A new Broadway season rarely disappoints, and this year is no exception with a huge range of shows heading to the Great White Way, and all with a high star quotient (sunglasses at the ready please).
Here’s our WestEndTheatre.com run down on what’s hot on Broadway. And no we aren’t jealous!
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Screen to Stage
The theatre is never short of movie to musical remakes, so why break a magic run of success? Beetlejuice is a good case in point given its hit status in New York. Next up is Mrs. Doubtfire The Musical based on the 1993 Robin Williams movie, with stage pro Rob McClure leading the adaptation at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre.
Other movie to musicals adapts include Sing Street at the Lyceum, which is a theatre update of John Carney’s 2016 indie movie about 80’s Dublin and a rock-obsessed teen. Expect lots of instrument playing from a talented young cast.
Two becomes one this season with a number of shows featuring real-life married couples. Chief amongst them are Broadway royalty Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick, who tackle the three couples checking in to a posh Manhattan Hotel in a glitzy revival of Neil Simon’s comedy Plaza Suite at the Hudson Theatre. This is the first time they are back together on stage since 1995 and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.
Another couple treading the boards is Rose Byrne and Bobby Cannavale, who get it together as one very miserables couple in Greek tragedy Medea – with a modern update.
(Of course nothing quite beats our own West End theatre couple up on stage this season: Rosalie Craig and Hadley Fraser starring in City of Angels at the Garrick Theatre in London).
We know he’s never gone away in order to have to have a come-back, but momentum behind Sondheim’s back-catalog of hit shows seems to be unstoppable. Cameron Mackintosh renaming the Queen’s Theatre in London to the Sondheim Theatre was a highlight. But on Broadway they are making good with actual shows, albeit a transfer of our very own production of Company. Rosalie is busy with City of Angels, so the Bobby honours go to 2018 Tony Award winner Katrina Lenk, but still with Patti LuPone giving her “The Ladies Who Lunch” in Marianne Elliot’s multi-award-winning and simply stunning gender-bending revival of Sondheim’s classic at the Bernard B Jacobs Theatre.
Also promised for Off Broadway, is a Classic Stage Company revival of Sondheim’s Assassins, which is great timing giving the 2020 US elections. Coming to the Lynn F. Angelson Theater from 12 April to 7 June and directed by John Doyle, the cast includes Ethan Slater as Lee Harvey Oswald/The Balladeer, Judy Kuhn as Sara Jane Moore, Steven Pasquale as John Wilkes Booth and Will Swenson as Charles Guiteau.
Revivals: Go Big or Go Home
Doing a revival is not necessarily about doing it easy! And there are some big-hitting revivals coming to Broadway this season. Chief up is director Ivo van Hove’s super-radical take on West Side Story, which features some big updates to the staging including no interval and no Jerome Robbins styled choreography. What it does feature is over 30 superb performers making their Broadway debuts.
Another revival that is ear-marked for awards is Laurie Metcalf – hot on the heels of her two Tony Awards in recent years – giving us her Martha in a revival of Edward Albee’s classic Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Alongside Laurie it’s all very British, with our very own Rupert Everett, Russell Tovey and Patsy Ferran as co-stars.
And Sam Rockwell, Laurence Fishburne, and Darren Criss storming on to Broadway in a revival of David Mamet’s American Buffalo at Circle in the Square.
TV stars are also getting in on the revival game, as Tony Award-winner Take Me Out at the Helen Hayes Theatre, about a gay baseball player coming out, stars Patrick J. Adams of Suits, Jesse Tyler Ferguson of Modern Family, and Jesse Williams of Grey’s Anatomy.
Finally, a revival that comes via London, with the hugely successful Hampstead production of Caroline, Or Change moving to Studio54 from 13 March, with Sharon D. Clarke reviving her stellar turn. Maybe she will be convinced to hang on over there for Marianne Elliott’s Death of a Salesman to be revived?
What’s New ?
We end with the New and not the Revival. The Roundabout Theatre Company will present new play Birthday Candles from 2 April at the American Airlines Theatre, as Noah Haidle makes her Broadway writing debut. Vivienne Benesch directs Debra Messing (Will & Grace) and Andre Braugher (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) star.
Also coming to Broadway is Martin McDonagh’s new play Hangmen, starring Dan Stevens. It was a smash hit at the Royal Court and the Wyndhams Theatre in London… anyone up for a West End to Broadway back to West End transfer?
And Later in 2020
Trying to keep calm and not think too much about Hugh Jackman coming to the Winter Garden with a revival of The Music Man (from 9 September), brought to the stage by most of the creative team of Hello Dolly!