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The 2020 Broadway Spring Preview

Broadway’s spring season moves into high gear, with 20 productions scheduled to open before the end of April. We can look forward to five new plays and six new musicals — works from Broadway newcomers as well as Tony Award winners. In addition, we can expect a diverse slate of revivals, some being revisited for the first time and others that have become perennials. They’ll all compete at the box office against hits from previous seasons as well as this most recent one: Moulin Rouge!, Tina – The Tina Turner Musical, Jagged Little Pill, and The Inheritance. Here’s what to expect:


In Previews

Four-time Tony nominee and three-time Oscar nominee Laura Linney gives a tour-de-force performance in My Name Is Lucy Barton (opens January 15, Samuel J. Friedman Theatre). Last seen on Broadway alternating roles with Cynthia Nixon in The Little Foxes, Linney plays Lucy, who is hospitalized with a mysterious infection, as well as Lucy’s estranged mother, who pays her an unexpected visit. The solo play is adapted by Rona Munro from the best-selling novel by Elizabeth Strout, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Olive Kitteridge. The Manhattan Theatre Club production is directed by Tony Award-winner Richard Eyre.

Three-time Tony Award nominee David Alan Grier (Porgy and Bess) and two-time Golden Globe nominee Blair Underwood (A Streetcar Named Desire) star in the first Broadway production of A Soldier’s Play (opens January 21, American Airlines Theatre). In the tense Pulitzer Prize–winning drama by Charles Fuller, first presented by the Negro Ensemble Company in 1981, an investigation into a murder at a segregated Louisiana Army base in 1944 uncovers surprising layers of racial prejudice and hatred. The Roundabout Theatre Company production is directed by Kenny Leon (2014 Tony Award winner for A Raisin in the Sun).

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A family is turned upside down when one half of a happily married couple suddenly wants a divorce in Grand Horizons (opens January 23, The Hayes Theatre). The new comedy-drama marks the Broadway playwriting debut of Bess Wohl (Small Mouth Sounds). It marks the return of two-time Tony Award winner Jane Alexander to Broadway after a two-decade absence to lead a cast that includes Priscilla Lopez, Maulik Pancholy, Ashley Park, Ben McKenzie, and Michael Urie. The Second Stage Theater production is directed by Tony winner Leigh Silverman (Violet, The Lifespan of a Fact).

More than half a century since it first created a sensation on Broadway, and a decade since its last revival, landmark American musical West Side Story gets a bold new look (February 20, Broadway Theatre). Avant-garde director Ivo van Hove (Tony winner for A View From the Bridge and nominee for Network last year) brings a 21st century eye to the beloved work created by Jerome Robbins, Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim, and Arthur Laurents. The cast includes Isaac Powell (Once on This Island) as Tony, Shereen Pimentel (The Lion King) as Maria, and Yesenis Ayala as Anita and Amar Ramasar as Bernardo (both recently seen in Carousel).

February

The songs of Nobel Prize winner Bob Dylan are reimagined by acclaimed Irish playwright and director Connor McPherson for the new musical Girl From the North Country (previews start February 7, opens March 5, Belasco Theatre). The affecting story, which explores a range of human experiences, is woven around a group of desperate souls gathered at a guesthouse in Dylan’s hometown of Duluth, Minnesota, at the height of the Depression in 1934. The ensemble cast includes Todd Almond, Jeannette Bayardelle, Robert Joy, Jay O. Sanders, Tom Nelis, Luba Mason, and Tony Award nominees Marc Kudisch, David Pittu, and Mare Winningham.

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Only one of King Henry VIII’s six wives survived him, but they all get to dish on the plump Tudor tyrant in Six (previews start February 13, opens March 12, Brooks Atkinson Theatre). Featuring an all-female cast (Adrianna Hicks, Andrea Macasaet, Brittney Mack, Abby Mueller, Samantha Pauly, and Anna Uzele) and an all-female band, the new concert-style, high-energy pop musical is written by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss. The production, which started life as a student project by two Cambridge University undergrads before becoming a hit at the Edinburgh Fringe, is codirected by Moss and Jamie Armitage.

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A small-town council meeting that starts out with arguments about a parking spot and lost bicycles then blows up into a horror show in The Minutes (previews start February 25, opens March 15, Cort Theatre). The fiery new satire from Tracy Letts, the Tony and Pulitzer Prize winner for August: Osage County and author of Linda Vista, which played on Broadway earlier this season, features a cast that includes Letts, Armie Hammer, Ian Barford, Jessie Mueller, Blair Brown, and Austin Pendelton. The Chicago Steppenwolf production is directed by Anna D. Shapiro, who received the 2008 Tony for directing August: Osage County.

Martin McDonagh’s Hangmen (previews start February 28, opens March 19, Golden Theatre) 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. The mordant new comedy chronicles the life of England’s second-best executioner in the years after death by hanging was abolished in 1963. It’s directed by Martin Dunster, whose acclaimed production was seen originally at London’s Royal Court Theatre and in the West End (Olivier Award for Best Play) and then subsequently Off-Broadway at the Atlantic Theater Company in 2018. The Broadway cast stars Mark Addy, Tracie Bennett, Ewen Bremner, Owen Campbell, Gaby French, John Hodgkinson, Richard Hollis, John Horton, and Dan Stevens.

 

March

The fourth Broadway revival of the Stephen Sondheim–George Furth landmark 1970 musical Company (previews start March 2, opens March 22, Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre), about married life and relationships in Manhattan, flips the gender of the protagonist: Bobby is now Bobbie, played by Tony Award winner Katrina Lenk (The Band’s Visit). Director Marianne Elliott (who directed the 2018 Broadway revival of Angels in America) collaborated with Sondheim to update the musical to the present day; Bobby’s girlfriends are reimagined as boyfriends and the about-to-be-married couple Amy and Paul are now same-sex partners Jamie and Paul. The production, which was a hit in the West End, received the Olivier for Best Revival in London, and two-time Tony Award winner Patti LuPone, who took home an Olivier Award for her performance as Joanne, reprises her role. The cast also includes Matt Doyle, Christopher Fitzgerald, Christopher Sieber, Jennifer Simard, Claybourne Elder, and Gregg Hildreth.

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Jeanna de Waal plays the beloved Princess of Wales in the new musical Diana (previews start March 2, opens March 31, Longacre Theatre). Roe Hartrampf plays Prince Charles, Erin Davie is Camilla Parker Bowles, and two-time Tony winner Judy Kaye is Queen Elizabeth in this story of the fairy-tale princess who won hearts around the world but not that of her prince. Music and lyrics are written by Bon Jovi founder David Bryan and the book is by Joe Di Pietro (both won Tony Awards for Memphis). Originally staged at the La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego, the production, which features costumes by six-time Tony winner William Ivey Long, is directed by Christopher Ashley, Tony Award winner for Come From Away.

English stage and film star Rupert Everett (Blithe Spirit) and two-time Tony Award winner Laurie Metcalf (Doll’s House Part 2, Three Tall Women) play the famous sparring spouses George and Martha in Edward Albee’s caustic drama Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (previews start March 3, opens April 9, Booth Theatre). Russell Tovey (The History Boys, View From the Bridge) and Olivier Award winner Patsy Ferran (Summer and Smoke) play the young couple who get more than they bargained for when they come over for a visit. More than half a century since its debut in 1962, the Tony Award–winning drama hasn’t lost its capacity to shock and thrill audiences. This fourth revival of the landmark play is directed by two-time Tony Award-winner Joe Mantello.

Adam Godley, Ben Miles, and Simon Russell Beale play the three Bavarian brothers who founded a fabled New York financial institution in The Lehman Trilogy (previews start March 7, opens March 26, Nederlander Theatre). The three actors also play a host of other characters in the sweeping saga that weaves together 163 years of family history while tracking the ebb and flow of American capitalism. Presented in a single evening, the three-part play, written by Stefano Massini and adapted by Ben Power, was a box-office smash in London; it subsequently became a sold-out hit during an Off-Broadway run at the Park Avenue Armory last spring. The theatrical epic is directed by Sam Mendes (Tony Award winner for The Ferryman).

Rob McClure (last seen on Broadway in Beetlejuice) plays a divorced out-of-work actor who disguises himself as a nanny to stay close to the kids he lost in a custody battle in Mrs. Doubtfire (previews start March 9, opens April 5, Stephen Sondheim Theatre). The new musical, which is based on the 1993 hit comedy starring Robin Williams, is written by Karey and Wayne Kirkpatrick and John O’Farrell, the Tony-nominated team behind Something Rotten! The production is directed by four-time Tony Award winner Jerry Zaks (last represented on Broadway with Hello, Dolly! and Meteor Shower). The cast includes Jenn Gambatese, Peter Bartlett, Charity Angel Dawson, and Brad Oscar.

Tony-, Drama Desk–, and Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright James Lapine imagines a fictional meeting between movie star Cary Grant (played by Tony Yazbek), playwright Clare Booth Luce (Carmen Cusack), and writer Aldous Huxley (Harry Hadden-Paton) in Flying Over Sunset (previews start March 12, opens April 16, Vivian Beaumont Theatre). The score is by Tom Kitt (music) and Michael Korie (lyrics). Lapine (Sunday in the Park With George, Falsettos), who also directs, concocted the story after he read a magazine article that revealed that the three celebrities each experimented with the hallucinogenic drug LSD at one point or another in the 1950s.

Sharon D Clarke in <i>Caroline, Or Change.</i> Photo by Alastair Muir.
Sharon D Clarke in Caroline, Or Change. Photo by Alastair Muir.

The 2004 Best Musical Tony nominee Caroline, or Change (previews start March 13, opens April 7, Studio 54) returns to Broadway following an acclaimed run in London. Written by two-time Tony Award winner for Angels in America Tony Kushner (book and lyrics) and Tony Award winner for Fun Home Jeanine Tesori (music), the politically charged musical is about an African American maid who works for a Jewish family in 1963 Louisiana. At the heart of the tale is the fragile friendship between the maid Caroline and the young son in the family. Sharon D. Clarke, who received an Olivier Award for her transcendent performance as Caroline in London, reprises the role for Broadway. The Roundabout Theater Company production is directed by Michael Longhurst, who also helmed the London revival. The cast includes John Cariani, Alexander Bello, Arica Jackson, Chinua Payne, and Chip Zien.

Two-time Tony Award winner Matthew Broderick and two-time Emmy Award winner Sarah Jessica Parker — who are married in real life — play a set of three spouses who occupy the same New York hotel suite successively, in the first Broadway revival of Neil Simon’s Plaza Suite (previews start March 13, opens April 13, Hudson Theatre). A smash in 1968, the three-part comedy from the master of the genre focuses on romance, seduction, and a daughter’s premarital jitters. Broderick has enjoyed a 30-year collaboration with the late Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright: His Broadway career was launched in 1983 with his Tony Award–winning performance in Simon’s Brighton Beach Memoirs, while his first movie, Max Dugan Returns, was also scripted by Simon. The production is directed by John Benjamin Hickey, currently in the cast of The Inheritance.

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Tony Award winner Mary-Louise Parker (seen earlier this season in The Sound Inside) and David Morse (Tony Award winner for The Iceman Cometh) reprise their roles from 20 years ago in the first Broadway production of Paula Vogel’s How I Learned to Drive (previews start March 27, opens April 22, Samuel J. Friedman Theatre). Vogel’s deeply affecting 1997 Pulitzer Prize–winning Off-Broadway play, about a woman’s memories of her mentorship from childhood under her charismatic uncle, was noteworthy in its day for its clear-eyed exploration of the complicated and abusive relationships possible between adults and minors. The drama promises to become even more poignant and timely in the #MeToo era. The Manhattan Theatre Club production is helmed by the play’s original director, Mark Brokaw.

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) play three small-time Chicago hustlers who hatch a plot to recover a valuable trove of coins sold in a junk shop in American Buffalo (previews start March 24, opens April 14, Circle in the Square). The revival of the gripping 1975 drama by David Mamet (Pulitzer Prize winner for Glengarry Glen Ross) is directed by longtime Mamet collaborator Neil Pepe.

Brenock O’Connor (Game of Thrones) makes his Broadway debut playing a Dublin schoolboy who starts his own rock band in an attempt to escape a bleak life in 1980s Ireland in Sing Street (starts March 26, opens April 19, Lyceum Theatre). Transferring from an acclaimed Off-Broadway run at New York Theatre Workshop, the new musical, written by Enda Walsh (Tony winner for the musical Once) with music and lyrics by Gary Clark and John Carney, is based on the 2016 movie written and directed by Carney (who also wrote and directed the movie Once). The production is directed by Rebecca Taichman (Tony winner for Indecent), choreographed by Sonya Tayeh (also represented this season with Moulin Rouge!) with sets and costumes by seven-time Tony Award winner Bob Crowley (Once,An American in Paris). The cast includes Zara Delvin, Gus Halper, Martin Moran, Amy Warren, Billy Carter.

 

April

Will and Grace star Debra Messing (last seen on Broadway in Outside Mullingar) 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 in Birthday Candles (previews start April 2, opens April 21, American Airlines Theatre). Playwright Noah Haidle (whose Mr. Marmalade and Smokefall were presented Off-Broadway) makes his Broadway debut with this play, which was originally commissioned by the Detroit Public Theatre. The Roundabout Theater Company production is directed by Vivienne Benesch, artistic director of North Carolina’s Playmakers Repertory Company. Last seen on Broadway as an actor in After the Fall, Benesch makes her Broadway directorial debut.

Richard Greenberg’s valentine to baseball Take Me Out (previews start April 2, opens April 23, The Hayes Theatre) captured headlines when it opened on Broadway in 2003 because it touched on the hot-button topic of a sports star coming out as gay. Greenberg, who won the Tony Award for Best Play that year, has said he wrote the play (which was also nominated for a Pulitzer) because he primarily wanted to dramatize his newfound love of the sport. Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Fully Committed) plays the baseball star’s money manager who similarly becomes smitten by the game. The Second Stage revival, directed by Scott Ellis (who also directed this season’s The Rose Tattoo), marks the Broadway debuts of Patrick J. Adams, Jesse Williams, Hiram Delgado, Eduardo Ramos, and Carl Lundstedt.