While musicals have license for unbridled imagination to reach the most extravagant of conceits (and we thank them for that), sometimes they can have the most profound effects when they’re brought down to ground-zero reality. The crushingly intimate John & Jen takes a magnifying glass to the relationship of a brother and sister who grow up (and apart) during the tumultuous 1960s and 70s. The revival of this two-hander by Andrew Lippa and Tom Greenwald is the rare musical that takes the time to examine the relationship between two sole characters, doing so to an impressively deep degree. Read more
Self esteem and high school glory are once again on the line when it’s time for the big game in Volleygirls. The new musical by Rob Ackerman, Eli Bolin, and Sam Forman, playing as part of NYMF through July 27 at the Signature Center, focuses on a team of six insecure high school volleyball players and their equally hapless coach. Coach Kim Brindell (played by [title of show]’s Susan Blackwell) is a disgraced Olympian who gets a chance at redemption when she is charged with shaking the team from their dismal losing streak. Yet the girls’ road to victory is smattered with mommy issues, daddy issues, sexual identity crisis and more. Both coach and teammates will have to pull each other out of their emotional mire to go for the gold. Read more
Bella’s Dream, the debut play from Dana Boll, which runs through June 30 at the Flamboyan Theatre, follows the globetrotting journey of her grandparents as they flee Poland on the eve of the Nazi occupation. Prompted by a premonition of impending danger, Bella (Lisa Kathryn Hokans) convinces her husband Raymond (Jon-Michael Miller) to uproot their lives to avoid the impending war in Europe. The play chronicles the couple’s harrowing journey across Eastern Europe and Central Asia, while flashing forward to present day America, when their granddaughter (Boll, playing herself) discovers the truth about her grandparents’ experience during World War II. Read more
The hardknock life of Americans battered down by lean financial times gets the musical treatment in the new show Hands on a Hardbody. Composed by Trey Anastasio (of Phish phame) and Amanda Green with a book by Doug Wright, Hardbody adapts its story from the 1997 documentary about 10 Texans trying to win a pickup truck. The rules of the contest are simple: whoever keeps their hands on the truck the longest wins. The musical dramatizes the endurance competition while highlighting each of the contestants’ backstories. Read more
Get transported into a noir-ish New York City in Derek Ahonen’s twisty new crime thriller The Bad and the Better. The Lang Brothers, whose family tree is deeply rooted in the NYPD, both investigate New York’s murky underbelly from different sides. On their respective investigations into anarchist groups and mysterious suburban murders, each uncovers corrupt secrets that will change their lives forever.
The No. 1 Reason To See The Bad and the Better: The shocking plot twists Read more
Evita hasn’t been seen on Broadway in over 30 years, but this Andrew Lloyd Webber classic is making up for it now with a grand-scale revival starring Ricky Martin, Elena Roger, and Michael Cerveris. Roger, who is Argentinian herself, portrays the controversial first lady of Argentina through her humble beginnings as a commoner, rising to become the internationally famous wife of President Juan Peron, to her early death from cancer.
The No. 1 Reason To See Evita: The opulence of the Casa Rosada Read more
It is not a happy time for the “Get Happy” singer. In the new play End of the Rainbow, Tracie Bennett plays the unraveling Judy Garland, just six months before her fatal overdose. The famous singer and actress is in London with her piano accompanist and fiancé (this will be marriage no. 5) and barely well enough to perform the series of concerts for which she is contracted. Prescription drugs and booze leave her unable to perform, performing leaves her craving prescription drugs and booze, and the two men overseeing her are left scrambling to pick up the pieces of her disintegrating life and career.
The No. 1 Reason To See End of the Rainbow: The story of a great performer begetting a great performance Read more
The year might be 1960, but not much has changed in the arena of dirty politickin’ in this revival of Gore Vidal’s The Best Man. Eric McCormack and John Larroquette face off as two party candidates vying for the presidential primary nomination. Each has a handful of dirt to throw and heavyweights like James Earl Jones, Angela Lansbury, Candice Bergen, Michael McKean, and Kerry Butler have gathered to watch.
The No. 1 Reason To See The Best Man: John Larroquette’s struggle with the dark side of politics Read more
The most raucous version of Sunday mass is back on Broadway with the new revival of Jesus Christ Superstar. Andrew Lloyd webber and Tim Rice’s rock opera has been brought back to the stage with a rock-concert-meets-CNN look by director Des McAnuff and a cast full of Broadway debuts.
The No. 1 Reason To See Jesus Christ Superstar: Jesus and Judas extending over the audience during “Superstar” Read more
Broadway musicals have been a home for many heroes throughout history and this season is ushering in a whole bunch of them in the tightly-wound package of Newsies. The new Disney musical based on the 1992 movie tells the story of orphan boys in 1899 New York who, in spite of their destitute existence, demonstrate true power in numbers. When newspaper mogul Joseph Pulitzer raises newspaper prices, the newsboys who sell the headlines, led by Jack Kelly (Jeremy Jordan), form their own union and go on strike.
The No. 1 Reason To See Newsies: The earnest on-stage camaraderie Read more