Metro Weekly

Broadway: Spring Arts Preview 2023

Broadway's spring season is full of kings, cornhuskers, zebras, dreamers, and divas. Here's a look at what's on the way.

Life of Pi

For months they stayed away. Three years ago this month, curtains fell on Broadway leaving industry folks jobless and theatergoers void of their favorite hobby. Even when shows re-opened in September 2021, natives and tourists alike wearily returned. Yet many seats remained empty and ticket sales were sluggish.

Finally, the tide has turned. Walking through midtown Manhattan minutes before showtime, it’s easy to absorb the excitement once again. Crowds clamor through old theater doors. Tour busses line the theater district, filled with wide-eyed out-of-towners. Others stop and gawk, blinded by marquee lights and overwhelmed by the electric glitz of Times Square.

Broadway is indeed back with a spring season full of kings, cornhuskers, zebras, dreamers, and divas. Here’s a look at what just opened and what’s on the way.

A DOLL’S HOUSE — When audiences last saw Jessica Chastain, she was decked out in designer wear and caked in more makeup than all four members of KISS combined. The California native took home an Oscar for her portrayal of gay icon Tammy Faye Messner. Now, she’s back on the boards, dressed entirely in black, and showing steely restraint in a new minimalist production of Henrik Ibsen’s classic work. Runs through June 4. Hudson Theatre, 141 West 44th St. Call 855-801-5876.

PARADE — Think Dear Evan Hansen was on the dark side? Ben Platt goes even darker in this heartbreaking musical revival based on a true story. Platt stars as Leo Frank, a Jewish Brooklynite who, with his wife Lucille, move to Atlanta to manage a pencil factory. After a girl is found dead in the factory, Leo becomes a prime suspect. Acclaimed writer Alfred Uhry penned the book while three-time Tony award winner Jason Robert Brown composed the glorious score. Not usual musical fare, but a beautifully crafted work. Runs through August 6. Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, 242 West 45th St. Call 800-447-7400.

Bob Fosse’s Dancin’

BOB FOSSE’S DANCIN’ — The late master of movement is once again represented on stage in a revival of his 1978 hit. Fosse’s influence looms large in the dance world, with nearly every contemporary choreographer citing his work as inspiration. There’s no plot to follow, but the joy of watching lithe and limber bodies gyrate in synergistic unison is a thrill until itself. Open-ended run. Music Box Theatre, 239 West 45th St. Call 800-447-7400.

BAD CINDERELLA — Love him or hate him, it’s hard to deny the success of Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber. In April, his 35-year hit Phantom of the Opera will take its final bow at Broadway’s Majestic Theatre. One block away, however, his new treatment of the well-known fairy tale will take shape. The U.K. import had a rocky time across on the West End with Lloyd Webber declaring it “a costly mistake” and bringing the show to an abrupt close. Time will tell if critics turn the pumpkin into a carriage or a coffin but buzz on the street claims that half of its title is accurate. Open Ended Run. Imperial Theatre, 249 West 45th St. Call 800-447-7400.

SWEENEY TODD — Musical theater fans can’t seem to sit through enough Stephen Sondheim. The prolific composer’s work has been especially popular since his passing at the end of 2021 with Broadway revivals of Company and Into the Woods, an Off-Broadway revival of Assassins, and a production of Pacific Overtures, currently playing at Arlington’s Signature theatre. Josh Groban stars in the Broadway revival of Sweeney Todd, the Victorian barber out for blood. Tony winner Annaleigh Ashford joins him as Mrs. Lovett, an enterprising neighbor who finds clever ways of stuffing her meat pies. Especially exciting is that it will be performed as it was originally heard in the 1980 production with a full, 26-piece orchestra. In previews. Opens March 26. Open-ended run. Lunt Fontanne Theatre, 205 West 46th St. Call 877-250-2929.

LIFE OF PI — London transfers this hit show which racked up 5 Olivier Awards including “Best Play.” The story about a shipwrecked boy who shares a life raft with a Bengal tiger, a zebra, and an orangutan is deeply spiritual and hugely popular. Originally a best-selling novel, it was adapted into an Oscar winning film by Ang Lee. In previews. Opens March 30. Open-ended run. Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, 236 West 45st St. Call 212-921-8000.


SHUCKED — Out gay, country Grammy-winning singer-songwriters Shane McNally and Brandy Clark have climbed the Billboard charts in Nashville, but this is their first stab at composing a musical. Tony winner Robert Horn has written the book. The synopsis is unclear but a press release describes the show: “the new musical comedy that proves sometimes tearing down a few walls, rather than growing them, is the only way to preserve our way of life. Shucked is about to turn Broadway on its ear and offer a kernel of hope for our divided nation.” Industry insiders claim that it could be the surprise hit of the season. In previews. Opens April 4. Open-ended run. Nederlander Theatre, 208 West 41st St. Call Call 800-447-7400.

WHITE GIRL IN DANGER — Michael R. Jackson took Broadway by storm in his Tony award-winning musical A Strange Loop. His new Off-Broadway musical comedy draws inspiration from primetime soap operas and daytime classics. In previews. Opens April 10. Runs through May 21. Tony Kiser Theater, 305 West 43rd St. Call 212-541-4516.

FAT HAM — Last year, James IJames Pulitzer Prize-winning comedy had audiences in stitches downtown at the Public. After making numerous critic picks for best plays of 2022, it moves uptown. A modern and very loosely based version of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, it follows the journey of Juicy, a young, black queer man avenging the death of his father against the backdrop of a southern family barbecue. In previews. Opens April 12. Open-ended run. American Airlines Theatre, 227 West 42nd St. Call 800-447-7400.

Fat Ham

CAMELOT — Director Bartlett Sher is known for reinventing classic musicals from yesterday. Now’s he’s wiped the dust from the Lerner and Loewe musical about King Arthur, Sir Lancelot, and their romantic trysts with Lady Guenevere. Aaron Sorkin’s new adaptation will feature the original orchestrations with a symphony of thirty. Phillipa Soo, Tony-nominated for creating the original role of Eliza Hamilton in Hamilton, stars in the Lincoln Center staging. In previews. Opens April 13. Open-ended run. Lincoln Center Theater, Vivian Beaumont 150 West 65th St. Call 800-447-7400.

PETER PAN GOES WRONG — Fans of farce rejoice! The British team behind the global hit, The Play That Goes Wrong (still running Off-Broadway) is back on Broadway attempting to tell J.M Barrie’s classic. In true farce fashion, they’ll be slapstick, slammed doors, and mishaps — all the name of comedy. In previews. Opens April 19. Runs through July 9. Barrymore Theatre, 243 West 47th St. Call 800-447-7400.

THE THANKSGIVING PLAY — What happens when a group of actors attempt to stage a culturally sensitive Thanksgiving pageant? Tony award-winning director Rachel Chavkin guides a powerhouse comedy starring D’arcy Carden from TV’s The Good Place. The play also marks a first: Playwright Larrissa FastHorse is the first Native American female to have a work produced on Broadway. In previews. Opens April 20 through June 4. Helen Hayes Theatre, 240 West 44th St. Call 212-541-4516.

PRIMA FACIE — This heavy drama was well received on the West End, where it sold out on a nightly basis. Killing Eve star Jodie Comer stars in this solo play about a lawyer tasked with fighting the patriarchy. Judging from the play’s website, it’s not for the faint of heart as it offers trigger warnings and resources for individuals who have been affected by sexual assault. Previews begin April 11. Opens April 23. Runs through June 18. Golden Theatre, 252 West 45th St. Call 800-447-7400.

GOOD NIGHT, OSCARWill and Grace star Sean Hayes took Chicago by storm last year with this new work by multi-award-winning playwright Doug Wright (I Am My Own Wife). The Chicago Tribune proclaimed, “Hayes will be the talk of New York and so will this show.” It follows the late-night television antics of actor and pianist Oscar Levant. In real life, Hayes is a trained classical pianist, so it should be fun to watch him flaunt his chops. Previews begin April 7. Opens April 24. Runs through August 7. Belasco Theatre, 111 West 44th St. Call 800-447-7400.

SUMMER, 1976 — Another, much-beloved television star, four-time Emmy winner Laura Linney returns to Broadway in a play, described in a press release as “as a deeply moving, insightful piece about connection, memories, and the small moments that can change the course of our lives.” Previews begin April 4. Opens April 25 through May 28. Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, 261 West 47th St. Call 212-239-6200.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK — Based loosely on Martin Scorsese’s 1977 film starring Robert DeNiro and Liza Minelli, the new version includes classic songs from John Kander and Fred Ebb (Chicago, Cabaret) with new additions from Hamilton wunderkind Lin Manuel-Miranda. Broadway veteran Susan Stroman directs. Here’s to hoping it ends up on the top of the heap and not at the base of the scrap pile. In previews. Opens April 26. Open-ended run. St. James Theatre, 246 West 44th St. Call 212-239-6200.

Ryan Leeds writes about Broadway for Metro Weekly. Read his reviews of the hottest shows throughout the year in our digital magazine. Click here to subscribe for free.

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