Here’s a quick glance of some notable happenings on the Great White Way this week:
Opening this Week:
Anastasia – Opens April 24th
From the twilight of the Russian Empire to the euphoria of Paris, a new romantic musical about a brave young woman attempting to discover the mystery of her past.
Six Degrees of Separation – Opens April 25th
A young man cons his way into the lives of a wealthy New York couple in this revival of John Guare’s award-winning play.
Bandstand – Opens April 26th
A new Swing-era musical that follows a group of World War II veterans who come together in 1945 to create a swing band for a national radio competition.
A Doll’s House, Part 2 – Opens April 27th
Tony nominee Laurie Metcalf and Oscar winner Chris Cooper star in a new play that continues the story of Henrik Ibsen’s most cherished work.
Groundhog Day, the Olivier Award-winning new musical based on the iconic film, opened on Broadway last week at the August Wilson Theatre. Reviews were mixed to positive, with much of the praise heaped on Andy Karl and his portrayal of disgruntled big-city weatherman Phil Connors: Entertainment Weekly – “Wonderfully inventive…Karl brings his own brand of smarmy charm to the role of meteorologist Phil Connors and makes it his own.” Many critics were charmed by the new take on the now-familiar story, but some felt the material fell short: Newsday – “An ingenious, witty, dark yet joyously offbeat musical…” Time Out NY – “Unfortunately, the tone throughout is gratingly cartoonish. The story lacks focus and drive.” NY Daily News – “The frolics lead to diminishing returns – and don’t make up for the shortage of songs you’d love to hear again. And again.” Read more review excerpts and purchase discount tickets.
The newest work by Pulitzer Prize-winner Paula Vogel, Indecent, celebrated its opening on Broadway last week at the Cort Theatre. Critics were impressed with the moving story, theatrical staging and talented ensemble: Newsday – “Extraordinary…It’s a gripping and entertaining show with laughter and tears…[and a] marvelous 10-member cast.” Some reviews, however, felt the play did not give a complete picture of its subject, the 1923 Broadway play God of Vengance: NY Times – “…the ardor that must have informed the writing and early performances of Vengeance only occasionally blazes forth.” NY Magazine – “…though it is nominally the subject of Indecent, we never get much of an insight into God of Vengeance.” Read more review excerpts and purchase discount tickets.
Manhattan Theatre Club’s new Broadway production of Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes, starring Laura Linney and Cynthia Nixon, opened last week at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre. Reviews were unanimous in its praise of the revival’s direction and graceful handling of the classic melodrama, emphasizing the contemporary relevance of the play’s subject matter: Time Out NY – “Sullivan directs Hellman’s Alabama tale with a crisp vigor that smooths over its melodramatic bumps.” Hollywood Reporter – “[Hellman’s] portrait of gender inequality also has contemporary teeth. Sullivan’s impeccable production never overstates that modern-day relevance; he simply lets the play’s rock-solid construction and lucid themes speak for themselves via a first-rate cast and exemplary design team.” There were some critics who preferred one combination of leading ladies and roles: NY Daily News – “Linney’s huskiness and hauteur adds danger and dominance that really clicks for Regina, but she doesn’t muster deep sympathy as Birdie. Nixon can be be a bit shrill as Regina, but she’s heartbreaking as Birdie.” Read more review excerpts and purchase discount tickets.
The new Broadway production of Michael Stewart and Jerry Herman’s masterpiece Hello, Dolly!, starring legendary performer Bette Midler, opened last week at the Shubert Theatre. The majority of critics were enthusiastic in their praise of Midler in the title role: Newsday – “It is the happiness exuded by Midler that makes this first-rate revival so delightful and, yes, so deeply touching. ” Entertainment Weekly – “Midler’s voice is as strong as ever, and between the high-energy set pieces and the quiet, poignant moments, she keeps the crowd eating out of her hand.” Some reviews offered generous praise for the production as a whole, while others found its tone a bit too energetic: NY Daily News – “Dazzling…the show is an old-school comic jewel filled with great songs.” NY Times – “A tone of sunny desperation isn’t out of keeping with what seems to be this production’s escapist mission, which is to deliver nostalgia with an exclamation point.” Read more review excerpts and purchase discount tickets.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, starring two-time Tony Award winner Christian Borle as iconic candy man Willy Wonka, officially opened Sunday night at Broadway’s Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. Reviews were mixed to negative, with many underwhelmed by most aspects of the production: NY Daily News – “A middle-of-the-road musical with a pale score, a flavorless book and a dearth of eye candy.” Hollywood Reporter – “Between O’Brien’s hyperactive direction and Thompson’s biliously colorful designs, there’s little to love.” Several critics found Borle’s performance as Wonka to be a bright spot in an otherwise misguided adaptation: Entertainment Weekly – “Hands down, the best thing about the new production is Borle as Wonka. [He] handles the near-impossible task remarkably well.” NY Times – “Most gratifying, though, is the transformation of Mr. Borle…this Willy switches into dissing diva mode, with a skip in his step and a fork in his tongue.” Read more review excerpts and purchase discount tickets.
News and Notes:
Second Stage Theatre Announces Inaugural Broadway Season
- Off-Broadway’s Second Stage Theater has unveiled plans for the inaugural productions at its Broadway flagship, the Helen Hayes Theatre. In its first production, film star Chris Evans will make his Broadway debut in Oscar winner Kenneth Lonergan’s Lobby Hero, alongside Broadway alum Michael Cera (This Is Our Youth). The season will also include Young Jean Lee’s Straight White Men, directed by Tony winner Anna D. Shapiro. The staging, set for July 2018, will mark the first time a play written by an Asian woman has been produced on Broadway. More details here.
Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel Will Return to Broadway
- Tony Award winner Jessie Mueller (Waitress, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical), Tony nominee Joshua Henry (Violet, The Scottsboro Boys), and Grammy-winning opera star Renée Fleming (Living on Love) will headline a Broadway revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel. The production, helmed by Tony winner Jack O’Brien, is scheduled to begin performances Friday, March 23, 2018 at a theatre to be announced. New York City Ballet’s Justin Peck will choreograph the new staging of the 1945 musical. The resident choreographer promises “an even more dance-and-movement-focused production.” More details here.
Broadway’s Frozen Finds its Elsa and Anna
- Initial principal casting has been announced for Broadway’s Frozen, the new musical based on Disney’s Academy Award-winning musical film. As previously reported, the show will play the Denver Center for the Performing Arts’ Buell Theatre this fall before arriving on Broadway in spring 2018 at the St. James Theatre. The cast will be led by Caissie Levy and Patti Murin as Arendelle’s royal sisters. Levy, who last appeared on Broadway as Fantine in the revival of Les Miserables, will create the role of Elsa. Murin, who made her Broadway debut in Xanadu and has since appeared on the New York stage in Lysistrata Jones, Lady, Be Good!, and Love Labour’s Lost, will star as Elsa’s younger sister Anna. Tickets for the Broadway production will go on sale later this year. More details here.