Broadway Fall 2015 Preview - Part 1: The Musicals
While the Summer draws to a close and the autumn leaves begin to fall, the buzz, excitement and anticipation mounts in New York, as we look forward to a plethora of new Broadway shows opening on the Great White Way. The NYC Theatre scene prides itself on offering such a high degree of diversity to theatregoers from all over the world and the first half of the 2015-2016 Broadway season certainly embodies this.
I've decided to split this preview into two parts (and milk it for all its worth!), so let's start with a song and a dance, as we take a closer look in Part 1 at the new musical openings of the season. Here is a quick-as-a-flash rundown of what we can look forward to this Fall:
AMAZING GRACE already opened this Summer on July 16th at the Nederlander Theatre and tells a tale based on the true story of perhaps the world's most beloved song. The talk of the town, however, is still Lin-Manuel Miranda's hit musical HAMILTON, which also jumped the gun to an early start this season and officially opened at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on August 6th to excellent reviews. But here are the new musicals which hope to follow suit:
Fans of Gloria Estefan rejoice! Directed by Tony winner Jerry Mitchell, ON YOUR FEET! THE STORY OF EMILIO AND GLORIA ESTEFAN officially opens at the Marriott Marquis Theatre on November 5th, following previews from October 5th. Expect all those fabulous Latin rhythms we all know and love from the Grammy Award-winning Cuban American artist, along with a touching success story filled with romance. The talented Broadway cast are ready to get on their feet and make it happen!
"Star Trek" icon George Takei and Tony winner Lea Salonga bring ALLEGIANCE to the Longacre Theatre from October 6th, with an Opening Night set for November 8th. The new musical centers around a multi-generational family coping with the fear and prejudice facing Japanese-Americans during World War II and its aftermath. Marking Takei's Broadway debut, this will be a sadly rare opportunity to see a predominantly Asian cast on the Great White Way and should not be missed.
If musical adaptations of movies is more your thing, then look no further than the return of Andrew Lloyd Webber. 'The Lord' will be uncharacteristically launching a brand new musical directly on Broadway with SCHOOL OF ROCK - THE MUSICAL, starring Alex Brightman as Dewey (the character made famous by Jack Black in the 2003 film) and Broadway babe Sierra Boggess. Previews begin at the Winter Garden Theatre, the former home of Webber's CATS, on November 9th, with an official opening set for December 6th.
Next up we have the Broadway premiere of DAMES AT SEA. The 1966 musical comedy has played off-off-Broadway, off-Broadway and even London's West End in the past, and now it is finally getting its shot at the Great White Way, as it begins previews at the Helen Hayes Theatre on September 24th, before officially opening on October 22nd. Relive the nostalgic joy of the show which helped to launch the career of a certain Broadway icon who goes by the name of Bernadette Peters.
That leads us nicely onto the Broadway Musical Revivals in store this Fall. First up is a cult favourite with a fascinating twist. Already in previews, SPRING AWAKENING returns to the Great White Way, this time performed in both spoken English and American Sign Language courtesy of Deaf West Theatre. Set to open on September 27th for a strictly limited engagement through to January 9th, the show also stars Oscar winner Marlee Matlin and Broadway favourites Andy Mientus and Krysta Rodriguez, and is sure a completely unique re-interpretation of Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik's coming-of-age tale.
London's Menier Chocolate Factory wowed audiences over the pond with its stripped-back version of THE COLOR PURPLE in 2013 and now West End star Cynthia Erivo and Tony-winning director John Doyle are bringing their version of the much-loved musical to Broadway's Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre from November 10th (with an Opening Night set for December 10th)... Oh, and did we mention Academy Award winner Jennifer Hudson and "Orange Is The New Black" star Danielle Brooks are also part of the Broadway cast?!
Finally, get ready to celebrate one of the most iconic musicals in Broadway history for an unprecedented sixth outing on the Great White Way, as Tony winner Bartlett Sher directs Tony nominee Danny Burstein as Tevye in the classic FIDDLER ON THE ROOF at the Broadway Theatre from November 20th. Opening night is set for December 20th. If I were a rich man, I'd have produced this one myself!
So, whatever your taste in musicals, I think you'll agree there is something especially for you this Fall. A pat on the back goes to all those Broadway producers for yet again offering up such a diverse, platter of musical treats for both long-time fans and newcomers to the Great White Way! Bravo!