Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Broadway And Musical Revivals

That's right theatre fans. Right now there are eight musical revivals currently running on the Great White Way with two more set to open in the Spring. They are Bye Bye Birdie,Chicago,Finian's Rainbow,Hair,A Little Night Music,Ragtime,South Pacific,West Side Story, Promises, Promises, and La Cage aux Folles. Quite a lineup.Let's take a look at each one.

Chicago-Broadway's longest running revival first premiered back in 1975. Now while the show was very well received it was overshadowed by A Chorus Line and ran less then two years. It wasn't until twenty-one years later when it was brought back to life by the Encores! theatre series and went on to become of the most acclaimed shows in years. It was quickly moved to Broadway and the rest is history. Three theatres and thirteen years later it is still going strong. Not bad for a show with no sets or special effects.

Bye Bye Birdie-This new productions marks the first Broadway revival since the original 1960 production. The show which did not receive the greatest reviews is actually selling very well and has recently extended it's run into April 2010. I guess the show is more popular than anyone thought. The truth is there are very few shows on Broadway that the whole family can enjoy. This happens to be one of them.

Finian's Rainbow-Who would have thought that a sixty-two year old show would be one of this season's most well received productions? The show which premiered on Broadway in 1947 was like Chicago revived at Encores! to critical acclaim earlier this year. How long the show lasts is anyone guess. I personally did not see it. It seemed a little hokey for my tastes. It seems to have an audience so time will tell how long it will be around.

Hair-One of my favorite shows from last season was an unexpected surprise for me. Yes I knew a couple of the songs going in but never did I expect to be as moved as I was by this production. The show which won the Tony Award for Best Musical revival is a must see and can be enjoyed by people of all generations.

A Little Night Music-The first Broadway revival of one of Stephen Sondheims most loved musicals stars five time Tony Award winner Angela Lansbury and Academy Award winner Catherine Zeta-Jones in her Broadway debut. Now except for Company and Sunday in the Park with George I usually find his other work to be boring. But who cares what I think. Ticket sales are going thru the roof for the show since it was first announced. The big question is what will the critics think. We will soon find out.

Ragtime-Now I'll admit I didn't care for Ragtime the first time it was here back in 1998. Now while I loved most of the songs I just found it to be long and boring. Brian Stokes Mitchell and Audra McDonald being out that night probably didn't help. The reviews for this new production were quite good and as of now it seems to be selling very well. Most people think that this will be the show to beat come Tony time.

South Pacific-Now almost two years into it's run South Pacific is still going strong. I loved the show and am so happy that it is back on Broadway where it belongs once again. The show which like most on this list won the Tony Award for Best Revival continues to pack them in eight times a week at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre. It is a must see.

West Side Story-The movie has been a personal favorite of mine for over twenty years. When it was first announced that the show was coming back to Broadway after a near thirty year hiatus I was very excited. Finally I was going to get the chance to see a live production of one of my favorite shows. I have to say I was slightly disappointed by the production. Now don't get me wrong. The energy on that stage was electric and every performer was giving their all. I just felt it could have been a lot better. I blame the director on that one. Not the cast.

Promises, Promises-To be honest I don't really know a lot about the show except what I have read and that it is based on the Oscar winning movie The Apartment. I do like some of the songs and I hope the show is as good as people have said it is. This new revival stars Emmy Award winners Sean Hayes(Will and Grace)and Kristen Chenoweth(Pushing Daises. I can't wait to see it. I just worry that the Broadway Theatre is too big for this little show. I hope I am wrong.

La Cage aux Folles-Last but not least is La Cage. The show which won the 1984 Tony Award for Best Musical was last seen on Broadway in 2005. Although that production won the Tony for Best Revival it did not have a long run and was a financial flop. This production is based on the award winning London production which is still playing. Douglas Hodge who won an Olivier Award for his performance as Albin will make his Broadway debut. It was just announced that Emmy Award winner Kelsey Grammer has joined the cast as George. I thought the last revival was fine. Not sure what to expect with this one but I am willing to give it a chance.

So there you are. Ten revivals on Broadway. I can't recall there ever being that many on Broadway at the same time. Which one will you see?

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