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Broadway Fall 2015 Preview Guide

Updated: October 31

An exciting season is underway, with the Broadway debuts of movie stars Bruce Willis, Clive Owen, Forest Whitaker and Keira Knightley and TV star George Takei! The return of Al Pacino, Audra McDonald, Lea Salonga and Nina Ariana!  The pairing of James Earl Jones and Cicely Tyson! There are also new musicals by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Gloria Estefan, and  George C. Wolfe.

(See Fall 2015 Off Broadway Guide as well)
WillisKnightlyTakeiAnd then there’s Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. Hamilton7 Listed below, chronologically by opening dates, are the shows officially scheduled so far on Broadway in the Fall 2015-2016 season, May 2015 through January 2016, with basic information and sometimes my two cents. Both the schedule and my opinions will be revised and updated as the season progresses. (Click for a rundown on long-running Broadway shows)

See also:  Off-Broadway Fall 2015 Guide

An Act of God

anactofgodlogoTheater: Studio 54
Playwright: David Javerbaum
Director:  Joe Montello
Opened: May 28
Closing: August 2, 2015
Cast: Jim Parsons Christopher Fitzgerald Tim Kazurinsky
God in the person of The Big Bang Theory’s Jim Parsons has rewritten the Ten Commandments in a joke-filled comedy begat by the author of the Twitter feed @TweetofGod.
Twitter feed: @ActofGodBway

Penn and Teller

pennandtellerlogoMarquis Theater
First preview: July 7
Opening: July 12
Closing: August 16. 2015
Cast: Penn Jillette,Teller
The duo returns with their familiar mix of magic and comedy. @pennjillett and @MrTeller

Amazing Grace

amazinggrace logoNederlander Theatre
Authors: Christopher Smith and Arthur Giron
First preview: June 25
Opens: July 16
Director: Gabriel Barre
Cast: Josh Young, Erin Mackey, Chuck Cooper, Chris Hoch, Tom Hewitt, Stanley Bahorek , Harriett D. Foy, Laiona Michelle , Rachael Ferrera, Elizabeth Ward Land

A new musical about the creation of the spiritual song ‘Amazing Grace’ by John Newton, the son of a slave trader. Twitter feed: @agmusical

Hamilton

hamiltonlogoRichard Rodgers Theater
Author: Lin-Manuel Miranda
Director: Thomas Kail
First preview: July 13
Opens: August 6
Cast: Lin-Manuel Miranda, Carleigh Bettiol, Ariana DeBose, Daveed Diggs, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Sydney James Harcourt, Sasha Hutchings, Christopher Jackson, Thayne Jasperson, Stephanie Klemons, Anthony Ramos, Leslie Odom Jr., Jon Rua, Phillipa Soo, Seth Stewart, Betsy Struxness, Ephraim Sykes, Voltaire Wade-Greene
The groundbreaking hip-hop opera about the life and times of the Founding Father on the ten dollar bill transfers to Broadway amid much huzzahs, including by me.
Twitter feed: @HamiltonMusical

SEPTEMBER

Deaf West’s Spring Awakening

SpringAwakeninglogoBrooks Atkinson
Authors: Book and lyrics by Stephen Sater, music by Duncan Sheik
Director: Michael Arden
First preview: September 8
Opens: September 27
Closes: January 9, 2016
Cast: TBA
An 18-week run of this revival of the 2006 Broadway musical, based on Frank Wedekind’s 19th century German play about the coming-of-age, and coming-to-rebellion, of a dozen young people. This production, originally mounted in Los Angeles, is in English and American Sign Language
Twitter feed: @SA_Musical

OCTOBER

Old Times

oldtimesnotlogoAmerican Airlines Theater

Playwright: Harold Pinter

Director: Douglas Hodge

First preview: September 17

Opens: October 6

Closing: Nov 29 2015

Cast: Clive Owen, Eve Best, Kelly Reilly

Owen makes his Broadway debut in this Roundabout revival of Pinter’s 1971 dark comedy about a friendly visit from Deeley’s wife’s friend Anna that turns into a battle for power

Fool For Love

FoolforLovenotquitelogoSamuel J. Friedman Theater

Playwright: Sam Shepard

Director: Daniel Aukin

First preview: September 15

Opens: October 8

Closing: TBA

Cast: Nina Arianda, Sam Rockwell

Nina Arianda and Sam Rockwell star in Manhattan Theatre Club’s revival of Sam Shepard’s 1983 play about a brother and sister who share an unrequited love.

The Gin Game

james-earl-jones-cicely-tyson in Gin GameJohn Golden Theater

Playwright: D.L. Coburn

Director: Leonard Foglia

First preview: September 21

Opens: October 14

Closing: TBA

Cast: Cicely Tyson, James Earl Jones

Cicely Tyson and James Earl Jones team up for the revival of this Pulitzer-winning play about a man and a woman in a nursing home who turn a game of gin rummy into a battleground.

Dames at Sea

DamesatSealogoHelen Hayes Theater

Authors: Jim Wise (music), George Haimsohn (book and lyrics), Robin Miller (book and lyrics)

Director: Randy Skinner

First Preview: September 24

Opens: October 22

Cast: John Bolton Mara Davi Danny Gardner Eloise Kropp Leslie Margherita Cary Tedder

First revival of the 1968 musical pokes fun at movie musicals of the 1930s. The cast of Ruby’s first Broadway show learn that their theater is being demolished, so they decide to perform on a battleship Twitter feed: @DamesatSeaBway

SylvialogoSylvia

Cort Theater

Author: A.R. Gurney

Director: Dan Sullivan

First Preview:October 2

Opens: October 27

Cast: Annaleigh Ashford, Julie White, Robert Sella

Annaleigh Ashford and Julie White star in this revival of A.R. Gurney’s 1995 comedy about a man who adopts a dog (Ashford) that causes a crisis in his marriage.  First preview planned for September 25.

Twitter feed: @SylviaBroadway

Therese Raquin

TheresaRaquinNOTlogoStudio 54

Playwright: Helen Edmundson adaptation of Emile Zola Director: Evan Cabnet

First Preview: October 1

Opens: October 29

Cast: Keira Knightly, Judith Light, Gabriel Ebert, Matt Ryan

A new stage adaptation of Zola’s novel. “In this tale of love, lust, betrayal, and guilt, Thérèse (Knightley) has made peace with her loveless marriage to a weak man when her world is turned upside down by Laurent walking through the door

NOVEMBER

King Charles III

KingCharlesIIIlogoMusic Box Theater

Playwright: Mike Bartlett

Director: Rupert Goold

First Preview: October 10

Opens: November 1

Cast: Tim Pigott-Smith, Oliver Chris, Richard Goulding, Adam James,Margot Leicester, Miles Richardson, Tom Robertson, Sally Scott, Tafline Steen,Lydia Wilson

A Broadway transfer of the 2015 Olivier award for best new play imagining Prince Charles’ ascent to the throne. Twitter feed: @KingCharles3

On Your Feet

OnYourFeetlogoMarquis Theater

Authors: Gloria Estefan (music), Alexander Dinelaris (book)

Director: Jerry Mitchell

First Preview: October 5

Opens: November 5

Cast: Ana Villafañe, Josh Segarra

Singer Gloria Estefan tells the story of her and her husband Emilio Estefan Twitter feed: @OnYourFeetBway

Allegiance

AllegiancelogoLongacre

Authors: Music and lyrics by Jay Kuo, book by Marc Acito, Kay Kuo, Lorenzo Thione

Director: Stafford Arima

First Preview: October 6

Opens: November 8

Cast: George Takei, Lea Salonga, Telly Leung, Katie Rose Clarke, Michael K. Lee, Christopheren Nomura, Greg Watanabe

A new musical based on George Takei’s family’s experiences in an American internment camp for Japanese-Americans during World War II.

Twitter feed: @AllegianceBway
.

A View from the Bridge

AViewfromtheBridgeLyceum Theater

Playwright: Arthur Miller

Director: Ivo Van Hove

First Preview: October 21

Opens: November 12

Cast: Mark Strong, Nicola Walker, Phoebe Fox.

This will be the fifth production on Broadway of Miller’s Greek tragedy of a play set on a Brooklyn waterfront in the 1950s; the last was in 2010 starring Scarlett Johansson and Liev Schreiber. However, it marks the Broadway debut of the much-praised Belgium avant-garde director Van Hove, who wowed New York audiences just last year with his innovative Off-Broadway productions of Scenes from a Marriage and Angels in America. His View from the Bridge is a transfer from London.

MiserylogosortofMisery

Broadhurst Theater

First preview: Oct 22 2015
Opening: Nov 15 2015
Closing: Feb 14 2016

Director: Will Frears

Writer: William Goldman, from the novel by Stephen Kin

Cast: Bruce Willis, Laurie Metcalf

Bruce Willis makes his Broadway debut with Laurie Metcalf in William Goldman’s adaptation of Stephen King’s novel about a popular writer held hostage by an insane fan

China Doll

ChinaDolllogoGerald Schoenfeld Theater

Playwright: David Mamet

Director: Pam MacKinnon

First Preview: October 21

Opens: November 19

Cast: Al Pacino, Fran Kranz

David Mamet’s new two-character play about a billionaire, Mickey Ross (Pacino), who has just bought a new airplane for his young fiancée as he prepares to go into semiretirement; on his way he suddenly gets a phone call.

Twitter feed: @ChinaDollBway

DECEMBER

The Color Purple

ColorPurplelogoBernard Jacobs Theater

Authors: Music and lyrics by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray, book by Marsha Norman

Director: John Doyle

First Preview: November 10

Opens: December 10

Cast: Cynthia Erivo, Jennifer Hudson, Danielle Brooks

A revival of the 2005 musical based on Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about Twitter feed: @BwayColorPurple

School of Rock—The Musical

Winter Garden Theater SchoolofRocklogo

Authors: Lyrics by Glenn Slater, music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and from the movie, book by Julian Fellowes

Director: Laurence Connor

First Preview: November 9

Opens: December 6

Cast: Alex Brightman, Sierra Boggess

An adaptation of the 2003 Jack Black movie about a really bad substitute teacher who enlists his fifth-grade class to form a rock group to compete in the Battle of the Bands.

Twitter feed: @SORMusical

Fiddler on the Roof

Broadway Theater FiddlerontheRooflogo

Authors: Jerry Bock (music), Sheldon Harnick (lyrics) and Joseph Stein (book)

Director: Bartlett Sher

First Preview: November 20

Opens: December 20

Cast: Danny Burstein, Jessica Hecht, Adam Kantor, Alexandra Silber

A revival of the hugely and justly popular 1964 musical about a Jewish milkman and his daughters in hostile 19th century Russia. Twitter feed: @FiddlerBroadway

Noises Off

Andrea Martin

Andrea Martin

American Airlines Theater

Playwright: Michael Frayn

Director: Jeremy Herrin

First Preview: December 17

Opens: January 14, 2016

Closing; TBA

Cast: Andrea Martin, Jeremy Shamos

Andrea Martin stars in the Roundabout revival of this 1983 backstage comedy with lots of door-slamming.

JANUARY

Our Mother’s Brief AffairOurMothersbriefaffairnotlogo

Samuel J. Friedman Theater

Playwright: Richard Greenberg

Director: Lynne Meadow

First Preview: December 28

Opens: January 20

Closing: TBA

Cast: Linda Lavin

Linda Lavin stars in yet another collaboration between Greenberg and Manhattan Theatre Club artistic director Meadow, this one about a mother who confesses a small infidelity that has big consequences.

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Glamour On Broadway: Sting, Tatiana Maslany, Keira Knightley. Week in New York Theater

Both Tatiana Maslany and Keira Knightley announced they would be making their Broadway debuts, the rock star Sting made his debut this week as a Broadway composer, and an Off-Broadway play opened about the filming of Double Indemnity. If all that’s not glamorous enough, the New Yorker released videos of Sondheim talking about Sweeney Todd, Gypsy and West Side Story.

Below are excerpts and links to my reviews of “Billy and Ray,” “The Fortress of Solitude,” and “The Last Ship.”

The Week in New York Theater Oct 20-26

20

OnTheTwentiethCentury1stphoto

Andy Karl (Rocky) as Bruce Granit, Mark Linn-Baker (You Can’t Take It With You) as Oliver Webb, Tony winner Michael McGrath (Nice Work If You Can Get It) as Owen O’Malley, and Tony winner Mary Louise Wilson join Kristin Chenoweth and Peter Gallagher in Roundabout’s On The Twentieth Century revival

Harvard is planning to offer a major in “theater, dance and media,”leaving Princeton as only Ivy League not offering theater degree

Brian Yorkey, Tom Kitt

Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey (Next to Normal) are making a Broadway-aiming musical out of 2007 indie film The Visitor, in which a college professor discovers that somebody has rented his apartment to a young unmarried immigrant couple. He lets them stay, bonds over music, and then has his friendship tested when one is faced with deportation.

BillyJoel

Billy Joel, who hasn’t put out new music since 2001, is working on songs about L.I. history. (A musical?)

Billy&Ray3

My review of Billy and Ray

“No killing, no dead body, no sex, no nothing. Just talk.”
That line is uttered near the end of “Billy & Ray,” a play about the collaboration of director Billy Wilder and writer Raymond Chandler on the film “Double Indemnity.” The film’s producer is on the phone with the head of the Hollywood censorship office, using these words to describe the film in order to reassure him.
It is a sly description of the 1944 movie starring Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck that embodied a genre later labeled film noir, where, to get around the censors, all the dark doings an audience could want happen off-screen (sometimes inches off screen.)
Yet the line could also describe Mike Vencivenga’s play itself: Nothing much happens, just talk, in this disappointing production at the Vineyard Theater, directed by Garry Marshall. Its main appeal, to be honest, is in being able to witness the New York stage debuts of two of the performers in the four-member cast – Vincent Kartheiser, Pete Campbell from Mad Men, portraying Billy Wilder, and, as his secretary Helen, Sophie von Haselberg, who looks and acts uncannily like a young Bette Midler — and is in fact her daughter.

Full review of Billy and Ray

21

Hand to God MCC at the LucilleLortel Theater
Robert Askins’s Hand to God, featuring Tyrone the shock puppet, will open on Broadway’s Booth Theater April 7, 2015!

tatiana-maslany-thomas-sadoski

Orphan Black’s Tatiana Maslany to make her New York stage debut in Neil LaBute’s The Way We Get By, opposite Thomas Sadoski at Second Stage, about two people who wake up after spending the night together faced with a number of challenges.

Study: Trips to live theater enhance literary knowledge,tolerance, and empathy among students. Science Daily

Ticketmaster vs. Stubhub: Who’s Winning the Resale Battle?

BradleyCooper

Bradley Cooper on The Elephant Man: “It was the reason why I wanted to become an actor, because of David Lynch’s movie. And then I discovered it was a play, and I did it for my thesis in grad school.”

22

Romala Garai
Romola Garai, so luminous in Indian Ink interviewed by The Interval 

Remember abruptly canceled “Hearts & Lights” at Radio City? Diane Paulus et al creating “NY Spring Spectacular,” opening March 26.

Only 10 percent of art school grads wind up as working artists, according to a new analysis

The Magic Jukebox,  musical sketch comedy, will inaugurate a new (temporary, aka pop-up) theater at South Street, Nov 6-22

Free play reading series at The Labyrinth Theater begins with  Empanada Loco,a Latin Sweeney Todd starring Daphne Rubin Vega http://bit.ly/1vNQzEk

11 playwrights you need to know about (all but 3 of them women) by Karen D’Souza

Alphabetically:

Annie Baker

Will Eno

Gina Gionfriddo

Amy Herzog

Tracy Letts

Linda McClean

Lynn Nottage

Sarah Ruhl

Enda Walsh

Naomi Wallace

FortressSolitude3

My review of Fortress of Solitude

“The Fortress of Solitude” begins with a sensory overload of song…the sounds of a Brooklyn block, circa 1975. That sets the tone for this energetic, inspired, heartbreaking and sometimes rushed and overwhelming stage adaptation of Jonathan Lethem’s sprawling coming-of-age novel, centered on a friendship between a white boy named Dylan and a black boy named Mingus.

Full review

23

Keira Knightley

Keira Knightley to make her Broadway debut in Roundabout Theater’s Therese Raquin (based on Emile Zola novel), directed by Evan Cabnet, about a woman who embarks on an affair with her husband’s friend. It will open in October 2015

Alex Timbers will direct Permission by playwright Robert Askins in his follow-up to Hand to God MCC theater April 29 to June 7, 2015

Our research indicates that the ways Americans are participating in the arts is expanding, along with the demographics of those who participate. We are seeing more diversity in the groups (African American, Asian American and Hispanic) who are most likely to approach art in new ways, such as electronic media, to create and share music and visual art. As a matter of fact, in this the digital age, 74% of American adults are using their mobile devices, computers and tablets to view and listen to arts~NEA chair Jane Chu

Feelings of desperation and unhappiness are more useful to an artist than feeling of contentment~Francis Bacon

Annie Danger on “queer art” and how it’s like farming: you’ve got to love shoveling sh*t and hope it’s fruitful

24

Grand Prize Winner Chelsea Ravich

Grand Prize Winner Chelsea Ravich

Phantom of the Opera Pop Up Shop opens, displaying prize-winning masks

 

25

A Critic’s Lexicon

Raves vs. rants

pans vs. pouts

puffs vs. doubts

All eight articles from this week’s #transgender theater series on Howlround

Theaters With Your Favorite Audiences?

26

timothyhuang

Advice to a musical theater writer, by Timothy Huang:

Go see everything.

Ask for things.

Say yes.

Share

Apply for all things, all the time.

 

Also Sondheim on:

“Sweeney Todd” and Sondheim’s process for writing a musical

And

video of his announcing details of his new musical with David Ives

The Last Ship by Sting

The Last Ship by Sting

My review of The Last Ship

Sting’s songs are haunting and lyrical, the creative team is made up of Broadway royalty, the acting helps lend a sense of authenticity to this heartfelt tale based on the struggles of the shipbuilding community where the rock star grew up in Northern England. So why did “The Last Ship” ultimately feel to me so much like an overlong commercial for beer or aftershave lotion — all manly fellowship and honest, muscular effort, without much purpose except to work up a sweat?

The opening scenes promise much more than that.

Full review of The Last Ship