Broadway’s 2018-2019 season is offering an eclectic mix of plays and musicals that continue the growing trend of productions adapted from movies, TV shows or previously published works; jukebox musicals that are based on the hit songs of an artist; and revivals starring actors and actresses who are best known for their roles in movies or TV. There is also the expected array of U.K. imports and original U.S. plays and musicals. All of them will be competing for nominations at the 73rd annual Tony Awards, which will take place in New York City on June 9, 2019. (Preview and opening dates are subject to change.)
Here’s a roundup of some of these productions:
“The Cher Show”
WHEN: Previews begin Oct. 6. The show opens Nov. 4.
WHERE: Booth Theatre
PLOT SUMMARY: The life of Cher is told with her songs as the musical’s soundtrack.
STAR POWER: Cher (who is not in the show) is one of the musical’s producers. Bob Mackie, who designed many of her famous costumes, is the musical’s costume designer. Using the same character format as “Summer: The Donna Summer Musical,” which had three different actresses portraying Donna Summer at different stages in her life, “The Cher Show” has three different actresses playing Cher: Stephanie J. Block as the older Cher; Micaela Diamond, who plays Cher during her relationship with her first husband, Sonny Bono; and Teal Wicks, who plays Cher during her relationship with her second husband, Gregg Allman. Tony-winning “Jersey Boys” writer Rick Elice wrote the book for “The Cher Show.”
THE BUZZ: In June, the show began a pre-Broadway run in Chicago, and got mixed reviews. Critics are saying that the best elements of “The Cher Show,” directed by Jason Moore, are the flashy costumes and Block’s performance, but there is inconsistent pacing and not enough depth in the overall show.
WHEN: Previews began June 23. The opening date was July 26.
WHERE: Hudson Theatre
PLOT SUMMARY: Songs from The Go-Go’s and lead singer Belinda Carlisle are the soundtrack to this Michael Mayer-directed musical that is set in the 16th century and based on Philip Sidney’s “Arcadia.” The LGBTQ-friendly plot centers on a king, a queen, their three daughters and the daughters’ love interests.
STAR POWER: Gwyneth Paltrow and Donovan Leitch are among the producers. The cast includes actors who are mostly unknown to mainstream audiences: Andrew Durand, Taylor Iman Jones, Jeremy Kushnier, Bonnie Milligan, Peppermint, Tom Alan Robbins, Alexandra Socha and Rachel York. Peppermint, an alum of “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” is the first openly trans woman to have a principal role in a Broadway musical.
THE BUZZ: Based on the reviews, “Head Over Heels” is a “love it or hate” it musical. Critics’ descriptions of “Head Over Heels” have ranged from “wonderful” and “joyful” to “awkward” and “tacky.”
These jukebox musicals are also expected to be on Broadway in the 2018-2019 season, although dates and locations have not been officially announced yet:
“Aint Too Proud”—The Temptations story, with their hit songs as the soundtrack, has been touring as a stage musical in North America, after its 2017 debut in Berkeley, California. In 2018, the production is going to Washington, D.C.; Los Angeles; and Toronto. Therefore, a possible Broadway debut won’t happen until 2019. The actors portraying The Temptations are Jeremy Pope as Eddie Kendricks, Ephraim Sykes as David Ruffin, Derrick Baskin as Otis Williams, James Harkness as Paul Williams and Jawan M. Jackson as Melvin Franklin.
“Jagged Little Pill”—Based on songs from Alanis Morissette, this musical had its world premiere in Boston, where it ran from May to July, and got rave reviews. Oscar-winning “Juno” screenwriter Diablo Cody wrote the book for “Jagged Little Pill,” which is directed by Diane Paulus. The plot is about a suburban American family named The Healys and how their lives are not as idyllic as they seem. The relatively unknown cast includes Elizabeth Stanley, Sean Allan Krill, Celia Gooding, Derek Klena and Lauren Patten.