- January 2019
Wicked is a musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and a book by Winnie Holzman. It is based on the 1995 Gregory Maguire novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, a parallel novel of the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz and L. Frank Baum's classic story The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The musical is told from the perspective of the witches of the Land of Oz; its plot begins before and continues after Dorothy's arrival in Oz from Kansas and includes several references to the 1939 film and Baum's novel. Wicked tells the story of two unlikely friends, Elphaba and Glinda, who struggle through opposing personalities and viewpoints, rivalry over the same love-interest, reactions to the Wizard's corrupt government, and, ultimately, Elphaba's public fall from grace.
Produced by Universal Pictures in coalition with Marc Platt and David Stone, the Joe Mantello–directed and Wayne Cilento–choreographed original production of Wicked premiered on Broadway at the Gershwin Theatre in October 2003, after completing pre-Broadway SHN tryouts at San Francisco's Curran Theatre in May 2003. Its original stars included Idina Menzel as Elphaba, Kristin Chenoweth as Glinda, and Joel Grey as the Wizard. The original Broadway production won three Tony Awards and six Drama Desk Awards whilst its cast album received a Grammy Award. It has since celebrated its ninth anniversary on October 30, 2012, and played for 3,886 performances, making Wicked the 12th longest-running Broadway show in history.
- December 2018
Cats is a musical composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber, based on Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot. The musical tells the story of a tribe of cats called the Jellicles and the night they make what is known as "the Jellicle choice" and decide which cat will ascend to the Heaviside Layer and come back to a new life. Cats also introduced the song standard "Memory".
Directed by Trevor Nunn and choreographed by Gillian Lynne, Cats first opened in the West End in 1981 and then with the same creative team on Broadway in 1982. It won numerous awards, including Best Musical at both the Laurence Olivier Awards and the Tony Awards. The London production ran for twenty-one years and the Broadway production ran for eighteen years, both setting . Actresses Elaine Paige and Betty Buckley became particularly associated with the musical. One actress, Marlene Danielle, performed in the Broadway production for its entire run.
Cats is the second longest-running show in Broadway history, and the fourth longest-running West End musical. It has been performed around the world many times and has been translated into more than 20 languages. In 1998, Cats was turned into a made-for-television film.
- November–December 2018
Godspell is a musical by Stephen Schwartz and a book by John-Michael Tebelak. It opened off Broadway on May 17, 1971, and has played in various touring companies and revivals many times since, including a 2011 revival which played on Broadway from October 13, 2011 to June 24, 2012. Several cast albums have been released over the years and one of its songs, "Day by Day" from the original cast album, reached #13 on the Billboard pop singles chart in the summer of 1972.
The structure of the musical is that of a series of parables, based on the Gospel of Matthew. These are then interspersed with a variety of modern music set primarily to lyrics from traditional hymns, with the passion of Christ treated briefly near the end of the performance. It started as a college project performed by students at Carnegie Mellon University and moved to La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club in Greenwich Village. It was then re-scored for an off-Broadway production which became a long-running success. A junior one-act version with some songs removed has also been made under the title Godspell Junior.
- November 2018
Jesus Christ Superstar is a rock opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber with lyrics by Tim Rice. The musical started as a rock opera concept recording before its first staging on Broadway in 1971. The musical is based very loosely on the Gospels' accounts of the last week of Jesus' life, beginning with the preparation for the arrival of Jesus and his disciples in Jerusalem and ending with the crucifixion. It highlights political and interpersonal struggles between Judas Iscariot and Jesus, struggles that are not in the Bible. The resurrection is not included. It therefore largely follows the form of a traditional passion play.
The work's depiction offers a free interpretation of the psychology of Jesus and the other characters. A large part of the plot focuses on the character of Judas, who is depicted as a tragic figure dissatisfied with the direction in which Jesus steers his disciples. Contemporary attitudes and sensibilities as well as slang pervade the lyrics and ironic allusions to modern life are scattered throughout the depiction of political events. Stage and film productions accordingly feature many intentional anachronisms.