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Broadway Spring 2017 Preview - The Musicals: Part 1

Tom Millward
Tom Millward

As we head towards one of the most jam-packed and eagerly anticipated Broadway springs in recent memory, we thought we would take a closer look at the new musicals the Great White Way has to offer in the months ahead. From original pieces to time-tested revivals and from sparkling screen-to-stage adaptations to A-List star vehicles, the second half of the 2016-2017 season promises to cater to all theatrical tastes once again. So let's look ahead and whet our musical appetites!

SUNSET BOULEVARD

 

Last year British audiences were treated to one of the biggest events of the West End calendar as three-time Tony winner Glenn Close made her long-awaited West End debut and reprised her 1995 Tony-winning performance as Norma Desmond in Andrew Lloyd Webber, Don Black and Christopher Hampton's classic Sunset Boulevard. The musical was presented by English National Opera in a semi-staged production at the iconic London Coliseum with a grandiose 48-piece orchestra. Critics and audiences alike were in awe of the spectacle of witnessing theatre history repeating itself 20 years later. Read our London critic Mark Shenton's review HERE. Ms. Close has made our "Perfect Year" by agreeing to reprise her performance in a limited engagement on Broadway, accompanied by her West End co-stars Michael Xavier (as Joe Gillis), Siobhan Dillon (as Betty Schaefer) and Fred Johanson (as Max von Mayerling). Experience the largest orchestra on Broadway playing Andrew Lloyd Webber's beloved score, which includes the standards "As If We Never Said Goodbye," "With One Look," and "Sunset Boulevard." Previews begin at the Palace Theatre on February 2, 2017, before an official opening on February 9 and a limited engagement through to May 28, 2017.

Click HERE for tickets to Sunset Boulevard!


SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE

 

One of the most eagerly anticipated events off-Broadway last Fall was New York City Center's concert staging of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's 1984 musical Sunday in the Park with George. The production saw Oscar nominee Jake Gyllenhaal return to the venue (where he had previously made his musical debut in 'Little Shop of Horrors') and team up with Tony winner Annaleigh Ashford. Due to popular demand, the production is now getting the Great White Way treatment and will re-open the Hudson Theatre, now Broadway's 41st venue. The musical tells a fictional story inspired by French post-Impressionist painter Georges Seurat's masterpiece "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte." Set in two different time periods, the musical explores the consequences of sacrificices made by Georges Seurat and (100 years later) by his great-grandson George for the love of making art. Previews begin on February 11, 2017, before an official opening on February 23 and a limited run through to April 23, 2017.

Click HERE for tickets to Sunday in the Park with George!


COME FROM AWAY

 

This original musical by Irene Sankoff & David Hein uses themes from the 9/11 tragedy to tell a very human story. It is set in Gander, Newfoundland, which it descibes as "a small town on the edge of the world," where 38 planes and 6,579 passengers were forced to land due to the horrific terrorist attacks in the United States. The musical explores the bonds formed by the inhabitants of the small town who opened their arms to the mass influx of strangers and shares a notion of hope as human beings come together in support and without hesitation in times of crisis. Successful tryouts have already been held at the La Jolla Playhouse and the Seattle Repertory Theatre in 2015 and then at Washington, DC's Ford's Theatre and Toronto's Royal Alexandra Theatre in 2016, so the Broadway production is likely to run like a well-oiled machine. Previews begin at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre on February 18, 2017, before an official opening on March 12 and is currently booking through to December 30, 2017.

Click HERE for tickets to Come From Away!


MISS SAIGON

 

Cameron Mackintosh's latest Olivier-nominated revival of Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil's 1989 musical Miss Saigon was warmly embraced by British theatregoers, opening at London's Prince Edward Theatre back in May 2014. Read our London critic Mark Shenton's review HERE. New Yorkers have had to wait a while but finally this "American Dream" is coming true as the production will land at its original Broadway home - the Broadway Theatre - this Spring. It also brings with it a host of its original West End stars, including Jon Jon Briones (who earned an Olivier nomination for his efforts as The Engineer), alongside Eva Noblezada (as Kim), Alistair Brammer (as Chris) and Rachelle Ann Go (as Gigi). I'm sure every theatre fan on the globe has either seen or heard about the technological wonder of landing a helicopter on the stage of this musical back in the late 1980s, and almost thirty years later it certainly hasn't lost any of its drama or magic. Neither has the lusciously rich score, which includes "The Heat is On in Saigon" and "Why, God, Why?" Let your heart be broken all over again, when previews start on March 1, 2017. An official opening is scheduled for March 23 with the final performance set for January 14, 2018 ahead of a North American Tour.

Click HERE for tickets to Miss Saigon!


AMÉLIE - A NEW MUSICAL

 

Fresh from her Tony-nominated performance as Eliza Hamilton in a certain smash hit musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Phillipa Soo returns to the Great White Way this season and is out front and centre playing the title role in Amélie - a new musical adaptation of the popular 2001 French film. The movie, which starred Audrey Tautou, joined a fairly exclusive club of foreign language films and quickly gained a cult status (and five Academy Award nominations). The plot follows our leading lady, as she creates a fantasy world from the streets of Montmartre in Paris and helps those around her find happiness. Romance and comedy ensue, however, when handsome stranger Nino (played by Adam Chanler-Berat) enters her life and she realises helping herself proves trickier than helping others. The musical premiered at Berkeley Repertory Theatre in September 2015 (with Samantha Barks in the leading role, as Soo was otherwise engaged) and has just completed a second tryout at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, starring Ms. Soo. It looks like the same amounnt of love and imagination has been poured into the musical as its source material, so if the regional reviews are anything to go by, this one may well turn out magnifique!

Click HERE for tickets to Amélie - A New Musical!


WAR PAINT

 

The final new musical of this first part of our Broadway Spring preview sees two stage legends return to the Great White Way. With two Tony Awards each, Patti LuPone ('Evita' and 'Gypsy') and Christine Ebersole ('42nd Street' and 'Grey Gardens') take on the roles of Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden, respectively. Could further Tony Awards be in either lady's near future? Time will tell, but what is for sure is that these two Broadway icons will bring us a musical war like no other as these two female pioneers and titans of the cosmetics industry go head to head. War Paint is based on Lindy Woodhead's 2004 book of the same name, as well as Ann Carol Grossman and Arnie Reisman's 2007 documentary film "The Powder & the Glory." After a successful tryout at Chicago's Goodman Theatre, premiering in July of last year, it's now full steam ahead to Broadway for the musical... with make-up in tow! Previews begin at the Nederlander Theatre on March 7, 2017, before an official opening on April 6. War Paint is currently booking through to September 3, 2017.

Click HERE for tickets to War Paint!


Check back with us next week for Part 2 of our Broadway Spring preview of new musicals, including Groundhog Day, Hello, Dolly!, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Anastasia and Bandstand.

 

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