Thursday, April 25, 2019

2018 - 2019: The Season That Was...

With today's opening of Beetlejuice, the Broadway 2018 - 2019 is in the record books. Actually, the season doesn't officially end until May 26th, but unofficially, the Tony Awards cut off is today. That's what counts, right? 😉 Though many have decried a dearth of decent musicals, I feel like there are more than enough to fill the slots legitimately. And I think everyone agrees that the on the play front, this season's cup runneth over. Stage adaptations of films continue (for better or worse), including a somewhat rare movie-to-play entry. There were critical darlings, critical flops, and popular-with-fans shows that sometimes succeeded, sometimes failed. In other words, business as usual.

According to the Tony Awards website, there were 37 Broadway openings during the 2018 - 2019 season:
  • Best Musical - 11 eligible: Head Over Heels, Gettin' the Band Back Together, Pretty Woman: The Musical, King Kong, The Prom, The Cher Show, Be More Chill, Ain't Too Proud, Hadestown, Tootsie, Beetlejuice
  • Best Play - 14 eligible: Straight White Men, Bernhardt/Hamlet, The Nap, The Lifespan of a Fact, The Ferryman, American Son, The New One, Network, To Kill a Mockingbird, Choir Boy, What the Constitution Means to Me, Hillary and Clinton, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus, Ink
  • Best Revival of a Musical - 2 eligible: Kiss Me, Kate, Oklahoma!
  • Best Revival of a Play - 7 eligible: The Boys in the Band, The Waverly Gallery, Torch Song, True West, King Lear, Burn/This, All My Sons
There were 3 ineligible presentations: The Illusionists - The Magic of the Holidays, Celebrity Autobiography, Ruben and Clay's First Annual Christmas Carol Family Fun Pageant Spectacular Reunion Show

Trends This Season:

  • Women Rock!: What a year to be a woman on Broadway! On the creative side, alone, Anais Mitchell brought the music, lyrics and book for the hit Hadestown, directed by Rachel Chavkin, The Go-Go's brought their all-girl rock to Head Over Heels, and both Young Jean Lee and Heidi Schreck brought in their dramas Straight White Men and What the Constitution Means to Me, respectively. Veteran playwright Theresa Rebeck offered up Bernhardt Hamlet. This doesn't even scratch the surface...
  • Real Life Onstage: More bio-musicals showed up this season: The Cher Show and Ain't Too Proud, and Hillary and Clinton featured a few real-life people, too. With Tina coming in next season, it looks like this trend will continue.
  • Gender: Women playing roles written for men was the subject of Bernhardt Hamlet, and happened in King Lear. Head Over Heels made history with the casting of trans actress Peppermint in a major role, and gender identity/sexual identity played a significant part in the plot of that show as well.
  • Politics: It is rare when politics isn't a theme in plays and musicals, but this season had several plays with political themes. Obviously, Hillary and Clinton and What the Constitution Means to Me, but also the politics of the monarchy in King Lear, local politics in To Kill a Mockingbird, and the politics of television journalism in Network and print journalism in Ink.
  • Broadway Goes to the Movies: Pretty Woman: The Musical, Tootsie, Beetlejuice, King Kong and Network all owe their origins to the silver screen.
  • Broadway Goes to the Library: To Kill a Mockingbird, Be More Chill, and Hadestown are based on works of literature.
  • Broadway Goes to the Theater: Bernhardt/Hamlet, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus, Head Over Heels, Kiss Me, Kate and Oklahoma! all have their basis in other plays.

Multiple openings per theater:
  • 3 - American Airlines: Bernhardt/Hamlet, True West, All My Sons
  • 3 - Booth: The Boys in the Band, American Son, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus
  • 3 - Hayes: Straight White Men, Torch Song, What the Constitution Means to Me 
  • 3 - Marquis: The Illusionists - The Magic of the Holidays, Celebrity Autobiography, Tootsie
  • 3 - Samuel J. Friedman: The Nap, Choir Boy, Ink
  • 2 - Belasco: Gettin' the Band Back Together, Network
  • 2 - Cort: The New One, King Lear
  • 2 - Hudson: Head Over Heels, Burn/This
  • 2 - Imperial: Ruben and Clay's First Annual Christmas Carol Family Fun Pageant Spectacular Reunion Show, Ain't Too Proud
  • 2 - John Golden: The Waverly Gallery, Hillary and Clinton
  • 2 - Studio 54: The Lifespan of a Fact, Kiss Me, Kate


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