Spring 2015 Broadway Preview
Spring 2015 Broadway Preview

Spring 2015 Broadway Preview

The second half of the Broadway season gets under way with seven new musicals, seven new plays, four revivals, and a play with music.

The second half of the Broadway season gets under way with seven new musicals, seven new plays, four revivals, and a play with music. In the coming four months, your Broadway experience could include a close encounter with Queen Elizabeth II and a glimpse behind the throne of her infamous Tudor predecessor King Henry VIII; you can journey to Paris, Bangkok, Las Vegas, or Neverland; you may attend a wedding and two funerals; and you might observe a variety of love affairs — including one that spans the Russian Revolution and another that fills the cosmos. And don’t forget the trash-talking puppet who may be Satan. . . .
Constellations, Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, opens January 13. A chance meeting between an artisanal beekeeper and a brainy physicist at a barbecue develops into a relationship with infinite outcomes that play out across multiple, alternate universes. Jake Gyllenhaal, Golden Globe nominee for Nightcrawler, makes his Broadway debut opposite Ruth Wilson, British Olivier award winner and Golden Globe–nominated star of Showtime’s The Affair, in this 70-minute romantic drama by English playwright Nick Payne.

Honeymoon in Vegas, Nederlander Theatre, opens January 15. Tony Danza plays a Las Vegas gangster who has set his sights on winning another man’s bride in an exuberant musical comedy caper directed by Gary Griffin. Tony nominee Rob McClure (Chaplin) plays the hapless young groom and Brynn O’Malley the prized bride. Directed by Andrew Bergman, who wrote and directed the original 1992 source movie; music and lyrics by Tony Award winner Jason Robert Brown (The Bridges of Madison County).

Fish in the Dark, Cort Theatre, starts February 2. Larry David, star of Curb Your Enthusiasm and Emmy-winning cocreator of Seinfeld, makes his playwriting and Broadway debut. The ensemble comedy, which centers around a death in a family, includes Rosie Perez, Jayne Houdyshell, Marylouise Burke, and Lewis J. Stadlen and is directed by Tony Award winner Anna Shapiro (August: Osage County).

On the Twentieth Century, American Airlines Theatre, starts February 12. The Roundabout Theatre Company revives the 1978 musical screwball comedy written by Cy Coleman, Betty Comden, and Adolph Green. Tony Award winner Kristin Chenoweth plays a Hollywood starlet who is being wooed by bankrupt theater producer (Peter Gallagher) to star in an epic drama (yet unwritten) bound for Broadway. The hijinks occur aboard the titular luxury train on an eventful ride from Chicago to New York. The production is directed by Scott Ellis, choreographed by Warren Carlyle, with sets by David Rockwell and costumes by William Ivey Long.

The Audience, Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, starts February 14. Dame Helen Mirren returns to Broadway to play Queen Elizabeth II (a role she owns after the movie The Queen). In Peter Morgan’s new play she portrays the long-reigning monarch over a period of 60 years as she meets with each of her 12 successive prime ministers in private weekly meetings at Buckingham Palace. Already a hit in London’s West End, the production is directed by two-time Tony and Drama Desk award winner Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliott: The Musical, An Inspector Calls); the cast includes Dylan Baker as John Major, Judith Ivey as Margaret Thatcher, and Dakin Matthews as Winston Churchill.

The Heidi Chronicles, Music Box Theatre, starts February 23. Mad Men star Elisabeth Moss plays an art historian who comes of age in the feminist era and grows into maturity during the Reagan years. The late Wendy Wasserstein’s celebrated play swept the boards in 1989, winning the Tony, Pulitzer, Drama Desk, New York Drama Critics Circle, and the Outer Critics Circle awards. The new Broadway revival is directed by Pam MacKinnon (who also directed this season’s revival of A Delicate Balance). The cast includes Jason Biggs (currently in the TV series Orange Is the New Black), Bruce Pinkham (a Tony Award nominee last season for A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder), and Tracee Chimo (Bad Jews).

The Heart of Robin Hood, Marquis Theatre, starts March 10. In this new spin on the classic story, it takes a good woman — Maid Marion — to set the bandit of Sherwood Forest and his gang on the higher path of giving to the poor what they rob from the rich. The swashbuckling adventure, which fuses Shakespearean allusions with theatrical acrobatics, is written by English playwright David Farr and directed by Iceland’s Gisli Orn Gardarrsson, with original music performed by the Connecticut-based indie roots band Parsonfield.

The King and I, Vivian Beaumont Theatre, starts March 12.Rodgers and Hammerstein’s 1951 musical about the fictionalized Welsh schoolteacher Anna and her relationship with the King of Siam, which develops after she is hired to tutor his children and his wives at the royal palace in 1860s Bangkok, returns to Broadway. The Lincoln Center production, directed by Bartlett Sher, features the same Tony Award–winning creative team behind Sher’s acclaimed 2008 revival of South Pacific — Michael Yeargan (sets), Catherine Zuber (costumes), Donald Holder (lights), and Scott Lehrer (sound) — and features a 51-member cast, led by Kelli O’Hara and Ken Watanabe.

Hand To God, Booth Theatre, starts March 14. A black comedy by Robert Askins about dark goings-on at the Christian Puppet Ministry in a small Texas town. Steven Boyer plays a shy teenage student whose sock puppet, Tyrone, develops a disturbingly raunchy and depraved personality all of its own. Boyer received an Obie award for his dexterous performance when the production played to appreciative audiences earlier this year Off-Broadway.

An American in Paris, Palace Theatre, starts March 13. A stage adaptation of the classic 1951 MGM musical about a GI and aspiring painter who goes to the City of Light in the aftermath of World War II and falls in love. Broadway and ballet are fused in director and choreographer Christopher Wheeldon’s new production, which features an original book by Craig Lucas (A Light in the Piazza) and the well-known score by George and Ira Gershwin. Robert Fairchild, of the New York City Ballet, and the British Royal Ballet’s Leanne Cope play the lead roles created by Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron in the movie.

Finding Neverland, Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, starts March 15.  Matthew Morrison (Hairspray, A Light in the Piazza, and South Pacific on Broadway and Glee on television) plays writer J.M. Barrie in a story about the genesis of the immortal character Peter Pan. The new musical — with a book by British playwright James Graham, and music and lyrics by Gary Barlow (of the English pop group Take That) and Eliot Kennedy — is based on the Miramax movie by David Magee and the book The Man Who Was Peter Pan by Allan Knee. Choreography is by Mia Michaels, Emmy Award winner for So You Think You Can Dance. The cast includes Kelsey Grammer, Laura Michelle Kelly, and Carolee Carmello, and direction is by Diane Paulus (Pippin).

Skylight, John Golden Theatre, starts March 16. The revival of David Hare’s Olivier Award–winning play — first seen here in 1996 — transfers to Broadway following a much-lauded engagement in London’s West End. The passionate drama, primarily a tussle of wits between two strong-willed characters who embrace opposing ends of the political spectrum, is triggered by a rich and successful restaurateur’s (Bill Nighy) late-night visit to his younger ex-lover, a schoolteacher (Carey Mulligan) now living in less than well-to-do circumstances. The production, which also features Matthew Beard as the restaurateur’s son, is directed by Stephen Daldry (The Audience).

It Shoulda Been You, Brooks Atkinson Theatre, starts March 17. This musical comedy confection is about a wedding celebration that starts to fall apart — one in which the bride (Sierra Boggess) is Jewish and the groom (David Burtka) is Christian, and their formidable mothers (Tyne Daly and Harriet Harris, respectively) are dead set against the match. Book and lyrics are by Brian Hargrove with music by Barbara Anselmi. The production is directed by David Hyde Pierce (Emmy Award winner for Frasier and 2013 Tony nominee for Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike) with sets by Anna Louiza and costumes by William Ivey Long.

Wolf Hall: Parts 1 & 2, Winter Garden Theatre, starts March 20. Hilary Mantel’s two best-sellers, Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies — dealing with the political intrigue, sexual conquests, and religious reform that swirled around England’s King Henry VIII — are brought vividly to life in a fast-paced adaptation by Mike Poulton. The Royal Shakespeare Company’s marathon production (you can see it on a single day with a dinner break, or over separate evenings) is directed by Jeremy Herrin and features Ben Miles as Thomas Cromwell, Lydia Leonard as Anne Boleyn, and Nathaniel Parker as the lusty king.

Something Rotten, St. James Theatre, starts March 23. When aspiring Elizabethan playwrights Nick and Nigel Bottom discover that the arrogant Shakespeare has got the playwriting thing all sewn up, they stumble onto the next new thing: the world’s first musical. The newest competitor in this season’s musical sweepstakes is an original work written by country and pop composer Wayne Kirkpatrick and his screenwriter brother, Karey, and British novelist and screenwriter John O’Farrell. The production is directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw (Aladdin, The Book of Mormon).

Fun Home, Circle in the Square Theatre, starts March 27. A young woman relives her childhood, her developing sexuality as a lesbian, and the closeted life of her recently deceased mortician father in the new musical by Jeanine Tesori (Violet, Caroline, or Change) and Lisa Kron (Well), based on the graphic memoir by Alison Bechdel. Beth Malone, Emily Skeggs, and Sydney Lucas play Alison at different stages in her life, Michael Cerveris is the father, and Judy Kuhn is the mother. The production, which received a slew of Lucille Lortel, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle awards, as well as the 2014 New York Drama Critics Circle Best Musical Award and the Obie Award for Musical Theater when it played at the Public Theater Off-Broadway, is directed by Sam Gold.

Doctor Zhivago, Broadway Theatre, starts March 27. Boris Pasternak’s passionate love story between the doctor-poet Yuri (Tam Mutu) and the enigmatic Lara (Kelli Barrett) during the turbulent years of the Russian Revolution, which was popularized by the epic David Lean movie starring Omar Sharif and Julie Christie, comes to the Broadway stage. The new musical, with a book by Michael Weller, music by Lucy Simon and lyrics by Michael Korie and Amy Powers, is directed by Des McAnuff, Tony Award–nominated director of Jersey Boys.

Airline Highway, Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, starts April 1. In her new 15-character play, Louisiana native Lisa D’Amour focuses on an assortment of outcasts in her hometown of New Orleans — strippers, drug addicts, bartenders, con artists, and sex workers — who gather in the parking lot of a now- seedy motel at the request of Miss Ruby (Judith Roberts), a former burlesque performer who wants her life celebrated at a funeral party before her death. The Chicago Steppenwolf Theatre Company production, presented by the Manhattan Theatre Club, is directed by Joe Mantello (Take Me Out, Wicked, and The Last Ship).

Living on Love, Longacre Theatre, starts April 1. American opera star, soprano Renée Fleming, plays a celebrated diva who deals with her philandering conductor husband’s transgressions by taking on a young lover of her own. The comedy by Joe DiPietro (Memphis) is a loose adaptation of Garson Kanin’s 1985 play Peccadillo with its setting moved back to the 1950s. The production, first mounted at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, is directed by Kathleen Marshall, who previously collaborated with DiPietro on the musical Nice Work If You Can Get It.