Spring 2016 Broadway Guide

Whitney Spaner

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HamiltonHamiltonHamilton. From the press hype, it might seem as if Lin-Manuel Miranda's revolutionary new musical about our fiery founding father is the only new show on Broadway this season—and let’s face it, it is awesome. But there are plenty of other exciting productions this spring that deserve some attention. Need to catch up? Here are our picks.

American Psycho
Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, 236 W. 54th St.

Benjamin Walker, the studly star of the latest Nicholas Sparks movie (The Choice, as if you didn't know), uses his good looks for evil in the musical adaptation of Brett Easton Ellis' notorious novel about a social-climbing serial killer. Duncan Sheik, Spring Awakening composer and '90s one-hit wonder ("Barely Breathing," as if you didn't know), has created an electronic-infused score to convey the soulless opulence of sociopathic banker Patrick Bateman's high-flying New York City lifestyle.
The buzz: Reviews were mixed when the new musical debuted late 2013 in London with Doctor Who star Matt Smith in the lead, but producers have enough confidence in the show that they forwent a previously scheduled Off-Broadway engagement—choosing to go straight to Broadway this spring.
Buy tickets if: You miss, or missed, going to Tunnel.

Blackbird
Belasco Theatre, 111 W. 44th St.
In 2007 Jeff Daniels took on the challenge of playing a convicted sex offender Off-Broadway. This spring he'll reprise that acclaimed performance as Ray in the Broadway debut of David Harrower's Olivier Award–winning play, Blackbird. The show is loosely based on the case of Toby Studebaker, a Marine who seduced a 12-year-old girl on the Internet. Oscar winner Michelle Williams will play Ray's victim, Una, who—now 27 years old—confronts the predator at his office.
The buzz: This is a big year for Harrower. The Scottish playwright will also see his film adaptation of the play, retitled Una and starring Rooney Mara and Ben Mendelsohn, hit the festival circuit.
Buy tickets if: You binge-watched Making a Murderer.

Bright Star on Broadway Bright Star. Photo: Joan Marcus

Bright Star
Cort Theatre, 138 W. 48th St.
This slice of good old-fashioned Americana is brought to you by one of SNL's two wild and crazy guys and the lead singer of the New Bohemians. Fast friends Steve Martin and Edie Brickell combined their Grammy-winning banjo playing and folksy songwriting skills to write a plucky new musical set in the South at the end of World War II (with flashbacks to the 1920s).
The buzz: After playing the sassy society magazine editor at the center of Bright Star throughout previous productions in San Diego and Washington DC, newcomer Carmen Cusack is set to take a star turn in her Broadway debut.
Buy tickets if: You are aware that Steven Martin and Edie Brickell made two albums together.

Disaster!
Nederlander Theatre, 208 W. 41th St.  
Hindsight is 20/20, and now beloved Broadway-culture chronicler Seth Rudetsky can look back and laugh at the B movies and disco hits that made the 1970s a decade some love to hate. The cast belts out fresh arrangements of songs like "Loving You," "Knock on Wood" and "Alone Again (Naturally)" as swarms of bees attack, ships capsize and structures collapse.
The buzz: Queens of comedy Amy Poehler and Tina Fey included the 2013 Off-Broadway production of Disaster! on their "Must List" in Entertainment Weekly.  
Buy tickets if: You live tweeted Sharknado 3.

Eclipsed on Broadway "Eclipsed." Photo: Joan Marcus

Eclipsed
Golden Theatre, 252 W. 45th St.

In 2009—before her breakout, Oscar-winning role in 12 Years a Slave—Lupita Nyong'o was an understudy at the Yale Rep. The play? The first production of Walking Dead standout Danai Gurira's Eclipsed, which follows a group of trapped Liberian women trying to survive in their war-torn country. Now the red-carpet head turner is using her star power to bring this eye-opening work, directed by South African native Liesl Tommy, to a broader audience. And she's not an understudy anymore.
The buzz: Eclipsed is fresh off a sold-out and critically acclaimed run at the Public last fall. Nyong'o may be the initial draw, but audiences will remember nuanced performances by the entire ensemble, which includes Saycon Sengbloh, Zainab Jah, Pascale Armand and Akosua Busia.
Buy tickets if: You want raw, important stories to continue being told on the Broadway stage.

Fully Committed
Lyceum Theatre, 149 W. 45th St.

Modern Family star Jesse Tyler Ferguson plays Sam, an out-of-work actor and a burdened reservationist at a hipper-than-thou New York City restaurant, in this one-man show. Sitting in the basement, Sam fields calls from 39 persnickety wannabe diners, disappointed family members, catty friends and high-maintenance employees—whose accents, inflections and facial contortions serve as a showcase for Ferguson's versatility.
The buzz: This cynical play by Becky Mode has been a fan favorite since its Off-Broadway premiere at the Vineyard Theatre in 1999 and was a hit in two productions at the avant-garde Menier Chocolate Factory in London. With our overzealous foodie culture serving as constant inspiration, Mode has made several updates to reflect the current food scene. 
Buy a ticket if: You seated Lindsay Lohan at Pastis in the early aughts.

Long Day’s Journey Into Night
American Airlines Theatre, 227 W. 42nd St.

Jessica Lange, Gabriel Byrne, Michael Shannon and John Gallagher Jr. could make a blender instruction manual sound poetic. Imagine what they'll do with Eugene O'Neill's autobiographical masterpiece about a day in the life of the Tyrone family as its members struggle with addiction, sickness and resentment.
The buzz: Lange won an Olivier Award for playing drug-addicted matriarch Mary Tyrone on the West End back in 2000, and Byrne has earned Tony nominations for his roles in two O'Neill plays: A Touch of a Poet and A Moon for the Misbegotten.
Buy tickets if: You have any interest in seeing a masterwork of American drama.
 

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She Loves Me
Studio 54, 254 W. 54th St.
She Loves Me is an intimate romance set to a lyrical score by Fiddler on the Roof duo Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick. Based on the same Hungarian play that inspired You've Got Mail (and, before that, Hollywood classic The Shop Around the Corner), the musical is about two contentious perfumery clerks who unwittingly fall in love with each other through anonymous letters.
The buzz: Roundabout associate artist Scott Ellis directs an all-star cast led by Laura Benanti, Jane Krakowski, Gavin Creel and Zachary Levi for this jewel in the theatre company's 50th anniversary season. Ellis also directed the last revival of the musical, which resulted in 10 Tony Award nominations.
Buy tickets if: You've recently swiped left.

Shuffle Along, or, The Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed
Music Box Theatre, 239 W. 45th St.

Shuffle Along was a hit 1921 Jazz Age musical that proved white audiences would line up to see a show written, directed and performed by African Americans. Director George C. Wolfe has reimagined the rarely produced revue to include the behind-the-scenes story of the actors, musicians and writers—including Josephine Baker, Adelaide Hall and Paul Robeson—whose lives were changed by the musical's success.
The buzz: This production is a chance to see jaw-dropping tap dance numbers choreographed by Savion Glover, along with the returns of Tony-winning stars Audra McDonald, Brian Stokes Mitchell and Billy Porter to the Broadway stage. 
Buy tickets if: You have a weakness for big bring-down-the-house tap dance numbers.

The Crucible
Walter Kerr Theatre, 219 W. 48th St.

Belgian director Ivo van Hove is following up his well-received production of Arthur Miller's A View From the Bridge with Miller's classic witch-hunt drama, The Crucible. The Bridge cast was relatively unknown stateside before the revival premiered last fall, but The Crucible will star Oscar nominees Saoirse Ronan and Sophie Okonedo, Broadway vets Brenda Wehle and Jim Norton, and fashion wunderkind Tavi Gevinson. Let the hysteria begin.
The buzz: Van Hove could compete with Lin-Manuel Miranda for this season's biggest New York City theater success story, with hit productions of David Bowie's new musical Lazarus at NYTW and A View From the Bridge on Broadway coming fast on the heels of last fall's Antigone at BAM, which starred Juliette Binoche. 
Buy tickets if: You believe the Van Hove hype—and you should.

The Father
Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, 261 W. 47th St.

The Father is an insightful look at children who have to start caring for their aging parents. Oscar nominee and three-time Tony Award winner Frank Langella stars as Andre, a man whose mind is being ravaged by dementia as his daughter Anne (Katherine Erbe) struggles to balance his care with her own demanding love life. 
The buzz: The Father won the Molière (the French version of a Tony) for best play in 2014; a successful West End production soon followed. You may as well pencil in Mr. Langella on your Tony ballot.
Buy tickets if: You want to see a very powerful performance.

The Humans
Helen Hayes Theatre, 240 W. 44th St.  

Millennials, listen up: this tragicomedy's for you. The Humans, by 36-year-old Pulitzer Prize finalist Stephen Karam, takes place during a family Thanksgiving dinner hosted by the youngest daughter at her and her trust-fund-heir boyfriend's Manhattan apartment. Conflicts generated by depression, money, dementia and the differing perspectives between aging parents and their adult children are all on the menu and served piping hot.
The buzz: This play debuted Off-Broadway last fall and earned rave reviews.
Buy tickets if: There wasn't enough drama at your own Thanksgiving dinner.

Tuck Everlasting on Broadway Tuck Everlasting. Photo: Greg Mooney

Waitress on Broadway "Waitress." Photo: Jeremy Daniel

Waitress
Brooks Atkinson Theatre, 256 W. 47th St.

In the sassy 2007 indie film Waitress, unhappily married and unintentionally pregnant diner waitress Jenna makes pies with funny, autobiographical names like "I can't have no affair because it's wrong and I don't want Earl to kill me pie." Add in a scoop of chart-topping singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles' tunes and a heaping cup of actress Jessie Mueller's charm and you have yourself an intriguing concept for a Broadway musical.
The buzz: While critics thought some of the production could use more time in the oven, Mueller got a warm reception for her portrayal of Jenna when Waitress first premiered at the American Repertory Theater in Boston—where the musical's director, Diane Paulus, is the artistic director.
Buy a ticket if: You've ever caught yourself whistling Bareilles' "Brave."

Shuffle Along, or, The Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed
Music Box Theatre, 239 W. 45th St.

Shuffle Along was a hit 1921 Jazz Age musical that proved white audiences would line up to see a show written, directed and performed by African Americans. Director George C. Wolfe has reimagined the rarely produced revue to include the behind-the-scenes story of the actors, musicians and writers—including Josephine Baker, Adelaide Hall and Paul Robeson—whose lives were changed by the musical's success.
The buzz: This production is a chance to see jaw-dropping tap dance numbers choreographed by Savion Glover, along with the returns of Tony-winning stars Audra McDonald, Brian Stokes Mitchell and Billy Porter to the Broadway stage. 
Buy tickets if: You have a weakness for big bring-down-the-house tap dance numbers.
 


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