Tuesday, August 10, 2021

B'way Update: West Side Kaput, Funny Girl Possible, 2nd Jersey Boys Film

The company of Ivo van Hove's
West Side Story
Credit: Jan Versweyveld
Scratch one more Broadway production. Ivo van Hove's radical re-imagining of West Side Story will not be re-opening at the Broadway Theater. This was the sixth Broadway staging of the beloved updating of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet by Jerome Robbins, Arthur Laurents, Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim and the first not to employ Robbins' original choreography. It opened on Feb. 20, 2020 and closed on March 11 along with every other show on the Main Stem due to the COVID pandemic. Von Hove, an internationally renowned director and Tony winner for his direction of A View from the Bridge, cut songs, employed huge video screens and color-blind casting which did not sit well with some fans of the show. Producer Kate Horton who took over from the disgraced Scott Rudin who has "stepped back" from his Broadway producing chores following reports of his toxic workplace behavior, put out the following statement:

"It is with great regret that we are announcing today that the 2020 Broadway revival of West Side Story will not reopen. This difficult and painful decision comes after we have explored every possible path to a successful run, and unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, reopening is not a practical proposition. We thank all the brilliant, creative artists who brought West Side Story to life at the Broadway Theatre, even for so brief a time, especially the extraordinary acting company, 33 of whom made their Broadway debuts in this production." The production was nominated for six 2020 Drama Desk Awards and won for Outstanding Projection Design. Administrators for the Tony Awards judged West Side ineligible for its accolades since too many nominators and voters did not get a chance to see it before it closed. A remake of the film version of WSS, directed by Steven Spielberg with a screenplay by Tony Kushner, is scheduled for release this winter.

This leaves only two previously-announced shows with no firm dates for the 2021-22 Broadway season: American Buffalo and Sing Street. 
Beanie Feldstein and
Taylor Trensch in
Hello, Dolly!
Credit: Julieta Cervantes 

But there may be an additional production opening this spring. A casting notice has been placed for the long-delayed revival of Funny Girl, stating the production to be directed by Michael Mayer will begin rehearsals Feb. 14 and commence performances on April 2, 2022. The casting notice states the leading roles of Fanny Brice and Nicky Arnstein have been cast. Rumors have been circulating that either Lady Gaga or Beanie Feldstein (Hello, Dolly, Ladybird) will take on the iconic lead role originated by Barbra Streisand. A previous revival starring Lauren Ambrose and directed by Bartlett Sher was scheduled for 2011, but investors pulled out at the last minute, forcing cancellation.

In stage-to-film news, Nick Jonas is headlining a film version of the 2005 Tony winning musical Jersey Boys (which will resume Off-Broadway performances Nov. 15.) There already is a Jersey
Boys movie, which was directed by Clint Eastwood and released in 2014. This new filmization will be directed by Des MacAnuff who staged the Broadway show and is planned for streaming services, bypassing
Nick Jonas 

In one more interesting development, the Broadway League has announced they will not be reporting weekly grosses of productions during the 2021-22 season. The group does plan to do so for 2022-23. League President Charlotte St. Martin had previously stated they would not announce grosses if there were not a full 52-week season.

2021-22 Broadway/Off-Broadway Season
Aug. 9--Merry Wives (Shakespeare in the Park/Delacorte)
Sept. 2--Hadestown (Walter Kerr); Waitress (Barrymore)
Sept. 3--Blue Man Group (Astor Place)
Sept. 12--Pass Over (August Wilson)
Sept. 14--Chicago (Ambassador); Hamilton (Richard Rodgers); The Lion King (Minskoff); Wicked (Gershwin)
Sept. 17--David Byrne's American Utopia (St. James)
Sept. 21--Little Shop of Horrors (Westside)
Sept. 22--Come from Away (Gerald Schoenfeld)
Sept. 24--Moulin Rouge (Al Hirschfeld)
Sept. 26--Tony Awards (CBS/Paramount +)
Sept. 28--Lackawanna Blues (MTC/Samuel Friedman); Aladdin (New Amsterdam)
Oct. 1--Diana premieres on Netflix
Oct. 3--Six (Brooks Atkinson)
Oct. 4--Letters of Suresh (Second Stage/Kiser); Sleep No More (McKittrick Hotel)
Oct. 5--To Kill a Mockingbird (Shubert)
Oct. 7--Freestyle Love Supreme (Booth)
Oct. 8--Tina: The Tina Turner Musical (Lunt-Fontanne)
Oct. 9--Gazillion Bubbles Show (New World Stages)
Oct. 10--Chicken and Biscuits (Circle In the Square)
Oct. 11--Is This A Room (Lyceum)
Oct. 13--Girl from the North Country (Belasco)
Oct. 14--The Lehman Trilogy (Nederlander)
Oct. 14--Fairycakes (previews begin; Greenwich House Theater)
Oct. 16--Ain't Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations (Imperial)
Oct. 17--Dana H. (Lyceum)
Oct. 21--Jagged Little Pill (Broadhurst); The Woman in Black (McKittrick Hotel)
Oct. 22--Phantom of the Opera (Majestic)
Oct. 27--Caroline or Change (Roundabout/Studio 54)
Oct. 31--Thoughts of a Colored Man (Golden)
Nov. 3--Morning Sun (MTC/City Center)
Nov. 5--The Book of Mormon (Eugene O'Neill)
Nov. 12--Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Lyric)
Nov. 15--Jersey Boys (New World Stages)
Nov. 17--Diana (Longacre)
Nov. 18--Trouble in Mind (Roundabout/AA)
Nov. 22--Clyde's (Second Stage/Hayes)
Dec. 5--Mrs. Doubtfire (Stephen Sondheim)
Dec. 9--Company (Bernard B. Jacobs)
Dec. 11--Dear Evan Hansen (Music Box)
Dec. 13--Flying Over Sunset (LCT/Vivian Beaumont)
Jan. 12, 2022--Skeleton Crew (MTC/Samuel J. Friedman)
Jan. 27--Intimate Apparel (LCT/Mitzi Newhouse)
Feb. 1--MJ: The Michael Jackson Musical (Neil Simon)
Feb. 10--The Music Man (Winter Garden)
March 20--Paradise Square (Barrymore)
March 28--Plaza Suite (Hudson)
April 4--Take Me Out (Second Stage/Hayes)
April 7--The Minutes (Studio 54)
April 10--Birthday Candles (Roundabout/AA)
April 14--To My Girls (Second Stage/Kiser)
April 19--How I Learned to Drive (MTC/Samuel J. Friedman)
May 17--Golden Shield (MTC/City Center)

Spring 2022 (dates TBA)
Funny Girl (possibly)
Romeo and Bernadette: A Musical Tale of Verona and Brooklyn (possibly)

No Dates Yet
(New Shows)
American Buffalo (Circle in the Square)
Sing Street

Fall 2022
1776 (Roundabout/AA)
Between Riverside and Crazy (Second Stage/Hayes)

Ain't Supposed to Die a Natural Death, The Piano Lesson


2023 and Beyond
Game of Thrones, The Great Gatsby

Future--Our Town; Death of a Salesman; Funny Girl; K-pop the Broadway Musical; The Nanny; The Normal Heart/The Destiny of Me; Smash; Some Like It Hot; Soul Train; The Who's Tommy

2021-22 Broadway Season Breakdown:
New Plays
Birthday Candles
Chicken and Biscuits
Dana H. (transfer from Off-Broadway)
Is This A Room (transfer from Off-Broadway)
The Lehman Trilogy (transfer from Off-Broadway)
The Minutes
Pass Over
Skeleton Crew (previously presented Off-Broadway in a different production)
Thoughts of a Colored Man

Play Revivals
American Buffalo
How I Learned to Drive
Lackawanna Blues (previously produced Off-Broadway)
Plaza Suite
Take Me Out
Trouble in Mind

New Musicals
Flying Over Sunset
Mrs. Doubtfire
Paradise Square
Romeo and Bernadette: A Musical Tale of Verona and Brooklyn (possibly)
Sing Street (transfer from Off-Broadway, possibly)

Musical Revivals
Caroline or Change
Funny Girl (possibly)
Waitress (return engagement)

Bruce Springsteen on Broadway (return engagement)
David Bryne's American Utopia (return engagement)
Freestyle Love Supreme (return engagement)

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