Arts Features

2006 Spring Broadway Preview

By Amy Somensky Mar 6, 2006, 6:55 GMT

New York: Tony season is just around the corner and producers are bringing out the big guns for Broadway's spring season. Hollywood stars galore will be taking to the stages of the Great White Way. The season has just begun and three hits have already emerged. Lets take a look at what is opening over the next few months.

January

Bridge & Tunnel

Sarah Jones' acclaimed Off-Broadway production of Bridge & Tunnel makes the jump to Broadway. In the production fourteen characters come to life through her including, Mohammed, a charismatic Pakistani accountant; Mrs. Ling, the Chinese mother adjusting to her daughter's alternative lifestyle and Nereida, a young Latina with a quick wit and an even faster tongue. These characters tell the story of American change in the ever-changing America, exploring the issues of assimilation and New York's melting pot.

The run was set to end on March 12th, but since opening on January 26th the solo show has been extended through July 9th.

Opened: January 26th for a run through July 9th
Theater: Helen Hayes

February

Rabbit Hole

Rabbit Hole marks playwright David Lindsay Abaire's first foray into drama and his Broadway debut. Starring in the play is Cynthia Nixon, John Slattery, Tyne Daly, John Gallagher, Jr., and Mary Catherine Garrison.

In Rabbit Hole, Becca and Howie Corbett have everything a family could want, until a life-shattering accident turns their world upside down, and leaves the couple drifting perilously apart. The drama charts their bittersweet search for comfort in the darkest of places, and for a path that will lead them back into the light of day.

Opened: February 2nd for a run through April 9th
Theater: MTC's Biltmore

 

Barefoot in the Park

A second Neil Simon play, Barefoot in the Park, opens in the 2005-2006 season. It will make its first return to Broadway since its Tony-winning run in 1963. Starring in the revival production is Patrick Wilson as Paul Bratter, Amanda Peet as Corie Bratter, Jill Clayburgh as Corie's mother, Ethel Banks, and Tony Roberts as neighbor Victor Velasco. 

Costume designer Isaac Mizrahi will provide the retro sixties look. Directing will be Scott Elliott.

Barefoot in the Park is the classic romantic comedy about conservative young lawyer Paul Bratter and his free-spirited newlywed bride Corie. The comedy follows the young couple as they move from the giddy joy of a honeymoon at The Plaza into the crazy reality of starting married life in a fifth-floor walkup in New York City.

Opened: February 16th
Theater: Cort

 

The Pajama Game

Harry Connick Jr. and Kelli O'Hara lead the Roundabout's production of The Pajama Game. Starring alongside them is Megan Lawrence, Michael McKean, Peter Benson, Joyce Chittick, Michael McCormick, Richard Poe, and Roz Ryan.

Kathleen Marshall directs and choreographs The Pajama Game, which is inspired by Richard Bissell's novel 7 1/2 Cents. The musical features music and lyrics by Richard Alder and Jerry Ross and a book by George Abbott and Bissell. In the musical, a battle erupts when workers at the Sleep-Tite Pajama Factory demand a 7 1/2 cent pay increase. Matters are made worse when the head of the Union Grievance Committee falls in love with one of the company's leaders, Sid Sorokin.

Opened: February 23rd
Theater: Roundabout's American Airlines

March

Ring of Fire: The Johnny Cash Musical Show

The Man in Black is making his way to Broadway this fall in Ring of Fire. Don't expect to see an actor playing Johnny Cash though, the production will feature a cast of performers and musicians who will take us on a rousing adventure of love and faith, struggle and success -- all with the strength, humor and downright honesty that made Johnny Cash one of the greatest songwriters and most revered storytellers in American music.

That cast of performers include Jeb Brown, Jason Edwards, Jarrod Emick, Beth Malone, Cass Morgan, Lari White, David M. Lutken, Randy Redd, Eric Anthony, Laurie Canaan, Dan Immel, Ron Krasinski, Jeff Lisenby, Brent Moyer, and Miles Aubrey.

The show will feature 38 of Cash's songs including "Country Boy," "A Thing Called Love," "Five Feet High and Rising," "Daddy Sang Bass," "Ring of Fire," "I Walk the Line," "I've Been Everywhere," "The Man in Black," and "Hurt."

Opens: March 12th
Theater: Barrymore

 

The Lord of the Rings

Though technically not on Broadway, the stage production of The Lord of the Rings is so massive in size that it might as well be a Broadway production. Tolkien's epic novels most recently made the jump to film with Peter Jackson's critically acclaimed and immensely popular works, now the tales will grace the stage at Toronto's Princess of Wales Theater.

The creators of the work are quick to say that this incarnation is not a musical, more like a theatrical event or play with music, so don't expect Gollum to sing a love song about his precious. With more than $8 million in advanced sales, the show has big shoes to fill.

The Lord of the Rings features direction by Matthew Warchus, book and lyrics by Shaun McKenna and Matthew Warchus, and music by A.R Rahman and Varttina with Christopher Nightingdale.

Starring in the epic is Brent Carver as Gandalf, James Loye as Frodo, Evan Buliung as Aragorn, Richard McMillan as Saruman, Peter Howe as Sam, Dylan Roberts as Merry, Owen Sharpe as Pippin, Gabriel Burrafato as Legolas, Dion Johnstone as Boromoir, Carly Street as Arwen, Victor A. Young as Elrond, Kerry Dorey as Theoden, Kristin Galer as Rosie, Rebecca Jackson Mendoza as Galadriel, and Cliff Saunders as Bilbo.

Opens: March 23rd
Theater: Princess of Wales, Toronto

 

Well

Lisa Kron's Well comes to Broadway after running in 2004 at the Public Theater. Leigh Silverman will continue as director.

Joining Kron in the production will be Jayne Houdyshell, Daniel Breaker, Saidah Arrika Ekulona, John Hoffman, and Christina Kirk.

Well opens with Lisa Kron's mother sitting on a La-Z-Boy recliner in the middle of the stage.  As the play goes on to deal with Kron's personal experiences of healing, a comedic coup d’état breaks out.  The actors critique the script, her memories conflict with her flashbacks, her mother interrupts with her own opinions, and Kron finds herself in danger of losing control.  The result is a hilarious and brazen piece that questions our thoughts on the conventions of both theatre and wellness.

Opens March 30th
Theater: Longacre

April

Festen

The hit London play is finally making its debut on Broadway. David Eldridge has adapted Festen from the 1998 film written and directed by Thomas Vinterberg, which is apart of the Dogme film movement. It concerns Patriarch Helge Klingelfeldt who is celebrating his 60th birthday at a magnificent old house in the Danish countryside. Surrounded by his loyal wife Else, his daughter Helene, sons Christian and Michael and a host of family and friends this promises to be a very special occasion. But as the evening progresses, eldest son Christian feels compelled to break the silence surrounding a family secret. Standing to propose a toast, he offers his father - much to the delight of the guests - an amusing yet simple choice… And so the games begin… amidst high etiquette and fine dining, revelations and accusations tumble across the dinner table; paving the way for a celebration no one will ever forget!

Starring in the production will be Larry Bryggman, Ali MacGraw, Julianna Margulies, Michael Hayden, and Jeremy Sisto. Rufus Norris directs.

Opens: April 9th
Theater: Music Box

 

Awake and Sing!

Lincoln Center presents the latest revival of Clifford Odets' Awake and Sing! at the Belasco, the theater in which it premiered in 1935. An all-star cast has been assembled for the production and includes Ben Gazzara, Zoe Wanamaker, Lauren Ambrose, Mark Ruffalo, Ned Eisenberg, Jonathan Hadary, Peter Kybart, Pablo Schreiber, and Richard Topol. Directing is Bartlett Sher.

The play concerns a Jewish family living in the Bronx who has fallen on bad times during the depression. The 1935 production starred Luther and Stella Adler, John Garfield, and Stanford Meisner. It was then brought back to Broadway in 1938, 1939, and 1984. The 84' production starred Nancy Marchand, Harry Hamlin, Dick Latessa, and Frances McDormand at The Circle in the Square Theater.

Opens: April 17th
Theater: Belasco (Lincoln Center Production)

 

Three Days of Rain

The golden girl of Hollywood, Julia Roberts, makes her Broadway debut in Richard Greenberg's Three Days of Rain. Joining her are Paul Rudd and Bradley Cooper. Joe Mantello is on board to direct.

In Three Days of Rain two siblings and their childhood friend meet to settle the estates of their late fathers, and search for clues to understand what went on between them decades earlier. In the second act, the story shifts to the earlier time as the actors portray their parents, and the true secrets among them are revealed.

Opens: April 19th for a run through June 18th
Theater: Bernard B. Jacobs

 

The Threepenny Opera

Scott Elliot directs the Roundabout's production of The Threepenny Opera, which has been adapted from the musical Die Dreigroschenoper by Wallace Shawn. In the production a notorious bandit marries a young girl. Her father does everything in his power to end the union.

The cast is led by Alan Cumming as Macheath, Cyndi Lauper, who replaced Edie Falco, as the prostitute Jenny, Nellie McKay as the young bride Polly, Ana Gasteyer as Mrs. Peachum, Jim Dale as Mr. Peachum, Christopher Innvar as Tiger Brown, Carlos Leon as Filtch, and Brian Charles Rooney as Lucy.

Opens: April 20th for a run through June 11th
Theater: Roundabout's Studio 54

 

The History Boys

The award winning and critically acclaimed production of Alan Bennett's The History Boys makes the jump to Broadway as part of a tour that will take it to Australia and two cities in the U.K.

As demanded by Nicholas Hytner, the original London cast has reunited for the Broadway production. The cast will include Samuel Anderson as Crowther, Samuel Barnett as Posner, Dominic Cooper as Dakin, James Corden as Timms, Sacha Dhawan as Akthar, Andrew Knott as Lockwood, Jamie Parker as Scripps, Russell Tovey as Rudge, Frances de la Tour as Mrs. Lintott, Richard Griffiths as Hector, Clive Merrison as Headmaster, and Stephen Campbell Moore as Irwin.

The play concerns an unruly bunch of bright, funny sixth-form boys in pursuit of sex, sport and a place at university. A maverick English teacher at odds with the young and shrewd supply teacher. A headmaster obsessed with results and a history teacher who thinks he's a fool. It is about staff room rivalry, the anarchy of adolescence and the purpose of education.

Opens: April 23rd for a run through September 3rd
Theater: Broadhurst

 

Lestat

Elton John makes his latest foray into Broadway with Lestat. This time he has teamed up with long time partner Bernie Taupin to bring the world of Anne Rice to the stage. Linda Woolverton has written a book based on the novels Interview with the Vampire and The Vampire Lestat.

Even though the musical has yet to open, it has already suffered a few setbacks. Before an out of town tryout began it was announced that the character of Armand was being taken in a new direction, and subsequently actor Jack Noseworthy, who was set to play Armand, left the production. Then after the tryouts ended it was announced that the start of performances would be pushed back to give the creative team more time to work.

Starring in Lestat will be Hugh Panaro, Carolee Carmello, Drew Sarich, Jim Stanek, Roderick Hill, Michael Genet and Allison Fischer.

The musical is billed as the romantic and heartbreaking story of the extraordinary journey of one man who escapes the tyranny of his oppressive family only to have his life taken from him. Thrust into the seductive and sensual world of an immortal vampire, Lestat sets out on a road of adventures in a quest for everlasting love and companionship but is forced to reconcile his innate sense of good with his primal need to exist.

Opens: April 25th
Theater: Palace

 

The Wedding Singer

The 80's are alive and well on the Great White Way this season, as The Wedding Singer begins taking requests on Broadway.  The musical based on the popular Adam Sandler film features music by Matthew Sklar, lyrics by Chad Beguelin, book by Tim Herlihy and Chad Beguelin, and direction by John Rando.

Starring is Stephen Lynch as Robbie Hart, Laura Benanti as Julia, Matthew Saldivar as Sammy, Richard Blake as Glen Gulia, Rita Gardner as Rosie, Kevin Cahoon as George, Amy Spagner as Holly, and Felicia Finley as Linda.

The musical is set in 1985 and rock-star wannabe Robbie Hart is New Jersey's favorite wedding singer. He's the life of the party — until his own fiancé leaves him at the altar. Shot through the heart, Robbie makes every wedding as disastrous as his own. Enter Julia, a sweet-tempered waitress who wins his affection. The only trouble is Julia is about to be married to a Wall Street shark. Unless Robbie can pull off the performance of the decade, the girl of his dreams will be gone forever.

Opens April 27th
Theater: Al Hirschfeld

 

Hot Feet

The songs of Earth Wind and Fire, such as "Shining Star," "September," "Boogie Wonderland" and "After the Love Has Gone," will be heard on Broadway in the new musical Hot Feet. The production features a book by Heru Ptah, music and lyrics by Earth, Wind and Fire founder Maurice White, and direction and choreography by Maurice Hines.

Starring in the musical will be Vivian Nixon, Keith David Ann Duquesnay, Michael Balderrama, Allen Hidalgo, Sarah Livingston and, Wynonna Smith.

Hot Feet is a faustian tale about a beautiful young dancer — Kalimba, whose whole life’s dreams and ambition are to be a Broadway dancer. Kalimba is cajoled to dance with a pair of magical and enchanted red shoes; when she puts them on they begin to take control of the talented dancer’s fate.  

Opens: April 30th
Theater: Hilton Theater

May 

The Drowsy Chaperone

The Drowsy Chaperone is the only truly new Broadway musical to open this season. It is not a revival or based on any pre-existing material. It features music and lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison, book by Bob Martin and Don McKellar, and direction and choreography by Casey Nicholaw.

Starring will be Danny Burstein, Georgia Engel, Sutton Foster, Edward Hibbert, Troy Britton Johnson, Eddie Korbich, Garth Kravits, Jason Kravits, Beth Leavel, Kecia Lewis-Evans, Bob Martin, Jennifer Smith, Lenny Wolpe, Linda Griffin, Angela Pupello, Joey Sorge, and Patrick Wetzel.

In the musical comedy, the curtain rises on a present-day musical theatre fanatic eager to tell you about his favorite Broadway musical -- “The Drowsy Chaperone.” He’s the ultimate Everyfan and “Drowsy” is his guilty pleasure.

As he begins listening to the rare cast recording, the show cleverly and magically blooms to life, telling the hilarious tale of a pampered Broadway starlet and her debonair fiancé, an overzealous producer, a dizzy chorine, the Latin lover and a couple of bumbling gangsters. Ruses are played. Hi-jinks occur. And the plot spins everyone into musical comedy euphoria.

Opens: May 1st
Theater: Marquis Theater

 

The Lieutenant of Inishmore

Martin McDonagh's The Lieutenant of Inishmore won't end its Off-Broadway run with the Atlantic Theater Company until April 9th, but the play is already set to make its debut on Broadway.

Starring on the production will be Jeff Binder as James, Kerry Condon as Mairead, Andrew Connolly as Christy, Dashiell Eaves as Joey, Peter Gerety as Donny, Domhnall Gleeson as Davey, Brian d'Arcy James as Brendan, and David Wilmot Padraic.

The Lieutenant of Inishmore is set in 1993 in County Galway on the rocky island of Inishmore, off the coast of Ireland. Padraic is a terrorist with no feeling for those he blows up, but has an obsessive attachment to Thomas, his beloved cat. But someone has killed poor wee Thomas. Was it an accident or an execution? Either way, the death must be concealed before 'Mad Padraic' returns from a stint of torture and bombing. Otherwise the recriminations will be horrifying.

Opens: May 3rd
Theater: Lyceum

 

Faith Healer

Star power will take the stage in the revival production of Brian Friel's Faith Healer as three actors accomplished on both stage and film are set to star. They are Ralph Fiennes, Cherry Jones, and Ian McDiarmid.

Faith Healer tells the story of a dissolute, charismatic faith healer Frank Hardy, his long-time lover Grace and his devoted manager Teddy who have spent a lifetime touring the back roads of Scotland and Wales peddling miracles. As the three wrestle with Hardy’s genuine but elusive gift for healing, Hardy accepts that he must return home to Ireland, and the trio faces potent questions about who we trust, what we know and why we believe. 

Opens: May 4th
Theater: Booth

 

The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial

Herman Wouk's court room drama, based on his book, is making a return to Broadway this season with a solid cast led by David Schwimmer, most known for his work on Friends. Joining him will be Joe Sikora, Geoffrey Nauffts, Tim Daly, Zeljko Ivanek, Terry Beaver, Murphy Guyer, Brian Reddy, and Ben Fox.

The work may be most known for the 1954 film starring Humphrey Bogart. In the play, Lieutenant Stephen Maryk relieves his commander, Queeg, of his duty because he feels he is too mentally unstable to pilot their sub. Maryk is accused of mutiny and put on trial by the Navy.

In a recent swap of theaters, the drama will now play the Schoenfeld Theater instead of the Lyceum Theater.

Opens: May 7th
Theater: Schoenfeld

 

Shining City

Conor McPherson's Shining City was to begin its Broadway run at the Schoenfeld in November of 2005, but in August the production was postponed. Then in a surprise move it was announced that Manhattan Theater Club would mount the production.

Starring in the play will be Oliver Platt, Brían F. O’Byrne, and Martha Plimpton.

Shining City is set in Dublin, where a guilt-ridden man reaches out to a therapist after seeing the ghost of his recently deceased wife.  Wrestling with his own demons, the therapist can only do so much to help. Routine visits between the two men quickly become a gripping struggle to survive, changing both of them for the rest of their lives.

Opens: May 9th
Theater: MTC's Biltmore

 

Tarzan

Disney's newest Broadway production is the story of Tarzan, the man who was raised by apes after his parents were killed. The musical is based on the 1999 Disney film, and will feature direction and designs by Bob Crowley, book by Henry Hwang adapted from the screenplay by Tab Murphy, Bob Tzudiker, and Noni White and based on the novel Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Phil Collins is returning to write additional material to be used alongside with what had already been written for the film.

Starring in the title role will be Josh Strickland. Jenn Gambatese will star as Jane. The cast will also feature Merle Dandridge as Kala, Shuler Hensley as Kerchak, Chester Gregory II as Terk, Timothy Jerome as Professor Porter, Donnie Keshawarz as Clayton, and Daniel Manche and Alex Rutherford as Young Tarzan.

In the musical, a shipwreck leaves an infant orphaned on the West African shore. The helpless baby is taken under the protection of a gorilla tribe and becomes part of their family. When he eventually encounters his first human - Jane Porter, a curious young explorer - both their worlds are transformed forever.

Open: May 10th
Theater: Richard Rodgers



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