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2014 Broadway Preview

Randy Lemoine
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From a revival of the Broadway classic 'Les Misérables' to adaptations of the films 'Aladdin' and 'Rocky', here's what to expect in the next year.

Similar to the academic calendar, the Broadway theatre season runs from fall to spring, culminating in late April – just in time for the theatre community’s annual TONY Award celebrations. Over the past four months, I’ve covered a range of new productions – from the big, splashy new Broadway musical Big Fish to the more intimate off-Broadway production of What’s It All About? Bacharch Reimagined. As we set out on a New Year, I thought it might be helpful to offer a preview of the new shows set to open during the remainder of the 2013-2014 Broadway season. Of course, you can expect that we’ll be offering full coverage of all of them here at Aleteia.

Several classic musicals are set to be revived this spring, along with some major new productions that will be vying for best new musical. One of the most anticipated revivals is the new staging of Les Misérables, beginning in March. Following the smashing financial success of the 2012 film, producers are now hoping to capitalize on the possibility that a new audience that might be interested in discovering the stage show for the first time. Later in March, we’ll see a new production of the classic Kander and Ebb musical, Cabaret. Alan Cumming, who won a Tony Award for his portrayal of the Emcee in the 1998 production of this musical, will once again reprise his role alongside Hollywood star Michelle Williams, who will make her Broadway debut as the ever charming character of Sally Bowles. As this is a limited twenty-four week engagement, expect this to be a hot ticket! Finally, television star Neil Patrick Harris will headline a new production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, which tells the story of a transgender rock star. (If that sounds a little frightening, you’re in good company with yours truly.)

The spring also promises a full slate of large new musical productions. Up first on the calendar is the new musical, Beautiful, a biographical tale of the life and music of Carole King starring Jessie Mueller, a young Broadway actress who in just three years has catapulted to Broadway stardom following her Tony-nominated performance in On A Clear Day You Can See Forever.  Later in the month, Broadway favorite Jason Robert Brown’s new musical adaption of The Bridges of Madison County will make its way to the Broadway stage starring Broadway veterans Kellie O’Hara and Steven Pasquale. In February, we’ll see two classic movies brought to life on the stage with Disney’s production of Aladdin and an adaptation of the boxing film Rocky, now a musical. If you’re skeptical, I can certainly sympathize, but based on early reports from a tryout production in Germany last year, the critics are cheering it on toward success.  With music and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty (the same team that brought us Ragtime), expect a possible knockout of a production.

Rounding out the new productions is another film adaption, this time of Woody Allen’s Bullets over Broadway, which will star the always-talented Marin Mazzie.  Finally, and perhaps the show I’m most eager to see, is a new production titled If/Then, written by Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey (the same composers who penned the 2009 hit musical Next to Normal). This new musical about a middle-aged woman who moves to New York City for a fresh start in life will usher in the return of Idina Menzel (2004 Tony Award winner for Wicked) to the Broadway stage—and that alone is reason to celebrate.

As for plays, in February, we’ll be treated to a new work by celebrated playwright Terrence McNally, Mothers and Sons, starring the inestimable Tyne Daly. Also on the line up is a new production of John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, starring James Franco and yet another revival of the A Raisin in the Sun, starting Denzel Washington. Similar to last season, producers are once again banking on the star power of big named celebrities in hopes of filling the seats of the lesser-attended plays over that of big named Broadway musicals.

Of course, there are many more theatre offerings than what’s listed here—much of which is off Broadway and equally (or more!) exciting than what can be found on the Broadway stage. We’re committed to showcasing it all, so be sure to be a regular reader of CALL to know what’s happening in the world of theatre in 2014 and beyond.

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