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Thursday, March 8, 2018

It's 1994 All Over Again

Broadway loves repeating itself - nearly back to back revivals of The Glass Menagerie, and the so-soon-after-the original-closed production of Into the Woods, and the every-few-years return of Gypsy all leap immediately to mind.  But does this season feel like deja vu all over again to you?  It sure does to me... the comparisons to the 2017-2018 and 1993-1994 seasons are kinda freaky!

Both seasons include:



Musical Revue of Works By Major Theater Practitioners 

  • 1993-1994: A Grand Night For Singing - An evening celebrating the career of Rodgers and Hammerstein (Criterion Center Stage Right; 41 previews, 52 performances)
  • 2017-2018: Prince of Broadway - An evening celebrating the career of Hal Prince (Samuel J. Friedman Theatre; 23 previews, 76 performances)

Doesn't get much bigger than these three legends, does it?

1993-1994

2017-2018

"Heart"

  • 1993-1994: The song was part of the full-scale revival of Damn Yankees at the Marquis Theatre, starring Victor Garber, currently appearing in another full-scale revival, Hello, Dolly!
  • 2017-2018: The song was part of the musical revue, Prince of Broadway

A classic song to be sure.


1993-1994

2017-2018

Small, One-Act Musicals

  • 1993-1994: Passion: A small, critically acclaimed one-act musical by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine (Plymouth Theatre, 52 previews, 280 performances; Tony Award for Best Musical)
  • 2017-2018: The Band's Visit (Ethel Barrymore Theatre, 36 previews, 132 performances and counting; current front-runner for Best Musical)

Passion, the current record holder for shortest run for a Best Musical, was a love-hate thing for many theater-goers (I love it), featuring a breakout performance by a leading actress, Tony Award winner Donna Murphy.  I suspect The Band's Visit, will run longer, best musical or not, also a love-hate thing for theater-goers (I love it), featuring a breakout performance by a leading actress, Katrina Lenk.


1993-1994

2017-2018

Disney Musicals

  • 1993-1994: Beauty and the Beast, part of a Disney animation studios renaissance, the first stage musical and start of a modern-day producing dynasty; with added songs that people either love or hate. (Palace Theater, Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, 46 previews, 5461 performances)
  • 2017-2018: Frozen, part of a Disney animation studios renaissance, the most recent stage musical of a modern-day producing dynasty; with added songs that people either love or hate. (St. James Theatre, 9 previews...)

Of the films in that first Disney renaissance, Beauty and the Beast, was my favorite, and I adored the stage version at the Palace Theatre, which starred one of my favorite Broadway actors ever, Terrence Mann as the Beast.  Of the films in this current Disney renaissance, Frozen is one of my favorites, and I'm really looking forward to seeing two of my favorite Broadway actresses ever, Patti Murin and Caissie Levy as Anna and Elsa.



Revival of My Fair Lady

  • 1993-1994: My Fair Lady, the Lerner and Loewe classic, starring Richard Chamberlain and Melissa Errico (Virginia Theatre, 16 previews, 165 performances)
  • 2017-2018: My Fair Lady, the Lerner and Loewe classic, starring Harry Hadden-Paton and Lauren Ambrose (Vivian Beaumont Theatre, previews begin March 15, 2018)


Revival of Carousel

  • 1993-1994: Carousel, the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic, starring Michael Hayden, Sally Murphy, Shirley Verrett, Audra Ann McDonald (Vivian Beaumont Theatre, 37 previews, 338 performances)
  • 2017-2018:Carousel, the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic, starring Joshua Henry, Jessie Mueller, Renee Fleming, Lindsay Mendez (Imperial Theatre, 5 previews...)

This classic arrived on Broadway in the 90's already a critical smash from London; Audra Ann McDonald won her first Tony for playing Carrie.  This classic arrives on Broadway this year and is already the talk of the town - and mixed-to-negative talk at that. Will Lindsay Mendez win her first Tony for playing Carrie.




Revival of Angels in America: Perestroika

  • 1993-1994: Angels in America: Perestroika, the ground-breaking Tony Kushner epic, starring Stephen Spinella and Ron Leibman (Walter Kerr Theatre, 26 previews, 217 performances)
  • 2017-2018: Angels in America: Perestroika, the classic Tony Kushner epic, starring Andrew Garfield and Nathan Lane (Neil Simon Theatre, 4 previews...)

In 1993, this sequel to Millennium Approaches joined the first play in repertory, and went on to win the Tony for Best Play, just like the first play. Now, both plays return to Broadway in repertory, the difference? Then it was new; now it is a classic. The Great Work returns. In 1993, Nathan Lane was on Broadway in Laughter on the 23rd Floor; Andrew Garfield was 10 years old.

Look for updates as the season continues and concludes!

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