Thursday, June 23, 2011

Looking Forward to Summer

Save for the occasional late August Broadway opening, summer is usually a dry spell in professional theatre.  This year, however, the period between June and August, is somewhat exciting.  Especially exciting is the potentially strong summer of openings off-Broadway.  Here are the shows I am looking forward to:

Lysistrata Jones at The Gym at Judson (off-Broadway)

Actually, I saw this hilarious musical already, and it closes tomorrow.  But I include it here to mark the start of the season, and because of its rumored Broadway transfer this fall.  Although I have my doubts about how it would play in a larger house (the Helen Hayes and the ideal Circle-in-the-Square are taken, and it seems they aren't looking at the Golden) I think this funny, smart show could tap into the same audience that embraced Xanadu.  of course, with a book by Douglas Carter Beane and direction/choreography by Dan Knechtges, it isn't much of a stretch. Still, given the basketball court setting, and having seen it on an actual basketball court, I can't help but wonder how it would translate to a traditional stage setting.  Good luck to all involved in whatever the future brings.

Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark at the Foxwoods Theatre

At long last, I will be seeing the final, official version of this property!  Having seen it in its infancy (preview five) and its adolescence (the first show after its last announced opening that did not happen) I can't wait to see its all grown-up, finished version.  I am particularly looking forward to seeing how much of Julie Taymor's vision remains.  The one thing I feel confident about is the principal cast, having thoroughly enjoyed and respected the work done by Reeve Carney, Jennifer Damiano, Patrick Page, T.V. Carpio and Matthew James Thomas, the Peter Parker/Spider-Man alternate.  We'll see about the score...

Death Takes a Holiday at the Laura Pels Theatre (off-Broadway)

What do you get when you cross a classic play (and several film versions of the same story), a musical theatre dream team, and a cast full of acclaimed theatre stars?  Women on the Verge Death Takes a Holiday the musical, that's what.  Peter Stone, Thomas Meehan, Maury Yeston (a who's who of musical writing) and Alexandra Socha, Jill Paice, Max von Essen are but 6 reasons to look forward to this show.  That, and a compelling story.

RENT at New World Stages, Stage 1 (off-Broadway)

I'm the first one to wonder if it has been too soon to bring this show back.  And having seen the unparalleled original cast, I doubt anything will come close the phenomenon of the 90's.  Still, with the promise of a new staging by Michael Greif, a smaller up close theatre, and a cast full of young actors on the cusp of career explosions, including one of my all-time favorite young actors, Adam Chanler-Berat as Mark, I am definitely interested.  Will this version spawn a new crop of Idinas, Daphnes, Tayes, Adams and Anthonys?  Will this Tony-winning Best Musical join the other Tony-winning Best Musical, Avenue Q, as a long-running off-Broadway hit?  Will the RENTheads embrace or shun this version?  Time will tell...

Follies at the Marquis Theatre

I've never seen a production of Follies, a hard thing for this Sondheim fan to admit.  Harder still is the admission that I don't really care for the score.  I'm told that I really need to see the show in order to appreciate both the score and the phenomenon that is Follies.  OK, Bernadette Peters and Jan Maxwell really up the ante, too.  And we all know about my need to see every new musical each season.  looks like I'll finally see what all the fuss is about.

What shows are you looking forward to this summer?  Let me know...
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