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Broadway Fall 2017 Preview - Part 2: The Plays


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Following on from last week's Broadway Fall 2017 Preview of all the upcoming new musical productions, it's now time to check out the exciting card of upcoming dramas and comedies getting set to raise the curtain this fall. Although some high-profile plays have already been announced for next spring - including a revival of Eugene O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh starring Denzel Washington, Edward Albee's Three Tall Women starring Glenda Jackson and Laurie Metcalf, Second Stage Theater's inaugural production at its new Broadway home of the Hayes Theater with Kenneth Lonergan's Lobby Hero starring Chris Evans and Michael Cera and - oh, yeah - the Broadway premiere of a certain nine-time Olivier Award-winning hit known as Harry Potter and The Cursed Child - there is plenty to sink your teeth into before then.

A special mention also goes to two Broadway productions that have already officially opened this season. The Broadway premiere of George Orwell's 1984, starring Tom Sturridge, Olivia Wilde and Reed Birney continues at the Hudson Theatre through to October 8, 2017, and if spine-tingling thrillers isn't quite your cup of tea, why not head on down to the Belasco Theatre and hear what Oscar-winning filmmaker Michael Moore has to say about the current state of the country and the presidency in his Broadway debut The Terms of My Surrender, which runs through to October 22, 2017?

So, without any further ado, here's a quick round-up of what to expect this coming fall. From A-List Broadway debuts to transfers from London's West End, the season is promising yet another eclectic and exhilirating mix.


Time and The Conways
Elizabeth McGovern

TIME AND THE CONWAYS

First up, after a relatively slow start to the season with Marvin's Room (which ended its limited run on August 27), the Roundabout Theatre Company is hoping to bounce back in a big way. All the ingredients for a recipe for success seem to be in place with the first-ever Broadway revival of J.B. Priestley's Time and The Conways. Fresh from her Tony Award-winning Broadway debut at the helm of 'Indecent', Rebecca Taichman is looking to capitalise as she directs Oscar, Emmy & Golden Globe nominee Elizabeth McGovern in the time-travelling play. It's been over 25 years since the popular "Downton Abbey" star tread the Broadway boards, and fans are doubtlessly looking forward to seeing her stretch those theatrical muscles once again. The play follows the Conway family in two different time periods - just after the end of World War I in 1919 and again 19 years later. We, as audience members, will disover how drastically lives can transform as Priestley explores notions of choice versus chance and destiny. Previews begin on September 14, 2017, ahead of an October 10 official opening.

Click HERE for tickets to Time and The Conways at the American Airlines Theatre through to November 26, 2017.


Photo by Josef Astor
Clive Owen & Jin Ha

M. Butterfly
Clive Owen & Jin Ha

M. BUTTERFLY

And if one first-ever Broadway revival wasn't enough for you, then another eagerly anticipated revival is the upcoming production of David Henry Hwang's M. Butterfly. Much of the buzz around it is due to the combination of acclaimed Tony-winning director Julie Taymor and Academy Award nominee Clive Owen, who will star as Rene Gallimard. Mr. Owen earned great praise for his Broadway debut in the Roundabout's revival of Harold Pinter's 'Old Times' in 2015 and he has been no stranger to the West End stage in his native England, so we feel that this multi-faceted and complex character is in good hands. First premiering in 1988, M. Butterfly tells the scandalous story of a romance between a married French diplomat and a mysterious Chinese opera singer which blurred both cultural and gender boundaries until it ultimately led to a devastating personal betrayal. Previews are set to begin at the Cort Theatre on October 7, before an official opening on October 26, 2017.

Click HERE for tickets to M. Butterfly at the Cort Theatre through to February 25, 2018.


Photo by Jim Carmody
A scene from the La Jolla Playhouse production of Junk
A scene from the La Jolla Playhouse production of Junk

JUNK

Lincoln Center Theater's first Broadway offering of the season marks the Broadway return of celebrated playwright Ayad Akhtar, whose Pulitzer Prize-winning and Tony-nominated play 'Disgraced' graced the Lyceum Theatre during the 2014-2015 season. Stage and screen favorite Steven Pasquale leads the cast as Robert Merkin - who sparked a financial civil war in the mid-1980s. The drama unfolds as Merkin's theories on American capitalism, including his infamous belief that "debt is an asset", land him on the cover of Time Magazine and simultaneously in hot water, as the tumultuous effects rippled throughout society and the working world. Junk heads to Lincoln Center after a successful premiere at California's La Jolla Playhouse in July 2016. Previews begin on October 5, with an official opening scheduled for November 2, 2017.

Click HERE for tickets to Junk at the Vivian Beaumont Theater through to January 7, 2018.


Photo by Joan Marcus
John Leguizamo in Latin History for Morons
John Leguizamo in Latin History for Morons

LATIN HISTORY FOR MORONS

Emmy Award winner and Golden Globe nominee John Leguizamo has had quite the storied history with Broadway and so it seems quite fitting he should now bring his new one-man show and educate us with some great Latin History on the Great White Way. Latin History For Dummies enjoyed a successful run off-Broadway at the Public Theater from February 24 through to April 28 of this year... so much so, in fact, that producers Nelle Nugent and Kenneth Teaton have secured Studio 54 for a well-deserved transfer uptown. Leguizamo is well known outside of the theatre world for his film roles in modern classics such as Baz Luhrmann's "Moulin Rouge!" and "Romeo + Juliet," "To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar," and countless others (including voicing Sid the Sloth in the "Ice Age" movie franchise), but he has excelled in the medium of theatre with his acclaimed solo works that have garnred Tony nominations (Freak in 1998), Drama Desk Award wins (Ghetto Klown in 2011), Lucille Lortel Awards (Spic-O-Rama in 1993) and Obie Awards (Mambo Mouth in 1991) over the years. Directed by Tony Taccone and inspired by the severe lack of Latinos in his son's American History calss, Latin History For Morons educates, informs and entertains his son - and Broadway audiences - by discovering forgotten Latin heroes from across the ages - all told with Mr. Leguizamo's signature wit and satire. Previews begin on October 19, ahead of an official opening on November 15, 2017.

Click HERE for tickets to Latin History For Morons at Studio 54 through to February 4, 2018.



Amy Schumer

Meteor Shower
Amy Schumer

METEOR SHOWER

It's always an exciting experiment to see a Hollywood A-Lister tread the Broadway boards for the very first time. History has told us that these ventures have been executed to varying degrees of success, but we feel this one has hit written all over it. Actress and Comedian Amy Schumer has toured the globe as a stand-up and has appeared in a plethora of funny movies and TV shows, but now the bright lights of Broadway are calling. Meteor Shower is written by Hollywood icon Steve Martin, who already has a Broadway musical (and Tony nominations) under his belt with 2016's 'Bright Star' and now turns his head to comedy. Ms. Schumer is also in the safe hands of a gathering of stage veterans with Jerry Zaks at the helm and Laura Benanti, Keegan-Michael Key and Alan Tudyk supporting her on stage. The four cast members will play two couples in Ojai, California, who meet for dinner and end up with proposals of extramarital activities for dessert. This might just be the runaway hit of the season! Previews begin on November 1, with an official opening scheduled for November 29, 2017.

Click HERE for tickets to Meteor Shower at the Booth Theatre through to January 21, 2018.



Uma Thurman

The Parisian Woman
Uma Thurman

THE PARISIAN WOMAN

And if one A-List Broadway debut isn't enough for you this fall, then why not do the double and experience Academy Award nominee Uma Thurman up close and personal? The "Pulp Fiction" and "Kill Bill" star will grace the Hudson Theatre in a new political thriller by Beau Willimon - the four-time Emmy Award-nominated writer and creator of "House of Cards." Directed by Pam MacKinnon, Ms. Thurman will take on the lead role of Chloe, a socialite "coming to terms with politics, her past, her marriage and an uncertain future" after the 2016 election. She will be joined on stage by a cast that includes Tony winner Blair Brown and Josh Lucas. In our current political climate, Mr. Willimon and Ms. Thurman have the potential to make headlines and steal the spotlight, when the play officially opens on November 30, 2017. Previews begin on November 7.

Click HERE for tickets to The Parisian Woman at the Hudson Theatre through to March 11, 2018.


Photo by Johan Persson
Ron Cook, Francesca Annis & Deborah Findlay in The Children
Ron Cook, Francesca Annis & Deborah Findlay in The Children

THE CHILDREN

Later on in the fall, Broadway will welcome two London imports that made waves across the other side of the pond. Firstly, direct from its celebrated world premiere at London's Royal Court Theatre in November 2016, Lucy Kirkwood's drama The Children is set in an isolated, lonely and remote cottage on the British coast, cut off from the rest of the world. Unaware of a series of devastating events that have left the outside world in utter chaos, the two inhabitants of the cottage - a couple of retired nuclear engineers - receive a visit from an old friend with a shocking motive. The great news is that the original London cast of BAFTA Award winner Francesca Annis, Olivier Award nominee Ron Cook, and Olivier Award winner Deborah Findlay will all be reprising their respective roles on the Great White Way. The Manhattan Theatre Club presents the Broadway transfer at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre from November 28, 2017, with an official opening set for December 12. Tickets will go on sale soon.


Photo by Marc Brenner
Mark Rylance in Farinelli and the King
Mark Rylance in Farinelli and the King

FARINELLI AND THE KING

Finally, after its world premiere at Shakespeare's Globe's Sam Wanamaker Playhouse in February 2015, a subsequent West End transfer to the Duke of York's Theatre in Autumn 2015, and a well-deserved six Olivier Award nominations, Farinelli and the King will cross the pond with its much in-demand star Mark Rylance in toe. The three-time Tony Award winner and Oscar winner will reprise his role as King Philippe V of Spain in the play with music, written by his wife Claire van Kampen, at the Belasco Theatre from December 5, 2017. An official opening is scheduled for December 17. The play tells the story of the Spanish King, who is plagued by insomnia, and Farinelli - a famous castrato with a singing voice of an angel. As the King, completely enthralled by his gift, begs Farinelli to stay with him, he is faced by the complex choice between a life of royal servitude or fame and fortune in the opera houses of Europe. This is another chance to see Mr. Rylance - one of the greatest living stage actors of our time - up close and personal. Tickets will go on sale soon.


So, that about wraps it up for our Fall Preview for 2017. As always, we theatre fans have been left spoilt for choice and are simply counting the days until the 2017-2018 Broadway season kicks into fifth gear.

- by Tom Millward

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