The Broadway season has been fairly quiet since the smash opening of Hamilton last summer. But things are about to heat up with a burst of highly anticipated new musicals. Along with the recently opened Bright Star–Steve Martin and Edie Brickell’s tuneful if rather lumbering bluegrass show–they represent the most eclectic slate of new musicals to jam into one season in years.
The most buzzed-about is Shuffle Along, or, The Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed (opening April 28), partly a revival–of a landmark black musical revue with songs by Eubie Blake–and partly a backstage drama about the show’s troubled history. George C. Wolfe’s new production could become a landmark itself, with choreography by Savion Glover and a stellar cast headed by six-time Tony winner Audra McDonald.
Also on the menu is Waitress (April 24), based on the 2007 indie film about a small-town hash slinger stuck in a loveless marriage, with a score by pop singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles. Those with a taste for darker fare can whet their appetite with American Psycho (April 21), an unlikely musicalization of Bret Easton Ellis’ slasher novel about a Wall Street yuppie who’s a serial killer on the side; Duncan Sheik (Spring Awakening) wrote the music. And for something more whimsical, there’s Tuck Everlasting (April 26), based on the children’s novel about a little girl who encounters a family that has found the secret to immortality.
All that’s missing is the usual big revival of an old Broadway classic. Instead, a more modest revival of one of the lesser lights of the golden age will serve quite well. A new production of She Loves Me, the 1963 musical about a pair of feuding co-workers in a Budapest parfumerie who don’t realize they’ve been writing anonymous love letters to each other, boasts a lovely score by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick, a cast that’s close to perfection and one of the most charming love stories ever put on stage. A little jewel, polished up for the ages.
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