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What Broadway Shows Should I See? Top 10 Suggestions

Now is the time when interest in Broadway is at its peak, piqued by the annual three-hour TV commercial for Broadway known as the Tony Awards broadcast.

I regularly get asked for recommendations, especially from out-of-towners planning a trip to New York. When I try to explore the person’s tastes, they typically say to me “I just want you to pick the shows for me.” So here are ten, Read more of this post

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From December 13 to 15th, get free tickets to live theater, and other live events — dance, comedy, opera — through Goldstar’s Comp Train promotion. You pay a small service fee.

Check out Goldstar’s everyday ticket deals too, which include deep discounts to some Broadway shows.

Broadway’s Longest-Running Shows and Biggest Hits

Here are some of the longest-running and most popular shows on Broadway, listed alphabetically, with brief descriptions that include my take, and links where available to my initial reviews.

To buy tickets to these shows, check out their websites, go to their box offices, or purchase on this page.

The Book of Mormon

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” (music and lyrics) and Frozen (both movie and musical), is about both the founder of the Church of Latter-Day Saints and 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 The Book of Mormon

 

Chicago

Chicago

Ambassador Theater (219 West 49th Street)

Opened: November 14, 1996

Twitter: @ChicagoMusical

A chorus girl in 1920′s Chicago murders her lover and becomes a star. This cynical, tuneful 1975 musical adaptation by John Kander and Fred Ebb (“Cabaret” team) of a 1926 play was revived to great acclaim by director Walter Bobbie and choreographer Ann Reinking in homage to original choreographer Bob Fosse. But it has gone through many, many cast changes since then. Some say this is the production that invented the modern Broadway practice of “stunt casting.”

Beginning in November, 2014, it became the second-longest running musical on Broadway.

 

Buy Tickets to Chicago The Musical

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hamilton

Richard Rodgers Theater

Opened: August 6, 2015

Twitter: @HamiltonMusical

The story of the first Secretary of the Treasury, told as a rap opera, is groundbreaking and breathtaking. It has become a phenomenon on Broadway — and elsewhere! I’ve seen it four times, and have written about it so many times that I’ve put together a post called Everything Hamilton

Hamilton tickets


Hamilton tickets

 

Kinky Boots

Kinky Boots

Al Hirschfeld

Opened: April 4, 2013

Twitter: @KinkyBootsBway

Cyndi Lauper’s Broadway songwriting debut, and the winner of the 2013 Best Musical Tony, adapts a 2005 British film about a traditional shoemaker who partners with a drag queen to make footwear sturdy enough for a man but fabulous enough for a woman. The show is familiar and safe, with a stand-out performance by Billy Porter as Lola/Simon.

My review of Kinky Boots

Kinky Boots Tickets

 

The Lion King

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, and 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 — and worthwhile for any theatergoer no matter how experienced.

Buy tickets to The Lion King

 

 

The Phantom of the Opera
The Phantom of The Opera

Majestic Theater (247 West 44th Street)

Opened: January 26, 1988

Twitter: @TheOperaGhosts

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 probably the most profitable.

Webber has written a “sequel,” entitled “Love Never Dies,” which was set for Broadway in the 2010-2011 season, but, after scathing reviews in London, may never appear there. It is, however, on national tour.

Phantom Of The Opera Tickets

 

Wicked
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.


Buy Wicked tickets!

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

Tickets to Oslo

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

Tickets to Sweat

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

Tickets to Dear Evan Hansen

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

Tickets to Great Comet

 

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!

Tickets to Hello, Dolly!

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.

 

2017 Tony Award Winners — Who SHOULD Win

Below are my preferences — not my predictions. See my article in DC Theatre Scene for an explanation of each choice.

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

Tickets to Great Comet

 

Best Play

Nominated:

A Doll’s House, Part 2
Indecent
Oslo

Sweat

My preference: Sweat

Tickets to Sweat

Best Revival of a Musical

Nominated:

Hello, Dolly!
Falsettos
Miss Saigon

My preference: Hello, Dolly!

Tickets to Hello, Dolly!

 

Best Revival of a Play

Nominated:

Jitney
Present Laughter
Six Degrees of Separation
The Little Foxes

My preference: 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

Tickets to 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

Tickets to Great Comet

 

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

Tickets to War Paint

 

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

Tickets to 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

Tickets to The Little Foxes

 

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

Tickets to Oslo

 

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

 

Tickets to Dear Evan Hansen

Tickets to Anastasia

 

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

Ticket to Dear Evan Hansen

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

Tickets to A Dolls House Part 2

 

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

 

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

Tickets to 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

Tickets to Great Comet

 

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

Tickets to 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

Tickets to 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

Tickets to Great Comet

 

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

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

Tickets to War Paint

 

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

Tickets to 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

Tickets to Great Comet

 

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

Tickets for Bandstand

 

Broadway Spring 2017 Preview Guide

spring-2017-broadway-logo-collage

Yes, Glenn Close, Sally Field, Jake Gyllenhaal, Kevin Kline, Patti LuPone, Bette Midler, and Cynthia Nixon are all returning to Broadway in Spring 2017, and Cate Blanchett and Danny DeVito are making their Broadway debuts. But Broadway is more than its divas and hunks.

The Spring 2017 season begins with a new play based on Chekhov and ends almost four months later with a new play based on Ibsen. Frequently revived plays by Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller and Lillian Hellman are all back again, while the one play by August Wilson that was never produced on Broadway finally gets there. Pulitzer Prize winning playwrights Lynn Nottage and Paula Vogel make their Broadway debuts with serious new works that were hits Off-Broadway. And the 41st Broadway house is being inaugurated this season with a Sondheim revival.

Or, yet another way to look at the season, three big beloved Broadway musicals are back, and seven new musicals (four of them based on movies) are making their debuts.

Below are the plays and musicals opening on Broadway from January through April, 2017, going chronologically by opening dates. Things are likely to change — additions, subtractions, rescheduling —  in the weeks and months ahead.

JANUARY

the-present-logoThe Present

Theater: Ethel Barrymore
Playwright: Andrew Lipton
Director: John Crowley
First preview: December 17
Opening: January 8, 2017
Closing: March 19
Cast: Cate Blanchett and Richard Roxburgh
A new play based on Anton Chekhov’s Platonov, with the action transposed to the 1990s.

website

Twitter feed: @thepresentbway

Buy tickets to The Present

 

Jitney

jitney-logoTheater: MTC’s Samuel J. Friedman
Playwright: August Wilson
Director: Ruben Santiago-Hudson
First preview: December 28, 2016
Opening: January 19, 2017
website
Tweeter feed: @MTC_NYC

website

Broadway premiere of Wilson’s first play, the only work from his The American Century Cycle never previously seen on Broadway. Set in the early 1970’s, the story follows a group of men who drive unlicensed cabs or jitneys.

Buy tickets to Jitney

February

sunset-boulevard-logoSunset Boulevard

Theater: The Palace
First Preview: February 2, 2017
Opening: February 9, 2017
Written by Christopher Hampton and Don Black (book/lyrics), and Andrew Lloyd Webber (music)
Director: Lonny Price
Cast: Glenn Close
Revival of the 1994 musical based on the 1950 Billy Wilder movie about a faded Hollywood silent film goddess who tries to make one last comeback. This production was seen in a spring 2016 revival in London.

website

@sunsetblvd

Buy tickets to Sunset Boulevard

Sunday in the Park With George

sunday-in-the-park-logoTheater; Hudson
First Preview: February 2, 2017
Opens: February 23

Closes: April 23
Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim; book by James Lapine
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal and Annaleigh Ashford
Transfer of the New York City Center‘s fall 2016 concert version of the Pulitzer-winning 1984 musical about pointillist painter George Seurat.

@hudsonbway

website

Buy tickets to Sunday in the Park with George

March

Significant Other

Significant Other logoTheater: Booth

Previews: February 14, 2017
Opens: March 2, 2017
Playwright: Joshua Harmon
Director: Trip Cullman
Cast: Gideon Glick, Barbara Barrie and Lindsay Mendez
Transfer of the Roundabout Theatre Company’s 2015 Off-Broadway hit about a gay bachelor looking for love in the big city.

@SignificantBway

website

Buy tickets to Significant Other

The Glass Menagerie

glass-menagerie-logoTheater: John Golden
Playwright: Tennessee Williams
Director: Sam Gold
First preview: February 14, 2017
Opening March 9, 2017
Cast: Sally Field, Joe Mantello, Finn Witrock, Madison Ferris
The eighth production of Tennessee Williams play on Broadway.

website

Buy tickets to The Glass Menagerie

Come From Away

come-from-away-logo
Theater: Schoenfeld
Previews: February 18, 2017
Opens: March 12, 2017
Book, music and lyrics by the Canadian husband-and-wife team Irene Sankoff and David Hein.
Director: Christopher Ashley
Cast: Chad Kimball, Jenn Colella, Joel Hatch, Rodney Hicks and Caesar Samayoa.
New musical that explores the lasting connection forged between a group of travelers whose planes were diverted to a small Newfoundland town on Sept. 11, 2001.
The show had its world premiere at the La Jolla Playhouse in summer 2015,

website

@wecomefromaway

Buy tickets to Come From Away

The Price

theprice-logoTheater: Roundabout’s American Airlines
Playwright: Arthur Miller
Director: Terry Kinney
First preview: February 16, 2017
Opening: March 16, 2017
Cast: Danny DeVito, Jessica Hecht, Tony Shalhoub, John Turturro
website
Tweeter feed: @RTC_NYC

website

A revival of the 1968 drama about two estranged brothers who reunite to sell their the remainder of their parents’ estate.

Buy tickets to The Price

Miss Saigon

Miss Saigon logoTheater: Broadway
Previews: March 1, 2017
Opens: March 23, 2017
Written by Claude-Michel Schönberg (music), Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg (lyrics), Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg (book)
Director: Laurence Connor
Cast: Jon Jon Briones and Eva Noblezada
An American soldier named Chris marries Kim in Vietnam before departing for the US. Three years later, he returns to find Kim still alive and raising Tam, a boy he fathered. With the Viet Cong closing in on the city and two women wanting the only place in his heart, Chris has big decisions to make.

@MissSaigonUS

website

Buy tickets to Miss Saigon

Sweat

sweat-logoTheater: Studio 54
First previews: March 4, 2017
Opens: March 26, 2017
Playwright: Lynn Nottage
Director: Kate Whoriskey
Cast: Carlo Albán, James Colby, Khris Davis, Johanna Day, John Earl Jelks, Will Pullen, Miriam Shor, Lance Coadie Williams, and Michelle Wilson
Broadway transfer of the hit Public Theatre production of Nottage’s drama about blue-collar workers in a Pennsylvania town at the turn of the millennium.

Twitter: @SweatBroadway

website

My review of Sweat off-Broadway

Buy tickets to Sweat

APRIL

The Play That Goes Wrong

play-that-goes-wrong-logoTheater: Lyceum
First preview: March 9, 2017
Opens: April 2, 2017
Written by Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields
Director: Mark Bell
Cast: Matthew Cavendish, Bryony Corrigan, Rob Falconer, Dave Hearn, Henry Lewis, Charlie Russell, Jonathan Sayer, Henry Shields, Greg Tannahill, and Nancy Zamit.
Olivier Award-winning comedy about an amateur university production that goes hopelessly awry

Twitter: @BwayGoesWrong

website

Buy tickets to The Play That Goes Wrong

Amelie

amelie-logoTheatre: Walter Kerr
First preview: March 9, 2017
Opens: April 3, 2017
Written by Dan Messé (music), Nathan Tyson (lyrics), Craig Lucas (book)
Director: Pam MacKinnon
Cast: Phillipa Soo and Adam Chanler-Berat
A musical adaptation of the  2001 film, which starred Audrey Tautou as a shy waitress with a wild imagination.

@AmelieBroadway

website

Buy tickets to Amelie

Present Laughter

present-laughter-logoTheater: St. James
Target Previews: Early spring 2017
Opening: April 5, 2017
Playwright: Noël Coward
Director: Moritz von Suelpnagel
Cast: Kevin Kline

Revival of the 1940s comedy about the tribulations of a popular matinee idol.

website

@laughteronbway

Buy tickets to Present Laughter

War Paint

war-paint-logo
Theater: Nederlander
Previews: March 7, 2017
Opening: April 6, 2017
Writers: Book by Doug Wrights; music and lyrics by Scott Frankel and Michael Korie
Director: Michael Grief; choreographer: Christopher Gattelli
Cast: Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole
Musical based on the rivalry of cosmetics titans Helena Rubenstein (LuPone) and Elizabeth Arden (Ebersole)
Premiered at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago in summer 2016.

website

@warpaintmusical

Buy tickets to War Paint

oslo-logoOslo

Theater: Vivian Beaumont
Previews: March 23, 2017
Opens: April 13, 2017
Playwright: J.T. Rogers
Director: Bartlett Sher
Cast: Jennifer Ehle, Daniel Jenkins, Jefferson Mays and Daniel Oreskes
Transfer of Lincoln Center Theater’s Off-Broadway production of the play about the top-secret, high-level meetings between the State of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization that culminated in the signing of the historic 1993 Oslo Accords.

My review of “Oslo” Off-Broadway

website

@LCTheater

Buy tickets to Oslo

 Groundhog Day

groundhog-day-logoTheater: August Wilson
Previews: March 2017
Opening: April 17, 2017
Music and lyrics by Tim Minchin, book by Danny Rubin
Director: Matthew Warchus
Cast: Andy Karl
A musical adaptation of the 1993 Bill Murray film about a cynical Pittsburgh TV weatherman who is sent to cover the annual Groundhog Day event in Punxsutawney, PA, when he finds himself caught in a time loop, forced to repeat the same day again and again…and again. Will he ever unlock the secret and break the cycle?
Produced in London in summer 2016.

website

@Groundhogdaybwy

Buy tickets to Groundhog Day

Six Degrees of Separation

six-degrees-of-separation-logoTheater: Barrymore
Target Opening: April 2017
Playwright: John Guare
Director: Trip Cullman
Cast: Allison Janney and John Benjamin Hickey
Revival of the 1990 drama about a young con man who is embraced by wealthy New Yorkers after passing himself off as Sidney Poitier’s son.

website

@SixDegreesBway

Buy tickets to Six Degrees of Separation

Indecent

indecent-logoTheater: Cort
Opening: April 18, 2017
Playwright: Paula Vogel
Director: Rebecca Taichman
Cast: TBA

A behind-the-scenes look at the true story of the controversial 1923 Broadway debut of Sholem Asch’s “God of Vengeance” — “a play seen by some as a seminal work of Jewish culture, and by others as an act of traitorous libel,” in part because of its lesbian lovers.

My review of Indecent Off-Broadway

website

@IndecentBway

Buy tickets to Indecent

The Little Foxes

Theater: MTC’s Samuel J. Friedman
Playwright: Lillian Hellman
Director: Daniel Sullivan
First preview: March 29, 2017
Opening: April 19, 2017
Closing:
Cast: Laura Linney and Cynthia Nixon

The fifth Broadway production of the 1930 drama about a ruthless Southern belle.

website

Buy tickets to The Little Foxes

Hello, Dolly

Hello Dolly logoTheater: Shubert
Authors: Music and lyrics by Jerry Herman, book by Michael Stewart
Director: Jerry Zaks, choreographer Warren Carlyle
First preview: March 13, 2017
Opening: April 20, 2017
Closing:
Cast: Bette Midler and David Hyde Pierce
website
Tweeter feed: @HelloDollyBway

The fifth Broadway production of the 1964 musical about a matchmaker who sets out to find a match for herself at the turn of the 20th century.

Buy tickets to Hello, Dolly

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory logoTheater: Lunt-Fontanne
First Preview: March 28, 2017
Opening: April 23, 2017
Written by David Greig (book), Marc Shaiman (music & lyrics), Scott Wittman (lyrics), Roald Dahl (novel)
Director: Jack O’Brien
Cast: Christian Borle as Willy Wonka
When Charlie wins a golden ticket to the weird and wonderful Wonka Chocolate Factory, it’s the chance of a lifetime to feast on the sweets he’s always dreamed of. But beyond the gates astonishment awaits, as the five lucky winners discover not everything is as sweet as it seems.

website

@CharlieOnBway

Buy tickets to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Anastasia

anastasia-logoTheater: Broadhurst
First Preview: March 23, 2017
Opening: April 24, 2017
Music by Stephen Flaherty, lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, book by Terrence McNally
Director: Darko Tresnjak
Cast: Christy Altomare, Derek Klana, Ramin Karimloo, Mary Beth Peil, John Bolton, and Caroline O’Connor
Inspired by the 1997 film about a young woman who may be the last surviving member of the Russian royal family. The score includes songs from the movie, including the Oscar- nominated “Journey to the Past,” plus an entirely new score from the Tony Award-winning team.
The musical had its world premiere at Hartford in 2016.

website

@AnastasiaBway

Buy tickets to Anastasia

Bandstand

bandstand-logoTheater: Bernard Jacobs
First Preview: March 31, 2017
Opening: April 26, 2017
Music by Richard Oberacker and book and lyrics by Robert Taylor and Richard Oberacker
Director/Choreographer: Andy Blankenbuhler
Cast: Laura Osnes and Corey Cott
This “big-band musical” chronicles a mismatched band of WWII veterans who join forces to compete in a radio contest.
The show debuted in 2015 at Paper Mill Playhouse

website

@BandstandBway

Buy tickets to Bandstand

A Doll’s House, Part 2

a-dolls-house-logoTheater: Golden
First Preview: April 1, 2017
Opening: April 27, 2017
Playwright: Lucas Hnath
Director: Sam Gold
Cast: Laurie Metcalf, Chris Cooper, Jayne Houdyshell, Condola Rashad.
Sequel to Henrik Ibsen’s play, following up after Nora has left her husband and children.

website

@DollsHousePart2

Buy tickets to A Doll’s House, Part 2

 

Also check out my monthly calendar of theater openings, which includes Broadway, Off-Broadway and Off-Off Broadway.

Full 2016-2017 Broadway season, including my reviews of the shows that have opened.