Friday, March 1, 2024

Looking Forward to Spring: March - May 2024

Looking Forward to Spring: March - May 2024

At the start of each calendar season, we look forward to what we are hoping to see in the coming three months, as well as the titles of productions we are keeping an eye on. As the weather begins to warm, and the theater scene begins to rev up, there are a lot of exciting things on the horizon. Seeing everything is simply not in the cards time wise or (especially) economically - a nice, if frustrating, problem to have. After all, I'd rather have too much to see than not enough!

Before I look ahead, though, I always like to look back. Starting this year, you may have noticed that I no longer give letter grades with our reviews. But for our purposes here, I'll simply name which shows we saw and whether or not we'd recommend seeing them. Between last December and February, we saw Days of Wine and Roses, Harmony, Here We Are, The Notebook, the new cast of Sweeney Todd, and Purlie Victorious. As of this writing, three of those shows have closed, but I thought Purlie Victorious had the most to recommend, and I still think about Harmony, so there's definitely something there. And as a fan of the master, I really appreciated the opportunity to experience Here We Are, and I mostly enjoyed it. Sweeney Todd, my favorite of all the Sondheim masterpieces continues to thrill with its new trio of stars. But my favorite new theater of the winter, and the show I'd most highly recommend, was the intense Days of Wine and Roses. (The Notebook has not yet opened, so I won't discuss my feelings about that piece here.)

Shows we have booked:

Merrily We Roll Along
- Hudson Theatre
At long last! Finally going to see what all the fuss is about. Of course, we are looking forward to seeing the Big 3, but also the A-list supporting cast, like Krystal Joy Brown and Katie Rose Clarke.

- Longacre Theatre
The fabulous vocals of long-time favorite Eden Espinosa on the just as fabulous single from the show, "Woman Is" sold me on grabbing tickets fast. Then there's the top-tier supporting cast, including Amber Imam, Natalie Joy Johnson, George Abud, Andrew Samonsky, and the incomparable Beth Leavel. And I'm looking forward to maybe learning something along with the entertainment!

Water For Elephants 
- Imperial Theatre
I loved the book so much, and their logo/advertising has me intrigued. Here's another show where their music releases have me really excited. Also, looking forward to seeing Grant Gustin make his overdue Broadway debut, not to mention the palpable chemistry he shares with his leading lady, Isabelle McCalla. Broadway veterans like Gregg Edelman and Paul Alexander Nolan only sweetens the deal!

The Outsiders 
- Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre
Based on one of my all-time favorite young adult novels, I'm very excited by the potential of this one. Featuring a youthful cast (many making their debuts), and a book by a favorite playwright of mine, Adam Rapp, with Justin Levine (who also co-writes the music and lyrics with Jamestown Revival). The potential here is big - I'm trying not to have unreasonable expectations... Can't wait to meet Ponyboy and Johnny again.

The Who's Tommy - Nederlander Theatre
When I saw the original production back in the 90s, I went in blind (no pun intended), never having seen the film, and never having heard a note of the score. I was blown away - the show was simply electric. Can lightning strike twice? I'm hoping so. In the meantime, I've gotten out my cast recording and am getting ready for the Pinball Wizard once again.

Shows we are keeping our eye on:

Suffs - Music Box Theatre
Even with a great cast - including three of my all-time favorite stage actresses: Emily Skinner, Jenn Colella and Nikki M. James - we're a little wary of the mixed reviews of the off-Broadway iteration and Shaina Taub's willingness to make changes. I hope everyone involved can do just that.

Cabaret - Kit Kat Klub at the August Wilson Theatre
Maybe it's Kit Kat fatigue... but as interesting as this production looks, I'm having some trouble justifying the ridiculous ticket prices for a show that seems to pop up every few years... still, seeing Bebe Neuwirth again could just get me there...

The Great Gatsby - Broadway Theatre
Full disclosure: F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel is my absolute favorite ever. And it shocks me to say I'm worried about this production. Will any show version of this property satisfy me? They seem to have rushed to bring this one in, and I have to wonder why it couldn't wait until the much less crowded 24-25 season? The decidedly mixed reviews and even more mixed audience reviews should call for time to work on it. We shall see.

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