- September 2019
All My Sons is a 1947 play by Arthur Miller. The play was twice adapted for film; in 1948, and again in 1987.
The play opened on Broadway at the Coronet Theatre in New York City on January 29, 1947, closed on November 8, 1947 and ran for 328 performances. It was directed by Elia Kazan and won the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award, beating Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh. It starred Ed Begley, Beth Miller, Arthur Kennedy, and Karl Malden and won both the Tony Award for Best Author and the Tony Award for Best Direction of a Play.
- September 2019
Dance of the Vampires is a musical remake of a 1967 Roman Polanski film of the same name. Polanski also directed the original German production of this musical. Music was composed by Jim Steinman and orchestrated by Steve Margoshes, and original German book and lyrics were written by Michael Kunze.
- August 2019
Spring Awakening is a rock musical with music by Duncan Sheik and a book and lyrics by Steven Sater. It is based on the controversial German play Spring Awakening by Frank Wedekind which was banned in Germany for some time due to its frank portrayal of abortion, homosexuality, rape, child abuse and suicide. Set in late-19th century Germany, the musical tells the story of teenagers discovering the inner and outer tumult of sexuality. In the musical, alternative rock is employed as part of the folk-infused rock score.
Following its conception in the late 1990s and various workshops, concerts, rewrites and its Off-Broadway debut, the original Broadway production of Spring Awakening opened at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre on December 10, 2006. Its cast included Jonathan Groff, Lea Michele and John Gallagher, Jr. whilst its creative team embodied director Michael Mayer and choreographer Bill T. Jones. The original Broadway production won 8 Tony Awards, including Tonys for Best Musical, Direction, Book, Score and Featured Actor. The production also garnered 4 Drama Desk Awards whilst its original cast album received a Grammy Award.
The success of the Broadway production has spawned several other productions worldwide, including various US productions, a short West End production that won 4 Laurence Olivier Awards including Best Musical, and a series of international productions.
- August 2019
The Two Gentlemen of Verona is a comedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written in 1590 or 1591. It is considered by some to be Shakespeare's first play, and is often seen as showing his first tentative steps in laying out some of the themes and tropes with which he would later deal in more detail; for example, it is the first of his plays in which a heroine dresses as a boy. The play deals with the themes of friendship and infidelity, the conflict between friendship and love, and the foolish behaviour of people in love. The highlight of the play is considered by some to be Launce, the clownish servant of Proteus, and his dog Crab, to whom "the most scene-stealing non-speaking role in the canon" has been attributed.
Two Gentlemen has the smallest cast of any play by Shakespeare and is commonly regarded as one of his weakest plays.
- May 2019
Cyrano de Bergerac is a play written in 1897 by Edmond Rostand. Although there was a real Cyrano de Bergerac, the play is a fictionalization of his life that follows the broad outlines of it.
The entire play is written in verse, in rhyming couplets of 12 syllables per line, very close to the Alexandrine format, but the verses sometimes lack a caesura. It is also meticulously researched, down to the names of the members of the Académie française and the dames précieuses glimpsed before the performance in the first scene.
The play has been translated and performed many times, and is responsible for introducing the word "panache" into the English language. Cyrano is in fact famed for his panache, and the play ends with him saying "My panache." just before his death. The two most famous English translations are those by Brian Hooker and Anthony Burgess.
- March 2019
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.
- January 2019
Chess is a musical with music by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, formerly of ABBA, and with lyrics by Tim Rice. The story involves a romantic triangle between two top chess players, an American and a Russian, in a world chess championship, and a woman who manages one and falls in love with the other; all in the context of a Cold War struggle between the United States and the Soviet Union, during which both countries wanted to win international chess tournaments for propaganda purposes. Although the protagonists were not intended to represent any specific individuals, the character of the American was loosely based on chess grandmaster Bobby Fischer, while elements of the story may have been inspired by the chess careers of Russian grandmasters Viktor Korchnoi and Anatoly Karpov.
As had been done with Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Evita, a highly successful concept album of Chess was released in 1984. The first theatrical production of Chess opened in London's West End in 1986 and played for three years. A much-altered U.S. version premièred on Broadway in 1988, but survived only for two months. Chess is frequently revised for new productions, many of which try to merge elements from both the London and Broadway versions; however, no major revival production of the musical has yet been attempted either on West End or Broadway.
- December 2018
Company is a musical comedy based on a book by George Furth with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. The original production was nominated for a record-setting fourteen Tony Awards and won six.
Originally titled Threes, its plot revolves around Bobby, the five married couples who are his best friends, and his three girlfriends. Unlike most book musicals, which follow a clearly delineated plot, Company is a concept musical composed of short vignettes, presented in no particular chronological order, linked by a celebration for Bobby's 35th birthday.
Company was among the first musicals to deal with adult themes and relationships. As Sondheim puts it, "Broadway theater has been for many years supported by upper-middle-class people with upper-middle-class problems. These people really want to escape that world when they go to the theatre, and then here we are with Company talking about how we're going to bring it right back in their faces."
- December 2018
Lord of the Dance is an Irish musical and dance production that was created, choreographed, and produced by Irish-American dancer Michael Flatley, who also took a starring role. The music for the show was written by Ronan Hardiman.
- November 2018
Mamma Mia! is a stage musical written by British playwright Catherine Johnson, based on the songs of ABBA, composed by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, former members of the band. The title of the musical is taken from the group's 1975 chart-topper "Mamma Mia". Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson, who composed the original music for ABBA, were involved in the development of the show from the beginning. Anni-Frid Lyngstad has been involved financially in the production and she has also been present at many of the premieres around the world.
The musical includes such hits as "Super Trouper", "Lay All Your Love on Me", "Dancing Queen", "Knowing Me, Knowing You", "Take a Chance on Me", "Thank You for the Music", "Money, Money, Money", "The Winner Takes It All", "Voulez Vous" and "SOS". Over 42 million people have seen the show, which has grossed $2 billion dollars worldwide since its 1999 debut. A film adaptation starring Meryl Streep, Colin Firth, Pierce Brosnan, Amanda Seyfried, Christine Baranski, Stellan Skarsgård and Julie Walters was released in July 2008.
- August 2018
Fiddler on the Roof is a musical with music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, and book by Joseph Stein, set in Tsarist Russia in 1905. It is based on Tevye and his Daughters by Sholem Aleichem. The story centers on Tevye, the father of five daughters, and his attempts to maintain his family and Jewish religious traditions while outside influences encroach upon their lives. He must cope both with the strong-willed actions of his three older daughters—each one's choice of husband moves further away from the customs of his faith—and with the edict of the Tsar that evicts the Jews from their village.
The original Broadway production of the show, which opened in 1964, had the first musical theatre run in history to surpass 3,000 performances. Fiddler held the record for the longest-running Broadway musical for almost 10 years until Grease surpassed its run. It remains Broadway's fifteenth longest-running show in history. The production was extraordinarily profitable and highly acclaimed. It was nominated for ten Tony Awards, winning nine, including Best Musical, score, book, direction and choreography. It spawned four Broadway revivals, a successful 1971 film adaptation, and the show has enjoyed enduring international popularity. It is also a very popular choice for school and community productions.
- June 2018
The Producers is a musical adapted by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan from Brooks' 1968 film of the same name, with lyrics written by Brooks and music composed by Brooks and arranged by Glen Kelly and Doug Besterman. As in the film, the story concerns two theatrical producers who scheme to get rich by overselling interests in a Broadway flop. The humor of the show draws on ridiculous accents, characters of homosexuals and Nazis, and many show business in-jokes.
After 33 previews, the original Broadway production opened at the St. James Theatre on April 19, 2001, starring Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick, and ran for 2,502 performances, winning a record-breaking 12 Tony Awards. It spawned a successful London production running for just over two years, US national tours, many productions worldwide and a 2005 film version.