The end of every year comes with a handful of Broadway plays, musicals, and special events departing the Great White Way, making room for the new. There are many terrific shows that will be taking their final bows in the coming weeks and months. Here is a handy guide of the shows that will soon be leaving us. Be sure to catch them while you can.
It takes three dynamite Broadway performers to capture the Queen of Disco in the jukebox musical. La Chanze, Ariana DeBose, and Storm Lever each portray Donna Summer at different points in her life, all while singing and dancing to the singer’s greatest hits. Directed by Des McAnuff (The Who’s Tommy,Jersey Boys), Summer: The Donna Summer Musical is an electrified and dazzling telling of the life of an American music icon.
Head Over Heels, the jukebox musical that incorporates the hits of the ’80s band The Go-Go’s into its whimsical plot loosely based on Sir Philip Sidney’s The Countess of Pembroke’s Arcadia, will take its final bow January 6. Don’t miss this musical romantic comedy about a royal family and their trials and tribulations in finding love, all while maintaining the signature “Beat” that guides their country. The cast includes Jeremy Kushnier, Rachel York, Andrew Durand, Bonnie Milligan, Alexandra Socha, and Peppermint.
Michael Arden’s acclaimed production of the Caribbean-flavored musical One on This Island, which won the Tony Award for Best Revival this past June, is a gift from the gods. The story of a girl who goes on a miraculous journey in search of love, helped and hindered by the gods of the island, is a tropical fairy tale steeped in folklore and mythology. The musical, which first premiered on Broadway in 1990, features a score by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty (Anastasia, Ragtime).
The longest-running of Broadway’s current batch of plays, the farcical The Play That Goes Wrong is a riotous comedy that has kept audiences laughing since it opened on Broadway in April 2017. Written by Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer, and Henry Shields of Mischief Theatre Company, the play tells the story of a company of actors putting on a production against all odds, having every complication thrown at them that can be imagined.
The streamlined Broadway production of Harvey Fierstein’s 1982 Tony-winning play Torch Song Trilogy had its first Broadway revival this fall. The story of a gay man on a quest for love, family, and dignity in the face of a bigoted world in the 1980s is as potent today as it was when it first debuted. The title now abridged to simply Torch Song, the current Broadway revival features Michael Urie and Tony and Academy Award winner Mercedes Ruehl.
Jeremy Kracken, David Murrell, and Gordon Farrell’s The Lifespan of a Fact is a clever stage adaption of the true story about John D’Agata’s essay “What Happens There,” about the suicide of a Las Vegas teenager, and the fact checker assigned to sort out fact from fiction. The top-notch cast is comprised of Daniel Radcliffe, Cherry Jones, and Bobby Cannavale in a limited engagement that concludes January 13.
Stand-up comedian Mike Birbiglia made his Broadway debut recently with the limited engagement Mike Birbiglia’s The New One. You only have a few weeks left to capture Birbiglia’s signature sense of humor as he walks audiences through the hilarity of life’s ups and downs, particularly as they pertain to having a baby.
The long-running Andrew Lloyd Webber musical School of Rock, based on the popular film of the same name, will make its Broadway departure on January 20, 2019. The story of a struggling musician who takes a long-term substitute teaching position in a private school and organizes the kids into a successful rock band, was nominated for four 2016 Tony Awards, including Best Musical. School of Rock is a testament to the inspiration that comes from great teachers igniting a love for the arts in the young lives that they touch.
Kerry Washington, Steven Pasquale, and Jeremy Jordan are currently wowing audiences in the socially relevant and intensely gripping American Son by Christopher Demos-Brown. Set in a Florida police station in the middle of the night, a mother searches for her missing teenage son. It’s a harrowing story of twists and turns that explores some of our greatest fears. Directed by Tony winner Kenny Leon, American Son must end its limited engagement January 27, 2019.
A stellar cast, including Elaine May, Lucas Hedges, Joan Allen, and Michael Cera, is currently performing in a revival of Kenneth Lonergan’s 2000 play The Waverly Gallery. The achingly poignant memory play tells the story of a grandmother who is withering away from Alzheimer’s disease, and her grandson who bears witness to what it does to her. The strictly limited engagement concludes its celebrated run on January 27, 2019.
The long-running Tony-winning Best Musical of 2013 will shutter on April 7, 2019. With a Tony-winning score by pop icon Cyndi Lauper and a book by Tony winner Harvey Fierstein, the musical is based on the 2005 British film of the same name. The heartwarming story of a shoe manufacturer set on coming up with a strategy to save his failing company and an inspiring drag queen with big ideas, who come together to create a line of footwear for drag queens, celebrates our commonalities and our differences with life-affirming zest.
Mark Robinson is the author of the two-volume encyclopedia The World of Musicals, The Disney Song Encyclopedia, and The Encyclopedia of Television Theme Songs. He maintains a theater and entertainment blog at markrobinsonwrites.com.
Last updated and effective as of January 14, 2019
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