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Looking Forward: The 2010-11 Broadway Season in a (Crowded) Nutshell

With the 2009-10 season (mercifully?) behind us, it’s time to look at what’s headed to the stage next season. The outlook? Sunny with a chance of jukebox musicals. Read on.

The Confirmed

Anything Goes
It’s almost impossible not to love Sutton Foster. Which is probably what the Roundabout is banking on next season, with its upcoming revival of Anything Goes. In these trying theatrical times, when every show is stunt-cast to the gills with shaky Brooke Sheildses and warble-y Lauren Grahams, Sutton is a genuine, big-singing musical theater item. We’re blissed out to see her name above the title. We’re just hoping that she isn’t the only good thing about this production.

Love Never Dies
Yeah, it’s going to be awful. But is there any purer joy on earth than a truly awful musical? We don’t mean a musical that’s just sort of mildly crappy and off the mark. We’re talking like, straight up Dance of the Vampires, Thou Shalt Not-calibre awesome/awfulness. Who besides Andrew Lloyd Webber is ballsy enough—and rich enough—to attempt something this over the top? To legitimately convince us that Christine Daae, that lovely idiot, in an orgasmic musical stupor, somehow managed to get herself knocked up by a deformed, psychotic former music teacher who likes it with the lights off? Give us a break. But we’ll be the first ones in line, eagerly clutching our ticket stubs—especially if we get a Strallen sister in the bargain.

Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark
The punchline of this whole thing—the endless delays, the mind-boggling budget—is that Julie Taymor’s overblown take on Spidey is probably going to be both awesome and wildly successful. It doesn’t say a whole lot, but the casting of Jennifer Damiano as Mary Jane is a small indicator that the creators of Spider-Man aren’t doing massive piles of drugs and are, in fact, interested in putting on a real Broadway musical. Or attempting to anyway. If only Bono knew anything about melody.

The Probable

Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson
Our love for this show is no secret. Its off-Broadway incarnation was our favorite show of the season, and we’re eagerly awaiting its transfer uptown. At the moment, however, the only fly in the ointment is the will-he-be-available rumor mill that’s churning in regards to the show’s leading man, Benjamin Walker.  Unfortunately, no matter how many talented actors there are in New York City—or the world—it’s almost impossible for us to imagine anyone else inhabiting those tight britches nearly as well.

Catch Me if You Can
We’re excited about Catch Me if You Can. And no, it’s not because of the production snapshots featuring Aaron Tveit in a tiny bathing suit. Okay, maybe that’s part of it. Mostly, though, it’s because of Norbert Leo Butz. (And hopefully, this will stay open longer than Enron.) It’s been a few years since Norbert has done the musical thang, and Carl Hanratty seems like the perfect vehicle for him.

Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Look out, boys: Immigration. The return of Frau Hedwig to NYC was, we will admit, one of the most surprising announcements of recent months—and one of the happiest. With the incredible success of the 2001 film, John Cameron Mitchell’s tiny little show seems suddenly big enough for Broadway. We can only dream of how the new version will be staged. (Will Hedwig have finally achieved fame and fortune? Will this truly be her Broadway debut, after wallowing downtown for all these years?) But we trust that this shows’s smart creators have something good in store.

Leap of Faith
Fact: Anything starring Raul Esparza flies immediately to the top our ‘must-see’ list. Which is saying something, considering that the film version of Leap of Faith could save us some considerable bank and a trip to Midtown. And also because we’re pretty sure this show is a lot like Anyone Can Whistle. Without Sondheim. Or Sutton Foster. Or enduring and famous songs. But Raul alone can get us to the theater, and who knows, the 2010-11 season might be his Tony-winning year. Or something…

Yank! a WWII Love Story
Watching Yank! at the York Theatre last season, it was easy to imagine what the show could do with a big stage, a real set and room to project. Now its’ getting that chance, and with David Cromer at the helm—and Bobby Steggert more or less confirmed for the lead—we’re hoping that some of Yank’s weaker elements (How many tap numbers can a girl stand?) firm up or fall by the wayside. You know, like that dream ballet. Hint hint.

The Wildly Speculative

Of all the new musicals we’ve heard about, rumored and real, none in the last few years have captured our imaginations quite like this one. An updated retelling of Sleeping Beauty with music by Regina Spektor and a book by Tina Landau, this seems like the ultimate recipe for both progressive Broadway cool and passionate fangirl devotion. If it ever happens. But how excited are we for a musical about an independent-minded princess being wooed by a smart, thoughtful prince? For unabashed romance with a rock score and a near-guarantee of at least one cute boy in the cast? Basically, we’ve been fantasy casting this on a daily basis since its existence was announced nearly a year ago. And we know he’s a little occupied right now, but our smart/thoughtful compasses do indeed point straight at John Gallagher Jr.

It was supposed to happen, first with Jonathan Groff and then with Gavin Creel. (Sound familiar?) But neither of those casting wet dreams ever came true. The former never played the lead in this Steven Schwartz musical because he dropped out of the show before it even began, and the latter because the show dropped out from under him. We still have high hopes—and a major soft spot—for this troubled revival of Godspell, though. And as recently as December, the producers were talking about mounting it for the 2010-11 season. Plus, Gavin’s version of “God Save the People” is too excellent to not have a healthy, continuing life on Broadway. We’re not holding our collective breath, but we can think of at least two Broadway houses that look awfully dark and lonely right now. Just sayin.

The Stuff We Kind of Don’t Care About

The Book of Mormon
Wait, don’t tell us. It’s going to be insulting! When South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker announced that they were writing a musical, we were less than surprised. But with Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson already (sort of) on the roster for next season, we’re already feeling a little farced out. Are there things that could change our minds? Like Cheyenne Jackson, for example? Maybe.

Priscilla Queen of the Desert
We like Will Swenson a lot. But we can’t shake the idea that this Aussie import is going to look and sound a whole lot like La Cage, right down to its color palate. (We’re calling it “overstated citrus.”)

Unchain My Heart
Ray Charles’s music is iconic on its own, and the film Ray popularized it all over again. We’re just not sure how we feel about shoehorning a story around it.

Sister Act
Wait, you mean…Sister Act without Dame Maggie Smith and Kathy Najimy, or that kid from the second one who sang like an angel and went on to join City High?  Seriously?  You want us to sit through that?  Sorry, but this is an instance in which Netflix wins.  ‘Cause we can stream that flick straight into our apartments in .02 seconds, save a lot of dough and see a more exciting cast.

{ 1 comment… add one }

  • David August 17, 2010, 1:27 am

    Don’t rule out Love Never Dies as being truly awful – I saw it in London after they made adjustments (after the mixed reviews) and was pretty impressed. Ramin Karimloo has a hell of a set of pipes on him as Phantom (and “Til I Hear You Sing” shows them off tremendously) and overall it seems a much more ‘sophisticated’ musical than Phantom (although there is the inevitable ALW synth-based horrificly out of place song, this time “The Beauty Underneath”). I thoroughly enjoyed it and will be intrigued to see the new production on Broadway.

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