New York: The new Broadway season is upon us once again. This year is shaping up to offer a diverse array of theater including, naked girls, demon barbers, odd couples, jersey boys, and lizard couples. Lets take a look.
A Naked Girl on the Appian Way
Richard Greenberg’s A Naked Girl on the Appian Way opens the Broadway season. The Roundabout Theater brings about this production, which will be directed by the very busy Doug Hughes, who won a 2005 Tony for directing Doubt.
In the comedy, a brother and sister, upon returning home after spending a year together in Europe, bring some startling news home to their parents. Their mother, Bess, is a successful author and cooking show host. Their father, Geoffrey, is a socially inept, eccentric genius.
Starring are Jill Clayburgh and Richard Thomas as Bess and Geoffrey. This will mark Clayburgh’s return to Broadway after 20 years. Thomas is coming off his run in the critically acclaimed, but poor box office performing, Democracy.
Starring as the children are Matthew Morrison and Thad, and Susan Kelechi Watson as Juliet. Morrison is fresh off his Tony nominated turn as Fabrizio in The Light in the Piazza.
Opens: October 6th for a run through December 4th
Theater: Roundabout’s American Airlines
Absurd Person Singular
Alan Ayckbourn’s play directed by John Tillinger opens Manhattan Theater Club’s season. Absurd Person Singular involves three couples, three kitchens, and three successive Christmas Eves.
Starring as the three couples are Sam Robards as Geoffrey, Mirelle Enos as Eva, Clea Lewis as Jane, Alan Ruck as Sidney, Deborah Rush as Marion, and Paxton Whitehead as Ronald.
Opens: October 18th for a run through December 18th
Theater: MTC’s Biltmore
In My Life
Joe Brooks, Oscar winning composer of “You Light Up My Life,” makes his foray into Broadway with In My Life. Proclaimed as “the only truly original show now on Broadway,” by Brooks, In My Life follows the decision of God to create a “reality opera” in which he sets up two humans with opposite personalities in New York to fall in love; a female writer for The Village Voice and a male singer/songwriter with Tourette’s Syndrome.
Starring in the musical is Jessica Boevers as the female and Chris J. Hanke as the male. Also starring are Roberta Gumbel, Chiara Navarra, and David Turner.
Opens: October 20th
Theater: Music Box
Created and written by Rick Najera, Latinologues comes to Broadway after being seen all around the U.S. It is a collection of monologues about the Latino experience in America. Cheech Marin (of Cheech and Chong) directs a cast that includes Najera, Eugenio Derbes, Rene Lavin, and Shirley A. Rumierk.
Over the course of the run of the production, more than 70 different actors have appeared including Geraldo Rivera, Maria Conchito Alonso, and Mario Lopez.
Opens: October 23rd for a run through December 4th
Theater: Helen Hayes
The Odd Couple
Broadway’s only sure fire hit this season is The Odd Couple. The dream team of Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick has teamed up once again since their celebrated pairing in The Producers. The show has racked over $21.5 in advance tickets sales, and is virtually sold out.
The rest of the cast is not too shabby either. It includes Brad Garrett from Everybody Loves Raymond as Murray the cop, Lee Wilkof as Vinnie, Rob Bartlett as Speed, Jessica Stone as Cecily, and Olivia d’Abo as Gwendolyn. And to top it all off direction comes from Joe Mantello who most recently directed Wicked and Assassins.
The Odd Couple centers around two polar opposite roommates, sloppy and outgoing Oscar Madison (Nathan Lane) and neat, uptight Felix Unger (Matthew Broderick).
Opens: October 27th
Theater: Brooks Atkinson
Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeny Todd lands on Broadway after a successful London run. The unique staging of this production casts actor/musicians in the roles. The cast with no ensemble will be required to perform on instruments.
Starring in the title role is Tony Winner Michael Cerveris. Opposite is Patti Lupone as Mrs. Lovett. Lupone is returning to Broadway after 17 years. Rounding out the rest of the cast is Mark Jacobi as the judge, Lauren Molina as Johanna, John Arbo as Jonas Fogg, Donna Lynne Champlin as Pirelli, Diana DiMarzio as beggar woman, Manoel Felciano as Tobias Ragg, Alexander Gemignani as the beadle, and Benjamin Magnuson as Anthony Hope. John Doyle directs.
Sweeney Todd is based on the legend on a London barber who is driven to crime when a judge takes his wife and child from him. He partners with Mrs. Lovett, who bakes his victims into the tastiest meat pies in London.
Opens: November 3rd
Theater: Eugene O’Neill
The one representative of the jukebox musical this season is Jersey Boys. The musical ran at the La Jolla Playhouse last year and was extended three times. Directed by Des McAnuff, Jersey Boys follows the story of the Four Seasons, and how four blue collar boys became the singing sensation behind such hits as “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” Oh What A Night,” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You.”
Starring as the foursome are Christian Hoff as Tommy DeVito, Daniel Reichard as Bob Gaudio, J. Robert Spencer as Nick Massi, and John Lloyd Young as Frankie Valli.
The musical features a book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, music by Bob Gaudio, and lyrics by Bob Crewe.
Opens: November 6th
The Woman In White
The Woman in White comes to Broadway while it still runs in London. Freely adapted from the Wilkie Collins novel, The Woman in White concerns a dashing young man employed as the art tutor to two devoted sisters, who is stranded at a remote railway cutting. Out of the darkness looms a woman, a mysterious figure dressed in white, desperate to share a chilling secret. He and the sisters soon find themselves trapped in a web of betrayal and greed, the victims of a seemingly flawless crime. Together they will need all their resourcefulness and courage to outwit a charismatic and ingenious village, Count Fosco. As the plot twists and turns, low villainy vies with high romance where nothing is as it first appears, and where it is impossible to know whom to trust.
Most of the London cast has been imported and includes Maria Friedman as Marian Halcombe, Angela Christian as Anne Catherick, Jill Paice as Laura Fairlie, and Michael Ball as Count Fosco. Michael Crawford originally starred as Fosco in London, but left the production due to illness. Michael Ball eventually assumed the role.
New to the production is Ron Bohmer as Sir Percival Glyde, Walter Charles as Mr. Fairlie, and Adam Brazier as Walter Hartwright.
The show features music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, lyrics by David Zippel, and book by Charlotte Jones.
Opens: November 7th
Souvenir: A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins
Souvenir comes to Broadway after a critically acclaimed run with the York Theater Company Off-Broadway. Stephen Temperley’s play with music, directed by Vivian Matalon, and starring Judy Kaye as Florence Foster Jenkins, concerns a woman who generally thought she had a great voice even though the opposite was true. When she met a mediocre pianist, Cosme McMoon, the two joined forces gaining great success. Jenkins mistook the crowds laughter for cheers and over the years the pair developed a cult following, so much so that 2000 people where turned away from their sold out performance at Carnegie Hall.
Opens: November 10th
Edward Albee is staying on Broadway, this time with Seascape, which is a Lincoln Center production, but will appear at the Booth Theater because The Light in the Piazza is currently occupying the Vivian Beaumont.
In Seascape retired couple Nancy and Charlie take a stroll on the beach and contemplate their future, when they encounter another couple, Leslie and Sarah, who just happen to be lizard like creatures. The conversation changes as the human couple answer the lizard couple’s questions.
The play, directed by Mark Lamos, will star George Grizzard as Charlie, Frances Sternhagen as Nancy, Elizabeth Marvel as Sarah, and Frederick Weller as Leslie. Seascape won Albee his second Pulitzer Prize, and the original Broadway production starred Deborah Kerr, Barry Nelson, Frank Langella, and Maureen Anderman.
Opens: November 21st
Theater: Booth (Lincoln Center Production)
The Color Purple
Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel, The Color Purple, comes to the musical stage under the name of Oprah Winfrey who will serve as producer. Gary Griffin will direct, and starring will be LaChanze as Celie, Felicia P. Fields as Sofia, Renee Elsie Goldsberry as Nettie, Elizabeth Withers as Shug, Kingsley Leggs as Mister, Victor Dixon as Harpo, and Krisha Marcana as Squeak.
The Color Purple tells the story of Celie, who endures insurmountable hardships within her own family and struggles to find her identity and love.
Opens: December 1st
A Touch of the Poet
Gabriel Byrne is coming to Broadway this year in the Roundabout Theater’s Production of Eugene O’Neill’s A Touch of the Poet.
In the play, Byrne plays an Irish immigrant in 1828 who thinks he is a distinguished gentleman even though the evidence against it is overwhelming. He finds himself in a situations when his daughter falls for the son of a wealthy American. Doug Hughes directs the production, which also stars Dearbhla Molloy, Emily Bergl, John Horton, Byron Jennings, Cathryn Meisle, Randall Newsome, Ciaran O’Reilly, and Daniel Stewart Sherman.
Opens: December 8th for a run though January 29th
Theater: Roundabout’s Studio 54
Chita Rivera: The Dancer’s Life
Chita Rivera brings her life on the stage to Broadway. The Dancer’s Life is a tour through landmark creations in the American Theater that were helmed by some of the greatest talents in its history including Jerome Robbins, Leonard Bernstein, Bob Fosse, Gower Champion, and Michael Kidd.
Of course Chita Rivera stars as herself alongside Liana Ortiz as a young Chita. The show features a book by Terrance McNally and choreography by Graciela Daniele.
Opens: December 11th
For tickets to any of the fall productions visit www.ticketsnow.com.