Novel productions dominate upcoming fall Broadway season
Following an incredibly successful summer, Broadway is ready for a brand new season full of novel productions and big-name debuts.
To nobody’s surprise, the most prominent theme on The Great White Way this fall is politics. The arts flourish in times of political despair and so far, the only positive thing to come out of the current administration is a wave of reactionary creativity — especially in theater.
The most politically sharp piece on Broadway this fall is a one-man show called Michael Moore’s The Terms of My Surrender. As provocative as the legendary Moore himself, this work is a limited engagement that shares Moore’s views on the current and future political situation, as well as what we, the people, should be doing in times like this.
Continuing a pattern of direct hits at politics, Studio 54 will open its door to Latin History for Morons. Following a successful off-Broadway run, the star of this one-man show, John Leguizamo, will teach his audience about the history of Latino immigrants in the United States, a history usually ignored.
Another debutant of this season, Uma Thurman, pairs up with “House of Cards” writer Beau Willimon to create a new play, The Parisian Woman, inspired by the controversial 1885 French play La Parisienne.
Thurman will portray Chloe, a charming socialite who is coming to terms with herself, her family and her powerful friends, all of whom were affected by the 2016 election.
Willimon stated that the script will go through changes every week to keep up with major news coming in from Washington, D.C., which promises to make this play worth seeing multiple times throughout its run.
While Junk is not necessarily a political piece, its economic themes fit perfectly into the current narrative. Written by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Disgraced, Ayad Akhtar, and starring Steven Pasquale, this Shakespearean-styled play follows the story of Robert Merkin, a self-proclaimed “genius,” whose ideas resulted in the disastrous financial crisis of 1985.
Following an acclaimed run in London, Lucy Kirkwood’s new play, The Children, tells the story of two retired nuclear engineers. Detached from reality, the characters are enjoying their lives until they receive a guest, whose arrival changes everything.
Another London transfer is Farinelli and the King. Inspired by a true story, the play contains music by Claire van Kampen and will welcome back one of Broadway’s brightest stars — Oscar and three-time Tony winner Mark Rylance. Rylance will take on the role of Spanish King Philip V, whose depression is cured by an unexpected friendship with a castrato opera singer, Farinelli.
The only comedy of the fall season is Meteor Shower, starring Amy Schumer in her Broadway debut. Written by fellow comedian and songwriter Steve Martin and directed by four-time Tony winner Jerry Zaks, this play also features Emmy winner Keegan-Michael Key, Tony-winner Laura Benanti and Alan Tudyk. This play centers around two married couples in Ojai, California who embark on a journey of comedic free fall.
This fall season also features highly anticipated revivals. Roundabout Theatre Company brings back Time and the Conways, which has not been produced on Broadway since its original opening in 1938.
Directed by this year’s Tony winner Rebecca Taichman, the story shows the status and dreams of a British family just after World War I, and how differently these very dreams play out 19 years later.
Clive Owen makes his Broadway return in a revival of David Henry Hwang’s magnum opus M. Butterfly about a French diplomat who finds himself in a love affair with a Chinese opera singer, whose secret identity sparks tragic downfall. The revival is directed by The Lion King’s Julie Taymor.
In a season dominated by plays, musicals seem to be less prominent. Nevertheless, there are musical shows for different tastes.
Rock legend Bruce Springsteen will play a limited engagement at the Walter Kerr Theatre. Springsteen, who is used to large arenas, will bring a more personal production full of hits and recollections from his incredible career spanning four decades.
Director Harold Prince, who is a theatrical icon of Springsteen’s caliber, commemorates his legacy in MTC’s production of Prince of Broadway. Featuring a parade of Broadway veterans and directed by Prince himself, this revue takes the audience through the 50 years of musicals that the maestro has brought to life, which include Cabaret, West Side Story, The Phantom of the Opera and Sweeney Todd.
The only musical revival on Broadway this season is the 1990 musical Once on This Island, which tells the story of a Caribbean Romeo and Juliet in which a a peasant girl and a wealthy boy go on a quest to overcome familial divisions and divine interventions.
Keeping up with the transfer trend, the acclaimed new musical The Band’s Visit lands on Broadway after an off-Broadway tryout. The musical tells the story of an Egyptian police band, whose arrival in Israel leads to disappointment and insurrection from the locals.
The most unexpected guest of this fall’s Broadway season is SpongeBob SquarePants, an adaptation of the hit Nickelodeon cartoon about the marine residents of Bikini Bottom.
The musical pivots around its versatile score, written in collaboration with various artists, including John Legend, Sara Bareilles, Cyndi Lauper and even the late David Bowie.