Winter/Spring 2017 Broadway Guide

Whitney Spaner

If last season was about blazing new trails on Broadway with the likes of Hamilton, this spring celebrates some of America’s most enduring talents. Glenn Close is back where she belongs playing Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard. Bette Midler will say hi as the beloved Dolly Levi in Hello, Dolly! Danny DeVito makes his Broadway debut in Arthur Miller’s The Price. Kevin Kline does Noel Coward. Sally Field stars in The Glass Menagerie, August Wilson has one last Broadway premiere and Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole face off in the new musical War Paint.

Note: Get two-for-one tickets to great Broadway shows during NYC Broadway Week, running January 17–February 5. Tickets go on sale January 5.

Walter Kerr Theatre, 219 W. 48th St. Previews start March 9; opens April 3.

The whimsical 2001 French film about a lonely Parisian girl who goes to great lengths to brighten the lives of the people around her is now a musical by playwright Craig Lucas (Prelude to a Kiss) and composer Nathan Tysen (Tuck Everlasting). Phillipa Soo— Hamilton’s original Eliza Schuyler—stars as the irresistible Amélie.
The buzz: Critics say the musical, which premiered at the Berkeley Rep in 2015, lives up to the Oscar-winning film.
Buy tickets if…you prefer songs to subtitles.

Photo: Joan Marcus

Broadhurst Theatre, 235 W. 44th St. Previews start March 23; opens April 24.

This new musical—based on the beloved 1997 animated musical movie (as well as the 1956 film by Arthur Laurents)—is about the daughter of the last Russian tsar, Nicholas Romanov II. After losing her family in a Bolshevik attack, Anastasia—now a street sweeper going by Anya—tries to rediscover her past and find her way home with the help of a handsome young con man.
The buzz: The creative team boasts many big, Tony-winning Broadway names: playwright Terrence McNally wrote the book; A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder’s innovative director, Darko Tresnjak, is at the helm; and Ragtime’s Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, who wrote the movie’s score, penned a few new songs for the musical. Christy Altomare plays the heroine.
Buy tickets if… You’ve clicked on the Buzzfeed article “25 Reasons ‘Anastasia’ Is the Best Animated Film Ever.”

Photo: Nathan Johnson

Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, 242 W. 45th St. Previews start March 31; opens April 26.

This new musical is about a group of World War II vets who try to fend off their demons by starting a swing combo right after the war. They travel from Ohio to New York City, where they want to enter a national radio competition that could get them a shot at Hollywood.
The buzz: The reviews for the musical’s debut at Papermill Playhouse weren’t exactly raves, but they did leave hope that the show’s very pretty and very popular stars, Corey Cott and Laura Osnes, plus the kinetic swing dancing moves from Hamilton choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler, will attract an audience.
Buy tickets if…you’ve had “Jump, Jive an’ Wail” stuck in your head since the 1990s.

Christian Borle. Photo: Joan Marcus

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, 205 W. 46th St. Previews start March 28; opens April 23.

This new musical, based on Roald Dahl’s novel about hard-up youth Charlie Bucket’s life-changing trip to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, arrives on Broadway. The production boasts a new batch of songs by Hairspray’s songwriting team of Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, but fortunately—or unfortunately, depending on your perspective—that old candy-coated chestnut “Pure Imagination,” from the classic 1971 film, is smack-dab in the middle of Act 2.
The buzz: This production is a reworked version of the 2013 world premiere on London’s West End, which opened to mixed reviews but sold enough tickets to keep running for four years. Sam Mendes directed the original but is too busy with the Bond films to commit to Broadway. Tony winner Jack O’Brien, who collaborated with Shaiman and Wittman on Hairspray, will take over in the US, and says the American version will be closer to the 1971 Gene Wilder vehicle. Christian Borle, fresh off starring in this fall’s critically acclaimed revival of Falsettos, will play the eccentric candy maker.
Buy tickets if…you’ve been dying to say: “I’ve got a golden ticket!”

Photo: Matthew Murphy

Come From Away
Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, 236 W. 45th St. Previews start February 18; opens March 12.

After the Twin Towers fell on September 11, 2001, American airspace was shut down and 38 planes were rerouted to Gander, Newfoundland—nearly doubling the small town’s population overnight. The residents rose to the unfortunate occasion, making food, caring for animals and providing shoulders to cry on for the displaced passengers. Canadian husband-and-wife composers Irene Sankoff and David Hein unearthed this story of human compassion and set it to a Celtic folk score to create a new musical.
The buzz: Before making its Broadway debut, Come From Away played in San Diego; Seattle; Washington, DC; and Toronto. Two special concerts were staged in Gander, Newfoundland. Critics from coast to coast have called the ensemble piece infectious and deeply moving.
Buy tickets if…you need a good cry.

A Doll’s House, Part 2
John Golden Theatre, 252 W. 45th St. Previews start April 1; opens April 27.

At the end of Henrik Ibsen’s classic 1879 drama, A Doll’s House, repressed heroine Nora Helmer walks out on her family to “find herself.” Now, up-and-coming playwright Lucas Hnath—who wrote Off-Broadway’s Red Speedo (part of the New York Times’ “Best Theater of 2016” list)—imagines what happens when she walks back through that door. The cast includes Chris Cooper, Jayne Houdyshell, Laurie Metcalf and Condola Rashad. Sam Gold, a Tony winner for Fun Home, directs.
The buzz: Usually a play is produced elsewhere in New York before seeing its Broadway debut, but super-producer Scott Rudin is giving A Doll’s House, Part 2 a chance at this year’s Tony Award for Best Play on the strength of Hnath’s script alone.
Buy tickets if…you like classics with a twist.

The Glass Menagerie
Belasco Theatre, 111 W. 44th St. Previews start February 7; opens March 9.

Two-time Oscar winner Sally Field stars as the tenacious—perhaps delusional—fallen Southern belle Amanda Wingfield in the latest revival of Tennessee Williams’ memory play. A quick refresher on the plot: Amanda’s tortured son, Tom, recalls a desperate and damaging chapter in his family’s life. The busy Sam Gold directs.
The buzz: When Gold directed a Dutch language production of The Glass Menagerie last year in Amsterdam, it received rave reviews and he called the experience “life-changing.” With the same design team in place for the English-language version stateside, Gold was excited to learn that Sally Field was interested in being his Amanda. She had played her once before in a critically acclaimed production at the Kennedy Center, and he’d been thinking of directing her since seeing her Oscar-nominated portrayal of Mary Todd Lincoln in the 2012 film Lincoln.
Buy tickets if…you saw and loved Hello, My Name Is Doris.


Photo: Manual Harlan

Groundhog Day
August Wilson Theatre, 245 W. 52nd St. Previews start March 16; opens April 17.

Surly weatherman Phil Connors is back…and back…and back again in Groundhog Day, a new musical based on the 1993 comedy that stars Bill Murray. The show makes its Broadway debut this spring after a critically acclaimed run on London’s West End. Andy Karl will star as Connors. Tim Minchin wrote the comedic bluegrass-tinged rock score and Matthew Warchus, who worked with Minchin on making a hit musical out of Matilda, will direct.
The buzz: The world premiere of Groundhog Day sold out on the West End last summer. Now that it’s moving to Broadway, both the musical and its star, Andy Karl, are Tony Award contenders.
Buy tickets if…you’ve ever hoped Bill Murray would show up at your karaoke night.

Hello, Dolly!
Shubert Theatre, 225 W. 44th St. Previews start March 15; opens April 20.

At 71 years old, Bette Midler tackles the role that Carol Channing practically owns. Channing won a Tony in 1964 for playing the brassy, widowed matchmaker in Jerry Herman’s most famous piece—but maybe after the Divine Miss M adds her panache, the 95-year-old Channing can finally pass the torch. David Hyde Pierce stars as Horace, Dolly’s grumpy client turned love interest.
The buzz: The first-day ticket sales set a Broadway record.
Buy tickets if…you can get ’em.

Photo: Carol Rosegg

Cort Theatre, 138 W. 48th St. Previews start April 4; opens April 18.

When Polish-Jewish playwright Sholem Asch’s drama God of Vengeance, which featured a lesbian love affair, made its Broadway debut in 1923, the actors and producers were arrested on obscenity and indecency charges, and later convicted. Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright Paula Vogel (How I Learned to Drive) collaborated with director Rebecca Taichman to create a play, accompanied by original klezmer music, that interweaves the true story with Asch’s play.
The buzz: Before premiering on Broadway, the new play left audiences and critics in awe after productions at La Jolla Playhouse, Yale Rep and Off-Broadway’s Vineyard Theatre.
Buy tickets if…you loved the storytelling style and historical perspective of last season’s Shuffle Along, or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed.

August Wilson. Courtesy, MTC

Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, 261 W. 47th St. Previews start December 28; opens January 19.

Jitneys are the unlicensed cabs August Wilson’s characters drive in the final installment of the two-time Pulitzer winner’s 10-play American Century cycle. The action takes place at a family-owned cab station that the city is threatening to shut down.
The buzz: As director and frequent Wilson interpreter Ruben Santiago-Hudson says, “Jitney is the final jewel in his crown, the final keystone to hold all 10 [cycle plays] together.”
Buy tickets if…you’re trying to remember how you got around before Uber.

Cynthia Nixon. Photo: Maarten de Boer

The Little Foxes
Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, 261 W. 47th St. Previews start March 29; opens April 19.

Lillian Hellman’s 1939 play follows the deconstruction of an Alabama family at the start of the 20th century. Regina Giddens is frustrated that, by law, her father’s inheritance must be passed on to her weaselly brothers—and she is desperate to get a piece of the pie. Cynthia Nixon and Laura Linney alternate playing Regina and her kindly, drunk sister-in-law, Birdie.
The buzz: It’s a rare treat to see two actresses switch roles in repertory within the same play. Plus, director Daniel Sullivan has already coaxed award-worthy performances from both of them—Nixon won a Tony for her performance in Rabbit Hole and Linney was nominated for both Time Stands Still and Sight Unseen.
Buy tickets if…you subscribe to Lena Dunham’s newsletter, Lenny.

Miss Saigon
Broadway Theatre, 1681 Broadway. Previews start March 1; opens March 23.
This blockbuster musical by Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil, loosely based on Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, tells the emotionally wrought story of Chris—an American soldier who falls in love with Kim, a Vietnamese prostitute, during the Vietnam War but is forced to leave her behind during a final emergency evacuation.
The buzz: The original 1991 Broadway production made a star out of Lea Salonga, the teenage Filipino actress who played Kim. The same should happen for Filipino-American actress Eva Noblezada, who was plucked from her high school class after her performance at the National High School Musical Awards, proved she had the chops to handle the demanding role in London and will surely wow American audiences on Broadway.
Buy tickets if…you’re still upset that the latest revival of Les Miz closed last fall.

Photo: T. Charles Erickson

Vivian Beaumont Theatre, 150 W. 65th St. Previews start March 23; opens April 13.

In 1993 Yasir Arafat, the president of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, shook hands with Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin on the White House lawn. That signaled the start of an unprecedented peace deal, dubbed the Oslo Accords. Oslo, by J.T. Rogers tells the story of the back channel deals kicked off by the Norwegian diplomat couple, Terje Rød-Larsen and Mona Juul, who made the handshake happen.
The buzz: Director Bartlett Sher introduced Rogers to Rød-Larsen over dinner one night and Rogers—who wrote the 2011 Off-Broadway hit Blood and Gifts—knew he had his next play. Oslo’s Off-Broadway debut last summer was a New York Times Critics’ Pick.
Buy tickets if…you’re up for historical drama.

Photo: Alastair Muir

The Play That Goes Wrong
Lyceum Theatre, 149 W. 45th St. Previews start March 9; opens April 2.

As promised, everything goes wrong—walls fall in, actresses get knocked out, backstage hookups are exposed—when a fictitious theater group called the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society tries to stage a murder mystery. Created by the young members of the Mischief Theatre Group, this show proves that slapstick still works in a Snapchat world.
The buzz: The Mischief Theatre Group’s productions—three of which are currently running on the West End—have become word-of-mouth cultural phenomena in London. The good word about The Play that Goes Wrong made it to the ears of Star Wars producer and director J.J. Abrams, who—after catching a performance—decided to co-produce the Broadway transfer, marking his first foray into theater.
Buy tickets if…you pine for the days of Mr. Bean.


Present Laughter
St. James Theatre, 246 W. 44th St. Previews start March 10; opens April 5.

Oscar-and-Tony winner Kevin Kline is back on Broadway. He’s the lead in this revival of Noel Coward’s semi-autobiographical comedy about a famed, fluffed-up, egotistical actor. He’s fawned over by women, young playwrights and friends during a melodramatic midlife crisis on the eve of a theatrical tour of Africa.
The buzz: The last time Kevin Kline was on Broadway was in the 2007 production of Cyrano De Bergerac. The comedic charmer is perfect for the role of Garry Essendine, who has been played by the likes of Coward himself, Ian McKellen, George C. Scott and Victor Garber.
Buy tickets if…you own a pair of silk pajamas.

John Turturro. Photo: Robert Zuckerman

The Price
American Airlines Theatre, 227 W. 42nd St. Previews start February 16; opens Mar
ch 16.
Duty calls for Victor Franz when the Great Depression leaves his family bereft. He is forced to push his own future aside to support his father. Years later, resentments about the past bubble up to the surface when Victor returns to his childhood home with his wife, his estranged brother and a hustling furniture dealer to settle his deceased father’s affairs.
The buzz: This revival of a 1968 Arthur Miller play features an all-star cast. John Turturro plays Victor, Jessica Hecht is his wife, Tony Shalhoub is Victor’s brother and Danny DeVito will make his Broadway debut—at the age of 72!—as the fast-talking furniture dealer.
Buy tickets if…you want to get to know more of Miller’s work than the frequently produced Death of a Salesman, A View from the Bridge and The Crucible.

Significant Other
Booth Theatre, 222 W. 45th St. Previews start February 14; opens March 2.

In Josh Harmon’s new play his main character, Jordan, is a very single gay man in the midst of losing his three best brunch buddies to marriage and adulthood. As feelings of loneliness take over, he sadly (and wittily) wonders if the love he sees his girlfriends find is also in his future.
The buzz: Significant Other garnered positive reviews after it premiered at Roundabout Theatre’s Off-Broadway venue, the Laura Pels, last year. That’s the same stage where the 33-year-old Harmon began making a name for himself with his biting family comedy Bad Jews in 2013. Most of the stellar Off-Broadway cast, including Spring Awakening’s Gideon Glick, Wicked’s Lindsay Mendez and the Broadway veteran Barbara Barrie, will transfer to the Booth.
Buy tickets if…you’ve ever been seated at the singles table at a wedding.

Corey Hawkins. Courtesy, Boneau/Bryan-Brown

Six Degrees of Separation
Ethel Barrymore Theatre, 243 W. 47th St. Previews start April 5
; opens April 25.
A white Upper East Side couple find themselves swindled by an entertaining young black man named Paul who is locked out of his apartment and claims to be Sidney Poitier’s son and a friend of their children. Playwright John Guare based the play, which was nominated for a Tony when it debuted on Broadway in 1990, on a real experience of his socialite friends.
The buzz: Allison Janney will play Ouisa, the spiritually awakened wife, a role Stockard Channing made famous Off-Broadway, on Broadway and in the 1993 film. John Benjamin Hickey will play Ouisa’s stuffy husband, Flan, and up-and-comer Corey Hawkins—who played Dr. Dre in Straight Outta Compton—portrays the sweet-talking Paul.
Buy tickets if…you’ve always wondered where the game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon came from.

Sunset Boulevard
Palace Theatre, 1564 Broadway. Previews start February 2; opens February 9.

This pared-down revival shines a spotlight on Glenn Close’s return to its lead role. The Tony winner first appeared as faded silent-film-star-turned-murderer Norma Desmond on Broadway in 1994, and—although she was never known as a singer—Close lent an unforgettable personality to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s hauntingly lush score. Now it’s hard to hear power ballads like “With One Look” or “As If We Never Said Goodbye” without hearing her voice.
The buzz: Glenn’s still got it. When glowing reviews starting pouring in surrounding Close’s return as Norma Desmond in a 2016 English National Opera production, Lloyd Webber started hinting that he would soon have a fourth show joining School of Rock, Phantom of the Opera and the revival of Cats on Broadway.
Buy tickets if…you want to see one of those role-defining Broadway performances.

Studio 54, 254 W. 54th St. Previews start March 4; opens March 26.

To write Sweat playwright Lynn Nottage and director Kate Whoriskey traveled to Reading, Pennsylvania—which the Census Bureau established as the poorest city in America in 2011. There, they interviewed the mayor, bartenders, union steel workers and other residents about their harsh reality. The result is an eye-opening look at real people’s struggle with a failing economy.
The buzz: Although most of the play takes place in 2000, it could not feel more ripped from the headlines with characters delivering lines like: “You could wake up tomorrow, and all your jobs are in Mexico.” An Off-Broadway production earned rave reviews when it opened on November 3, and it’s sure to hit even harder this spring.
Buy tickets if…you’ve ever worried about your next paycheck.

Photo: Joan Marcus

War Paint
Nederlander Theatre, 208 W. 41st. St. Previews start March 7; opens April 6.

This new musical, with a book by Doug Wright (I Am My Own Wife) and music by Scott Frankel and Michael Korie (Grey Gardens), stars Broadway megastars Christine Ebersole and Patti LuPone as cosmetic titans Elizabeth Arden and Helena Rubinstein. Inspired by the book of the same name, War Paint sets the women’s intense rivalry to song.
The buzz: The general feeling when the new musical premiered at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago was that Ebersole and LuPone were on point, but the book and direction need to catch up to their talent.
Buy tickets if…you want to see, as composer Scott Frankel says, “the two greatest singing actresses of [our] generation.” NBD.