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:
WHEN: This dramatic play, which had a planned limited engagement, opened on May 31 and closes on Aug. 12.
WHERE: Booth Theatre
PLOT SUMMARY: A group of gay men have their relationships affected when they gather in New York City for a friend’s birthday party. Mart Crowley’s 1968 play was revived for this Broadway production.
STAR POWER: The cast includes Jim Parsons, Zachary Quinto, Matt Bomer and Andrew Rannells. Award-winning powerhouses Scott Rudin and Ryan Murphy are among the producers of this revival, which is directed by Tony winner Joe Mantello (“Take Me Out,” “Assassins”).
THE BUZZ: “The Boys in the Band,” which got rave reviews, is expected to get multiple nominations for the 2019 Tony Awards.
“Kiss Me Kate”
WHEN: Previews begin Feb. 14, 2019. The musical opens on March 14, 2019, with its limited engagement scheduled to end June 2, 2019.
WHERE: To be announced.
PLOT SUMMARY: Cole Porter’s classic musical tells the story of conflicts between theater director/producer/actor Fred Graham, who is co-starring in a production Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew” with his ex-wife Lilli Vanessi.
STAR POWER: Tony-winning “The King and I” actress Kelli O’Hara leads the cast as Lilli Vanessi.
THE BUZZ: O’Hara starred in a well-received 2016 concert of “Kiss Me Kate,” directed by Scott Ellis and choreographed by Warren Carlyle, who will both do the same for the Broadway revival.
WHEN: Previews begin Oct. 9. The show opens Nov. 1, and the play’s limited engagement is scheduled to end Feb. 24, 2019.
WHERE: Helen Hayes Theater
PLOT SUMMARY: A gay man named Arnold Beckhoff, who is a drag performer, has a rocky relationship with his mother and a complicated love life.
STAR POWER: The cast is led by “Ugly Betty” alum Michael Urie as Arnold and Oscar winner Mercedes Ruehl as Arnold’s mother. Harvey Fierstein wrote and starred in this play’s original Broadway production, which won Tony Awards for Best Play and Best Actor in a Play.
THE BUZZ: Originally a four-hour production named “Torch Song Trilogy” when it opened on Broadway in 1982, the revival has been condensed to approximately two-and-a-half hours. Reviews for the 2017 off-Broadway “Torch Song” revival, which has the same stars as the Broadway revival, have noted that although the material holds up well all these years later and the cast does a good job, Urie’s performance is not as memorable or award-worthy as Fierstein’s.
WHEN: Previews begin Dec. 27. The show opens Jan. 24, 2019.
WHERE: American Airlines Theatre
PLOT SUMMARY: Two estranged brothers—a drifter/thief named Lee and a Hollywood screenwriter named Austin—reunite at their mother’s house, where their sibling rivalry causes friction.
STAR POWER: Ethan Hawke plays Lee, and Paul Dano plays Austin.
THE BUZZ: “True West,” one of Sam Shepard’s most beloved plays, originally debuted in San Francisco in 1980, came to Broadway in 1982, was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 1983, and has had been made into two separate TV specials: the first in 1984 for PBS and the second in 2002 for Showtime. Several famous actors have played the “True West” brothers on stage over the years, including Tommy Lee Jones, Peter Boyle, Gary Sinise, John Malkovich, Philip Seymour Hoffman, John C. Reilly, Dennis Quaid and Randy Quaid. James Macdonald is directing this Broadway revival.
WHEN: Previews begin Sept. 25. The opening date is Oct. 25.
WHERE: John Golden Theatre
PLOT SUMMARY: In this drama-comedy, an activist/gallery owner named Gladys copes with having Alzheimer’s Disease.
STAR POWER: The cast is led by Oscar-nominated screenwriter Elaine May, who plays Gladys; “Manchester by the Sea” Oscar nominee Lucas Hedges as Gladys’ grandson; and Michael Cera, who received a Tony nomination for the revival of Kenneth Lonergan’s “Lobby Hero,” as one of the gallery’s artists. Oscar/Tony nominee Joan Allen is also in “The Waverly Gallery” cast. Scott Rudin, who has won several Tonys, is one of the producers.
THE BUZZ: Lonergan’s original production of “The Waverly Gallery” was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2000, and “The Waverly Gallery” revival will be the Broadway debut of critically acclaimed off-Broadway director Lila Neugebauer. Given the caliber of talent involved and the track record for “The Waverly Gallery,” expect this revival to get multiple nominations for the 2019 Tony Awards.
These revivals are also expected to be on Broadway in the 2018-2019 season, although dates and locations have not been officially announced yet:
“Burn This”—Adam Driver and Keri Russell star in the Michael Mayer-directed revival of Lanford Wilson’s dramatic play, set in 1980s Manhattan. The story is about a restaurant owner named Pale (played by Driver), who has a romance with a dancer named Anna (played by Russell) while they are grieving the accidental death of Pale’s brother Robbie, who was Anna’s dance partner.
“Dreamgirls”—“Glee” alum Amber Riley stars as Effie White, the role made famous by Jennifer Holliday in the show’s original Broadway run in the 1980s and by Jennifer Hudson in her Oscar-winning debut in the 2006 “Dreamgirls” movie. Riley won an Olivier Award for the role in the West End production of “Dreamgirls” that will close on Jan. 12, 2019, before going on a U.K. tour.
“The Secret Garden”—Marsha Norman and Lucy Simon’s 1991 musical adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett's 1911 children’s book is being revived on Broadway in a production directed by Tony winner Warren Carlyle.