Tuesday, April 20, 2010

2010 - 2011 Season Preview (Already!): The Musicals

It is hard to believe, especially since we aren't even really that far into awards season for 2009-2010, but there are a lot (compared to recent years) of shows already a "sure thing" for next season.  So far, 8 musicals have been officially announced as "coming in" for the new season, and only one is a revival!

So I thought, why not get excited about next year and take a look at what we got?

(Keep in mind, none of these shows may even open!  And the list changes daily... and one could come out of nowhere... like American Idiot this year...)

In alphabetical order:

Catch Me If You Can, How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying!, Love Never Dies, Priscilla: Queen of the Desert, The Scottsboro Boys, Spider-man: Turn Off the Dark, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, and Yank!


Spider-man's Reeve Carney and Yank!'s Bobby Steggert

All but one of these shows focuses on male leads or ensembles.  Already the race for Best Actor and Best Featured Actor are interesting...


Movies turned into musicals...three of these are directly adapted from films - Priscilla, Women on the Verge, and Catch Me If You Can.  And one, Spider-man, will be heavily identified with the film series, despite all pleas to the contrary that it is based on a comic...


This year, we had The Addams Family, which has publicity begging us to believe it is based solely on those cute New Yorker panels, though it uses the TV theme song and relies somewhat on the public's knowledge of the movies.  Next year, we have Spider-man: Turn Off the Dark , which has the same issues, PLUS it is already setting itself up to be next season's whipping boy...just like The Addams Family...  (A good first step might be to change the title...it invites a perverbial "kick me" sign, doesn't it?)


Ramin Karmiloo and Sierra Boggess

How about Love Never Dies?  I mean really, does it stand a chance over here?  No one likes it, it doesn't star anyone compelling (at least with his clothes on), and no one seems to want to give Sierra Boggess a break.


Daniel Radcliffe

I bet Daniel Radcliffe hopes he can shed his little boy Harry Potter image altogether when he comes back to Broadway in a new revival of How to Succeed...  It seems the perfect role.  He plays a grown up character that relies heavily on boyish charms and looks... just ask Robert Morse, Matthew Broderick, Ralph Macchio or John Stamos.  Let's hope he can sing... he proved he can act in Equus.  It would be nice to have another genuine star who does both Broadway and big films.  There is room for another Hugh Jackman, I'm sure.


Susan Stroman and the actual Scottsboro Boys
I'm guessing that both the producers of Yank! and The Scottsboro Boys think so.  The latter seems like it was born to make the uptown move... Susan Stroman, Kander and Ebb, John Cullum are all names that are just a wee bit big to settle.  Were they smart to try it out first?  ABSOLUTELY!  The subject matter and the format (a minstrel show) are controversial to say the least.  Hey, it worked for next to normal...

Nancy Anderson and the boys of Yank!

Yank!, on the other hand, seemed to embrace its smallness.  I am not exaggerating when I say that the waiting room outside the restrooms at the Booth Theatre is bigger than the entire York Theatre Company stage and house.  Still, it could easily (if done with care) grow... I mean it uses the old 40's propaganda and musical films as touchstones for the entire show.  And, God, please let Bobby Steggert stay with the show AND be in a hit!


Priscilla in London

Matt Cavanaugh and Will Swensen

La Cage looks like it'll be a hit.  Chicago features a drag role.  And Mamma Mia's finale might as well be a drag show.  So Priscilla: Queen of the Desert should fit right in.  Plus there is the pop score - I've always considered "Shake your Groove Thing" to be a show tune, anyway.  And now rumors that two of Broadway's hottest (smoking hot) stars are being courted for two of the three starring roles!  If Will Swensen and Matt Cavanaugh sign on, get me to the box office!!!


David Yazbek and Jeffrey Lane

And at least the other two movie-based films have some serious pedigree.  Women on the Verge... which also has the honor of being 2010-2011's first new musical, has David Yazbek as its musical writer and Jeffrey Lane for its book.  Yazbek has spun gold from two marginal films - in fact, he improved them both in their stage versions - The Full Monty and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (with Lane).

The Seattle try-out of Catch Me If You Can,
Aaron Tveit and Norbert Leo Butz, center

Of course, Catch Me If You Can, is based on a critically acclaimed film on its own, but add Marc Shaiman (music and lyrics), Scott Wittman (lyrics) and Terrence McNally (book), and you have a better than average shot.  I mean these men are responsible for such screen to stage gems as Hairspray, Ragtime and Kiss of the Spider Woman!  And if they can keep them, two of the hottest stars on Broadway these days, Aaron Tveit and Norbert Leo Butz...

No matter how you look at it, the new season is already exciting with just the possibilities!

Comments?  Leave one here or email me at jkstheatrescene@yahoo.com.

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