Broadway Top-Ten Wishes for 2015
Broadway Top-Ten Wishes for 2015
2014 has been both an exciting and disappointing year for me in regards to Broadway musicals, with shows I deeply loved closing quickly and others that I felt lacked content and artistry plugging away. For me, the hardest thing to digest was the premature departure of The Bridges of Madison County, a piece I found both musically haunting and arresting in its simplicity. We move ahead, however, and file productions like "Bridges" in our hearts and memories, to recall when we are faced with the next big musical machine void of nuance or real emotion.
With Christmas just a few days away and the New Year poised to ring in, my Top-Ten List for this week is an itemized list of my wishes for 2015 and what I hope it will hold in terms of musical theatre.
1. Laura Benanti, back on Broadway, doing anything. I'd even settle for listening to her read or sing the phone book. I am not particular where Ms. Benanti is concerned, as she can make anything overflow with humor and sincerity. Some have suggested that a revival of My Fair Lady with Laura as Eliza Doolittle would be ideal. Give me a Henry Higgins in the form of John Lithgow and I think this idea would be sheer perfection. But as I said, I am not picky where she is concerned so truly Ms. Benanti as Inspector Javert or as Little Orphan Annie would be just fine. Just give us more.
2. Purlie - Can we please have a revival of Purlie? Just make it happen and no one needs to get hurt. The score is so infectious and ridiculously energizing that it demands to be heard...again...on Broadway...with a cast that should feature Montego Glover singing "I Got Love." Roundabout...are you listening?
3. David Yazbek please write another Broadway musical. I found so much joy in The Fully Monty and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and so much to respect in Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, I keep waiting eagerly for your next entry in the musical theatre canon. My suggestion: a musical version of the film In & Out. It is right in line with your sense of humor and your musical sensibilities.
4. Live Television Broadcasts of Musicals - just stop it already or do it right by casting more Broadway performers. Laura Benanti, Kelli O'Hara and Christian Borle were the best parts of these efforts, so why not just make them quality all around and stick with the people who know how to do this: the people who make live performing their life? I know, I know, less people will tune in and it won't make as much money. I guess I'd rather that the little kids at home, deciding whether or not to fall in love with Broadway musicals, start their romance with quality and talent instead of stardom and mediocrity. Just thinking about what REALLY matters.
5. Derek Hough, leave Dancing with the Stars, and come choreograph a Broadway musical. The guy is so extremely talented at telling stories with movement, I would just love to see what he would do with a piece like Carousel, Hello, Dolly! or even Bye, Bye, Birdie. How many Mirror Ball Trophies does a guy need anyway? Broadway is beckoning, Derek. Crawl out of that cesspool of sequins and reality stars, and come make some art for us.
6. Derek Klena, that talented young man who got my attention in The Bridges of Madison County, will come into his own and become the Broadway mainstay that he deserves to be. I am not sure what the right vehicle is for him to shine, but there must be someone out there with some ideas on how we can make this happen.
7. Encores! begins exploring a wider range of forgotten musicals, then casts them with their usual brilliance, and these productions get recorded. I know this is a tall order married to a host of complications, money issues and red tape, but I would sure love new recordings of Flahooley, Me and Juliet, The Golden Apple, Bloomer Girl, The Grass Harp, Paint Your Wagon, Fanny, Up in Central Park, Greenwillow, Rags and The Grand Tour.
8. Andy Mientus - Let's just give him his own talk show. He can throw in a song every once and a while, but he really should just spend his time reading his witty Twitter posts and making us laugh. He is truly talented on so many levels and let's just see more of him, whether it be on the barricade, a Broadway stage, or on Comedy Central.
9. The Phantom of the Opera to move to another theatre. This is unlikely, since the Majestic was renovated for this show, but I saw Phantom in Toronto when I was a teen and have no intention of seeing it again (there are too many new shows to explore). I very much want to see a show in the Majestic, the one Broadway house I have never seen the interior of. Since it's not poised to close anytime soon (nor should it, if people are still coming), but wouldn't it be fun to see it at Circle-in-the-Square? Just a thought...
10. A Year of Broadway full of delicious discoveries, arresting material, luminous performances, old gems that sparkle one again, and 365 days of the sheer magic, escapism, and transformative art we have grown to expect from that greatest of things: The Broadway Musical.
Wishing you all a Happy Holidays and I will be back on the evening of December 25th, when I write my review of Into the Woods (which I am seeing at 4 PM that day).