New York: The upcoming fall season on Broadway is more diverse than it has been in years. M&C looks at all the new opening shows.
Jay Johnson and his cast of characters will finally make their Broadway debuts after gracefully agreeing to be postponed earlier in the year to accommodate the run of Bridge & Tunnel.
In the play, the ancient craft of ventriloquism will be returned to its rightful place as an art form. Jay Johnson takes us on a multi-dimensional journey that combines his skills with a parade of characters that range from a subversive monkey to a withering tennis ball.
Opens: September 28, 2006
Theater: Helen Hayes
That one singular sensation returns to Broadway this season, sixteen years after its record breaking run at the Shubert Theater.
The massive cast of Broadway wannabees includes Ken Alan, Brad Anderson, Michael Berresse, Natalie Cortez, Charlotte d'Amboise, Mara Davie, Jessica Lee Goldyn, Deidre Goodwin, Tyler Hanes, James T. Lane, Paul McGill, Heather Parcells, Michael Paternostro, Alisan Porter, Jeffrey Schecter, Yuka Takara, Jason Tam, Chryssie Whitehead, and Tony Yazbeck.
A Chorus Line, which remains the longest running American musical in Broadway history, tells the story of a group of dancers who are auditioning for a director and for the audience.
Opens: October 5, 2006
The Roundabout's first foray into the new Broadway season is George Bernard Shaw's Heartbreak House.
The production will feature Philip Bosco, Swoosie Kurtz, Byron Jennings, Lily Rabe, and Laila Robins.
In the play, a weekend at an English countryside estate becomes a tangle of unlikely attachments and unwanted complications. Romance springs eternal but never mutual, and the most successful relationships have the least to do with love.
Opens: October 11, 2006 to December 3, 2006
Theater: Roundabout's American Airlines Theater
Broadway's other theater company, Manhattan Theater Club, open their fall season with Losing Louie.
Simon Mendes da Costa's play stars Matthew Arkin, Scott Cohen, Patricia Kalember, Michele Pawk, Rebecca Creskoff, Jama Williamson, and Mark Linn-Baker.
How do our childhood memories affect our lives? How do the mistakes of one generation impact the next? And most importantly, why does love make us do such crazy things? Interwoven events from the past and present blend together in this wise and witty new play, as two generations of family members work things out in the same bedroom, fifty years apart.
Opens: October 12, 2006 to November 26, 2006
Theater: Manhattan Theatre Club's Biltmore
Nathan Lane returns to Broadway since last year's popular revival of The Odd Couple. This time he reprises his role in Butley, a play he first starred in at Boston's Huntington Theater in 2003.
Joining Lane in Simon Gray's play is Dana Ivey, Julian Ovenden, Pamela J. Gray, James McMenamin, Jessica Stone, and Darren Pettie.
Butley is billed as a dark comedy about a literary professor who loses his wife and lover in the same day.
Opens: October 25, 2006 to January 14, 2007
Twyla Tharp attempts to do for Bob Dylan what she did for Billy Joel - take his music and turn it into a successful Broadway musical. Few jukebox musicals, as they have been coined, have succeeded, but when they hit (Mamma Mia, Jersey Boys) they hit big, and when they flop (Good Vibrations, Lennon) they flop big.
Starring in the musical will be Thom Sesma, Caren Lyn Manuel, and Michael Arden. The Times They Are A-Changin' is set within a low-rent traveling circus run by Capt. A. Rab, whose wagon hasn't moved from its location in some time — though not by lack of effort from his ragtag band of clowns and performers which includes such performers as the animal trainer Cleo, a young woman exploited by Capt. Arab and loved by his son, Coyote. Coyote longs for a world outside the confines of the family business, and as the circus show plays out, he must decide whether to flee or stay, and if he does stay, how to inspire change within the troupe.
Opens: October 26, 2006
Theater: Brooks Atkinson
The 1975 documentary about an eccentric aunt and cousin of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis is the basis for Grey Gardens. The musical ran Off-Broadway earlier this year to great acclaim and now comes to Broadway.
Starring is Christine Ebersole (a performance the New York Times called "Possibly the greatest performance I've ever seen in a musical), Mary Louise Wilson, John McMartin, Bob Stillman, Matt Cavenaugh, Jerry Michael Potts, Sarah Hyland, Erin Davie, and Kelsey Fowler.
Grey Gardens concerns both the deliciously eccentric aunt and cousin of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, who were once among the brightest names in the pre-Camelot social register, but became East Hampton’s most notorious recluses, living in a dilapidated 28-room mansion. Set in two eras – in 1941 when the estate was in its prime and in 1973 when it was reduced to squalor – the musical tells the alternatively hilarious and heartbreaking story of two indomitable individuals, Edith Bouvier Beale and her adult daughter ‘Little’ Edie.
Opens: November 2, 2006
Theater: Walter Kerr
Tom Stoppard brings his epic trilogy of plays, The Coast of Utopia, to Lincoln Center. The first in the set is Voyage.
The star-studded cast includes Billy Crudup, Richard Easton, Jennifer Ehle, Josh Hamilton, David Harbour, Jason Butler Harner, Ethan Hawke, Amy Irving, Brían F. O'Byrne, and Martha Plimpton.
Beginning in mid-19th century Russia during the repressive reign of Tsar Nicholas I, the epic spans a period of thirty years as it tells the panoramic story of a group of Russian intellectuals, headed by the radical theorist and editor Alexander Herzen, the novelist Ivan Turgenev, the literary critic Vissarion Belinsky and the aristocrat-turned-anarchist Michael Bakunin, who lead a band of like-minded countrymen in a revolutionary movement in which they strive to change and fix a political system by using their minds as their only weapon.
Opens: November 5, 2006 to March 3, 2007
Theater: Lincoln Center's Vivian Beaumont
The Grinch is set to bring his Christmas sprit to Broadway this holiday season after playing San Diego's Old Globe Theater for the past 8 years.
Starring in the musical is Patrick Page in the title role, John Cullum, Rusty Ross, Caitlin Belcik, Heather Tepe, Nicole Bocchi, Caroline London, Aaron Conley, Malcolm Morano, James Du Chateau, Eamon Foley, Kaitlin Hopkins, Libby Jacobson, Brynn Williams, Michael McCormick, Jan Neuberger, and Price Waldman.
Opens: November 8, 2006 to January 7, 2007
A Chorus Line is not the only long running, popular musical returning to Broadway this season. Les Miserables will open a special limited six-month engagement, only three years after the curtain fell on the epic musical's Broadway life.
Headlining the production will be Alexander Gemignani as Jean Valjean, Norm Lewis as Javert, Gary Beach as Thenardier, Daphne Rubin-Vega as Fantine, Celia Keenan -Bolger as Eponine, Jenny Galloway as Madame Thenardier, Aaron Lazar as Enjolras, Adam Jacobs as Marius, and Ali Ewoldt as Cosette.
For anyone out there who doesn't know, Les Miserables is based on Victor Hugo's novel, and tells the story of Jean Valjean, released on parole after 19 years on the chain gang, finds that the 'ticket-of-leave' he must display by law, condemns him to be an outcast. Only the saintly Bishop of Digne treats him kindly and Valjean, embittered by years of hardship, repays him by stealing some silver. Valjean is caught and brought back by the police, and is astonished when the Bishop lies to save him, also giving him two precious candlesticks. Valjean decides to start his life anew. Things go well but 8 years later, an encounter with a face from the past threatens everything he now holds dear. The musical is truly about sacrifice, compassion, and redemption.
Opens: November 9, 2006 to April 22, 2007
Douglas Carter Beane's farce about the world of Hollywood has made the jump to Broadway after playing the Second Stage Theater earlier this year.
The Little Dog Laughed stars Julie White, Johnny Galecki, Tom Everett Scott, and Ari Graynor.
Forget all the holier than thou Academy Award speeches - what everyone really loves about Hollywood is the down and dirty dish. The players in this deliciously biting farce include a screen idol hiding in the closet, an ambitious male prostitute and an agent that can spin anything and everything.
Opens: November 13, 2006
As many other hit London musicals have, Mary Poppins is moving to Broadway. The musical based on the popular Disney film and book by P.L. Travers will star Ashley Brown as the practically perfect nanny and Gavin Lee as Bert. Lee originated the role in the London production.
Joining them will be Daniel Jenkins as Mr. Banks, Rebecca Luker as Mrs. Banks, Jane Carr as Mrs. Brill, Mark Price as Robertson Ay, Cass Morgan as the Bird Woman, Ruth Gottschall as Miss Andrew, Michael McCarty as Admiral Boom, Katherine Doherty and Delaney Moro as Jane Banks, and Henry Hodges and Alexander Scheitinger as Michael Banks.
Mary Poppins is the classic Disney story of the magical nanny who takes care of two young children because their parents are occupied with other matters, and how their lives change because of her.
Opens: November 16, 2006
Theater: New Amsterdam
This new Broadway season brings another Stephen Sondheim musical back to the stage. This time it’s 1970’s Company. The musical played a run at Cincinnati's Playhouse in the Park earlier this year, and that entire cast has moved with the show to Broadway. That includes: Raúl Esparza as Robert, Barbara Walsh as Joanne, Keith Buterbaugh as Harry, Matt Castle as Peter, Robert Cunningham as Paul, Angel Desai as Marta, Kelly Jeanne Grant as Kathy, Kristin Huffman as Sarah, Amy Justman as Susan, Heather Laws as Amy, Leenya Rideout as Jenny, Fred Rose as David, Bruce Sabath as Larry, and Elizabeth Stanley as April.
Living single in New York can be hilarious and heartbreaking, even at the same time. And when you’re feeling the heat from all your married friends—and the 35 candles blazing away on your birthday cake—well, it could drive a person crazy. The musical is an honest, funny and sophisticated portrayal of five married couples as seen through the eyes of their mutual friend Robert, a bachelor evaluating the pros and cons of wedded life.
Opens: November 29, 2006
Julianne Moore will attempt to do what Julia Roberts could not - be a critical success in her Broadway debut. The four time Oscar nominee will star in David Hare's new play, The Vertical Hour. Starring alongside Moore will be Bill Nighy and Andrew Scott.
In the play Nadia Blye is a young American war correspondent turned academic who now teaches Political Studies at Yale. A brief holiday with her boyfriend in the Welsh borders brings her into contact with a kind of Englishman whose culture and beliefs are a surprise and a challenge, both to her and to her relationship.
Opens: November 30, 2006 to April 1, 2007
Theater: Music Box
Nick Hornby's novel was turned into a movie, now it has been turned into a musical that opens on Broadway this season.
Starring will be Will Chase as Rob, Jenn Colella as Laura, Christian Anderson as Dick, Jay Klaitz as Barry, Katy Mixon as Liz, and Emily Swallow, Kirsten Wyatt and Anne Warren as women who have had failed relationships with Rob.
High Fidelity concerns Rob, a record store owner who knows almost everything about pop music, but almost nothing about how to hang onto a girl. Rob's love life, already a broken record of heartache, falls off the charts completely when he gets dumped by Laura...but that just sets him up for one of the top 5 romantic comebacks ever.
Opens: December 7, 2006
Another Off-Broadway musical is making the jump to Broadway this season. The Atlantic Theater Company production ran earlier this year, and most of that cast has moved to Broadway. Starring will be Skylar Astin as Georg, Lilli Cooper as Martha, John Gallagher Jr. as Moritz, Gideon Glick as Ernst, Jonathan Groff as Melchior, Brian Johnson as Otto, Lea Michele as Wendla, Lauren Pritchard as Ilse, Phoebe Strole as Anna, Jonathan B. Wright as Hanschen, and Remy Zaken as Thea. Also joining the cast will be Stephen Spinella and Christine Estabrook.
Based on Frank Wedekind’s controversial play, which was banned for 71 years, Spring Awakening boldly depicts how young people navigate the thrilling, confusing and mysterious time of their sexual awakening. Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater’s songs illuminate the volatile urgency of adolescent self-discovery, the burning intensity of early friendships and the turbulent relationship to an uncomprehending adult world. The story centers around a brilliant young student named Melchior, his troubled friend Moritz and Wendla, a beautiful young girl on the verge of womanhood.
Opens: December 10th
Theater: Eugene O'Neill
Kristin Chenoweth makes her return to Broadway since her Tony nominated role as Glinda in Wicked. She will star in the Roundabout Theatre company's production of The Apple Tree as Eve, Princess Barbara, and Ella. The three part musical played last year as part of the 2005 Encores season. At this time no other casting had been announced.
The musical is billed as a unique evening of three one-act musicals about men, women and a little thing called temptation.
Opens: December 14, 2006 to March 11, 2007
Theater: Roundabout's Studio 54
Tom Stoppard's trilogy of plays, The Coast of Utopia, continues with Shipwreck. Starring in the second play will be Billy Crudup, Richard Easton, Jennifer Ehle, Josh Hamilton, David Harbour, Jason Butler Harner, Ethan Hawke, Amy Irving, Brían F. O'Byrne, and Martha Plimpton.
Beginning in mid-19th century Russia during the repressive reign of Tsar Nicholas I, Tom Stoppard’s sweeping epic spans a period of thirty years as it tells the panoramic story of a group of Russian intellectuals, headed by the radical theorist and editor Alexander Herzen, the novelist Ivan Turgenev, the literary critic Vissarion Belinsky and the aristocrat-turned-anarchist Michael Bakunin, who lead a band of like-minded countrymen in a revolutionary movement in which they strive to change and fix a political system by using their minds as their only weapon.
Opens: December 21, 2006 to March 3, 2007
Theater: Lincoln Center's Vivian Beaumont