NY Theatre Has Never Been Hotter -- Blame It on Spring FeverMarch 27, 2012 - by Griffin Miller, Theatre Editor
With all due respect to the Lone Star State, once the wagon train of new shows heading to the Tonys in June go all bumper-to-bumper, NYC will be hijacking Texas’s theme song. After all, it’s common knowledge in the City that Never Sleeps that “The stars at night are big and bright deep in the heart of Broadway!”
Skeptical? Then let’s get down to the award-winning triumvirate that makes up the sizzling cast of Broadway’s first-ever revival of Evita: Grammy-winning pop superstar Ricky Martin as Che; Tony winner Michael Cerveris as Juan Peron; and Olivier-winning/Argentine-born Elena Roger in the title role. The powerhouse of a score was penned by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, his collaborator on Jesus Christ Superstar, another hot ticket this spring -- and, in case you missed the newsflash, Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera recently took over as Broadway’s longest-running show.
This season is also garnering platinum status vis-à-vis a couple of noteworthy productions from revered 20th-century American composers George and Ira Gershwin. First, of course, there’s Porgy and Bess, with the most radiant Bess imaginable: four-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald. She shares the spotlight with Norm Lewis as Porgy, David Alan Grier as Sporting Life, and a flawless ensemble company.
Lovers of the Gershwin’s classic numbers have another indulgence to consider: Nice Work If You Can Get It -- a new musical set during the Jazz Age overflowing with songs from their vast archives, with a libretto by Joe DiPietro (Memphis). Meanwhile, the cast is made up of myriad A-listers like Matthew Broderick, Estelle Parsons, Kelli O’Hara (below, with Broderick), and Tony winner Judy Kaye.
As for another new Broadway show -- Once: A New Musical -- although the two leads, Steve Kazee and Cristin Milioti (below) might not be as familiar to theatergoers as those in other spring arrivals, this production has more than its share of must-see credentials: the film that inspired the musical walked away with a 2007 Academy Award for Best Original Song (“Falling Slowly”) and the stage version’s Off-Broadway debut last year was a triumphant sell-out. Plus, the movie’s devoted fan base has been lining up for tickets ever since they went on sale months ago.
SPOTLIGHT FLASHES: On & Off The Great White Way
Supermodel/musical comedy siren Christie Brinkley is reprising her role as the ultimate “killer chorine,” Roxie Hart, in the long-running, Tony-winning revival of Chicago during the month of April (4/6 through 4/27).
Freud’s Last Session -- the Off-Broadway phenomenon that celebrated its 600th New York performance on March 21 -- recently welcomed a new Sigmund Freud and C. S. Lewis: George Morfogen and Jim Stanek. Their predecessors, Mark H. Dold and Martin Rayner, are now touring the show, their first stop being Chicago’s (the city, not the musical) Mercury Theatre.
Rated P for Parenthood has been getting A-pluses and gold stars for shining a monster-sized night light on those unsung heroines and heroes better known as Mom and Dad. More than your run-of-the-mill musical revue, this collection of gleefully irreverent sketches and musical vignettes -- while still in its Off-Broadway infancy -- is proving to be a big hit (even with people who don’t have kids… yet!).