On Broadway: Glory Days

Warren Carlyle choreographs the Follies revival. Photo by Joan Marcus, Courtesy The Kennedy Center.


The 2011–12 season began early, unless you prefer to think that the 2010–11 season ended late—when Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark finally opened in June. And while its problems and postponements—and budget, of course—were epic in scale, the fact is that its twisty, on-and-off path to Broadway was more typical than not. As we look ahead to the new season, let’s remember that last year at this time, The Book of Mormon was at best a distant blip on the radar. Next year’s big Tony winner may be in the list below, or it may not. Shows that look like dead certainties can be derailed, rejiggered, or recast—or all three—without warning. So treat the following schedule of incoming musicals as a Broadway wish list, subject to revision and more.



Follies  The showgirls of The Weismann Follies gather once again in an about-to-be-demolished theater in the Kennedy Center’s production of Stephen Sondheim’s now-classic musical. Bernadette Peters and Danny Burstein star for director Eric Schaeffer and choreographer Warren Carlyle, who did Finian’s Rainbow. In previews for a Sept. 12 opening at the Marquis Theatre.
The New York Musical Theatre Festival The eighth installment of this annual event includes shows set in 1930s L.A., 1950s Paris, and, of course, contemporary New York. Some of them are bound to follow Next to Normal and [title of show] to Broadway. Runs Sept. 26 through Oct. 16.

Godspell This revival of the Stephen Schwartz/John-Michael Tebelak retelling of the Gospel of St. Matthew has been on the launching pad for years. It looks like Daniel Goldstein, the director, and Christopher Gattelli, the choreographer, are finally taking off. Starts Oct. 13 at Circle in the Square.
Bonnie and Clyde Arthur Penn’s game-changing 1967 movie about the Depression-era bank robbers has inspired several musicals. The version that’s getting to Broadway is composer Frank Wildhorn’s, with staging by Jeff Calhoun. Starts Nov. 4 at the Schoenfeld Theatre.
On a Clear Day, You Can See Forever The 1965 Alan Jay Lerner/Burton Lane musical about reincarnation was originally a showcase for its leading ladies—Barbara Harris on stage, Barbra Streisand on screen. Now it’s retooled by director Michael Mayer and librettist Peter Parnell for Harry Connick Jr., with choreography by JoAnnHunter. Starts Nov. 12 at the St. James Theatre.
Bob Fosse’s Dancin’ He wanted to be a dancin’ man, and he was, changing the face of Broadway while he was at it. Graciela Daniele re-creates the choreography Fosse devised for his 1978 anthology of dance numbers. Opens in fall at Studio 54.
Yank! A WWII Love Story Stylish tapper Jeffry Denman made his dance career working in vintage musicals—what else? Now he bows as a Broadway choreographer with this ’40s-inflected musical about gay romance in the Army. A Musical Theatre Festival alum, it’s written by Joseph and David Zellnik and directed by David Cromer. Opens in fall.
Porgy and Bess With this streamlined, revamped version of the great Gershwin classic, Ronald K. Brown joins the parade of concert choreographers trying their hand on Broadway. Audra McDonald and Norm Lewis portray the title pair, and David Alan Grier is Sportin’ Life under the direction of Diane Paulus. Starts Dec. 17 at the Richard Rodgers Theater.
Evita Michael Grandage’s hit London production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 1978 sensation about Argentina’s legendary First Lady comes to New York, along with Rob Ashford’s choreography. Starts in March.
Nice Work If You Can Get It Matthew Broderick stars, Kathleen Marshall directs and choreographs, George Gershwin provides the songs. Who could ask for anything more? Opens in spring.


In the Wings

Funny Girl The show that launched Barbra Streisand into the stratosphere returns to Broadway for the first time. It’s under the auspices of the same team that enchanted audiences with South Pacific at Lincoln Center—director Bartlett Sher and choreographer Christopher Gattelli.
Once The Dublin-set 2006 movie about a street musician and a Czech immigrant was a surprise hit. Playwright Enda Walsh provides the book and John Tiffany provides the direction, while American Idiot’s Steven Hodgett stages the musical numbers.
Unchain My Heart If we’ve got to have jukebox musicals, why not reach high, like Suzan-Lori Parks. Here she raids the Ray Charles songbook to tell his life story. Sheldon Epps directs, Ken Roberson choreographs.


Sylviane Gold writes on theater for The New York Times.

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