The New York Musical Theater Festival this year were that terrific (Stuck and Trouble) I still enjoyed being a part of the whole process, and will definitely make sure it is part of my schedule next summer. I suggest that you do the same, as it really is all about the future of the art form we all love. The summer also brought me two excellent theatre experiences, one I went into with hope and the other with little or no expectation. The former was Dogfight, the off-Broadway debut of Pasek and Paul, the heirs-apparent to Kander and Ebb. It truly was one of the better experiences I've had over the past 12 months or so, on Broadway or off, and future is bright for these young writers, not to mention the cast, including Derek Klena, Lindsay Mendez and Annaleigh Ashford. The latter was Bring It On: The Musical, which is a lot of fun, interestingly staged and full of serious talents that are just getting started. It was a better than pleasant surprise; the first new musical of the Broadway season is already better than several from last season.
Which brings us to the fall (for the purposes of this blog, I mean shows that will open between September 1 and November 30):
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (On Broadway at the Booth Theatre)
- It is hard to believe that I know so little about this classic Edward Albee play. I've never seen it, and really only know that it gets revived frequently, and it is famous for its booze-fueled, vicious arguments. And I've had great experiences with Steppenwolf productions (I remember their One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest like it was yesterday, and like Woolf ,co-starred Amy Morton).
Glengarry Glen Ross (On Broadway at the Schoenfeld Theatre)
- Again, I have no experience with one of America's greatest playwrights, David Mamet. The revival also features two of my favorite actors, Bobby Cannavale and Jeremy Shamos, plus I have managed to miss Al Pacino each of the last several times he's been on Broadway. Will this be the time I change all of that?
The Performers (On Broadway at the Longacre Theatre)
- OK, the porn performers that inhabit this play are a somewhat titillating prospect, especially since it is a comedy. But the real deal for me is that I really enjoy the work of Daniel Breaker, Henry Winkler and the
deliciousterrific Cheyenne Jackson. It'll be nice to see him in a play instead of a musical.
Golden Boy (On Broadway at the Belasco Theatre)
- I love Danny Burstein. I've seen every Broadway show he's ever been in. I admire Tony Shalhoub's work, and I sat through a 90 minute play last season watching Seth Numrich cough up phlegm, urinate (yes he did) and dig a hole, so I clearly like the guy. I hope I get to this one, but I might have to skip it, as time and money will be at a premium this fall.
Forbidden Broadway: Alive and Kicking (Off-Broadway at the 47th Street Theatre)
- I loved the Rude Awakening version. It was a RIOT. And having seen all of the shows they are sending up this time around, I am looking forward to seeing what they come up with - especially Spider-Man, Once and Newsies.
Chaplin (On Broadway at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre)
- As I've stated before, I really can't wait to see the uber-talented Rob McClure in what could be a star-making turn. Add the always reliable Christiane Noll and Jenn Colella and this show has potential. I have to admit that I don't know that much about Charlie Chaplin, and I don't know that much about the show itself. I'm hoping this will be one of those nice surprises.
Annie (On Broadway at the Palace Theatre)
- I'm seeing this for three reasons only: Katie Finneran, Brynn O'Malley and the fact that I want to see every new musical and musical revival that opens each season. Other than that, I'm hoping the choreography of Andy Blankenbeuhler will provide visual stimulation to the one of a small handful of shows that I hate. Yes, hate.
Giant (Off-Broadway at the Public Theatre)
- A new musical by Michael John LaChuisa. There's nothing else that needs to be said.
Scandalous: The Life and Trials of Aimee Semple McPherson (On Broadway at the Neil Simon Theatre)
- The title of this show is as pretentious as its author, Kathie Lee Gifford. But I love Carolee Carmello and George Hearn, so I have at least that to look forward to. Low expectations like these can offer big surprises. We shall see.
The Mystery of Edwin Drood (On Broadway at Studio 54)
- I've been looking forward to this revival since May 16, 1987. That's the day the original production closed. As you know, if you follow this blog at all, this is one of my three all-time favorite shows. The cast is awesome from leads to the ensemble (though I have to admit Stephanie J. Block will really have to prove it to me). This is the show I am most excited about all season.
Rebecca (On Broadway at the Broadhurst Theatre)
- I love the cast (Howard McGillin rocks my world, Ryan Silverman is smoking hot, and I've come to really enjoy Jill Paice), and I'll admit the little snippet of song included on the website has me intrigued (visually, anyway). That said, the whole thing has the whiff of 90's mega-musicals, and second-string at that. The Pirate Queen, anyone? Not expecting too much here, to be completely honest.
A Christmas Story: The Musical (On Broadway at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre)
- Christmas shows can go either way for me - love (Elf: The Musical) or hate (The Grinch Who Stole Christmas). Interestingly, I hated the film version of Elf and love The Grinch TV cartoon, and felt just the opposite about the stage versions. A Christmas Story should be interesting as I don't really love or hate the famous film on which it is based. But I am looking forward to an awesome score (PLEASE, Santa) by Pasek and Paul.
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