Broadway Fall 2017 Preview - Part 1: The Musicals
With a record-breaking total of new shows opening in the 2016-2017 Broadway season - one of the most competitive in recent Broadway history - the upcoming season has some mighty, big shoes to fill. However, Broadway producers are certainly rising to the challenge and filling our theatres once again with a finely balanced mix of intriguing revivals and groundbreaking premieres and they've also managed to entice the odd A-Lister to tread the Broadway boards for the very first time. Although there are already some huge musical openings announced for next spring with the likes of My Fair Lady, Carousel and Disney's Frozen, we thought it was about time to have a quick look at some of the brand new musical productions this fall has to offer...
|Photo by Matthew Murphy|
More Production Photos
PRINCE OF BROADWAY
Last night marked the first official opening of a musical production for the 2017-2018 Broadway season and what better way to kick things off than with a musical celebration of the astonishing career of director/producer Harold Prince. The 21-time Tony Award winner, whose career has spanned six decades, directs this musical revue himself, re-visiting a flood of hits which have established him as the ultimate Broadway mastermind. The stellar cast of Prince of Broadway includes such musical theatre veterans as Tony winner Chuck Cooper, Janet Dacal, Bryonha Marie Parham, Tony nominee Emily Skinner, Tony nominee Brandon Uranowitz, Kaley Ann Voorhees, Michael Xavier, Tony nominee Tony Yazbeck, and Tony winner Karen Ziemba. And the hits they re-imagine come from some of Broadway's all-time favorites with the likes of West Side Story, Fiddler on the Roof, Cabaret, Evita, Company, Follies, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd, The Phantom of the Opera and the list goes on and on... And the creative team also boasts co-direction and choreography from Broadway favorite and 5-time Tony Award winner Susan Stroman and new songs by 3-time Tony winner Jason Robert Brown! It's been a long and winding road to the Great White Way since the world premiere in Japan in 2015, but thanks to the Manhattan Theatre Club, Prince of Broadway has finally found a home at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre. Simply put, this production should be on every Broadway fanatic's wishlist! Where else could you experience the greatest hits of the greatest shows all under one roof on the same night?
Click HERE for tickets to Prince of Broadway at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre until October 22, 2017.
|Photo by Ahron R. Foster|
|Katrina Lenk & Tony Shalhoub|
THE BAND'S VISIT
Perhaps the most hyped off-Broadway show last season was the Atlantic Theater Company's acclaimed production of The Band's Visit. The musical, which is based on a 2007 Israeli film by Eran Kolirin, played an extended world premiere engagement at the Linda Gross Theater from November 2016 through to January of this year and went on to scoop the Lucille Lortel Award, Outer Critics Circle Award and the Drama Critics’ Circle Award for "Outstanding New Musical." Featuring a book by Itamar Moses with music & lyrics by David Yazbek, the 90-minute heart-warmer follows an Egyptian Police Band who travel to Israel to play a concert, but after being misdirected end up in a tiny village in the desert in the middle of nowhere. Left stranded with no bus to retrieve them until the next morning, they are taken in by the locals and an unforgettable evening unfolds, where we witness how music and laughter can break down cultural boundaries. The arrival of The Band's Visit could not be more timely as racial tensions escalate in this country. Good news for theatre fans is that almost the entire off-Broadway cast is returning for the Broadway transfer, including leads Katrina Lenk and three-time Tony nominee Tony Shalhoub as Dina and Tewfiq, respectively. Previews begin at the Barrymore Theatre on October 7, ahead of an official opening on November 9.
Click HERE for tickets to The Band's Visit at the Barrymore Theatre through to April 29, 2018.
ONCE ON THIS ISLAND
Arguably the most eagerly anticipated revival of the season so far is Once On This Island, which will be re-imagined in the intimate setting of the Circle in the Square by Tony-nominated director Michael Arden. Stephen Flaherty & Lynn Ahrens' musical made waves the first time around picking up a grand total of eight Tony nominations (including "Best Musical") in 1991 and winning the Olivier Award for "Best New Musical" in 1995 with its West End transfer. It also helped propell LaChanze into Broadway royalty as she took on the lead role of Ti Moune. For this revival, Arden held an international casting search to find his new leading lady and time will tell whether newcomer Hailey Kilgore will experience a similar meteoric career rise. She will be backed up by a healthy dose of established star power with the likes of Tony winner Lea Salonga (as Erzulie), "Glee" star Alex Newell (as Asaka) and Tony nominee Phillip Boykin (as Tonton Julian) to name just a few. Bursting with Caribbean rhythms and dance, the musical follows Ti Moune who - guided by the island gods - sets out on an epic, fantastical journey. After a storm rips Haiti apart, she finds hope - and an unexpected romance - in a young man from the wealthy side of the island. But will their cultural differences keep these young dreamers apart? Previews begin on November 9, before an official opening on December 3, 2017.
Click HERE for tickets to Once On This Island at the Circle in the Square Theatre through to December 30, 2018.
|Photo by Joan Marcus|
|Danny Skinner, Ethan Slater & Lilli Cooper|
And now for something completely different! Ever thought you'd see the day when the world's favorite sponge would bring Bikini Bottom to the Great White Way?! Well, that day is close at hand, folks! Nickelodeon is now getting itself a slice of the Broadway pie thanks to Tina Landau. She has imaginatively conceived this stage adaptation of the hit animation series and directs the production, which has already staged a successful world premiere at Chicago's Oriental Theatre in the summer of 2016. And like the previous movie adaptation soundtracks, the Broadway score is also jam-packed with A-List contributors from the music industry. Songs have been provided by artits such as Aerosmith's Steven Tyler & Joe Perry, Sara Bareilles, John Legend, Cyndi Lauper, Panic! At the Disco, Plain White T’s, T.I., and the late great David Bowie among others. That sponge certainly has some pull! So, why not find out what happens when the underwater world of Bikini Bottom is threatened with total annihilation - all through the innovative magic of live theatre - in this musical offering that is perfect for the young and "young at heart." Previews begin on November 6, with an official opening set for December 4.
Click HERE for tickets to SpongeBob SquarePants at the Palace Theatre through to May 27, 2018.
SPRINGSTEEN ON BROADWAY
Although not technically a musical, we thought we'd better include the impending Broadway debut of one of the music industry's living legends in our Fall Preview. Who can argue with a massive total of 20 Grammy Awards after all?! Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Famer Bruce Springsteen will be descending onto the Great White Way to play (for his standards) an engagement of "intimate" gigs at the Walter Kerr Theatre. Specifically created for New York audiences, Springsteen on Broadway promises not only accoustic renditions of The Boss' greatest hits, but also an up-close and personal environment where Bruce will regale his most ardent of fans with stories from his life and legendary career. "Born in the USA" and heading to Broadway, this theatrical event is bound to be one of the hottest tickets in town this fall. Performances are from October 3 through to February 3, 2018, with an official opening on October 12.
So, whether you're fan of Broadway nostalgia, Caribbean rhythms, smash hit off-Broadway transfers, Rock 'n' Roll or sponges who live in pineapples under the sea, there is something for everyone when it comes to new musical productions this fall... But which one is tantalizing your theatrical taste buds?
- by Tom Millward