As the chill of North American winter starts to defrost and the faint memory of spring begins to set in, let us take a look at what shows are set to delight New York’s Broadway district this coming spring. The 2020 spring season in Broadway is bringing some much loved revivals of plays, musicals to some ground breaking new productions.
February – March 2020
West Side Story
West Side Story is a musical with a book by Arthur Laurents, music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. It was inspired by William Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet. The story is set in the Upper West Side neighbourhood of New York City in the mid 1950s, an ethnic, blue collar neighbourhood. The musical explores the rivalry between the Jets and the Sharks, two teenage street gangs of different ethnic backgrounds. For the first time on Broadway, the Robbins choreography has been replaced. The new dance moves are by Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker. Featuring 23 performers making their Broadway debut, this new version of West Side Story promises to be a gritty and modern take on the beloved musical.
Previews December 10 / Opens February 20 / Broadway Theatre
Girl From The North County
Girl from the North Country is a musical with a book by Conor McPherson using the songs of Bob Dylan. It is the second Broadway show to use Dylan’s music after Twyla Tharp’s The Times They Are a-Changin. This production comes to Broadway after a successful West End stint garnering two Olivier Awards. The musical follows the denizens of a Depression-era boarding house in Minnesota, who use Dylan’s music to illustrate their feelings. Two-time Tony nominee Conor McPherson is writing and directing what is widely considered a tearjerker.
Previews February 7 / Opens March 5 / Belasco Theatre
Six is a British musical with book, music and lyrics by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss. The musical is a modern retelling of the lives of the six wives of Henry VIII presented as a pop concert, as the wives take turns singing and telling their story to see who suffered the most due to Henry and should therefore become the group’s lead singer. The musical was first presented by Cambridge University students at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2017. It has since gone on to professional productions in the West End and internationally. At 26 years old, co-director and co-creator Lucy Moss is making history as the youngest woman to ever direct a Broadway show.
Previews February 13 / Opens March 12 / Brooks Atkinson Theatre
Tracy Letts’s play The Minutes is finally coming to Broadway three years after it premiered in Chicago. The Steppenwolf production has announced that it will start performances on Broadway at the Cort Theatre on February 25, 2020, and open March 15. The Minutes will star Letts himself, as well as Ian Barford, Blair Brown, Cliff Chamberlain, K. Todd Freeman, Armie Hammer, Danny McCarthy, Jessie Mueller, Sally Murphy, Austin Pendleton, and Jeff Still.
Anna D. Shapiro, who directed this season’s other Tracy Letts play Linda Vista (which starred Barford), will direct The Minutes, which is currently set for a Tony-bait 16-week run through June 14.
Previews February 25 / Opens March 15 / Cort Theatre
Hangmen is a play by the British-Irish playwright Martin McDonagh. It received its world premiere at the Royal Court Theatre, London, in September 2015, before transferring to the West End’s Wyndham’s Theatre. The play was directed by Matthew Dunster, designed by Anna Fleischle, and featured David Morrissey and Reece Shearsmith among others. It was universally acclaimed by theatre critics, and was nominated for numerous awards including the Olivier Awards, Critics’ Circle Theatre Awards and the Evening Standard Theatre Awards. For its U.S. premiere in 2018 at Off-Broadway’s Atlantic Theatre Company, Hangmen won the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Foreign Play.
It tells the story of a British executioner who finds himself out of a job. Harry is the second best hangman in the land, and he owns a pub with his wife, Alice, and his fifteen-year-old daughter, Shirley. Harry is forced to deal with the abolition of hangings, and the pub is filled with people who have various motives concerning Harry’s profession. A stranger named Mooney comes to the pub and causes trouble, flirting with Harry’s daughter to get under his skin. Mooney toys with Harry and makes Harry and Alice believe he has kidnapped and killed their daughter Shirley. This pushes Harry to hang Mooney illegally, which was Mooney’s goal all along. The play ends with Harry dealing with the justification of the hanging he performed in the very beginning of the play.
Previews February 28 / Opens March 19/ John Golden Theatre
Company is a 1970 musical comedy with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by George Furth. The original production was nominated for a record-setting fourteen Tony Awards and won six. Originally titled Threes, its plot revolves around Robert (a single man unable to commit fully to a steady relationship, let alone marriage), the five married couples who are his best friends, and his three girlfriends. Unlike most book musicals, which follow a clearly delineated plot, Company is a concept musical composed of short vignettes, presented in no particular chronological order, linked by a celebration for Robert’s 35th birthday.
Company was among the first musicals to deal with adult themes and relationships. As Sondheim puts it, “Broadway theatre has been for many years supported by upper-middle-class people with upper-middle-class problems. These people really want to escape that world when they go to the theatre, and then here we are with Company talking about how we’re going to bring it right back in their faces”.
The new production heading for Broadway, has won four Olivier Awards. It promises to be more feminist with the original male character of Bobby now cast as a woman and played by Tony winner Katrina Lenk. The production also features two-time Tony winner Patti LuPone performing “The Ladies Who Lunch”.
Previews March 2 / Opens March 22 / Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre
The Lehman Trilogy
The Lehman Trilogy is a three-act play by Italian dramatist Stefano Massini tells the story of the real life American banking family who shook the global economy in 2008. A history of Lehman Brothers, it was originally conceived as a radio play and it was first aired on Rai Radio 3 on November 26, 2012. Massini developed the radio version into a full-length play, which opened at Comédie de Saint-Étienne in Saint-Étienne in a French translation. In 2015 Luca Ronconi directed the Italian premiere, at Piccolo Teatro in Milan. The play was eventually translated into 11 languages and staged in several cities across Europe.
Now, it’s on Broadway, starring Broadway alums Simon Russell Beale, Adam Godley and Ben Miles.
David Bryan, a founding member of Bon Jovi and the composer of the Tony-winning musical Memphis, scores this new show about the life of Princess Diana. Fresh from a run at La Jolla Playhouse, Tony-winning director Christopher Ashley and two-time Tony-winning scribe Joe DiPietro, this new musical follows the tumultuous marriage of Diana Spencer (Jeanna de Waal) to the Prince of Wales (Roe Hartrampf). If you love The Crown and follow every move of Meghan and Harry, you’re in for a royal treat.
Previews March 2 / Opens March 31 / Longacre Theatre
Mrs. Doubtfire is a musical with a book by Karey Kirkpatrick and John O’Farrell and music and lyrics by Wayne and Karey Kirkpatrick, based on the 1993 Twentieth Century Fox film of the same name (which is based on the 1987 novel Madame Doubtfire by Anne Fine). Rob McClure has left Beetlejuice to jump into drag as Mrs Doubtfire in this new musical adaptation of Robin William’s nostalgic hit movie in 1993.
Previews March 9 / Opens April 5 / Stephen Sondheim Theatre
Caroline, Or Change
Caroline, or Change is a through-composed musical with book and lyrics by Tony Kushner and score by Jeanine Tesori that combines spirituals, blues, Motown, classical music, and Jewish klezmer and folk music. The musical is about the contentious relationship between a Jewish boy and his African-American maid in 1963 Louisiana, first premiered off-Broadway in 2003. It transferred to Broadway for a 20-week run, and triumphed in London in 2007, when it won an Olivier Award for Best New Musical. So, it’s apt that this revival, starring Sharon D. Clarke, comes to Broadway from a 2018 acclaimed London production, which earned Clarke an Olivier
Previews March 13 / Opens April 7 / Studio 54
Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is a play by Edward Albee first staged in 1962. It examines the complexities of the marriage of a middle-aged couple, Martha and George. Late one evening, after a university faculty party, they receive an unwitting younger couple, Nick and Honey, as guests, and draw them into their bitter and frustrated relationship.
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? won both the 1963 Tony Award for Best Play and the 1962–63 New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Play. It is frequently revived on the modern stage. The film adaptation was released in 1966, written by Ernest Lehman, directed by Mike Nichols, and starring Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, George Segal and Sandy Dennis.Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? was last on Broadway in 2012, and this new version stars Laurie Metcalf and Rupert Everett. Virginia Woolf marks Metcalf’s fourth consecutive turn on Broadway since 2016, which has earned her four nominations and two Tonys.
Previews March 3 / Opens April 9 / Booth Theatre
Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick reunite on stage in this John Benjamin Hickey-directed revival of Neil Simon’s 1968 play, Plaza Suite, playing three couples who visit the same hotel room. They’ve worked together on stage only once—when Parker stepped into the Broderick-led How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying in 1996. They were married a year later. Broderick is a skilled interpreter of the playwright who has appeared in many of his works, including a Tony-winning performance in 1983’s Brighton Beach Memoirs.
Previews March 13 / Opens April 13 / Hudson Theatre
American Buffalo is a 1975 play by American playwright David Mamet which had its premiere in a showcase production at the Goodman Theatre, Chicago. After two more showcase productions it opened on Broadway in 1977. Laurence Fishburne, Sam Rockwell and Darren Criss play petty thieves cooking up an ill-conceived heist in this revival of David Mamet’s 1975 play American Buffalo.
The play will be revived on Broadway in a production directed by Neil Pepe and starring Laurence Fishburne, Sam Rockwell and Darren Criss. It will premiere in previews in March 2020 with an official opening on April 14
Previews March 24 / Opens April 14 / Circle in the Square Theatre
Flying Over Sunset
Flying Over Sunset is a musical with music by Tom Kitt, lyrics by Michael Korie, and book by James Lapine. The musical is a fictional account of a meeting between Aldous Huxley, Clare Boothe Luce and Cary Grant, who all used the drug LSD. This new musical by James Lapine (Sunday in the Park with George), Tom Kitt (Next to Normal) and Michael Korie (Grey Gardens) takes reality and adds imagination for a trip that delves into the dark corners of the past.
Previews March 12 / Opens April 16 / Vivian Beaumont Theatre
Sing Street is a 2016 musical coming-of-age comedy-drama film co-written, co-produced and directed by John Carney. Starring Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, Lucy Boynton, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Aidan Gillen, Jack Reynor, and Kelly Thornton, the story revolves around a boy starting a band to impress a girl in 1980s Ireland. It is an international co-production between producers from Ireland, the United States, and United Kingdom.
Previews March 26 / Opens April 19 / Lyceum Theatre
Take Me Out
Modern Family’s Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Jesse Williams, known for Grey’s Anatomy, headline this revival of Richard Greenberg’s Tony-winning play about a star baseball player who comes out of the closet. The event sets off a chain of events that broaches such hefty subjects as homophobia, racism, morality, public personas and isolation. There are also plenty of lighthearted moments and a virtuosic monologue about the game’s “noble equality.”
Previews March 31 / Opens April 23 / Helen Hayes Theatre