The New York Musical Theatre Festival (http://www.nymf.org/index.html )
Fans of musical theatre really should take advantage of this great festival of new works. You want to see the future of the art form you love? This is the way to do it! Pretty cheap tickets, audiences full of love for theatre, and many casts filled with Broadway stars are all a part of the deal. Mike and I loved it so much last year, we signed up as soon as we could this year. So... what are we seeing?
Stuck by newcomer Riley Thomas and directed by Broadway veteran Michael Berry. People stuck on a New York subway. Sounds a lot like Happiness. I liked that, and I love things that are so New York, so count me in!
Trouble with a book and direction by Michael Alvarez and music/lyrics by Ella Grace, is described as a pop/rock musical, a genre I happen to enjoy. 7 high school friends and the 24 hours that changed their lives. Has potential... maybe a cross between RENT and Spring Awakening? We shall see!
Dogfight (Off-Broadway at Second Stage Theatre)
There are many reasons why I am looking forward to this show. First, I am new to Second Stage Theatre, the place where my beloved next to normal got its start. They do great work consistently. Second, the subject matter - soon to deploy soldiers do bad things before they go off to do bad things in Vietnam, and lessons they learn about life and love - sounds interesting to me. Third, it is a new work by a new, promising team of young writers (Peter Duchan book, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul music and lyrics), helmed by Tony winners Joe Mantello (direction) and Christopher Gattelli (choreography). And finally, the cast is full of the next generation of theatre actors, many of whom I respect already: Godspell's Lindsay Mendez and Carrie's Derek Klena head the cast, along with Annaleigh Ashford (RENT, Legally Blonde), Josh Segarra (Lysistrata Jones), Steven Booth and Adam Halpin (Glory Days), among others.
OK, so the advance word on this is that it is an empty mess, with people either pissed or uninterested because it is NOT the same story, exactly, as the film which bears the same name. Damned if you do, damned if you don't, right? Competitive cheerleading itself doesn't sound much like fodder for a musical, neither did cats in a garbage-strewn alley. And no matter what, the spectacular stunts should be awesome live on stage. And I am certainly willing to give a show created by the people who gave us "The Rose," Avenue Q, next to normal, and In the Heights the benefit of the doubt. Director/choreographer Andy Blankenbeuhler makes the prospect even more interesting. We shall see!
Chaplin (On Broadway at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre)
It is starring one of my favorite Princeton/Rods from Avenue Q, Rob McClure, and features direction and choreography by Follies' Warren Carlyle and a book co-written by legend Thomas Meehan. The wildcard is Christopher Curtis a newcomer who co-wrote the book, and did all of the music and lyrics. For more on why this interests me, check out this blog I wrote when it was called Limelight. Click HERE.
Triassic Parq (Off-Broadway at the SoHo Playhouse)
I've come to love the off beat, unlikely, laughfest musical. And Triassic Parq The Musical sounds just like that. Add to it a cast that includes my blog friends Alex Wyse and Lindsay Nicole Chambers, and I really want to see it. I hope time and funding will be on my side.
Into the Woods (Shakespeare in the Park)
The most talked about event of the summer. Sondheim. Donna Murphy, Amy Adams, Jessie Mueller and Denis O'Hare. No brainer. But, it has only been a few years since the last revival, not to mention the continual regional productions. And do I really want to stand in heat and humidity without guarantee of a seat, let alone a decent one? Especially since it will probably transfer to Broadway, anyway. I know what you are thinking: free vs Broadway prices. Give me a Broadway seat. I hate heat and humidity THAT much. Still... I'll probably be in line sweating it up. I love event theatre THAT much more than I hate heat and humidity.
I also hope to make return visits to Once and Ghost: The Musical.