6 Spring Shows I Anticipate Will Rise Above the Masses

Looking ahead at the spring season, I can’t help but be a little underwhelmed. On the one hand, considering last year had an unprecedented amount of highly-anticipated shows going for it, my expectations are probably a little too unrealistic. And the benefit of low expectations now is that some shows may sneak-attack themselves into my theatre-loving heart, so there’s that!

BUT on the other hand, we have like 43 new musicals, nearly all of which I can’t work up any fucks for, and of all the shows I am excited to see, two of them I’ve already seen previous versions of (My fault? Nah). C’mon Broadway and Off-Broadway, step up your game! Don’t let this past fall do all of the hard work.

Skylight, opens April 2nd at the Golden Theatre

I am ready to eat my words, but l am going to officially say this here and now: this production is gonna take Broadway by storm. I caught a National Theatre Live broadcast last Fall, fell under the show’s spell, saw a re-broadcast, loved it some more and I compulsively check my area for more showings (going as far as contemplating driving hundreds of miles out of state for another Skylight fix). Point is, this show is the real deal and I want need to see it in person and maybe another five times after that. It’s the first revival of David Hare’s piece about class differences in England in the mid-90’s, as depicted through two people who reunite one night to hash things out after their affair was exposed several years earlier. In addition to Hare’s thought-provoking and succinct writing, Carey Mulligan, Bill Nighy (a role he played in London 18 years ago) and Matthew Beard are giving world-class performances and can stake their claims to the top of the awards races. I’m ready to just give the routing number to my savings account to Skylight so it can take me for everything I’m worth...might as well get it over with.

Hand to God, opens April 7th at the Booth Theatre

Flashback to 2014 after seeing over a hundred shows On and Off-Broadway. Want to take a guess at which ultra-hit, critics pick everything, sold-out show I missed? Hand to God, of course! Needless to say, I’m glad that anyone (myself included) who missed MCC Theater’s Off-Broadway run last year is happy to get a second chance. Plus, it is a demonic sock puppet, dark comedy…all of mankind is obligated to show up just for that bonkers descriptor alone.

Fun Home, opens April 19th at the Circle in the Square Theatre

When Fun Home, the musical-adaptation of Allison Bechdel’s autobiographical graphic novel about coming to terms with her sexuality and her relationship with her father, was extended at the Public Theater, I caught the show and thought it was…great? I mean, I was...satisfied? It isn’t the best show in the history of everything, but it has a lot going for it. To date, it is the only show where I tolerated, let alone liked, Sam Gold’s direction and, like she is one to do every single fucking time, Jeanine Tesori killed it with the music. A part of me is excited for Fun Homes Broadway bout because maybe a return visit will result in me LOVING this show like seemingly everyone else does. Regardless of where I stand, the show earns its place in the Broadway pantheon and I’ll take "Off-Broadway Hit plus Off-The-Beaten Path Concept for a Broadway musical” over most anything else.

The Visit, opens April 23rd at the Lyceum Theatre

The more I think about the fact that I love most people on The Visit’s creative team, from John Kander and Fred Ebb (the music to Cabaret, Chicago and The Scottsboro Boys all being personal favorites of mine) to book-writer Terrence McNally, the more excited I am for The Visit’s long overdue arrival (some 15 years in the making). And the cast of Chita Rivera (DIVA LEGEND!!!), Roger Rees, Jason Danieley, Mary Beth Peil and Rick Holmes is nothing to scoff at. In fact, looking at this season’s potential for dark horses, I think The Visit has the most potential. Or at least more then Gigi or It Shoulda Been You.

Airline Highway, opens April 23rd at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre

Not much to say here other then (1) I’m definitely seeing Airline Highway to add another stamp on my Joe Mantello passport (2) it’s about time Lisa D’Amour made her Broadway debut (even though I’m shocked it is not with Detroit) and (3) I tend to like (if not, LOVE) more Manhattan Theatre Club productions of original plays (Constellations, Casa Valentina, Outside Mullingar, The Assembled Parties, The Other Place, Venus in Fur) then I dislike them {The Country House, The Snow Geese, The Columnist}.

Grounded, opens April 23rd at the Public Theater

The return of Julie Taymor is reason enough to see anything, even if she were to direct a show about the wonders of cauliflower or some shit. And regardless of how you feel about Anne Hathaway’s talents (for the record, I do kind of like her), you can’t say she didn’t choose an interesting platform for her Off-Broadway return or that she’s not a good ambassador for theatre. Personally, I would love to be a fly on the wall when these two titans are collaborating during rehearsal. Not just because Julie, for all of her talents, is utterly cray cray, but their dynamic is probably reminiscent of Miranda Priestly and Andy from The Devil Wears Prada.

Photo Credit: Benjamin McMahon and John Haynes

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