Glenn Close in Sunset Boulevard, Mel B in Chicago and More
As America snowballs its way towards perhaps the most theatrical, presidential election in history, we take a look at all the news from the Big Apple over the past couple of weeks!
Congratulations to the one and only Glenn Close, who will officially be heading back to Broadway next year! The three-time Tony Award winner wowed both critics and fans alike earlier this year during her West End debut, reprising her iconic Tony-winning Broadway role as Norma Desmond in the ENO revival of Sunset Boulevard at the London Coliseum. She obviously didn't want to leave her American fans wanting as the production will transfer to the Great White Way, beginning previews on 2nd February 2017 at the Palace Theatre, before an official opening on 9th February and a limited 16-week engagement through to 28th May 2017. It'll be almost 20 years since she last played Norma on Broadway, but to musical afficionados it will surely feel as if she never said goodbye!
Hats off to Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber too, who will have the rare distinction of having four of his musicals running on Broadway at the same time next year - The Phantom of the Opera, School of Rock: The Musical, Cats and the new addition of Sunset Boulevard.
Hot off the press! Broadway is about to spice up its life and welcome Scary Spice herself Mel B to the stage! The "America's Got Talent" judge will make her Broadway debut in Chicago for a strictly limited 8-week engagement at the Ambassador Theatre from 28th December 2016 through to 19th February 2017. The role she will assume will be announced shortly. Congrats to Mel... and all that Spice!
I feel like I'm on a role congratulating people, so why stop now! A huge pat on the back goes to our very own two-time Olivier nominee Killian Donnelly, who will be making his well-deserved Broadway debut and reprising his Olivier-nominated role as Charlie Price in the Broadway production of Kinky Boots! He will begin performances on 6th December. Everybody say yeah!!! Killian will join TV personality and YouTube sensation Todrick Hall, who stepped into those infamous red PVC boots as Lola last night at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre.
We would also like to wish one of our favourite Broadway babes "Break a Leg!" as Tony and Emmy Award winner Kristin Chenoweth began her limited engagement of concerts under the title My Love Letter to Broadway at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre last night. Not many artists receive the honour of performing solo concerts on the Great White Way nowadays, but this pocket-size, powerhouse of a diva is truly deserving! The 12th and final concert takes place on 13th November.
Next Spring is sending Broadway fans into overdrive as yet another big musical production has been announced. Following its successful tryout at New Jersey's Paper Mill Playhouse in October 2015, Bandstand has indeed been given the nod and will officially open at a yet-to-be-named Broadway theatre on 26th April 2017. Even more good news - Laura Osnes and Corey Cott will also be reprising their roles as Julia Trojan and Donny Novitski in the musical which features music by Richard Oberacker, and a book and yyrics by Mr. Oberacker and Robert Taylor.
Inevitably, with so much good news, there must be sad news to go with it. Fans of Jake Gyllenhaal will have to be patient a little longer to see the Oscar nominee on the Broadway stage again. The star was set to officially re-open the Hudson Theatre, recently acquired by the Ambassador Theatre Group, next Spring in a revival of Lanford Wilson's Burn This. Unfortunately, due to scheduling conflicts, the production has been postponed until the 2017-2018 season. We expect the Ambassador Theatre Group to announce a replacement production shortly.
If that wasn't bad enough, we will also have to say goodbye to one of my favourite Broadway shows from last season. The Color Purple scooped the Tony Award for "Best Musical Revival" this past Summer and earned our very own Cynthia Erivo her first Tony Award for her Broadway debut as Celie. The Menier Chocolate Factory transfer will play its final performance at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre on 8th January 2017... Hell no!
Enough tears now! Happy news for playwright Paula Vogel who will finally make her long-awaited Broadway debut with the transfer of the Vineyard Theatre production of Indecent. This play with music, inspired by the true events surrounding the controversial Broadway premiere of Sholem Asch’s 'God Of Vengeance' in 1923, will officially open at the Cort Theatre on 18th April 2017.
Finally, here's a quick round-up of casting news: As expected, two-time Tony nominee Andy Karl will reprise his acclaimed West End performance as Phil Connors in the Broadway transfer of new musical Groundhog Day. Two-time Tony winner Donna Murphy will take on responsibilities as Bette Midler's alternate, playing the role of Dolly Gallagher Levi in the much-anticipated Broadway revival of Hello Dolly! on Tuesdays from 13th June 2017 onwards. West End star Alistair Brammer will reprise his role as Chris in Cameron Mackintosh's Broadway transfer of Miss Saigon next Spring. And last but not least... Yes... Hamilton news, folks! Jordan Fisher will replace yet another original cast member in Anthony Ramos, taking on the roles of John Laurens and Phillip Hamilton from 22nd November at the Richard Rodgers Theatre.
Until next time, theatre fans, keep an eye on NewYorkTheatreGuide.com for all the latest Broadway and off-Broadway happenings!