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2022 Spring Preview

Broadway’s Spring Season: What to Expect in 2022

To everyone’s delight, the lights came back on Broadway. After being dark for 16 months, theaters reopened in the fall. Beloved long-running shows like WickedHamiltonThe Lion King, and more came back roaring with audiences. Happily, the new season continues. Among the musicals and plays scheduled, you will find many of the productions that were promised for the last season but were delayed when the pandemic first hit New York; look out also for some high-wattage stars lighting up the marquees. So keep your masks on and we’ll see you at the theatre!

Here’s what you can expect in the second half of the current Broadway season. Check out all shows on Broadway here.


THE MUSICALS

MJ the Musical, Neil Simon Theatre
In previews, opens February 1

The new musical inspired by the art and life of showbiz icon Michael Jackson stars Myles Frost as the King of Pop. Incorporating more than 25 hits from the extensive Jackson catalog, Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage’s nonlinear book is set in a Los Angeles rehearsal studio on the eve of the famous 1992 Dangerous World Tour and includes flashbacks to moments that track the singer/composer/performer’s creativity and development as an artist. The production is directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner Christopher Wheeldon (An American in Paris).

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The Music Man, Winter Garden Theatre
In previews, opens February 10

The highly anticipated return of Hugh Jackman to Broadway. In this glittering revival of Meredith Wilson’s cherished Golden Age musical classic, the Tony, Grammy, and Emmy Award winner plays the fast-talking, irresistible con man Harold Hill; two-time Tony Award winner Sutton Foster plays Marion Paroo, the librarian who loses her heart to him. The stellar cast includes Tony Award winners Jayne Houdyshell, Jefferson Mays, Marie Mullen, and Shuler Hensley. The production is directed by four-time Tony Award winner Jerry Zaks and choreographed by Tony Award winner Warren Carlyle.

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Paradise Square, Ethel Barrymore Theatre
Previews begin March 15, opens April 3

An epic new musical produced by Garth H. Drabinsky (Kiss of the Spider Woman, Ragtime, Show Boat) set in 19th century New York’s densely populated downtown neighborhood known as Five Points. In the musical, the notorious slum location proves to be a crucible for newly emancipated Black slaves and recently arrived Irish immigrants; they forge creative and social alliances even as the violent 1863 Draft Riots loom on the horizon. The score by Jason Howland (music), Nathan Tysen and Masi Asare (lyrics), and Larry Kirwan (additional music inspired in part by the songs of Stephen Foster) celebrates the raucous dance contests on the floors of the local bars and dance halls. Here, it is said that tap dancing was born when Irish step dancing competed with Black American Juba. The book is written by Christina Anderson, Marcus Gardley, Craig Lucas, and Larry Kirwan. The production is directed by two-time Tony Award nominee Moisés Kaufman (I Am My Own Wife, The Laramie Project), and choreographed by two-time Tony Award winner Bill T. Jones (Spring Awakening, Fela!). Ten-time Tony Award nominee Graciela Daniele (Ragtime, Once on This Island) provides musical staging, in collaboration with Kaufman and Jones. The cast includes Joaquina Kalukango (2020 Tony nominee for Slave Play), Chilina Kennedy, and John Dossett.


Funny Girl, August Wilson Theatre
Previews begin March 26, opens April 24

The semibiographical musical about the spirited Broadway legend Fanny Brice gets its first Broadway revival since the original catapulted Barbra Streisand to fame more than half a century ago. Beanie Feldstein (previously seen as Minnie Fay in the 2017 revival of Hello, Dolly!) plays the beloved comedic actress and singer, a girl from the Lower East Side who against all odds reached stellar heights on Broadway. The score by Jule Styne (music) and Bob Merrill (lyrics) features the perennial songs “People” and “Don’t Rain on my Parade.” Isobel Lennart’s original book has been revised by Tony Award winner Harvey Fierstein (La Cage Aux Folles) for this revival, which is directed by Tony Award winner Michael Mayer (Spring Awakening). The production, choreographed by Ellenore Scott, with tap choreography by Ayodele Casel, features Ramin Karimloo as Brice’s gambler husband, Nick Arnstein, and Jane Lynch as her mother.

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Mr. Saturday Night, Nederlander Theatre
Previews begin March 29, opens April 27

Billy Crystal (2004 Tony Award winner for his solo autobiographical show 700 Sundays) returns to Broadway in a new musical comedy based on the 1992 movie about Buddy Young, Jr., an aging comedian seeking to make a comeback. Crystal, who is reprising the role he played in the movie three decades ago, has said that he has been drawn to Buddy Young ever since he first performed a version of the character on HBO in 1984; he notes that he is now just the right age to play the 73-year-old character. The score is by three-time Tony Award winner Jason Robert Brown (The Bridges of Madison County), lyrics by Amanda Green (Hands on a Hardbody), with a book by Crystal, Lowell Ganz, and Babaloo Mandel. John Rando (Urinetown) directs the production, which also stars Randy Graff, Chasten Harmon, and David Paymer. Choreography is by Ellenore Scott, whose work will also be seen this season in Funny Girl.


The Little Prince, Broadway Theatre
Previews begin March 29, opens April 11

A new stage spectacular based on the beloved classic by Antoine De Saint-Exupery. The timeless philosophical fable about an aviator marooned in the desert who is guided on an extraordinary journey to other worlds in the galaxy by a little boy is infused with aerial acrobatics and video mapping technology and features original music by Terry Truck. The production, which arrives on Broadway following hit runs in Sydney, Paris, and Dubai, is directed and choreographed by Anne Tournié with codirection and libretto adaptation by Chris Mouron. The company includes Lionel Zalachas as The Little Prince, Aurélien Bednarek as The Aviator, Chris Mouron as The Narrator, and Laurisse Sulty as The Rose.


A Strange Loop, Lyceum Theatre
Previews begin April 6, opens April 26

Make way on Broadway for the other Michael Jackson. This Broadway debut has been much anticipated since Michael R. Jackson won the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for his inventive and exhilaratingly subversive musical that was a sensation Off-Broadway in 2019. Taking self-referential exploration to dizzy surreal heights, Jackson (who wrote the book, music and lyrics) relates the story of a Black, gay, usher at Broadway’s The Lion King, who spends his time agonizing over his non-existent love life and his unfinished musical …about a Black gay man trying to write a musical. In case you are wondering just what’s in store, here’s what Jackson says is the challenge he set himself: “a big, Black and queer-ass American Broadway show.” The production is directed by Stephen Brackett and choreographed by Raja Feather Kelly.

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Beetlejuice, Marquis Theatre
Reopens April 8

The pesky demon summoned by a rebellious teenage girl is back to haunt Broadway again, this time at a different Broadway house. The macabre musical comedy, based on the popular Tim Burton movie, is written by Eddie Perfect (music and lyrics), Scott Browan, and Anthony King (book). The production is directed by 2020 Tony Award winner Alex Timbers (Moulin Rouge!), choreographed by Connor Gallagher, and features an astonishing metamorphosing set designed by David Korins.

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THE PLAYS

Skeleton Crew, Samuel J. Friedman Theatre
Opened January 26, Running through February 20

This powerful drama, the third in playwright Dominique Morisseau’s Detroit Trilogy, takes place during the Great Recession of 2008 at a small automobile stamping factory that stands on the brink of foreclosure. The cast includes Phylicia Rashad (2004 Tony Award winner for A Raisin in the Sun), who plays the union representative at the plant, Chanté Adams, Joshua Boone, Brandon J. Dirden, and Adesola Osakalumi. The Manhattan Theatre Club production is directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson (Lackawanna Blues).


Plaza Suite, Hudson Theatre
Previews begin February 25, opens March 28, closes June 12

Real-life couple Matthew Broderick (two-time Tony Award winner) and Sarah Jessica Parker (two-time Emmy Award winner) return to Broadway to play a set of three spouses who occupy the same New York hotel suite successively in a revival of Neil Simon’s smash 1968 hit comedy. The uproarious and piercing look at love and marriage is directed by John Benjamin Hickey, who was nominated for a Tony Award last year for his performance in The Inheritance.


Take Me Out, Hayes Theatre
Previews begin March 8, opens April 4, closes May 29

A revival of Richard Greenberg’s 2003 Tony Award–winning valentine to baseball. The play, which garnered most of the top awards that year, including a nomination for the Pulitzer Prize, touched on the hot-button subject of a sports star coming out as gay. In the new production, directed by Scott Ellis for Second Stage Theater, Jesse Williams plays the center fielder who comes out of the closet, challenging his teammates’ prejudices, his own friendships, and the traditions around the national pastime. Jesse Tyler Ferguson (best known for his solo performance in Fully Committed on Broadway and the sitcom Modern Family) plays the baseball star’s money manager, who, much like playwright Greenberg himself did prior to writing the play, becomes smitten by the game.

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Birthday Candles, American Airlines Theatre
Previews begin March 18, opens April 10

In the new comedy written by Broadway newcomer Noah Haidle, Will and Grace star Debra Messing plays a woman who magically fast-forwards through a century of birthdays — from 17 through 101 — while she attempts to bake a cake from a generations-old family recipe. Vivienne Benesch makes her directorial debut with this Roundabout Theater Company production, which also features Andre Braugher, Enrico Colantoni, Crystal Finn, Susannah Flood, and Christopher Livingston.


American Buffalo, Circle in the Square Theatre
Previews begin March 22, opens April 14, closes July 10

A revival of the gripping 1975 drama by David Mamet (Pulitzer Prize winner for Glengarry Glen Ross) about three small-time hustlers — played by Tony Award winner Laurence Fishburne (Two Trains Running), Oscar winner Sam Rockwell (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), and Emmy winner Darren Criss (The Assassination of Gianni Versace) — who hatch a plot to recover a valuable trove of coins sold in a junk shop. The classic tale of loyalty and greed is directed by longtime Mamet collaborator Neil Pepe.


How I Learned to Drive, Samuel J. Friedman Theatre
Previews begin March 29, opens April 19, closes May 29

Paula Vogel’s deeply affecting Pulitzer Prize–winning drama about a woman’s childhood memories of mentorship under her charismatic uncle finally receives its Broadway premiere more than two decades after its 1997 Off-Broadway debut. Vogel’s wrenching and empathetic memory play was noteworthy in its day for its clear-eyed exploration of the complicated and abusive relationships possible between adults and minors. The poignant, groundbreaking work promises to become even more daring and timely in today’s #MeToo era. In a remarkable reunion of the original leads and director, two-time Tony Award winner Mary-Louise Parker (The Sound Inside, Proof) and David Morse (Tony nominee for The Iceman Cometh) reprise their roles from 25 years ago in the new Manhattan Theatre Club production, once again under the direction of Mark Brokaw. The supporting cast includes Johanna Day, Alyssa May Gold, and Chris Myers.


Macbeth, Longacre Theatre
Previews begin March 29, opens April 28, closes July 10

William Shakespeare’s bloody tale of murder and supernatural meddling in Scotland (last seen on Broadway in 2013) is back to send shivers through the audience. The new revival is directed by Tony Award winner Sam Gold (Fun Home; A Doll’s House, Part 2), whose last Broadway production was a most unconventional King Lear with Glenda Jackson. The titular role in this production will be played by Daniel Craig, last seen on Broadway in 2013 in Betrayal and who is, of course, known worldwide as the most recent James Bond (No Time to Die). Craig previously worked with director Gold in the 2016 Off- Broadway modern-day production of Othello. Lady Macbeth will be played by Ethiopian-Irish actress Ruth Negga. She received a 2020 Drama Desk nomination for her performance in the title role of Hamlet Off-Broadway, an Oscar nomination for the movie Loving, and is currently generating awards buzz for her role in the movie Passing. Scenic design is by two-time Tony Award winner Christine Jones (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, American Idiot, and the current Birthday Candles).


for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf, Booth Theatre
Previews begin April 1, opens April 20

Ntozake Shange’s seminal work became a sensation when it arrived on Broadway in 1976 and received a Tony nomination for Best Play the following year. Described by the author as a “choreopoem,” the innovative fusion of poetry, drama, song, and dance, about interconnected experiences of seven women of color, proved a trailblazer in the American theater. Shange herself died at age 70 in 2019, but the unflinching power of her iconic work is still palpable. As one of her characters, Lady in Yellow, puts it: “Bein’ alive and bein’ a woman and bein’ colored is a metaphysical dilemma I haven’t conquered yet.” Camille A. Brown (Choirboy, Once on This Island, Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert) choreographs and directs the new Broadway revival.


The Minutes, Studio 54
Previews resume April 2, opens April 17

An explosive drama by Tracy Letts, which resumes on Broadway after its previews were suspended in March 2020 due to the pandemic. The new work from the author of the Tony Award–winning August: Osage County and Linda Vista is a sly, satirical take on a small-town council meeting that starts out with arguments about a parking spot and lost bicycles then blows up into a fiery horror show. The production from Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre Company, directed by Anna D. Shapiro, who received the 2008 Tony for directing August: Osage County, features an ensemble cast that includes Letts, Noah Reid, Ian Barford, Jessie Mueller, Blair Brown, and Austin Pendleton.


Hangmen, Golden Theatre
Previews begin April 8, opens April 21

Martin McDonagh’s Olivier and New York Drama Critics’ Circle award-winner is as dark and as funny as anything we can expect from the four-time Tony nominated author of The Beauty Queen of Leenane and The Pillowman. His mordant new comedy chronicles the life of England’s second-best executioner in the years after death by hanging was abolished in 1963. Directed by Martin Dunster whose acclaimed production was seen originally at London’s Royal Court Theatre and in the West End and then subsequently Off-Broadway at the Atlantic Theater Company in 2018. The Broadway cast includes Alfie Allen (Game of Thrones) and David Thelfall (last seen on Broadway in Nicholas Nickleby).


The Skin of Our Teeth, Vivian Beaumont Theatre
Previews begin April 1, opens April 25

If you are feeling down about the sorry state of the world, not to mention an impending apocalypse — be it nuclear, biological, or meteorological — Lincoln Center Theater offers a timely revival of Thornton Wilder’s 1942 Pulitzer Prize–winning play, which coincides with the 125th birthday of the playwright who gave us the immortal Our Town. Director Lileana Blain-Cruz, whose Off-Broadway credits include Fefu and Her Friends, Pipeline, and Red Speedo, says that Wilder’s frisky 80-year-old allegorical comedy about a New Jersey family who keeps their spirits up while enduring the Ice Age, a Biblical deluge, and a devastating war, may be just the tonic for a 2022 audience. “The necessity and beauty of the power of language and stories to heal and move people forward is what we need now more than ever,” she notes. Casting for this production has not yet been announced, but it will be nice to look forward to an upbeat postapocalyptic end of a postpandemic Broadway season.