The Best New Musicals Coming to Broadway for Spring 2016

Passionate theatregoers know that new Broadway seasons steamroll into New York as two-parters: late summer through winter veer to the drama/comedy side, while spring is when the musicals come out to play. There are exceptions on both ends, of course, but spring 2016 looks to be playing true to form with the crème de la crème of Broadway stars readying their vocal chops for a fine lyrical season. Read on for our picks for the best new musicals coming to Broadway this spring.

american psycho benjamin walker broadway

Image: Joan Marcus

Spring 2016’s groundswell includes composer Duncan Sheik’s big buzz Wall Street musical American Psycho starring Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson alum Benjamin Walker and Tony winner Alice Ripley (Next to Normal). Having sold out in London, where critics dubbed it “pure, decadent pleasure,” the show arrives on these shores with direction by Olivier-winner Rupert Goold (King Charles III), choreography by Tony nominee Lynne Page (La Cage Aux Folles), and a script by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (Glee).

On the flip side of the musical spectrum is Bright Star, a romance set in the Southern U.S. during WWII. Based on true events, the show comes wrapped in a score by Steve Martin—yes, the same “wild and crazy guy” whose King Tut costume is on display at “Saturday Night Live–The Exhibition” (see p. 41)—and singer/songwriter Edie Brickell who, incidentally, met husband Paul Simon in 1988 while performing on SNL.

Another new musical with factual roots is Shuffle Along, about a show that became a Roaring ‘20s blockbuster against all odds. Considering the Broadway royalty heading the cast (Tony winners Audra McDonald, Brian Stokes Mitchell, and Billy Porter) and the score by early 20th-century music legends Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake, Shuffle Along may soon be dubbed the Musical Sensation of 2016. The production reunites Tony winners George C. Wolfe (director) and Savion Glover (choreographer), who collaborated on Bring in ‘da Noise, Bring in ‘da Funk in 1996.

waitress jessie mueller broadway

Image: Jeremy Daniel

Keep an eye out as well for tickets to Waitress, starring Jessie Mueller, who won a 2014 Tony for portraying Carole King in Beautiful. This time around, she’s waitress/pie-maker Jenna in a show inspired by Adrienne Shelly’s popular film of the same name. The acclaimed cast (the productions sold out in Boston) is directed by Tony winner Diane Paulus and features a book by Jessie Nelson (I Am Sam) and score by five-time Grammy nominee Sara Bareilles.

The campiest entry of the year without question is Disaster!, a musical comedy on steroids that plunges head-on into Hollywood’s overstuffed cache of catastrophe flicks and emerges soaked, singed, and singing. The dandy cast includes Tony winners Faith Prince and Roger Bart, Drama Desk Award winner Rachel York and Emmy and Grammy nominee Seth Rudestsky, who co-wrote the show with Jack Plotnick (who also directed).

tuck everlasting man yellow

Image: Greg Mooney, Alliance Theatre in Atlanta Production

The final newbie of the season is Tuck Everlasting, a musical fantasy that poses the question, “If you could live forever would you?” Broadway vets Carolee Carmello and Terrence Mann (both three-time Tony nominees) join Newsie’s Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Emmy winner Michael Park, 11-year old Sarah Charles Lewis, and others in this groundbreaking production by Tony nominee Claudia Shear with Tim Federle (book), Nathan Tysen (lyricist), and Chris Miller (music).

As for the spring’s sole revival entry, it’s She Loves Me, an old-fashioned romantic comedy set in a parfumarie. Featuring a score by Tony winners Sheldon Harnick and Jerry Bock—the same team that created the music for Fiddler on the Roof, currently playing to standing ovations at the Broadway Theatre—She Loves Me’s cast includes three Tony winners: Laura Benanti, Jane Krakowski, and Michael McGrath.


Three-time Tony nominee Rebecca Luker (who just happens to be married to Danny Burstein, aka Tevye in the above-cited Fiddler on the Roof, is taking over the role of Helen Bechdel in last year’s Tony-winning musical, Fun Home, from April 5th to May 22nd. She will be covering for Tony nominee Judy Kuhn, who is having hip surgery. “I’m so thrilled that Rebecca is stepping in for me—she’s a dear friend, and I admire her work so much...and I can’t wait to return to the show pain-free and with a new hip,” said Kuhn, who is set to return to the show May 24th.

David Grammer

Photo: Carol Rosegg

Finally Finding Neverland is not only flying forward with its new J. M. Barrie—Tony nominee Tony Yazbeck (On the Town)—it looks like Kelsey Grammer can’t get enough of the heartwarming show (even though one of his roles is the villainous Captain Hook!). The Frasier star has extended his run through April 3rd, which is only a small window, so seize it if you can. (For the record, the show itself celebrates its one-year Broadway anniversary on April 15th.)

About the Author

City Guide Theatre Editor Griffin Miller moved to New York to pursue an acting/writing career in the 1980s after graduating magna cum laude from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Since then, she has written for The New York Times, For the Bride, Hotels, and a number of other publications, mostly in the areas of travel and performance arts. An active member of The New York Travel Writers Association, she is also a playwright and award-winning collage artist. In addition, she sits on the board of The Lewis Carroll Society of North America. Griffin is married to Richard Sandomir, a reporter for The New York Times.

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