Broadway Spring 2017 Preview - The Musicals: Part 2

Tom Millward
Tom Millward

Following on from Part 1 of our Spring 2017 preview of upcoming musicals - which took a closer look at Sunset Boulevard, Sunday in the Park with George, Come From Away, Miss Saigon, Amélie and War Paint - it's time now to examine the remaining new musical productions of the 2016-2017 season. The diversity of the season is once again showcased by the following small selection, which includes original pieces, film-to-stage adaptations and star vehicle revivals.



After delighting critics and audience members alike on the other side of the pond last summer at London's iconic Old Vic Theatre, will it be a case of history repeating when Groundhog Day opens on Broadway? Read our London critic Mark Shenton's 5-star review HERE. Based on the beloved 1993 comedy film which starred Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell, original screenplay writer Danny Rubin has teamed up with the exceedingly creative team that brought us Roald Dahl's Matilda The Musical, including director Matthew Warchus, composer and lyricist Tim Minchin, choreographer Peter Darling, and designer Rob Howell. In addition to the A class creatives, a top Broadway performer has been cast to anchor the whole production as TV weatherman Phil Connors. Two-time Tony nominee Andy Karl received rave reviews in London and brilliantly pulls off the decent into near madness and ultimately redemption, whilst his fellow cast members repeat the action of that fateful Groundhog Day over and over again. Ironically, the action never feels repetitive though and ultimately this is a feelgood and expertly choreographed musical that adds a generous dose of theatricality to its hugely popular, cinematic source material. Previews begin on March 16, before an official opening on April 17 at the August Wilson Theatre.

Click HERE for tickets to Groundhog Day!



If you haven't heard that a certain Tony Award, three-time Emmy Award, three-time Golden Globe winner and two-time Oscar nominee is heading back to Broadway, then you must have been living under a rock! Yes, the Great White Way is all a buzz and is gearing up to experience Bette Midler take on the iconic role of Dolly Gallagher Levi in Jerry Herman and Michael Stewart's 1964 musical Hello, Dolly!. The story about everyone's favourite matchmaker and her pursuit of a match for herself in the form of "half-a-millionaire" Horace Vandergelder will begin previews at the Shubert Theatre on March 15, before an April 20 official opening. Ms. Midler will be complimented on stage by Tony-winning actor David Hyde Pierce as Vandergelder and will be directed by theatre veteran Jerry Zaks. Will the production itself amount to the hype it has conjured in anticipation? We certainly can't wait to find out!

Click HERE for tickets to Hello, Dolly!



Disney Theatrical have long been a force to be reckoned with on the Great White Way thanks to smash hit musicals based on a treasure chest back catelogue of animated and live-action movie favourites. This spring Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures are hoping to establish a landmark production in New York with a re-worked transfer of the hit West End musical Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Following in the footsteps of Matilda The Musical, this Roald Dahl stage adaptation was first born in the popular author's homeland, playing one of London's largest venues (Theatre Royal, Drury Lane). The production boasted the most lavish set pieces in the West End and also showcased one of my favourite show tunes of all time, lifted from the Gene Wilder-led 1971 movie adaptation "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory," in "Pure Imagination." The standard, written by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley, is accompanied by a brand new score by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman. It will be intriguing to see how director Jack O'Brien has re-envisioned the production for American audiences and how two-time Tony winner Christian Borle interprets the mysterious, iconic character of Willy Wonka on stage. Previews begin on March 28, before an official opening on April 23 at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. In the meantime, check out our London critic Mark Shenton's review of the West End production HERE.

Click HERE for tickets to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory!



Fans of the Twentieth Century Fox 1997 animated musical Anastasia longed for years to see the story of the Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia on the Broadway stage. Well, the wait is nearly over and soon that luscious score by Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens, which earned two Oscar nominations in 1998, will be brought to life eight times a week with the addition of a wealth of new songs. The production held a successful tryout at Hartford Stage in Connecticut in May and June of last year - read our review of the world premiere HERE - and has since enlisted the talents of Tony and Olivier Award nominee Ramin Karimloo as Gleb. Christy Altomare and Derek Klena will reprise their roles of Anya and Dmitry, respectively, and take us on that "Journey to the Past" at the Broadhurst Theatre from March 23. An official opening is scheduled for April 24.

Click HERE for tickets to Anastasia!



Broadway favourites two-time Tony nominee Laura Osnes and Corey Cott will take on the lead roles of Julia Trojan and Donny Novitski in this original musical by Richard Oberacker and Robert Taylor. Set in 1945, Bandstand follows the emotional journey of singer/songwriter Donny and his swing band, comprised of a group of World War II veterans. With the addition of recently widowed Julia as their lead singer, the band enters a national radio contest to find America's next big thing. The road to instant fame, however, proves to be a bumpy one as the group struggles to confront the horrors of the lasting effects of war. The world premiere production at New Jersey's Papermill Playhouse back in October 2015 proved to be such a success that a Broadway transfer was greenlit and now, the Broadway premiere will finally bow at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre on April 26, following previews from March 31. We are really looking forward to hearing that 1940s swing music-infused original score live, mostly played by characters and band members in full view on the stage!

Click HERE for tickets to Bandstand!

Check back with us next week for our preview of the new plays opening on the Great White Way this spring!


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