March Magic: What's New on BroadwayFebruary 24, 2017 - by Griffin Miller, Theatre Editor
Just when you thought selecting the perfect Broadway show would be a slam-dunk, a hefty March preview count turned the New York theatre decision-making process into a supersized challenge. From the month’s first heady days, when the long-awaited revival of Miss Saigon helicopters in (3/1), and Pulitzer Prize-winner Lynn Nottage’s Sweat transfers from Off-Broadway to Studio 54 (3/4), it’s a pedal-to-metal landscape.
Christine Ebersole all made up for War Paint.
As for the high-octane celebrities pushing your choices into even higher gear, consider Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole duking it out for the title Ultimate Cosmetics Queen in the new musical, War Paint, as makeup mavens Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden (3/7). Consider, too, Kevin Kline and Kate Burton in the latest revival of Noël Coward’s comedy Present Laughter (3/10). Also flying the humor flag (and who doesn’t need a good laugh these days?!) is an imported U.K. extreme farce boasting an Olivier Award among its batty kudos: The Play That Goes Wrong, debuting on 3/9.
That same day, Broadway welcomes Amélie, A New Musical—based on the French film and starring Phillipa Soo whose portrayal of Elizabeth Schuyler in Hamilton brought her a Tony nomination.
Meanwhile, come the 16th, the musical version of the 1993 movie Groundhog Day rolls in (...and rolls in...and rolls in), starring Tony nominee Andy Karl (Rocky the Musical; On the Twentieth Century) in the role immortalized by Bill Murray.
Then, of course, the big 21-guns launch their salute to pop diva Bette Midler when Hello, Dolly! throws open its Shubert Theatre doors on March 15th for an Ides of March celebration in which daggers are replaced by show-stoppers. Rumor has it landing tickets will be almost a Hamiltonian feat...but with a helpful concierge in your court, who knows?
For those whose tastes veer to historic drama, the 3/23 Broadway premiere of playwright J.T. Rogers’s Oslo starring Tony winners Jennifer Ehle (The Coast of Utopia) and Jefferson Mays (I Am My Own Wife) should top your must-see list. Sharing a 3/23 premiere date is the musical Anastasia from the Tony-winning creators of Ragtime. (For the record, fans of the recent Les Misérables revival will want to know that the Anastasia cast boasts Ramin Karimloo, who played a very memorable Jean Valjean.
Get your Golden Ticket for Christian Borle’s incarnation of Willy Wonka.
And should you be holding out until the end of the month, three shows will be well worth the wait, beginning with 3/28 and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, starring Tony winner Christian Borle as singing and dancing candy impresario Willy Wonka. This preview is followed on the 29th by what is being heralded as a welcome twist on a good thing: acclaimed actresses Laura Linney and Cynthia Nixon will be alternating the roles of Regina and Birdie in Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes. The final show to drop anchor on Broadway this March (3/31) is Bandstand, a swing-centric musical set in post-WWII America starring Tony nominee Laura Osnes, (Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella), Tony winner Beth Leavel (The Drowsy Chaperone), and Corey Cott (Newsies).
From Genie to Jefferson
Major Attaway is ready to shine as Aladdin’s new Genie. Photo by Matthew Murphy.
James Monroe Iglehart, who accrued 1,000+ performances and took home a Tony playing Genie in Disney’s Aladdin, passed the torch to his long-time standby Major Attaway on February 19th (Attaway’s first “permanent” performance came two days later).
As for Iglehart, he’ll be trading flying carpets for politics when he takes over as the Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson in Hamilton. His first performance in the runaway hit will be mid-April...official date TBA!
Abby Mueller takes the lead in Beautiful. Photo by Joan Marcus.
Kinky Boots alumna Abby Mueller, sister of Jessie Mueller (who won the 2014 Tony Award playing Carole King in the hit musical bio Beautiful), will be returning to Broadway on March 7th when she replaces the show’s current star, Chilina Kennedy. (Kennedy is heading to her hometown of Toronto to bring her Beautiful wherewithal to the city’s Ed Mirvish Theater from June 27th through August 20th, before returning to the Great White Way.)
Abby, who originated the Carole King role in the production’s national tour, will overlap her sister’s Tony-nominated run as pie-baking-mom-to-be in Waitress this month before Jessie exits the show on March 26th. Clearly, the time is primo for scoring a “Mueller Exacta”—keeping in mind your window of opportunity slams shut after a fleeting three weeks.