Broadway Fall 2016 Preview - Part 1: The Musicals

Tom Millward
Tom Millward

This is always a bittersweet time of the year as the summer slowly and sadly draws to a close and autumn creeps up on us like an unpaid electricity bill. However, the falling of the leaves also signals a brand new season of new openings on the Great White Way. The 2016-2017 Broadway season is shaping up to be a real eclectic mix of exciting new work and timeless classics and here is a quick taste of what's to come as we take a look at the upcoming musicals this year:

 

Technically the season already began with two musicals that have already celebrated their opening nights and qualify for next year's 71st Annual Tony Awards. They are, of course, Cirque du Soleil Theatrical's inaugural production that goes by the name of PARAMOUR (which opened on 25th May) and the first-ever Broadway revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber's CATS (which opened on 31st July). However, the first Broadway musical opening this Fall comes to us from those formidable minds at the Roundabout Theatre Company. Beginning previews next Thursday, 1st September and officially opening on 6th October, the iconic Studio 54 will be turned into that fabulous farmhouse in Connecticut, where every holiday was celebrated with a song and a dance. Irving Berlin's HOLIDAY INN is based on the 1942 film which starred Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire and won an Academy Award for Best Original Song for the infamous "White Christmas." The Roundabout has put together an accomplised cast of Broadway favourites, including Tony nominee Bryce Pinkham, Lora Lee Gayer and "High School Musical" star Corbin Bleu. Irving Berlin and Broadway go together like a horse and carriage and this production will be no exception with a whole host of debonair and lavish costumes, a dash of suave choreography and a few timeless classics sprinkled on top. You just can't beat a healthy dose of nostalgia... even from a Broadway premiere!

 

Switching gears to a modern revival, William Finn and James Lapine's musical FALSETTOS garnered an impressive cult following after its eventual Broadway premiere back in 1992 at the John Golden Theatre. Now, with the help of Lincoln Center Theater, Mr Lapine will helm the first-ever Broadway revival with a limited engagement at the Walter Kerr Theatre. Previews begin on 29th September, before an official opening on 27th October. The musical follows the trials and tribulations of a very modern family centred around Marvin, his ex-wife Trina, his new boyfriend Whizzer and his teenage son Jason. Taking on the lead roles are three of the most in-demand Broadway actors of today - two-time Tony winner Christian Borle, Tony nominee Andrew Rannells and Tony nominee Stephanie J. Block - making this revival perhaps the must-see of the Fall!

 

Perhaps the most eagerly anticipated Broadway debut of the Fall is that of three-time Grammy nominee and multi-platinum-selling recording artist Josh Groban as he finally graces the Great White Way and takes on the role of Pierre in NATASHA, PIERRE & THE GREAT COMET OF 1812. In writing the musical, Dave Malloy adapted a 70-page slice of Leo Tolstoy's epic novel "War and Peace" in order to transport us to that historic era in Moscow. From humble beginnings at the more intimate and immersive setting of Ars Nova in 2012 and the purpose-built Kazino in 2013, it will be most interesting to see how the production evolves and fits into the more traditional space of Broadway's Imperial Theatre. Previews begin on 18th October, before an official opening on 14th November.

Click HERE for tickets to Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812, currently booking through to 23rd April 2017 at the Imperial Theatre.

From the most eagerly anticipated Broadway acting debut to the most eagerly anticipated Broadway directorial debut now, as Hollywood legend Robert De Niro joins four-time Tony-winning director Jerry Zaks to helm the Broadway premiere of A BRONX TALE: THE MUSICAL, which begins previews on 3rd November, before an official opening on 1st December. De Niro not only starred in the original 1993 film, but already proved his directorial skills in the well-received out-of-town tryout at New Jersey's Paper Mill Playhouse earlier this year. The creative team also boasts the multi-award-winning likes of composer Alan Menken and lyricist Glenn Slater and if that's not enough, the book of the musical comes to us from Chazz Palminteri - who previously wrote and starred in the original one-man play of A Bronx Tale, which premiered in Los Angeles and moved to off-Broadway prior to the movie adaptation and eventually landed on Broadway in 2007. Now if that's not a recipe for success, I don't know what is!

Click HERE for tickets to A Bronx Tale: The Musical, currently booking through to 2nd April 2017 at the Longacre Theatre.

 

Perhaps the biggest off-Broadway hit this past season was Second Stage Theatre's production of DEAR EVAN HANSEN. The musical rightfully made a huge impact at this year's off-Broadway awards season, picking up OBIE Awards, Outer Critics Circle Awards and Drama Desk Awards, left, right and centre. From the creative genius of Steven Levenson, Benj Pasek & Justin Paul, this is the ultimate story of an outsider, a nobody who becomes a somebody... at a cost. The original off-Broadway cast, including the magnificent Ben Platt in the title role, are all returning for the Broadway transfer, which begins previews at the Belasco Theatre on 14th November 2016, before an official opening on 4th December. Tickets for the off-Broadway run were like gold dust, so be sure to book in advance!

Click HERE for tickets to Dear Evan Hansen, currently booking through to 2nd July 2017 at the Belasco Theatre.

The final musical offering of Fall 2016 encompasses something that lives and breathes New York City. Although we will have to wait until Spring 2018 for Disney's snowballing smash hit Frozen to land on the Great White Way, one of its songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez will be represented much sooner. IN TRANSIT settles into the intimate Circle in the Square Theatre from 10th November, with its official opening scheduled for 11th December. She has teamed with fellow writers James-Allen Ford, Russ Kaplan & Sara Wordsworth to bring a truly original piece of work with an a cappella score, inspired by the rhythms and sounds of the New York City subway. The musical, which follows the intertwining lives of eleven New Yorkers, already had a promising off-Broadway run at 59E59 Theaters back in 2010 and looks likely to offer perhaps the most unique experience on Broadway during the 2016-2017 season.

Click HERE for tickets to In Transit, currently booking through to 25th June 2017 at the Circle in the Square Theatre.

So, whether you're fan of elegance, underdogs, mob-dealings, modern families, subway rides or just good ole Josh Groban, there is something for everyone on the Broadway stage this Fall! But what will you be treating yourself to first?

 

Originally published on