- February 2020
Pippin is a musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and a book by Roger O. Hirson. Bob Fosse, who directed the original Broadway production, also contributed to the libretto. The musical uses the premise of a mysterious performance troupe, led by a Leading Player, to tell the story of Pippin, a young prince on his search for meaning and significance.
The protagonist, Pippin, and his father, Charlemagne, derive their characters from two real-life individuals of the early Middle Ages, though the plot presents very little historical accuracy regarding either. The show was partially financed by Motown Records. As of July 2011, Pippin is the 31st longest-running Broadway show. Pippin was originally conceived by Stephen Schwartz as Pippin, Pippin, a student musical performed by Carnegie Mellon's Scotch'n'Soda theatre troupe.
According to musical theatre scholar Scott Miller in his 1996 book, From Assassins to West Side Story, "Pippin is a largely under-appreciated musical with a great deal more substance to it than many people realize...Because of its 1970s pop style score and a somewhat emasculated licensed version for amateur productions, which is very different from the original Broadway production, the show now has a reputation for being merely cute and harmlessly naughty; but if done the way director Bob Fosse envisioned it, the show is surreal and disturbing." Ben Vereen won a Tony Award for his portrayal of the Leading Player in the original Broadway production.
- May 2018
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is a 1962 play by Edward Albee. It examines the breakdown of the marriage of a middle-aged couple, Martha and George. After a university faculty party, they receive an unwitting younger couple, Nick and Honey, as guests late one evening and draw them into their bitter and frustrated relationship. The play is in three acts, normally taking a little less than three hours to perform, with two 10-minute intermissions. The title is a pun on the song "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?" from Walt Disney's The Three Little Pigs, substituting the name of the celebrated feminist English author Virginia Woolf. Martha and George repeatedly sing this version of the song throughout the play.
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? won both the 1963 Tony Award for Best Play and the 1962–'63 New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best Play. It is frequently revived on the modern stage. The film adaptation was released in 1966, written by Ernest Lehman, directed by Mike Nichols, and starring Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, George Segal and Sandy Dennis.
- March 2018
Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark is a 2011 rock musical with music and lyrics by U2's Bono and The Edge and a book by Julie Taymor, Glen Berger, and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa. The musical is based on the Spider-Man comics created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, published by Marvel Comics, as well as the 2002 film about the character, and the Greek myth of Arachne. It tells the story of the origin of the character, his romance with Mary Jane and his battles with the evil Green Goblin. The show includes highly technical stunts, such as actors swinging from "webs" and several aerial combat scenes.
In the year before it premiered, the show gained notoriety for its production troubles, related to both the difficulty of its stunts and frequent retooling of the book and score. Both rehearsals and previews went on longer than expected, and several actors were injured during the process. At the first preview performance, these technical challenges caused several lengthy interruptions. Previews were then suspended for a month in mid-2011 to overhaul the show after negative reviews from preview audiences and critics. Director Julie Taymor, whose vision had driven the musical, left the production at that time, and co-director Philip William McKinley was brought in to redirect portions of the show. The show ended up having the longest preview period in history.