Broadway's Spring Must-SeesApril 14, 2014 - by Griffin Miller, Theatre Editor
Falling in love with this season’s new musicals has been a no-effort experience this year… and yes, there are still several percolating in my DayMinder. Still, in case you’re waffling about what to see RIGHT NOW, here are a few of my personal picks.
Photo: Cylla von Tiedemann
Aladdin - Disney’s latest conquest is all that you’d expect and more from the entertainment titan -- the “and more” being the “please don’t let this ever end” Act I production number "Friend Like Me," in which James Monroe Iglehart (above) gets to unleash his killer talents in ways you cannot begin to imagine. Also, keep your eye on Jonathan Freeman (who originated the role in voice-over format in the animated original) as the villainous Jafar – a personal fave.
If/Then – Tony winner Idina Menzel (Wicked; Rent) at her leading-lady vocal peak; Tony winner LaChanze (The Color Purple) awesome as ever; Anthony Rapp (Rent), reuniting on Broadway with Menzel; and James Snyder (Cry-Baby) are the key players in this show that tracks one woman’s pursuit of happiness via two very different options. In fact, the whole cast shines in this uniquely thought-provoking musical.
Photo: Matthew Murphy
Les Misérables - No plot synopsis required here, just accolades for this reimagined version of Cameron Mackintosh’s epic – with breakout kudos for unforgettable performances from Ramin Karimloo as Jean Valjean and Will Swenson as his unrelenting pursuer, Javert. Even if you’ve seen Les Miz a dozen times already – and considering its global track record and hit film version, you very well may have – see it again with this flawless ensemble cast.
Janis We Hardly Knew Ye…
It looks like the producers of A Night With Janis Joplin won’t be parking Pearl’s Mercedes Benz Off-Broadway after all. The rock legend resurrection featuring the
arrestingly accurate Mary Bridget Davies that brought Boomers and their acolytes to their feet when it opened at Broadway’s Lyceum Theatre last October (and closed Sunday) won’t be opening at the Gramercy Theatre this spring as previously announced. The reason given by the producing team is that ominously vague catch-all “production issues.”
Vanessa Williams: Back on Broadway… Briefly
Taking time off from her duplicitous M&M alter ego, actress/recording artist/Tony & Emmy-nominee Vanessa Williams (Into the Woods; Ugly Betty) has currently assumed the role of “Special Guest Star” in the Cotton Club revue-style musical After Midnight at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre. She will only be with the show until May 11th, however, so if you’re kicking yourself for having missed her last Broadway outing (albeit a non-musical one) in The Trip to Bountiful, you had best hit Ticketmaster soon!