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By Sylviane Gold
Musical theater fans—and Broadway’s ensemble performers—got a dance bonanza last season, with stellar new work from Twyla Tharp (Come Fly Away), Bill T. Jones (Fela!), Sergio Trujillo (Memphis), and Steven Hoggett (American Idiot) and terrific renovations from Marcia Milgrom Dodge (Ragtime), Warren Carlyle (Finian’s Rainbow), and Robert Longbottom (Bye Bye Birdie). There’s no way to know if this season will match the last, but right now the fall offerings are not exactly tripping over one another. There’s more waiting in the wings for spring, but as Broadway watchers know from seasons past, anything can—and will—happen. The usual caveats apply to the following list of mostly Broadway musicals scheduled for the 2010–11 season. Dates can change, personnel can be replaced, entire shows can disappear.
Rain—A Tribute to the Beatles on Broadway Even old-timers tend to forget 1977’s Beatlemania, the jukebox musical before there were jukebox musicals. So here we go again, a simulacrum of the real million-dollar quartet. Starts Oct. 19.
The Scottsboro Boys The infamous case of nine young black men who were convicted of trumped-up rape charges in Jim Crow Alabama was molded into a minstrel-flavored musical by John Kander, the late Fred Ebb, and David Thompson. Last season’s hit off-Broadway production at the Vineyard, directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman, heads to Broadway toting a passel of awards and some great reviews. Starts Oct. 7.
Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown Bartlett Sher follows his magical revival of South Pacific for Lincoln Center Theater with this adaptation of Pedro Almodovar’s breakthrough movie. David Yazbek and Jeffrey Lane, who gave us Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, are the writers, and Christopher Gattelli will choreograph. Starts Oct. 2.
Elf Casey Nicholaw directs and choreographs this latest entry in Broadway’s search for a holiday evergreen to match ballet’s Nutcracker. It’s based on the 2003 hit movie about Santa’s not-so-little helper. Starts Nov. 2.
Anything Goes It worked once for Lincoln Center, why not try it again? The Roundabout enlists Kathleen Marshall to direct and choreograph and Sutton Foster to star in the classic Cole Porter show. Starts in February.
Priscilla, Queen of the Desert: The Musical Stephan Elliott and Allan Scott turned their movie about cross-dressing and disco into a stage hit in Australia and England. The Broadway edition is also directed by Simon Phillips and choreographed by Ross Coleman. St
arts Mar. 6.
War Horse The characters in this story of a boy, a horse, and World War I don’t sing or dance. But it uses song and dance to vivid effect, and the movement devised by Toby Sedgwick to animate the horse puppets is choreography of the highest order. Starts Mar. 17.
A Minister’s Wife George Bernard Shaw’s Candida gets the chamber musical treatment from Joshua Schmidt and Jan Tranen. Starts Apr. 7 at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater, Lincoln Center.
BEYOND THE HORIZON…
The following shows are in various states of readiness for their still unscheduled openings, which renders them even more subject to change than those above.
Godspell Hair brought the spirit of the ’60s back to Broadway two seasons back, and now this Stephen Schwartz/John-Michael Tebelak retelling of the Gospel of St. Matthew will try to do the same for the 1970s. Daniel Goldstein is the director and Christopher Gattelli the choreographer.
How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying This Frank Loesser musical is back for one reason: Daniel Radcliffe as the rising star of World-Wide Wickets. Rob Ashford is the director/choreographer.
Love Never Dies Director Jack O’Brien and choreographer Jerry Mitchell (Hairspray) team up again for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s sequel to Phantom of the Opera, which follows the man in the half-mask to Coney Island, of all places.
Spider-Man, Turn Off The Dark Yes, this Bono and The Edge musical looks as though it will actually come in this time. Julie Taymor directs and Daniel Ezralow choreographs the adventures of the comic-book hero from Queens.
Unchain My Heart The Ray Charles songbook is appropriated by Suzan-Lori Parks to tell the story of Charles’ life. Brandon Victor Dixon impersonates the great singer under the direction of Sheldon Epps, with choreography by Kenneth L. Roberson.
This York Theatre Company production borrows the style of ’40s movie musicals to tell of a romance between two male soldiers. Jeffry Denman choreographed the show and performs in it too, under David Cromer’s direction.
Sylviane Gold writes on theater for The New York Times.
Brandon Victor Dixon and Julius Thomas III in the off-Broadway production of Scottsboro Boys. Photo by Carol Rosegg, courtesy Scottsboro Boys