The buzziest shows on Broadway this season
Time to raise the curtain on the shows headed to Broadway this season. Here are some notable titles:
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Kenneth Lonergan’s plays age well. Last season’s revival of “Lobby Hero,” with Chris Evans, earned raves and three Tony nominations. Up next: 1999’s “The Waverly Gallery.” Elaine May, who hasn’t appeared on Broadway since the 1960s, plays an old art dealer clinging to her Greenwich Village gallery. Throw Joan Allen into the mix, and this is going to be a night of unforgettable performances.
The Irish accents can be a bit thick in Jez Butterworth’s “The Ferryman,” but this gripping, mysterious play about the Troubles won five-star reviews in London.
Who doesn’t love a courtroom melodrama? “To Kill a Mockingbird” has all the elements of a real corker. A source who saw a reading of Aaron Sorkin’s adaptation of Harper Lee’s celebrated novel says it deepens the character of Atticus Finch and unfolds at a fast pace. Jeff Daniels and Celia Keenan-Bolger lead a first-rate cast.
You won’t find too many snooker parlors in New York, but you’ll get a hilarious crash course in the game from Richard Bean’s “The Nap.” The characters are wonderfully seedy, the one-liners zing and the finale is so tense, you’ll start subscribing to the Snooker Channel.
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“American Son” dives into the racial politics roiling the country. Kerry Washington stars as a mother looking for her missing son and navigating a white police department in Florida. I expect a sharp production from director Kenny Leon.
Ivo van Hove’s production of “Network” has plenty of bells, whistles, television cameras and video monitors. Bryan Cranston stars as Howard Beale, an anchorman on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Some say this adaptation of the 1976 movie is a little too slick, but it packs plenty of thrills — and most of the great Paddy Chayefsky lines are still in place.
Daniel Radcliffe returns to Broadway in “The Lifespan of a Fact,” as a fact-checker who discovers that a legendary writer played fast and loose with the truth. The great Cherry Jones and Bobby Cannavale round out the cast.
“The Cher Show” got mixed reviews in Chicago, where critics found the script confusing. I don’t think the concept is that hard to grasp: Three different women play Cher, who narrates her life as if it were a variety show, which, in many ways, it is. Rick Elice, who co-wrote “Jersey Boys,” spent the summer clearing up the befuddling bits. Stephanie J. Block, as Cher at her most diva-ish, gives the standout performance. Watch for the real Cher, wearing enormous sunglasses, slipping into the theater just before the curtain goes up.
The $35 million production of “King Kong” cost almost as much as the Empire State Building did. The musical, which comes from Australia, has had more creative teams than Kong has bananas for lunch. Script and score are question marks, but Kong is a marvel of theatrical technology.
“The Prom” could be campy fun or just camp. It’s about a group of second-rate actors who descend on a small Midwestern town to support a lesbian who wants to take her girlfriend to the prom. The boisterous cast includes Christopher Sieber, Beth Leavel and Brooks Ashmanskas. Let’s not go too over the top, kids.
You can hear Michael Riedel weekdays on “Len Berman and Michael Riedel in the Morning” on WOR radio 710.
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