Fall 2017 Broadway Guide

Brian Sloan

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As the fall theater season starts, Broadway lights up with some major stars, new dramas and highly anticipated revivals. The 2017–2018 season features movie stars like Clive Owen, Uma Thurman and recent Oscar winner Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies). For fans of PBS’ Downton Abbey, Elizabeth McGovern (aka Cora Crawley) returns to the New York stage for the first time in 25 years. Animated TV star SpongeBob SquarePants is making the leap to real life (sorta), with his own musical featuring tunes by a host of well-known rockers. And professional pundit Michael Moore (Bowling for Columbine, Sicko) makes his Broadway debut.

With all these new shows and a number of holdover hits from the previous season like Dear Evan Hansen and Groundhog Day, there are lots of choices on Broadway this fall with more than 30 productions up and running. Read on for our guide to what’s new onstage in NYC.

Photo: Darren Cox

Michael Moore: The Terms of My Surrender  
Belasco Theatre, 111 W. 44th St. Through October 29.  
Prolific filmmaker Michael Moore takes aim at the current political situation. (The promotional poster reads, “Can a Broadway show take down a sitting president?”)  Directed by Broadway veteran Michael Mayer (American Idiot), Moore’s one-man monologue-style show will have guest stars and some singing and dancing.
The buzz: Moore’s rant is not all about Trump—he has choice words for Michigan’s governor too.
Buy tickets if... you’re mad as hell and you’re not gonna take it anymore!

Courtesy, Serino Coyne

Prince of Broadway 
Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, 261 W. 47th St. Through October 22.
Hal Prince is one of Broadway’s biggest behind-the-scenes names—a director, producer and game changer behind groundbreaking shows like Sweeney Todd, West Side Story and The Phantom of the Opera. This new review-style musical, directed by Prince himself, looks at his life work with numbers from his classic shows and even some new songs by Jason Robert Brown (Bridges of Madison County).
The buzz: Prince packs songs from 16 shows into this review. (It’s like 16 for the price of 1.)
Buy tickets if... you like greatest hits collections.

Time and the Conways 
American Airlines Theatre, 227 W. 42nd St. Performances begin September 14, through November 26.
Elizabeth McGovern, who gained worldwide fame on Downton Abbey, returns to Broadway for the first time since 1992 in a drama that shares some elements of her PBS hit. Set in the UK in the years between World War I and II, this 1937 play by J.B. Priestly follows the ups and downs of a wealthy British family.
The buzz: The show’s director, Rebecca Taichman, drew raves for her inventive staging of the Tony-nominated Indecent.
Buy tickets if... you’re an anglophile.

Junk 
Vivian Beaumont Theatre, 150 W. 65th St. Performances begin October 5, through January 7, 2018.
In the 1980s, junk bonds ruled the financial world, turning some traders into paper millionaires and sending others to prison. This period drama by Pulitzer Prize winner Ayad Akhtar (Disgraced) takes a look at the financial frenzy and ultimate ruin they caused. Steven Pasquale, who made a name for himself in the musical The Bridges of Madison County, plays the lead as a hungry wolf of Wall Street.
The buzz: Pasquale’s a talented rising star and this could be an award-winning role for him.
Buy tickets if... you love the ’80s.

The Band's Visit 
Ethel Barrymore Theatre, 243 W. 47th St. Performances begin October 7.
The New York Times
chief theater critic Ben Brantley chose this modest off-Broadway musical as his favorite show last season. Now it comes to Broadway with Tony Shalhoub playing the head of an Egyptian band that gets lost and spends an eventful night in an Israeli desert town.  
The buzz: Brantley had high praise for the music, which he called “one of the season’s most exquisitely wrought scores.”
Buy tickets if... you’re looking for the next hot ticket.

M. Butterfly 
Cort Theatre, 138 W. 48th St. Performances begin October 7.
Movie star Clive Owen leads the first revival of this 1988 show based on a true story about political intrigue, personal passion and sexual mystery set in Bejing’s diplomatic community about a man who falls for a beautiful female opera singer, or so he thinks. With gender a hot topic these days, you can expect a thought-provoking show as well as a visually stunning production helmed by The Lion King’s Julie Taymor. 
The buzz: Taymor is looking for a Broadway comeback with her first show since Spider-Man.
Buy tickets if... you’re a fan of Puccini. The play was inspired by Madame Butterfly and has some snippets from the opera.

Meteor Shower 
Booth Theatre, 222W. 45th St. Performances begin November 1.
Comedy Central comes to Broadway in this new play featuring the network’s breakout stars Amy Schumer and Keegan-Michael Key, both making their NYC stage debuts. The play has even more comedy bona fides in its author, actor and playwright Steve Martin, who wrote this comedy of manners about a suburban dinner party in California that goes awry during a meteor shower.
The buzz: With these two TV and movie stars toplining the show, tickets are going fast.
Buy tickets if... you can.

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SpongeBob SquarePants 
Palace Theatre, 1564 Broadway. Performances begin November 6.
Bikini Bottom comes to Broadway, and life under the sea will never quite be the same. This new family-friendly musical features a human cast playing these well-known underwater characters. You can expect a fun-loving and eclectic song list by popstars like Cyndi Lauper and Steven Tyler, country superstars Lady Antebellum, jazzman John Legend and the late David Bowie.
The buzz: The show’s Chicago tryout last summer got positive reviews for its exuberant cast and clever take on the Nickelodeon TV show.
Buy tickets if... you know Patchy the Pirate and Squidward. 

The Parisian Woman
Hudson Theatre, 139-141 W. 44th St. Performances begin November 7.
From the writer and showrunner of Netflix’s House of Cards, Beau Willimon’s update of a French play from 1885 stars Uma Thurman, along with Josh Lucas and Blair Brown. Set in the familiar territory of Washington DC’s conniving political world, Willimon had to rewrite the show after the 2016 election to reflect the current political reality.
The buzz: Thurman’s Broadway debut is a big deal—but so is Willimon’s return to NYC, where he got his start as a playwright at the Atlantic Theater Company.    
Buy tickets if... you’re a fan of political intrigue and/or Kill Bill.

Once on This Island 
Circle in the Square Theater, 235 W. 50th St. Performances begin November 9.
It’s been nearly 20 years since this Caribbean-set fairy tale premiered in New York, introducing the talents of songwriting team Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty who also wrote music for Ragtime and Anastasia, currently on Broadway. This new production, which tells the tropical tale of a peasant girl who falls for a wealthy colonialist, is directed by Michael Arden.
The buzz: Arden made magic (and garnered great reviews) with his recent re-staging of Spring Awakening.
Buy tickets if... you want an island vacation without the travel.

The Children 
Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, 261 W. 47th St. Performances begin November 28, through April 22, 2018.
After an acclaimed run last year at the Royal Court Theater in London, this new play from up-and-coming UK playwright Lucy Kirkwood has been getting raves. The show is set in a post-apocalyptic world where a retired nuclear scientist and his wife are trying to live out their retirement in peace when they are visited by an old friend on a mysterious mission.
The buzz: The 33-year-old Kirkwood is getting a lot of attention for her shows in the UK—this is her American debut.
Buy tickets if... you can’t get enough of the dystopia trend.

Farinelli and the King 
Belasco Theatre, 111 W. 44th St. Performances begin December 5, through May 22, 2018.
Mark Rylance, a surprise Oscar winner for his role in Steven Spielberg’s 2015 film Bridge of Spies, returns to Broadway for his third major role in less than four years. This new play with music was written by Rylance’s wife, Claire Van Kampen, and is based on a real-life king of Spain who found a cure for his madness in the voice of the famous castrato. Select performances of the show will feature famed British countertenor Iestyn Davies as Farinelli.
The buzz: While Rylance may not be a household name, he’s widely considered by his peers to be one of the greatest actors of his generation.
Buy tickets if... you like opera, but not enough to sit through one.


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