Denzel Washington, Bruce Springsteen, Joshua Jackson, John Leguizamo & More
As the sun sets on yet another changeable British summer, we look forward to a host of theatrical treats this autumn and over the pond, there are plenty of brand new productions waiting in the wings. Check out our previews of all the new Broadway Musicals and Plays this 'fall'!
And there's been no shortage of theatrical news since our last Broadway round-up, so let's get straight to it and begin with the return of a Hollywood A-Lister! Tony and 2-time Academy Award winner Denzel Washington has been cast in a Broadway revival of Eugene O'Neill's classic The Iceman Cometh next spring. He will be taking on the lead role of Theodore "Hickey" Hickman in a new production, directed by mulitple-time Tony winner George C. Wolfe, which will play a limited engagement at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre from 22 March to 24 June 2018, with an official opening set for April 26. Hickey is a role found on many a top actor's bucket list, with the likes of Kevin Spacey and James Earl Jones having already portrayed the troubled alcoholic on the Great White Way. We can't wait to see Mr. Washington's interpretation!
Let's get some sad news out of the way... As is inevitable with the structure of the Broadway season, around this time of the year Broadway producers always post a handful of closure notices. These result from a variety of reasons such as underperformance at the box office or re-casting issues after the end of a top actor's contract etc. It is my sad duty to report that the Broadway premiere of Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 will be playing its final performance at the Imperial Theatre this Sunday, 3 September, whilst the Broadway premieres of Bandstand and Groundhog Day will both end their Broadway runs on 17 September. Hopefully there is life in these wonderful musicals yet though, as plans for a North American Tour of The Great Comet and rumours of Groundhog Day returning to London have been circulating...
"The Boss" is coming to Broadway, folks! Yes, I am of course talking about the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Famer Bruce Springsteen, who will be making his Broadway debut this autumn at the Walter Kerr Theatre in his concert series created especially for the Great White Way. Simply entitled Springsteen on Broadway, the 20-time Grammy Award winner will deliver an intimate evening of acoustic renditions of his greatest hits and stories of his life and illustrious career. Originally scheduled to play from 3 October through to 26 November 2017, the limited engagement has now been extended right through to 3 February 2018, so that even more Springsteen fanatics get the chance to be a part of this up close and personal, once-in-a-lifetime experience. An official opening is set for 12 October. The Boss was "Born to Run"... on Broadway!
A couple of early entries into the 2017-2018 Broadway season have already officially opened, and the New York Theatre Guide was there to give our own precious two cents, so check out our reviews of the Manhattan Theatre Club's Broadway premiere of Prince of Broadway - a musical celebration of the career of Harold Prince, directed by Prince himself with co-direction and choreography by Susan Stroman - as well as Oscar-winning filmmaker Michael Moore's Broadway debut in The Terms of My Surrender, where he poses the question: "Can a Broadway show take down a sitting President?" in his typical, politically motivated fashion.
Before we get bogged down in "Trumpland" though, let's move swiftly on and congratulate the Menier Chocolate Factory on adding another Broadway transfer to its ever-impressive résumé. Their revival of Tom Stoppard's Travesties, starring BAFTA winner and Olivier Award nominee Tom Hollander, which transferred to the West End's Apollo Theatre in February of this year, has now been snapped up by the Roundabout Theatre Company. The Broadway engagement will play the American Airlines Theatre from 29 March through to 17 June 2018, with an official opening on April 24. The MCF once again proves that it's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog! Bravo!
Another successfully secured Broadway transfer - this time from off-Broadway's renowned Public Theater - goes by the name of Latin History For Morons. Written by and starring Tony Award & Golden Globe nominee and Emmy Award winner John Leguizamo - you probably remember him from the Baz Luhrman films "Romeo + Juliet" or "Moulin Rouge!" or as the voice of Sid in the "Ice Age" franchise - this one-man show will play the iconic Studio 54 from 19 October 2017 to 4 February 2018, with a 15 November official opening. Inspired by the evident absence of Latinos in his son's American History classes, Mr. Leguizamo will attempt to educate his boy (and Broadway audiences) about history's forgotten Hispanic heroes, all told with his signature satirical wit that has earned him great acclaim with past Broadway outings such as 'Ghetto Klown' and 'Freak.' We are ready to be educated, informed and definitely entertained!
"Good things come in threes," folks! So, here's news of another upcoming Broadway transfer. following Latin History For Morons into Studio 54 next spring will be the Berkshire Theater Group’s production of Mark Medoff's Children of a Lesser God. Marking the first-ever Broadway revival of the 1980 Tony Award-winning "Best Play," the production stars TV favourite Joshua Jackson ("Dawson's Creek," "The Affair," and "Fringe") as James Leeds alongside deaf actress Lauren Ridloff as Sarah Norman in this moving, romantic tale which breaks down the boundaries between the hearing and non-hearing world. Directed once again by Tony winner Kenny Leon, the limited engagement begins previews on 22 March 2018 and officially opens on 11 April.
Switching gears now and heading to the magical kingdom of Arendelle, yes, Disney Theatrical has finally now confirmed dates for the eagerly anticipated Broadway premiere of Frozen. Fans of Elsa, Anna, Olaf the Snowman and co. don't have much longer to wait as performances will begin at the St. James Theatre on 22 February 2018. An official opening has also been confirmed for 22 March. I expect the frosty musical may be making its way to our shores sometime in the next couple of years, if all goes to Disney's plan.
Next July might well be a place in the land of Far Far Away at the moment, but that hasn't stopped Broadway producers from booking up theatres post-next year's Tony Awards. Tony winner John Rando will direct the Broadway premiere of Gettin' The Band Back Together at the Belasco Theatre next summer. "Proving it's never too late to give your dreams one last shot" the musical comedy tells a midlife crisis-esque caper of a gathering of 40+ year old misfits, who attempt to win 'The Battle of The Bands.' (Think "School of Rock" minus the school children)... Previews begin on 18 July 2018, with an official opening already set for 13 August.
And just when you thought that the Jerseys Boys had walked like a man right out of NYC for good, Frankie Valli and those Four Seasons will be back to grace New York audiences with an open-ended engagement at off-Broadway's New World Stages from November 2017. Similar to the hit Broadway musical comedy Avenue Q, which moved into New World Stages after the end of its Broadway run in 2009 and is still playing there to this day, the Jersey Boys may well have found a permanent NYC home for many years to come. I always had a hunch they'd be working their way back to us...
Finally, a quick round-up of casting news. Dear Evan Hansen's Tony Award-winning star Ben Platt announced that his final performance in the musical will take place on 19 November 2017, which was followed by a cry of despair from young Broadway fanatics aplenty. However, producer Stacey Mindich was quick to announce replacements with "The Real O'Neals" star Noah Galvin taking over the title role until mid-January, followed by Hello, Dolly! star Taylor Trensch assuming the role for a longer engagement. Complete casting has also been announced for the upcoming revival of Lynn Ahrens & Stephen Flaherty's Once On This Island, including Tony-winning Broadway favourite Lea Salonga and "Glee" star Alex Newell. The full cast was also confirmed for the Jimmy Buffett musical Escape to Margaritaville on Broadway with Paul Alexander Nolan and Alison Luff leading the cast and supplying those chilled vibes and good times. Tony nominee (and husband of the glorious Audra McDonald) Will Swenson will reprise his role as Earl in the Broadway production of Waitress from 12 September 2017. And finally, yes, a little dose of Hamilton news - Tony nominee Daniel Breaker debuted in the principal role of Aaron Burr in the Broadway production this past Tuesday, 29 August.
So, that about wraps it up for another edition of our Broadway Round-up, folks. But be sure to keep a regular eye on our sister site - www.NewYorkTheatreGuide.com - for all the latest news and gossip from the Big Apple!