Editor's Top 3 Broadway Picks of Fall 2017

Find out who has landed on our top spot of all the new Broadway openings so far this season...

Tom Millward
Tom Millward

As New York City is plummeted into freezing temperatures (perhaps in anticipation of a certain Disney show opening next spring), the Broadway season is as sizzling as ever! With almost all of the fall openings behind us (and what better way to finish off 2017 than with this Sunday's Broadway opening of the Mark Rylance-led transfer of Farinelli and the King), we thought it's about time we revealed our "Editor's Top 3 Picks of the Fall"...

In a mixed bag of theatrical delights over the past few months, we've seen eagerly anticipated Broadway debuts from the likes of Hollywood stars such as Uma Thurman, top comedians such as Amy Schumer, political activists like Michael Moore, and even the world's favorite sponge in SpongeBob SquarePants! We've had the pleasure of rediscovering Hal Prince's greatest hits (Prince of Broadway), and of being exposed to a host of diverse subjects from climate change (The Children) to high-yield bonds (Junk). Whilst star turns from the likes of Clive Owen (in M. Butterfly) and Elizabeth McGovern (in Time and the Conways) sadly failed to make an impact at the box office, other productions have soared and warmed the hearts of audience members on these cold, autumn and winter nights.

So, without any further ado, here are our theatrical highlights of the fall...

3 - Latin History For Morons

In our opinion, you'd be an absolute moron to miss this masterclass in solo shows! Tony Award & Golden Globe nominee and Emmy Award winner John Leguizamo continues to prove his worth as the undisputed champion of one-man shows, as Latin History for Morons continues to educate, inform and, above all, entertain audiences at the iconic Studio 54. Under the direction of Tony Taccone, the play is perfectly structured with the whirlwind history lesson being evenly interrupted by hilarious anecdotes from the worlds of Leguizamo's parenting and shrink visits. And at the age of 53, Leguizamo also proves he can bust-a-move to a samba rhythm with the best of them. Yes, the dance breaks in Latin History are making Latin history on Broadway, believe me! If you've experienced his past solo shows such as Freak or Ghetto Klown, then you already know the level of craftsmanship this acclaimed performer brings to the table. If you haven't, then it's time to put that right, moron!

Latin History for Morons Tickets are available now for performances through to February 25, 2018.

2 - The Band's Visit

Despite its rave reviews and award-winning off-Broadway run at the Atlantic Theater Company last fall, I feel like the Broadway transfer of The Band's Visit to the Barrymore Theatre has crept up on Broadway fans like a thief in the night and become a dark horse contender for this season's "Best Musical". Shooting star Katrina Lenk and Golden Globe and three-time Emmy Award winner Tony Shalhoub lead a cast of talented actors and musicians and actor/musicians, if you will, in what I can only describe as one of the most gently, hypnotic productions I have ever seen on the Great White Way. Some have argued that nothing much happens in the 90-minute musical, but on closer inspection, the lives of the characters on stage are profoundly changed over the course of one evening. The Band's Visit depicts an unexpected collision of cultures that wouldn't necessarily mix under ordinary circumstances, but an extraordinary moment sets their paths to intertwine. David Yazbek's score is beautifully infused with Middle Eastern melodies that seduce and entice, largely played out by the onstage characters either during scenes or accompanying scene changes and it is rightfully this band of players that get to own the final curtain call. The Band's Visit is unquestionably worth a visit!

The Band's Visit Tickets are available now for performances through to September 2, 2018.

1 - Once on This Island

"Mama Will Provide" as the show-stopping number performed by "Glee" star Alex Newell cries out during Tony Award-nominated director Michael Arden's stunning revival of Once on This Island at Circle in the Square... and - full disclosure - Mama has provided this theatre fan his latest obsession! Judging from audience reactions, I'm confident I'm not the only one. Arden has put together a magical re-telling of the 1990 Stephen Flaherty/Lynn Ahrens musical that seems as if it is needed now more than ever. The hurricanes and storms within the show remind us of the tragic, natural disasters of late and the messages of love, division and prejudice resonate painfully in today's society. For my money, Once on This Island is the most innovative and imaginative of the season so far and the intimacy of the venue itself offers ample opportunities for the immersive nature of the production. Camille A. Brown's irresistible choreography fills the sand-covered stage with contagious joy, whilst the vocals soar. Lea Salonga's rendition of "The Human Heart" is the sound of heaven, Isaac Powell's "Some Girls" is utterly enchanting and Hailey Kilgore, Kenita R. Miller and Phillip Boykin's version of "Ti Moune" is heartbreaking. By the time "A Part of Us" came around, I was an emotional wreck. I only pray that this wondrous musical continues to find and delight audiences through the rest of the season and beyond. I urge and encourage you to visit this island and weather the storm for yourselves.

Once on This Island Tickets are available now for performances through to December 30, 2018.       

(Times Square Photo by Rachel Lewis/LPI)

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