Thursday, February 17, 2011

2011 Spring Broadway Preview

Well kids I'm finally getting back to my roots and covering theatre as the spring 2011 Broadway season gets underway. I took a little break in the winter because there wasn't much going on aside from Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark and everybody has been covering that so I didn't find it necessary to beat a dead horse. This will be my first in a long series of posts leading up to the Tony awards in June. I am going to attempt to see as many of the nominated shows as I can so I can be as informed as possible when I make my Tony predictions. At some point I'll probably write about the shows that have already opened this season as well as those that have opened and closed, because they'll still be considered for Tonys, but for now I'm going to focus on the shows opening between now and May. I've listed the shows in order by the date of their official opening.

Good People
This is a world premier of David Lindsay-Abaire's new play about a newly-unemployed Bostonian woman who reunites with an old flame. Directed by Daniel Sullivan, the cast features Frances McDormand and Tate Donavan. It began previews at Manhattan Theatre Club's Samuel Friedman J. Theater on February 8th and has its official opening on March 3rd.
That Championship Season
A revival, this play by Jason Miller focuses on a group of ex-high school heroes as they reflect on their golden season, the year they won the Pennsylvania state high school basketball championship. Gregory Mosher directs a cast including Brian Cox, Jim Gaffigan, Chris Noth, Jason Patric, and Kiefer Sutherland. Previews began at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theater on February 9th with on official opening on March 6th.
Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark
This is perhaps the most highly anticipated musical in years and its faced its fair share of drama from injuries to delayed openings. This mega-musical by Bono and the Edge of U2 is the most expensive ever produced on Broadway. Directed by Tony winner Julie Taymor, the cast features Patrick Page, Jennifer Damiano, and Reeve Carney in the title role. Previews began at the Foxwoods Theater on November 28th with the official opening pushed back to March 15th.
A revival, this Tom Stoppard play begins in 1809 England where a gifted student proposes ideas and theories that are never truly realized until two academic rivals put the puzzle pieces together nearly two hundred years later. Billy Crudup and Raul Esparza star with direction by David Leveaux. Previews begin February 25th at the Ethel Barrymore Theater with official opening set for March 17th.
Priscilla Queen of the Desert
This is one of the most highly anticipated new musicals of the season. It recently began its New York rehearsal process after a run in Toronto. Tony Sheldon, Will Swenson, and Nick Adams star as drag queens who perform across the Australian outback on their bus Priscilla. The show is composed of popular hit music and disco standards. Simon Phillips directs this production that begins previews at the Palace Theater on February 28th and opens March 20th.
Ghetto Klown
This marks actor John Leguizamo's fourth solo show on Broadway, covering everything from his Queens upbringing to the early days of his acting career in the overly eccentric 1980s. Nothing is spared in this exuberant piece, not even Hollywood's biggest stars. Fisher Stevens directs this Leguizamo original that begins previews at the Lyceum Theatre on February 21st and runs March 22nd to May 15th.
The Book of Mormon
This new musical features a book by Trey Parker & Matt Stone (creators of South Park) and music by Robert Lopez (Avenue Q). The story of two modern missionaries in Uganda is told alongside that of  the founder of the Church of Latter-Day Saint. Casey Nicholaw directs a cast including Josh Gad, Andrew Rannells, Rory O'Malley, Nikki M. James, and Michael Potts. Previews begin at the Eugene O'Neill Theater on February 24th with opening night set for March 24th.
How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (H2$)
This highly anticipated revival of the Frank Loesser classic stars Daniel Radcliffe as J. Pierrepont Finch, a young mail clerk who rises to Vice President of Advertising with less than moral business practices. John Laroquette, Rose Hemingway, Tammy Blanchard, and Christopher J. Hanke also star, with voice over work by Anderson Cooper and direction and choreography by Rob Ashford. Previews begin at the Al Hirschfeld Theater on February 26th with an official opening on March 27th.
Bengal Tiger At The Baghdad Zoo
Narrated by a captive tiger, this play follows two American marines and an Iraqi gardener as they sift through the rubble of war . Robin Williams stars as the tiger and narrator. This is an original play written by Rajiv Joseph and directed by Moises Kaufman (The Laramie Project). Previews begin at the Richard Rodgers Theater on March 11th and the show opens on March 31st.
Anything Goes
This revival of the classic Cole Porter musical about two unlikely pairs aboard the S.S. American features a star-studded cast directed by Kathleen Marshall. Sutton Foster stars as Reno Sweeney, a role that garnered a TONY nomination for Patti LuPone, along with Joel Grey and Laura Osnes. Previews begin at Roundabout Theater Company's Stephen Sondheim Theater on March 10th and the production opens on April 7th.
Catch Me If You Can
This new musical based on the film of the same name features a book by Terrence McNally and music and lyrics by Mark Shaiman and Scott Wittman with direction by Jack O'Brien. It was well received during its Seattle run and the cast is chock full of stars including Aaron Tveit, Norbert Leo Butz, Tom Wopat, and Kerry Butler. Previews start at the Neil Simon Theater on March 11th with an official opening on April 10th.
The Motherf**ker With the Hat
This new play looks at the relationship between a longtime couple on the verge of a breakdown as one becomes sober while the other remains addicted to alcohol and drugs. Anna Shapiro directs this new play written by Stephen Adly Guirgis; Bobby Cannavale, Chris Rock, and Annabella Sciorra star. Previews at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theater begin March 22nd with opening night set for April 11th.
War Horse
This new play by Michael Morpurgo & Nick Stafford is a production of Lincoln Center Theatre Company. Marianne Elliott & Tom Morris direct this production that uses puppetry to tell the story of a young boy named Albert and his horse Joey in the midst of World War I. Seth Numrich stars as Albert in this production that begins previews at the Vivian Beaumont Theater on March 15th and opens on April 14th.
This new musical be Frank Wildhorn tells the story of Alice, but it isn't your grandmother's Alice in Wonderland. In this story, Wonderland is actually below New York City and Alice has a daughter. Janet Dacal stars as Alice alongside Kate Shindle as the Mad Hatter. This production directed by Gregory Boyd starts its preview period at the Marriott Marquis Theater on March 21st and opens on April 17th.
Sister Act
This new musical is based on the film of the same name and is transferring from London's West End where it was wildly successful. The music is written by Alan Menken & Glenn Slater with direction by Jerry Zaks. Patina Miller stars as Deloris and Tony winner Victoria Clark takes on the role of Mother Superior. Previews begin at the Broadway Theater on March 24th with opening night set for April 20th.
This comedy by Jez Butterworth is a transfer from London directed by Ian Rickson. It tells the story of a modern day pied piper who is on the run from the police. It also includes a motley crew of sidekicks. Mark Rylance stars in his second Broadway turn of the season along with John Gallagher, Jr. Previews begin at the Music Box Theater on April 2nd with an April 21st opening.
House of Blue Leaves
This revival of John Guare's 1971 play tells the story of the Pope's 1965 visit to New York City. The characters profiled include a zoo-keeper, his schizophrenic wife, his mistress, and an AWOL son. Ben Stiller and Edie Falco headline alongside Jennifer Jason Leigh and Alison Pill. David Cromer directs this production at the Walter Kerr Theater, beginning previews on April 4th and opening on April 25th.
Fat Pig
This is the first Broadway production of this Neil LaBute play that debuted off-Broadway a few seasons ago. Tom is an eligible bachelor who finds love with a plus sized girlfriend. Their objections and jabs make Tom examine himself and the value of his own good looks. Dane Cook and Julia Stiles star in this production directed by Neil LaBute himself. The production will play the Belasco Theater starting April 12th in previews and opening April 26th.
The People in the Picture
This new musical produced by Roundabout stars Donna Murphy as Bubie, a Holocaust survivor in 1970s New York City. Her granddaughter is enraptured by her tales of the war, but her daughter wants to hear nothing of her past. Iris Rainer Dart contributed the book and lyrics while Mike Stoller & Artie Butler composed the music. Chip Zien, Alexander Gemignani, and Nicole Parker also join the cast directed by Leonard Foglia. The production begins previews at the American Airlines Theater on April 1st and officially opens on April 28th.


  1. Just a minor correction: there was no Tony Award when the original production of Anything Goes opened in 1934.

  2. Erin, the Tony nomination for Anything Goes was of the 1987 Revival, not the original production.