New Year’s Broadway Wishes – What I Want for Broadway in 2016…
2015 was an exciting year on Broadway. Who would have guessed it would prove to be such a sparkling year with such groundbreaking shows as Fun Home, Allegiance and Hamilton, as well as such stunning revivals as On the 20th Century, The King and I, and The Color Purple? As we look forward to 2016, the bar has been set high and here are some of MY wishes for what is to come:
BroadwayCon is an enormous success:
Since I won’t be in town to partake in the first BroadwayCon, it is my hope that it is an enormous success that ensures its return in 2017. It is poised to be the event of the year, and I think it can only grow with the possibilities of an annual celebration that is all things Broadway. It is a wonder that it took this long to happen in the first place, but better late than never!
52 at 54
New Faces of 1952 is one of the most delightful and hilarious musical revues ever to be written for the Broadway stage. It is also one of the few revues to be given motion picture treatment (with additional songs added, mostly to capitalize on the popularity and talents of Eartha Kitt). I would love to see a concert of this delightful score at Feinstein’s/54 Below and it could be called 52 at 54. Assemble some of today’s great comedic Broadway talents such as Ann Harada, Laura Benanti, Lillias White, Douglas Sills, and Andrew Rannells and let them lose on this terrific material. It will be worth it alone for the “Lizzie Borden” hoedown.
Increased T-Shirt Sizes
Many of us, after seeing a Broadway show, love to buy the show shirt and wear it around proudly (and provide the publicity of a walking billboard to boot). The problem is, for those of us who are a bit on the larger side (and this is a good percentage of America these days), your undersized XL that will undoubtedly shrink just doesn’t cut it. I know most of us would be willing to pay a few bucks extra for a larger size, so why not accommodate this demographic?
A Revival of Purlie
This was on my list for 2015 and since it has yet to be addressed, I will shoot for 2016. Nothing would “walk me up the stairs” to heaven faster than an announcement that this musical will be revived. The glorious score, the compelling premise, the sheer fact that it so richly deserves a revival as one of the best musicals to come out of the 1960s make a strong argument. Composer Gary Geld and lyricist Peter Udell fashioned something very unique with their score for Purlie which features one of the best opening numbers ever to ignite a Broadway musical in “Walk Him Up the Stairs.”
There is nothing I admire more than the Encores! series at City Center and the fact that it breathes life into older musicals that may be fading from our memory or that are forgotten altogether. The recent addition of celebrating Off-Broadway titles is also an exciting new development and I hope they decide to step outside of recent titles and look back further into Off-Broadway’s origins. What I would really like to see Encores! do next is to evolve in a way where they do a three-show series that celebrates out- and-out flops; shows that just didn’t make it at all and that really deserve to be heard again. Originally, that seemed to be where they were going (and occasionally they still do), but that impression has dissipated. Maggie Flynn, Flahooley, The Grass Harp, The Rink, and Darling of the Day are just a few among myriad titles that would be possibilities for new life.
The Biggest of Wishes
Broadway ticket prices are making it very hard for a middling show to succeed. Either you are a giant hit like Hamilton, or you pack up and go home. The average person cannot afford theatre tickets anymore. As a life-long lover of Broadway and dedicated patron, it is financially hard to see even one or two shows a year, let alone find a way to afford the ticket prices that will allow me to keep writing, reviewing and loving this amazing form of entertainment. There has to be a way (perhaps more creative minds than mine can prevail), to solve this problem and keep theatre accessible to all. Otherwise, it will continue to dissolve into an elitist art form and that will not bode well for its long term survival. That is my biggest wish for 2016.