BY BETH WOJCIECHOWSKI
This article will be published in The Review’s special magazine issue, set to be available on campus starting the week of April 24.
After an autumn filled with many show closings due to the lingering economic struggles from Broadway’s closure during the pandemic, Broadway has many new productions opening this spring, right in time to be considered for the 2023 Tony Awards, which will be broadcasted on June 11. Without further ado, let’s pull back the curtain and explore this spring’s Broadway openings.
The first revival of the musical “Parade” starring Michaela Diamond and Tony-winner Ben Platt opened at the Bernard B. Jacobs theater on March 16 to a standing-room-only crowd and rave reviews. The musical centers around the real-life 1913 trial of Leo Frank, a Jewish man who was accused of raping and killing a 13-year-old girl who works at the factory he manages. The production showcases the misinformation and corrupt testimonies given during the trial, and the eventual lynching of Frank by an angry mob.
The musical is more pertinent than ever as it deals with antisemitism, which is an issue that has grown steadily in the United States in the past few years, according to PBS. Despite the dark subject matter, “Parade” is quite hopeful and focuses on fighting against prejudice. The musical also features an original score by Tony Award winning composer Jason Robert Brown, who also composed the hit musical “The Last Five Years.” “Parade” is a limited engagement on Broadway, and will be closing its 18-week run this August.
“Sweeney Todd” first opened on Broadway in 1979 and has seen tons of revivals on the West End (the U.K.’s version of Broadway) and both on and off Broadway in the years since. The musical is set in Victorian-era London and centers around Sweeney Todd, who is referred to as “The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” and who uses his razor to kill unlucky customers at his barbershop. In a sick turn, Sweeney Todd sends the bodies of his victims to pie shop owner Mrs. Lovett who, predictably, bakes the victims into her pies. The hilariously macabre musical is written by the infamous Stephen Sondheim, and has won numerous awards in its 44 years.
The 2023 revival stars singer Josh Groban as Sweeney Todd and Tony-winning actress Annaleigh Ashford as Mrs. Lovett. Jordan Fisher, known for his past Broadway roles of Evan in “Dear Evan Hansen” and Laurens/Phillip in “Hamilton,” and Gaten Matarazzo, known as Dustin Henderson in Netflix’s “Stranger Things,” star alongside Groban. The musical has been in previews at the Lunt-Fontanne Theater since Feb. 28 and officially opened on March 26. This revival of the musical features a cast of over 25 people and a 26-piece orchestra.
“Once Upon a One More Time”
As evidenced by the title, this new musical exclusively features music from the one and only, Britney Spears. This show is completely new to Broadway, and centers around a Disney movie-esque fairytale world. However, unlike the fairytales that the show is based on, this musical shows the heroines of the fairytales being changed by a feminist awakening and finding their own voices – all to the soundtrack of Britney Spears’ greatest hits. The musical is projected to open in previews in May at the Marquis Theater.
“New York, New York”
Based on the 1970s Martin Scorsese film with the same title, the musical “New York, New York” is set in New York City right after the end of World War II and focuses on aspiring artists and musicians during the time period. While the musical does feature some widely known pre-existing songs such as “New York, New York,” it also highlights brand new songs written by Tony-Winner Lin-Manuel Miranda. The musical began previews at the St. James Theater on March 24 and will be officially opening on April 26.
“Bad Cinderella” is a new musical by “The Phantom of the Opera” composer Andrew Lloyd Webber. “Bad Cinderella” is a modern take on the classic fairytale “Cinderella,” and features a gothic cinderella as the town outcast, who the fairy godmother gives a plastic surgery makeover in order to win over Prince Charming. However, as the makeover disappears at midnight, Cinderella must realize the true meaning of beauty.
The musical is the first new Andrew Lloyd Webber musical to come to Broadway in almost 30 years, following the success of “The Phantom of the Opera,” which is, despite closing on April 16, Broadway’s longest-running show. “Bad Cinderella” opened at the Imperial Theatre on March 23.
With last-minute tickets ranging at an average of $20 off the full price, a couple hour train or car ride into the city can allow for university students to see a show.