news | ON BROADWAY
Broadway’s Next Bets
The stars and stories hitting stages soon BY SYLVIANE GOLD
The closing months of the 2016–17 season
brought a glut of extraordinary music and
dance to Broadway’s stages, and the superabun-
dance has left 2017–18 looking a bit anemic.
Partly it’s real estate—there are only so many
Broadway theaters; in June, nearly three dozen
were occupied. The only musical scheduled
to open this summer was Prince of Broadway.
A retrospective look at the life and legacy of
one of the American musical’s most influential
luminaries, producer/director Harold Prince,
it is co-directed by Prince and Susan Stroman,
and features numbers from his iconic shows—
they include West Side Story, Fiddler on the
Roof and Sweeney Todd. The rest of this new
season may not provide musicals with that kind
of success and staying power, but the hopefuls
are listed here in order of appearance. The usual
warnings apply—things could change between
press time and opening night—names, dates
and entire shows can disappear before the first
rehearsal. And it’s worth noting that the last
three Tony Awards for Best
Musical went to shows that
The Band’s Visit Based
on a 2007 movie about a
group of Egyptian musicians
who take the wrong bus
and land in a remote desert
backwater instead of the
Israeli city where they were supposed to per-
form, this was an off-Broadway hit last season
at the Atlantic Theater Company. It arrives
on Broadway with laurels from the New York
Drama Critics’ Circle, which named it best
musical, and again stars Tony
Shalhoub as the bandleader.
David Yazbek is the composer,
Itamar Moses wrote the book,
David Cromer directs and
Patrick McCollum does the
choreography. Starts Oct. 7 at
the Ethel Barrymore.
M. Butterfly The 1988 Tony
winner for best play, David Henry Hwang’s
drama about a French diplomat who falls for
a Chinese opera star is not, strictly speak-
ing, a musical. But this revival starring Clive
Owen earns a place here by dint of its director,
the extraordinary Julie Taymor, who won a
Tony for The Lion King; its composer, Elliot
Goldenthal, who wrote the score for American
Ballet Theatre’s Othello; and its
Tulsa-based Ma Cong, who was
one of Dance Magazine’s “ 25 to
Watch” in 2006. Starts Oct. 7.
SpongeBob SquarePants The
Starts Nov. 6 at the Palace.
eponymous hero and the other
underwater creatures of Bikini
Bottom swim from Nickelode-
on’s animated television series to the Broadway
stage in this pop-music anthology co-conceived
and directed by Tina Landau. Steven Tyler,
John Legend, Cyndi Lauper and David Bowie
are just a few of the stars contributing to the
score and giving choreographer
Christopher Gattelli a mul-
titude of styles to play with.
Once on This Island When a
show begins with a song called
“We Dance,” you know the
choreography will be important. For this revival of the 1990
Caribbean-flavored musical by Lynn Ahrens
and Stephen Flaherty, the assignment falls to
Camille A. Brown, whose Black Girl: Linguistic
Play was nominated for a 2016 Bessie Award.
Michael Arden, who did the 2015 sign-language
revival of Spring Awakening, is the director.
Starts Nov. 9 at Circle in the Square.
Escape to Margaritaville Inspired by
Jimmy Buffett’s 1977 hit song about a beach
bum “wasting away again in Margaritaville,”
the show relocates the Come From Away
team—Tony-winning director Christopher
Ashley and Tony-nominated choreographer
Kelly Devine—to a different kind of island.
This one’s a tropical resort, and Buffett’s
patented flip-flop songs are both old and new.
Starts Feb. 16 at the Marquis.
at La Jolla