WITH PAT COLLINS
Samuel J. Friedman Theater
Opening: January 19th
I had the privilege of seeing a splendid Off-Broadway production of August Wilson’s play 17 years ago. Despite positive reviews Jitney did not transfer to Broadway—the only play in his Pittsburgh Cycle which was not produced on Broadway until now.
Under the direction of Ruben Santiago-Hudson Jitney is scheduled to open at the Manhattan Theater Club’s Samuel J. Friedman Theater. The play focuses on a group of African-American gypsy cab drivers in 1970’s Pittsburgh. The revival’s cast is comprised of seven actors who appeared in Mr. Wilson’s plays over the years. One of the veteran performers, Stephen McKinley Henderson, co-stars in the new film version of Mr. Wilson’s Fences directed by Denzel Washington. Mr. Santiago-Hudson won a Tony award for his performance in Mr. Wilson’s Seven Guitars and co-starred in Gem Of The Ocean and The Piano Lesson. Given his expertise he is well prepared to bring Jitney at long last to Broadway.
A COMEDY OF TENORS
Opening: February 1st
Four tenors, 2 wives, 3 girlfriends, and one hotel suite. What can go wrong? Everything in Ken Ludwig’s sequel to his hilarious play Lend Me A Tenor. The Papermill Playhouse production set in 1930’s Paris is directed by Don Stephenson.
The comedy team of Nick Kroll and John Mulaney will not say goodbye to Broadway January 8 but will extend its stay at the Lyceum Theater through January 22nd. Mr. Kroll has a small but significant role in the critically acclaimed film Loving.
THE BEST OF BROADWAY 2016
Here is my list of the best plays, musicals and performances for 2016. (Note: Hamilton opened in 2015 and therefore is not listed.)
REVIVAL OF A PLAY: DRAMA
REVIVAL OF A PLAY: COMEDY
The Front Page
Dear Evan Hansen
REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL
She Loves Me and Falsettos
Frank Langella The Father
Sophie Okonedo The Crucible
Ben Platt Dear Evan Hansen
Jesse Mueller Waitress
The Humans and The Front Page
She Loves Me and Dear Evan Hansen
Additional Outstanding Performances
Christian Borle and Andrew Rannells Falsettos
Nick Cordero A Bronx Tale Josh Groban The Great Comet of 1812
Hudson Loverro (The young Calogero) A Bronx Tale
Note: Missing from the list is Shuffle Along. I was out of town during its unexpectedly short run.
THE WORST OF BROADWAY 2016
Cirque de Soleil’s Paramour
Bette Midler and David Hyde Pierce in a revival of Hello Dolly. Previews begin March 15th.
Two time Oscar winner Sally Field makes her Broadway debut February 7th playing Amanda Wingfield in a revival of Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie.
The Prince Of Broadway: Harold Prince—the most awarded (21) director/producer—will helm a musical retrospective of his career with Susan Stroman as choreographer and co-director. William Ivey Long is designing the costumes. Previews are expected to begin August 3rd.
Kevin Kline Returns to Broadway: It’s been a while—ten years to be exact—since Mr. Kline last appeared on a Broadway stage. The Oscar winner and recipient of two Tony’s (The Twentieth Century and The Pirates Of Penzance) stars in a revival of Noel Coward’s Present Laughter opening April 5th at the St. James Theater.
Tony winner Glenn Close returns to Broadway in a revival of Sunset Boulevard. Previews begin February 2nd.