Broadway on Broadway, the unofficial beginning of each Broadway season, was canceled this year due to the fact that it would have fallen on 9/11 (next Sunday). With no official start to the opening of new shows, I almost forgot that they were almost upon us. There’s not a whole lot that I’m dying to see, but there are a few that sound interesting. Let’s take a look, shall we?
- Follies: Recently transfered to New York from their acclaimed run at the Kennedy Center, though also supposedly the “worst production” that Sondheim has ever seen. Performances began on August 7th at the Marquis Theatre and it’s the first thing on my list of things to see.
- Man and Boy: The first production of Roundabout’s season will open at the American Airlines Theatre on September 9th starring acclaimed actor Frank Langella. Langella plays a ruthless business man.
- Relatively Speaking: Another play that I haven’t heard much about by Woody Allen, Ethan Coen, and Elaine May will open at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre on September 20th. The only names I recognize on the cast list as of now is the hilarious Ari Graynor and Mark Linn-Baker.
- The Mountaintop: One of the only plays this season, so far, slated to open with huge stars (Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett) will begin performances at the Bernard Jacobs Theatre on September 22nd. I haven’t heard much about this play but I’m pretty confident that Jackson will own the stage at Martin Luther King Jr.
- Chinglish: A new play by David Henry Hwang about race relations between Americans and the Chinese. This new play with an unknown cast will begin previews at the Longacre Theatre on October 11th.
- Other Desert Cities: Transferring from the highly successful production at Lincoln Center last season, this production will begin performances at the Booth Theatre on October 12th. With an awesome cast comprised of Stockard Channing and Judith Light, I hope this play does well on Broadway. It’s also near the top on my list of things to see this season.
- Venus in Fur: Transferring from their ridiculously successful at Theatre Row, it’s where Nina Arianda got her star-making debut. This is probably in my top three of shows to see this season. Performances will begin at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre on October 13th.
- Godspell: Produced by Ken Davenport, this much-hyped revival will begin performances at the Circle in the Square Theatre on October 13th. Davenport is using an unusual method of raising capital for this production and I’m curious to see whether or not it will pan out.
- Seminar: A new dark comedy by Theresa Rebeck will begin performances at the John Goldman Theatre on October 27th. I’ve long been a fan of Rebeck but I’ve yet to see anything by her on Broadway so this is exciting. Alan Rickman, of Harry Potter fame, will star.
- Bonnie and Clyde: A musical that’s been developed in several different places over the last couple of years is finally headed to Broadway and will land in the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre on November 4th to start previews. My colleagues have said they have faith in this one because it’s a known brand. Let’s hope they’re right!
- Private Lives: In my mind, it’s a classic and starring Kim Catrall, I’m ecstatic to see the London transfer of this production. It’ll start performances at the Music Box Theatre on November 6th.
- On a Clear Day You Can See Forever: Based on the 1965 movie, this musical will star Harry Connick Jr. as the protagonist. Performances will begin at the St. James Theatre on November 12th.
- Lysistrata Jones: Transferring to straight from the Transport Group’s production downtown, this show about cheerleaders and basketball players will dribble onto Broadway at the Walter Kerr Theatre on November 12th. No casting decisions have been announced yet.
- Stickfly: A new play about an African American family and race relations will begin performances at the Cort Theatre on November 18th, 2011. No casting has been announced and to be honest, I haven’t heard much about it at all. Keep your ears open for more news.
- The Road to Mecca: I once tried doing a project on this play by Athol Fugard when I was in high school. I’m excited to see it onstage this season at the American Airlines Theatre starting on December 16th. Rosemary Harris and Jim Dale star.
- The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess: A transfer from a theatre up in Boston will begin performances on December 17th at the Richard Rodgers Theatre. Sondheim also refuted this production, but at least there’s evidence thanks to the New York Times. Apparently director Diane Paulus has added monologues and tweaked parts of it making it far from “The Gershwin’s” anything. Audra McDonald and Norm Lewis will lead this cast, so it should be hard to really not enjoy this production.
- Wit: Cynthia Nixon will star in this amazing Pulitzer winning play by Margaret Edson. Performances begin at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre on January 5th, 2012. Consider me there.
- Ghost the Musical: Based on the well-known movie is coming to Broadway to mixed reactions. Supposedly the music is actually really good, but people are skeptical of whether or not we really needed this to be staged. Performances are slated to begin sometime in March 2012.
- Rebecca: A new musical by Michael Kunze and Sylvester Levay will land on Broadway on March 12th – the theatre is TBA. I haven’t heard much about this one yet, so keep your eyes and ears open.
- The Columnist: The Manhattan Theatre Club present’s David Auburn’s (the Pulitzer Prize winning author of Proof) new drama about a powerful Washington columnist named Joseph Alsop. The opening date is far away (April 4th) at the Samuel Friedman Theatre, but I’m looking forward to it.
I’m sure a handful of others will be announced in the next few weeks but for now, this is the line-up. I’m happy to see more new work without stars and some solid transfers and revivals. Last year we had a ton of new work produced, and unfortunately, most wasn’t worthy of a Broadway house. Hopefully this season it will be different. Check out the listings at Playbill for more information on tickets.
Edit: Please take a moment of silence to mourn Catch Me If You Can, Master Class, and Baby, It’s You!, all of which close today.