The Spring Slate of Shows I'm Stoked For (Yes, All of These)

With the official opening of All The Way last night, let’s get this (three-month long span of time where I’m exhausted, broke and have no social life outside of theatre friends) party started! In a surprising turn of events, I am excited for nearly every show hitting the stage this spring, for one reason or another. No, really, instead of being all, “oh, that could be great” or “I’ll see this,” I have been clamoring over my desk for the last few weeks, saving every penny because OH EM GOD you guys, so much potential. Just how we like it. Hit it shows and don't skip a beat!

The "I’m so Excited, I can Barely Type the Following Without SQUEE-ING” Shows

Tales from Red Vienna
Kind of cheating because I already saw it twice, in like, its first week of previews, but to say I was giddy for this post-WWI tale would be a colossal understatement. Where else are we going to get a widowed Nina Arianda - the flawless goddess being flawless, that she is - whoring herself out and #Esperanda on stage (Michael Esper + Nina Arianda, for the unfamiliar)? Nowhere, but here...that's where.

Daniel Radcliffe, You Guys!
Jasper in Deadland
I pretty much covered all of the bases back when I saw the 54 Below concert of Jasper and time has not diminished on my excitement for the show. Matt Doyle’s casting is a pleasant surprise in the title role, but it is all about Ryan Scott Oliver finally getting a full production outside of these snippets and YouTube videos here and there. Cannot. Wait.

To this day, people talk about the last revival of Cabaret like the legendary show it was. And for those too young to see Cabaret during its six-year run (meaning, myself), I’m looking forward to getting that glimpse of nostalgia with Alan Cumming (!!!) reprising his Tony Award-winning role. Sam Mendes, one of my all-time favorite film directors {American Beauty, Away We Go, Revolutionary Road}, is back in the director’s chair after The Vertical Hour hit Broadway 7+ years ago. Combined with one of my favorite Kander & Ebb scores and one of my all-time favorite scores in general, I mean…the proof is in the pudding.

The Cripple of Inishmaan
A late entry into the season, but talk about a “must-see.” With raves from across the pond for Michael Grandage’s direction of Martin McDonagh’s gritty Irish play, and with Daniel Radcliffe willing to cut a bitch to be a Tony nominee after being snubbed twice, I’m willing to cut a bitch for a ticket. The things I will do to be world cultured…and for our dear, sweet Daniel.

More then any other Disney musical, I have been waiting for a stage-adaptation of Aladdin since I first watched my brother’s VHS tape and started memorizing the lyrics to “A Whole New World” (Jasmine’s part, in case you were wondering). Enough said.

The “These Shows Could Also Be Quite Spectacular and I Am, Nonetheless, Fangurling Hard” Shows (Or something; these titles are really pretentious, I know).

Mothers and Sons
For a story addressing the lifestyle of a gay married couple with a child, I gotta love Terrence McNally going the topical route and with a coded “Fuck You” to places where marriage equality is not a staple. I can’t stop thinking about how great this show could be. If anything, Tyne Daly is gonna put on a clinic and Bobby Steggert gets to wash away...whatever the hell he was doing in Big Fish.

Hedwig and the Angry Inch
I’m more excited for the actual show then the above-the-marquee actor starring in it - Hedwig hasn’t been seen on stage in forever and my only point of reference for the show is the movie starring John Cameron Mitchell - but Neil Patrick Harris, undoubtedly, is gonna knock it out of the park and I NEED Michael Mayer to reclaim his stake as one of theatre’s finest directors. Don’t let me down, boys.

The Library
If I had to take a bet as to what production has the potential to be utterly bonkers, it would be this Public Theater production. Sure, a school shooting drama is nothing to laugh at, but the creative team of Scott Z. Burns and Steven Soderberg is so random and epic, that my intrigue level is at its maximum. Do these two know that the Public is not a cinema and it is, in fact, live theatre? You wouldn’t know it based on their writing and directing credits, respectively. Expect pyrotechnics and gunfire, possibly a carjacking.

Heathers: The Musical
I’d complain about the surplus of movies-adapted-into-musicals, but honestly, I love Heathers and I’m thinking this musical incarnate - direct from a sold-out run in California - will be dark, snarchy and angst-tastic fun. A shout-out is in order to Barrett Wilbert Weed, a standout from the short-lived Bare: The Musical. Her casting as Veronica is almost too good to be true…expect her to BRING. IT.

I call Violet for being the sleeper hit of the season. It just seems like all of the other musicals, new and revival, are garnering more attention and advanced sales and I just want to yell out in the middle of Times Square, “HELLO! Have you not heard of the perfection that is Jeanine Tesori?” And girl is on a hot streak having just composed Fun Home. True, Sutton Foster is never a casting choice that will excite me, but JOSHUA HENRY and his miles of talent and Colin Donnell, coming off an amazing performance as Berowne in this past summer's Love’s Labour’s Lost, are two performers that belong on stage, if not, in our beds.

The “Sure, Why Not” Shows

Les Miserables
Les Miserable is back! never went away, just saying. But Ramin Karimloo’s Broadway debut is long overdue and he is going balls-to-the-wall with the character acting. Like, on a scale from 1-to-Christian Bale, he’s a solid 8.5. And how about the rest of the cast? Will Swenson, Caissie Levy (!!!), Nikki M. James, Andy Mientus (!!!), Keale Settle, oh my!

Bullets Over Broadway
With Big Fish still looming in memory (and with the name Woody Allen not exactly worth discussing openly), a part of me is not looking forward to another Susan Stroman extravangaza. But let’s be honest; Bullets Over Broadway is right up her alley and we know she will nail it with her classic, nostalgic, The Producers-schtick. Not my cup of tea, but assembling Zach Braff’s Broadway debut with Marin Mazzie and the darling Betsy Wolfe and who knows…maybe I’ll like something of Stroman’s other then The Scottsboro Boys.

Of Mice and Men
Not a John Steinbeck fan, especially when it comes to Of Mice and Men, but the idea of a stoned, psychotic James Franco cavorting about on stage, claiming artistry supremacy, is life-making. I expect him to trip, stumble and fall off stage into the audience one or four times. I’ve read reports that he is excited and so should we. Plus, Anna D. Shapiro is directing and I can’t recall her ever really misstepping. I thought she would be represented with Domesticated’s Broadway run - and who knows, maybe that is coming down the pike - but I’ll take her vision on stage anywhere I can get it.

When your production’s out-of-town tryout is on the softer side, talk about a make-or-break, “the show must go on” optimism that it can work out the kinks before the curtain opens on Broadway. Not an enviable position, but I hope they get their shit together. Adele Kazeem Idina Menzel is back in her first post-Wicked Broadway role and coming off a pretty good performance at the Oscars. You know she can handle the Tom Kitt Ballads O’Feelz…and speaking of which, TOM KITT! I’m always pulling for you, Bro…and I’m so happy to have some original music from you as we wait for the next Pitch Perfect film that you will hopefully be composing/arranging for because why not because that shit was impeccable the first go-around.

Photo Credit: Johan Persson

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