarming details of the society in which they live. We overhear a co-worker of Winston’s praising Newspeak as the only language “whose vocabulary gets smaller every year… In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it.”

We learn the definition of Doublethink – “to tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality one denies.”

We even unavoidably see parallels with current reality, thanks to such lines of dialogue as: “The people are not going to revolt. They will not look up from their screens long enough to notice what’s really happening.”

But such lines are drowned out and undermined by the startling bursts of noise, blinding lights, and rapid-fire video projections that dominate this theatrical experience.

The final third of “1984” takes the sensory assault a step further, combining the startling effects with scenes of Winston’s torture in Room 101 at the Ministry of Love. The torturers, cloaked anonymously in white hazmat suits, crowd around Winston…blackout…lightning flash…rapid-fire video projections….and Winston is once again visible, in agony, spurting blood. A pitch-perfect Reed Birney looks as avuncular and sounds as reasonable and reassuring as Vice President Mike Pence, while overseeing Winston’s torture.

These are surely the scenes that reportedly caused as many as four theatergoers in a single night to faint, and that led to the recent announcement that nobody under 13 years of age (“born after 2004″) would be admitted to the show. These scenes take up about 30 minutes in a show that’s listed as having a running time of 101 minutes – a sly allusion to Room 101, and thus (intentionally or not) an indication of the priority placed on the theatrics of horror at the expense of the drama of political repression. It’s almost as if “1984’ the play is reflecting the values of the society it depicts – sensation over clarity, screens over thought.

 

 

1984

Based on the novel by George Orwell, adapted and directed by Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan

Sets and costumes, Chloe Lamford; lighting, Natasha Chivers; sound, Tom Gibbons; videos, Tim Reid;

Cast Reed Birney, Olivia Wilde,Tom Sturridge, Wayne Duvall, Carl Hendrick Louis, Nick Mills, Michael Potts and Cara Seymour

Running time: 101 minutes, with no intermission.

Tickets:  $35-$149.

1984 is scheduled to run through October 8, 2017

 

Broadway 2017-2018 Preview Guide

 

 

Updated August 18, 2017

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, children of a Lesser God, 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

My review of 1984

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.”

My review of Marvin’s Room

 

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.

My review of Terms of My Surrender

 

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

Springsteen on Broadway

Theater: Walter Kerr

First preview: October 3

Opening: October 12

Closing: November 26

Bruce Springsteen makes his Broadway debut with five concerts a week.  “My show is just me, the guitar, the piano and the words and music. Some of the show is spoken, some of it is sung. It loosely follows the arc of my life and my work.”  He will read from his recently published autobiography, “Born to Run.”

website

M. Butterfly

Theater: Cort

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: Much the same as Off-Bway

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.

Meteor Shower

Theater: Booth Theatre
Author: Steve Martin
Director: Jerry Zaks
First Preview: November 1, 2017
Opening: November 29, 2017
Cast: Amy Schumer, Keegan-Michael Key, Laura Benanti, Alan Tudyk
Two California couples find themselves in marital freefall—and in a meteor shower

@MeteorShowerBwy

The Parisian Woman

Theater: Hudson
Author: Beau Willimon
Director: Pam MacKinnon
First Preview: November 7, 2017
Opening: November 30, 2017
Cast: Uma Thurman, Josh Lucas, Blair Brown
Uma Thurman makes her Broadway debut as Chloe, a socialite armed with charm and wit, coming to terms with politics, her past, her marriage and an uncertain future in the social power center that is Washington D.C.

website

@ParisianBway

 

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:
Phillip Boykin as Tonton Julian, Merle Dandridge
as Papa Ge/Demon of Death,Quentin Earl Darrington as Agwe/God of Water, Alysha Deslorieux as Andrea, David Jennings as Armand, Hailey Kilgore as Ti Moune , Kenita R. Miller as Mama Euralie, Alex Newell as Asaka/Mother of the Earth,
Isaac Powell as Daniel, Lea Salonga as Erzulie/Goddess of Love

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 12

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 

 

 

Frozen

Theater: St. James Theater

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

Director: Michael Grandage

First Preview: February 22, 2018

Opening: March, 2018

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

 

 

APRIL

Children of a Lesser God

Theater: Studio 54

Author: Mark Medoff

Director: Kenny Leon

First Preview: March 22, 2018

Opening: April 11, 2018

Cast: Joshua Jackson, Lauren Ridloff

A revival of the Tony-winning play about the romance between a hearing man and deaf woman

website

@LesserGodBway

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: Noma Dumezweni as Hermione Granger, Jamie Parker
as Harry Potter, Paul Thornley as Ron Weasley, Anthony Boyle
as Scorpius Malfoy, Sam Clemmett
as Albus Potter, Poppy Miller
as Ginny Potter, Alex Price as Draco Malfoy

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. “

Travesties

Author: Tom Stoppard
Director: Patrick Marber
First Preview: Mar 29, 2018
Opening Date: Apr 24, 2018
Closing Date: Jun 17, 2018
Cast: Tom Hollander

A revival of Tom Stoppard’s play from Great Britain’s Chocolate Factory. :In 1917 Zurich, an artist, Tristan Tzara; a writer, James Joyce; and a revolutionary, Lenin, collide”

Closing Date:Jun 17, 2018

 

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:

Check out last season’s Broadway guide

Broadway 2016-2017

Also:

What Broadway Shows Should I See? Top 10 Suggestions.

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