Every Thursday, we bring you the latest from Broadway—what’s hot, what’s new, what must be scheduled into your calendars and budgets.
This week (3/21): The cast and production team of Ain’t Too Proud wants Broadway patrons to know they are here to bring the true story of The Temptations. For three performances only, you can catch Daddy, a new play from the acclaimed 29-year-old playwright Jeremy O. Harris, at the Pershing Square Signature Theatre. And get ready, it’s Britney, it’s Broadway, it’s—it’s a Britney Spears musical, Once Upon A One More Time.
Ain’t Too Proud—A Biography Musical—Doesn’t Shy Away from Drama
Through November 24, 2019
When the term “jukebox musical” is brought up for cast member Derrick Baskin, (who plays Otis Williams) the actor stiffens corrects Rolling Stone. “We refer to our show more as a ‘biography musical,’” he says. “With jukebox musicals, you have the catalog of an artist and a fictitious story. But our story is true. What we’re bringing is truth.” Before attending Ain’t Too Proud—The Life and Times of the Temptations, audiences should prepare themselves to witness the group’s internal dissent, the rise of addictions, marital collapses. Their tour bus life, the bong, the playful banter and then the spiraling of egos. Ain’t Too Proud is a must-see for those who want to better understand the legacy of Motown.
Daddy at the Pershing Square Signature Theatre
For three nights only
Your next chance to see actor, theatre and New York City aficionado Alan Cumming is at the Pershing Square Signature Center. The new play, Daddy, is from 29 year old Jeremy O’ Harris, whose work Slave Play received critical praise last year. Leading the cast are Ronald Peet, who stars as young artist Franklin and Alan Cumming as Andre, an older white art collector. Basquiats, Bel Air swimming pools, gospel, and a delicious and dangerous blend of reality and fantasy propel this must-see play.
The Britney Spears Musical
Set for sometime in 2020
It’s Britney, b*tch. The iconic discography of Britney Spears is heading to Broadway for a new musical dubbed Once Upon A One More Time. “I’m so excited to have a musical with my songs – especially one that takes place in such a magical world filled with characters that I grew up on, who I love and adore,” she said of the show. Uproarious and in search of the mythical “Happily Ever After”, Once Upon A One More Time places us in the drama of Snow White and Cinderella once they have their world shaken up by the Feminine Mystique. With Britney backing the production, there’s no telling the heights of Once Upon A One More Time.
March 14, 2019
Hugh Jackman as ‘the music man’
Set for sometime in 2020
It will be Hugh Jackman’s fifth time on Broadway, and this time, as the storied Harold Hill, a scam artist who fakes his music sensibilities and makes his money selling instruments and uniforms to an aspiring band in River City, Iowa. With book, music, and lyrics by Meredith Willson, The Music Man first arrived on Broadway in 1957. And in 2020, the tale will again be told, with the help of Broadway theatre’s biggest players and advocates. Besides Jackman, no further casting has been announced for the new revival, which will be directed by Jerry Zaks and choreographed by Warren Carlyle
Previews begin March 15
The Hudson Theatre has summoned two incredible actors for their production of Lanford Wilson’s acclaimed play, Burn This. Adam Driver and Kerri Russell will be acting as the two unlikely strangers brought together by the unfortunate circumstance of death. Directed by Tony winner Michael Mayer (Spring Awakening, Hedwig and the Angry Inch), and co-starring Tony nominees David Furr and Brandon Uranowitz, the smoldering love story of Burn This is a must-see production from one of the most vital playwrights of this era.
The Radically reimagined ‘oklahoma’
Previews begin March 19
Broadway lovers, get ready, this reimagined production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! is getting really interesting. First, the show is set for Circle in the Square, which has become one of the most sought out venues of Theatre Row since its successes with Fun Home and Once On This Island. Second, the orchestration has been left up to just seven musicians instead of the normal 28, the music reimagined to create a sound far more evocative of turn-of-the-century Oklahoma than Broadway, 1943. And finally, Oklahoma! has been stripped-down in its storytelling to reveal the darker, psychological truths of its designated era. Far, far, far from the high school productions of this musical, get ready to see Oklahoma! unlike its ever been seen before.
March 7, 2019
Be More Chill
Is it because it’s the only show daring to blur the lines between the physical and technical? Or because it directly interrogates our attachments to technology, how we’ve let our devices and online presences dictate and exacerbate every day interactions? Or is it because Be More Chill has been heavily revised and perfected from its Off-Broadway stages to enduring brief Tumblr fame to now, residing at the Lyceum? Either way, people are freaking out about Be More Chill, a dark horse candidate for becoming Broadway’s next big thing.
the tv show nashville is broadway bound
The Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere-led TV show Nashville concluded its epic saga just seven months ago. But now, Lionsgate and Broadway producer Scott Delman has announced his plans to bring the TV show, its complex cast of characters, its ambition, to the Broadway stage. “From that rich DNA, we will be building an original story with entirely original music, written by major Nashville and Broadway songwriters,” Delman said in a statement to Deadline. For those country music lovers out there, be sure to stay tuned for when one of America’s best TV shows heads to the Big Apple.
how king kong comes to life
Has anyone wondered if there were any women puppeteers guiding that ginormous ape about the stage during King Kong The Musical? Well, there are. One of them, Khadija Tariyan, has been practicing her daring athleticism since she was a little girl, as if she’s been preparing for her multiple King Kong roles for a lifetime. She and one other female puppeteer are dressed in traditional garb—masking their gender—as they assist the predominantly male cast to transform the colossal 2,000 pound, 20-foot-high King Kong hulk into an expressive, lifelike character. Though written during a less progressive time, King King The Musical benefits from allowing figures such as Tariyan express their strengths on stage.
February 28, 2019
Jake Gyllenhaal and tom sturridge off-broadway
This won’t come as a surprise to those who saw Gyllenhaal in 2015’s Constellations, but the Academy award-winning actor is delivering some vital performances at the Public Theater with his Velvet Buzzsaw co-star Tom Sturridge. Directed by Carrie Cracknell, the performance is divided into two halves: Sturridge in Sea Wall first, followed by Gyllenhaal in A Life. The monologues are penned by two different playwrights and are only connected by mood and theme. For those of you who haven’t seen Gyllenhaal on Broadway, his Off-Broadway stint at the Public could be your best shot to be in this star’s proximity.
Glenda Jackson to star in ‘king lear’
One of Shakespeare’s oft-told tales will be residing at the Cort Theatre for a limited engagement. The Sam Gold-helmed production, with an original score by Philip Glass, will feature the iconic actress Glenda Jackson in the title role. This production will definitely sell quickly due to the star-studded cast, the evergreen appreciation of Shakespeare, and the long-standing reputation of the Cort Theatre. So far, performances are scheduled through July 7.
‘Ain’t too proud’ releases cast album in march
Universal Music Enterprises will release the Original Broadway Cast Recording of Ain’t Too Proud — The Life and Times of The Temptations this Spring. Featuring a book by Dominique Morisseau, the musical production journeys from the group’s Detroit roots to being initiated into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. With songs like “My Girl,” “Just My imagination,” “Get Ready,” and “Papa Was a Rolling Stone”, audiences are exposed to the backbones of Motown, a genre that went on to define the American music we hear today. A physical release of Ain’t Too Proud — The Life and Times of The Temptations will be available beginning March 21 exclusively at Broadway’s Imperial Theatre—where the jukebox bio-musical resides.
February 21, 2019
Fiddler on the ROof
For those of you who are looking to see a vital rendition of the long-loved musical Fiddler on the Roof, seek no further than the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene production at Stage 42 (formerly the Little Shubert Theatre). Fiddler is performed in Yiddish—as are all of the productions from the NYTF—and features a translation by Shraga Friedman, which was first used in a performance in Israel in 1965. The production is accompanied by supertitles in English and Russian. We can’t imagine a more exceptional way to view this beloved stage production.
Network: Extended for the third and final time
Network protagonist and TV newsman Howard Beale—as played by the incredible Bryan Cranston—will be extending his nervous breakdown for a third time. The limited engagement, which opened Dec. 6, had initially been set to close March 17, but was then extended to April 28. According to producers of the Ivo van Hove-directed play, this will be the final extension of Network. Now, Broadway fans will be able to catch this once-in-a-lifetime rendition of the Paddy Chayefsky script through June 8th.
By the way, meet vera stark
Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage is dedicating part of her Signature Theatre residency by reviving her 2011 play By the Way, Meet Vera Stark. The play centers on Vera Stark—a young African-American woman working as a maid as she tries to break into the world of acting—and her boss, Gloria Mitchell, known as “America’s Little Sweetie Pie”, who often relies on the support of Vera as she rehearses her roles. Though By the Way, Meet Vera Stark looks and sounds like a screwball comedy at times, the play is deep of heart and mind, a testament to both its incredible cast and the gut-punch of Nottage’s writing.
February 7, 2019
If you haven’t heard, prepare yourself: Beetlejuice is coming to Broadway. Beneath the direction of Alex Timbers, Beetlejuice may not appeal to the “purists” out there, as it veers away from the story told in the film. But writers Scott Brown and Anthony King have described the show as the perfect “fan fiction” to the original Beetlejuice. The new direction and adaptation of Beetlejuice will carry its cast over from the run of previews which took place at the National Theatre in D.C, and will reside in the home left vacant by the recently departed School of Rock. Don’t miss out on what could become Broadway’s first “absurdist” musical, previews beginning March 28 at the Winter Garden Theatre.
Tina – The Tina Turner Musical
Producers of the forthcoming Tina – The Tina Turner Musical have finally announced their casting decisions. Adrienne Warren (Shuffle Along, Bring It On: The Musical) has been chosen to reprise her critically lauded West End performance of Tina Turner. The announcement even received the approval of the iconic woman herself. “I’m so proud of everything that Adrienne has achieved over the last year in the West End,” Turner said in statement. “She has given it everything she’s got, she has poured her soul into it, and she deserves every success. I am thrilled she will be reprising her role in New York, and I cannot wait to see her on that Broadway stage on Opening Night”. In the meantime, Tina – The Tina Turner Musical will continue playing to sold-out houses at London’s Aldwych Theatre.
The new comedic musical Tootsie—based on the film starring Dustin Hoffman—will open its box office this Friday (Feb. 8) at the Marquis Theatre. Portraying the story of the talented but oft difficult actor Michael Dorsey, Tootsie details one desperate act of reinvention in order to become the actor—or actress—of his dreams. Tootsie will begin previews March 29th, and open officially on April 23rd.
Best Day to Buy: Network and The Ferryman
If there are two plays you need to see before they leave the Theatre district, they are the Bryan Cranston-led Network, and the bonafide thriller The Ferryman. But scoring tickets to these shows isn’t easy, or very affordable. But according to some market research, the best day to buy Network or The Ferryman tickets is Saturday. You can catch Network at the Belasco Theatre through April 28th, while The Ferryman runs through July 7th at the Bernard Jacobs Theater.
January 31, 2019
Limited engagement of Superhero begins this week, at the Second Stage Theater. Brought to you from the composer of Next to Normal, this new musical is about a fractured family, a mysterious stranger, and the emergence of unexpected heroes. Beneath the direction of Jason Moore (Avenue Q, The Cher Show), we think Superhero could end up being one of the biggest Broadway destinations of 2019. The world premier is set officially for February 28.
The Play That Goes Wrong
Why does The Play That Goes Wrong continue to be such a huge draw on Broadway? Riding on the wings of self-deprecation, The Play That Goes Wrong uses rampant humor to diffuse any air of pretension, giving audience members a break from the stuffiness that can be associated with Broadway. If you’re looking for a show that will make your abs hurt from laughing, leave it to the Mischief Theatre Company and the torpedoing cast of “The Cornley University Drama Society” to satiate your funny bone.
Jagged Little Pill The Musical
“You Outta Know”—following an initial 10-week run at American Repertory Theater’s Loeb Drama Center in Cambridge, MA, “Jagged Little Pill: Our New Musical” is coming to Broadway. Based on the endlessly celebrated 1995 album by singer-songwriter Alanis Morissette, the show is arriving to New York City this Fall. And not only is Morissette integral to the musical, so is Oscar-winnning “Juno” writer Diablo Cody, who wrote the show’s book. Cast and theater have yet to be announced, but we suggest you start scrounging your pennies for this Fall Broadway debut, as it’s likely to be a momentous one.
To Kill A Mockingbird Continues to Soar
Based on the American classic by Harper Lee, the recent adaptation of To Kill A Mockingbird continues to thrive at the Shubert Theatre. Beneath the direction of Aaron Sorkin, and led by the rock solid performance of Jeff Daniels as Atticus Finch, TKAM has compelled every audience set before it. With the brevity of the times, and the weighted matter of TKAM, this production isn’t an “easy watch”. But it is a vital one. Don’t miss out on what will be a subject of Broadway discussion for years to come.
January 23, 2019
Alice By Heart
Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater—the Tony and Grammy award-winning creators of Spring Awakening—have reunited to revisit the beloved Lewis Carroll story Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The new musical, Alice by Heart, tells the tale of two friends amidst the rubble of World War II’s London Blitz. Audiences will be led down the rabbit hole, along with Alice and her quarantined friend Alfred, as they rediscover the power of one’s imagination in the face of crisis.
Don’t Stop ‘Til You get enough
The Michael Jackson Estate has finally announced the title and arrival date for the King of Pop’s life-inspired musical. Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough, named after one of the many Off The Wall hits, will arrive on Broadway in 2020, after first running performances in Chicago, beginning October 29. The musical, featuring a book by Lynn Nottage, will run through December 1 at the James M. Nederlander Theatre before heading to Broadway. Christopher Wheeldon, a 2015 Tony Award winner for An American in Paris‘ choreography, will direct and choreograph.
Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de lune
The 2019-20 Broadway season is in for a treat, because six-time Tony winning actress Audra McDonald is returning to the stage, this time to revive Terrence McNally’s Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune. Opposite Audra McDonald will be Oscar nominated actor Michael Shannon, a stage veteran who has appeared on Broadway twice, in Grace and Long Day’s Journey Into Night. Given that the previous production of Frankie and Johnny was noted for its nudity, it makes the play a natural fit for the first ever intimacy director to be on set. Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune is bound to be tender, and expertly wrought.
January 17, 2019
This month will be the last chance to catch the famed, family-friendly musical School of Rock. The new play American Son—led by star cast members Kerry Washington and Steven Pasquale—and The Waverly Gallery will also be closing this month, with the final weekend being January 26 & 27. American Son and The Waverly Gallery won’t be returning for quite some time. If you were ever interested in these acclaimed family drama plays, we suggest getting in to see them before they leave!
Hillary and Clinton
Performances of Hillary and Clinton begin March 16 at the John Golden Theatre. Set in early 2008, the new play by Lucas Hnath follows New York senator Hillary Clinton as she attempts to salvage her troubled campaign for President of the United States. While examining the politics of marriage, gender roles, and the limitations of one’s own life, Hillary and Clinton achieves a profound viewer experience. Though the plot sounds familiar, don’t be fooled. This isn’t real life, this is theatre, where just about anything is possible.
Skittles Commercial: The Musical
Instead of playing the big ad game during the 2019 Super Bowl along with other consumer favorites such as Doritos, McDonald’s, Pepsi, etc, Skittles will be performing live art. “Skittles Commercial: The Musical” will be a one-show-only, 30-minute spectacle performed at The Town Hall in Times Square, at 1 PM on February 3. Through song and dance, the musical will take shots at consumer culture, the increasing pervasiveness of brand advertising, and more. “Skittles Commercial: The Musical” will be led by a yet-to-be-announced, A-List celeb.
January 10, 2019
The heart-wrenching romance of Allie and Noah Calhoun—first penned by Nicholas Sparks and later made famous by the dazzling performances from Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams in the feature length film—is officially Broadway bound. The Notebook musical will be scored by “Girls Chase Boys” and “Be Ok” singer Ingrid Michaelson, with production from Kevin McCollum (Avenue Q, In the Heights) and Kurt Deutsch (Broadway Bound, A Few Good Men) in association with Sparks.
Tarell Alvin McCraney, the playwright behind Moonlight, has a new production on Broadway. Choir Boy, which opened this week at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, has been lauded as a captivating production centered on the “reflexively provocative” Pharus—a main character unlike any you’ve seen before on Broadway. Not to mention it will be your first opportunity to witness the talents of Jeremy Pope, who makes his Broadway debut with Choir Boy, but is slated for the cast of the upcoming Temptations musical, Ain’t Too Proud.
2 for 1 on the great white way
NYC Broadway Week has presented its first deal, and it’s a huge one. 2-for-1 tickets are now available to purchase for several shows along The Great White Way—a nickname for the section of Broadway specifically between 42nd and 53rd Streets. Landmark Broadway shows such as The Lion King and The Book of Mormon, in addition to limited-run shows such as The Waverly Gallery and The Cher Show are participating in the NYCgo and Broadway League initiative. The Broadway Week deal applies to performances of select productions between January 21 and February 10.
December 20, 2018
be more chill
Based on the beloved Ned Vizzini novel, the Off-Broadway production of Be More Chill will be heading to Broadway February 2019—with the entire cast making the move. Be More Chill depicts the story of troubled teen Jeremy Heere (played by Dear Evan Hansen actor Will Roland) and his attempt to assuage the calamity of high school with a pill purported to make people more easygoing. Be More Chill will be a natural addition to the lonely teen narratives we’ve seen come through Broadway.
road show, working, Promenade
The New York City Center 2019 Encores! Off-Center lineup will feature Stephen Sondheim’s Road Show and Stephen Schwartz’s Working, the latter of which will include two new songs by Hamilton writer Lin-Manuel Miranda. In addition to the absurdist play Promenade. With shows revolving around the fluctuating concept of the American dream, artistic director Anne Kauffman released a statement on the theatre’s creative direction. “How are we defining success and freedom these days and who in this country has access to them? Off-Center is all about bringing the cutting-edge artists of today into contact with the groundbreaking works from the past.” You won’t want to miss out on these revitalized summer musicals from the New York City Center, which will begin June 26th.
The reimagined production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! is getting quite the buzz. Deemed as “a daring, brilliant, utterly absorbing re-interpretation” by The Daily Beast, and “a charged, scary production, a story about the aggressions and ambiguities entwined deep in the root system of America” by New York Magazine, Oklahoma! could become the season’s most discussed production. Curious as to how the lighthearted, “Surrey With the Fringe On Top” musical could be so groundbreaking, so charged? This contemporary recreation of Oklahoma! is definitely one you want to witness for yourself, at the famed Circle in the Square Theatre.
December 13, 2018
According to recent reviews of Network, the cast still has some chemistry to conduct. But the journey has just been expanded to run through April, extending Bryan Cranston’s limited engagement as “mad as hell” newsman Howard Beale. Director Ivo van Hove has staged the entire Paddy Chayefsky satire in the setting of a newsroom, which really pressurizes the show’s dramatic tension. We think there is plenty of time for Network to evolve into the industry shaker it was envisioned to be. Matched with multi-media effects and a shiny, modern touch, Network is pleasing to the eye, a thrill for the heart, and stunt for the mind.
Once On This Island
Recently, Michelle T. Williams has stepped down from her leading role in Once On This Island. Now, the part of goddess Erzulie will be filled by Tony Award-winner Lea Solanga (Miss Saigon, Allegiance, Les Miserables, Flower Drum Song), who originated the role in this production. Winner of the 2018 Tony for Best Musical Revival, Once On This Island is a captivating tale of a woman who travels far and wide to answer the call of her heart. You won’t want to miss the incredibly talented Solanga reprise her role this Winter.
Over 15 years later, the Off-Broadway sensation Avenue Q is getting ready to leave NYC’s New World Stages. If you haven’t witnessed the puppet-driven, coming-of-age-tale, the time is now. Remarkable and complicated as life itself, Avenue Q follows Princeton as he rifles through New York City for his post-grad purpose. Filled with raucous neighbors, monsters, and life-lessons, Avenue Q is a musical that manages to unite us through the vexing issues of adulthood. Attention: Puppets abound, but Avenue Q is not for children.