The Must-See Special Moments and Magic of Broadway's Spring Season
Looking over the roster of new musicals and performers coming to Broadway this spring, and knowing already that it is shaping up to be a pretty spectacular one, I got even more excited when I started considering the details of some of these productions and the artistry we can look forward to. For me, these are the special moments and magic that is on our musical theatre horizon.
Corey Cott and Laura Osnes in Bandstand
Bandstand is a musical that particularly excites me because I adore that old-style, swing band sound that was popular in this country in the first half of the 20th Century. But what this production really has going for it is the pairing of Corey Cott and Laura Osnes, two of Broadway's most exciting and inherently likable young talents. They should work together beautifully onstage and I'm convinced the pairing will yield a palpable chemistry. And those voices!
Kate Baldwin singing "Ribbons Down My Back" in Hello, Dolly!
Yes, Better Midler may be the the diva supreme and star attraction of the upcoming Broadway revival of Hello, Dolly!, but it is the lovely voice of the winsome Kate Baldwin I cannot wait to hear, especially when she sings the perfectly-crafted character song "Ribbons Down My Back". Baldwin has charmed us, time and again, particularly as the spunky Sharon McLonergan in the 2009 revival of Finian's Rainbow. It will be thrilling to hear what subtleties she brings to this uniquely wonderful Jerry Herman number sung by a widowed hat shop owner who is hoping for one last stab at love.
The physical production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
The outside of the Lunt-Fontanne theatre where Charlie and the Chocolate Factory will be ensconced is already festive and inviting, a colorful mystery for kids and kids at heart who will purchase the “Golden Ticket” to enter. Mark Thompson, who is responsible for both scenic and costume design on this production, will have an enormous (and exciting) job creating the physical world of the magical land of Willy Wonka. Be ready for a splendid design that transports and awes us.
The ongoing emotional power of Dear Evan Hansen
I've already sung from the rooftops about the score of Dear Evan Hansen and my expectations that it will secure the Tony, but look to the message of this musical, the emotional power of the need for connection in a world of isolation, to be the legacy of this piece. In a Trump world where we are expected to be splintered and broken, Dear Evan Hansen will resonate stronger and stronger in the face of this regime, guiding the way for how we can implement positive change wherever we go. This is an amazing consequence of musical theatre, its ability to create light where there once was darkness.
Glenn Close revisiting greatness on the "Boulevard"
"And this time will be bigger and brighter than we knew it" indeed and Glenn Close proves that, once again, she can bring Andrew Lloyd Webber's Sunset Boulevard to life with a mysterious magic summoned from the ethereal recesses of theatrical darkness. Returning to two boulevards, both Sunset and Broadway, Close demonstrates that she is one of America's greatest acting treasures, mining new gold from a role she won a Tony for almost a quarter-of-a-century ago.
Sarah Bareilles in Waitress
Jessie Mueller has been the stalwart lead in Sarah Bareilles's musical Waitress since it opened last spring. The musical garnered no Tony Awards, but has proven a hit against those odds. A year in, the musical's creator will now take over for Mueller, an exciting bit of casting that should help keep this musical an exciting attraction. How interesting it will be to see the person who wrote these songs perform them as she imagined them.
Anastasia, the sheer wonderfulness of its score and how it's going to sound on a Broadway stage
Ever since I saw the 1997 animated film Anastasia on the big screen, I was convinced of two things: its setting and characters belonged on the Broadway stage and the Lynn Ahrens/Stephen Flaherty score was a sumptuous body of music that would someday bring the production to the Great White Way. With Anastasia poised to open on Broadway soon and my predictions coming true, it is particularly exciting to think about how it is going to sound in the Broadhurst Theatre and of what additional delights will be added to the likes of “Journey to the Past”, “A Rumor in St. Petersburg” and “Once Upon a December”.
The fascinating possibilities brought about by a musical of Groundhog Day
Way back when Stephen Sondheim said he was working on a musical of the film Groundhog Day (which obviously never came to fruition), it was easy to see how this piece about a guy who is forced to live the same day over-and-over again until he gets it perfect, lends itself to musicalization. Fortunately, the idea of a musical of Groundhog Day landed in the hands of Tim Minchin (music and lyrics) and Danny Rubin (book) and we will finally get to know what that musical could look like.
Telly Leung as our new Aladdin
When this casting choice was announced, I said to myself “Of course!” and the celebration began. Telly Leung has such a natural charm and ease, not to mention the smooth vocal pipes and handsome visage to bring the character of Aladdin to life. He embodies everything a Disney hero should be, and even though we are sad to see Adam Jacobs leave for the national tour, Telly will bring a special magic to the resident production. Who wouldn’t take that carpet ride?
The dual diva-ship that will ignite War Paint
I hardly have to explain the thrill of seeing a Broadway diva live onstage. It is basically the number one goal of the Broadway obsessed. Now multiply that opportunity by two, two Tony-winning divas, each with two Tony Awards to their name, and War Paint is the must-see event of the spring. Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole are the epic pairing for this musical about cosmetics giants Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden. It’s merely ice on the cake that they will be singing a new Scott Frankel and Michael Korie score (an event unto itself).