- April 2020
A Chorus Line is a musical with music by Marvin Hamlisch, lyrics by Edward Kleban and a book by James Kirkwood, Jr. and Nicholas Dante. Centred on seventeen Broadway dancers auditioning for spots on a chorus line, the musical is set on the bare stage of a Broadway theatre during an audition for a musical. A Chorus Line provides a glimpse into the personalities of the performers and the choreographer as they describe the events that have shaped their lives and their decisions to become dancers.
Following several workshops and an Off-Broadway production, A Chorus Line opened on Broadway on July 25, 1975, directed and choreographed by Buffalo native Michael Bennett. An unprecedented box office and critical hit, the musical received 12 Tony Award nominations and won 9 of them, in addition to the 1976 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
The original Broadway production ran for 6,137 performances, becoming the longest-running production in Broadway history until surpassed by Cats in 1997, and the longest-running Broadway musical originally produced in the US, until surpassed in 2011 by Chicago. It remains the sixth longest-running Broadway show ever. Its success has spawned many successful productions worldwide. It began a lengthy run in the West End in 1976 and was revived on Broadway in 2006. The current West End revival opened in 2013.
- March 2020
Our Town is a 1938 three-act play by American playwright Thornton Wilder. Set in the fictional American small town of Grover's Corners, it tells the story of an average town's citizens in the early twentieth century as depicted through their everyday lives. Scenes from the town's history between the years of 1901 and 1913 are performed. The play is performed without a set and the actors mime their actions without the use of props. Throughout Wilder uses metatheatrical devices, such as narration by a stage manager.
Our Town was first performed at McCarter Theater in Princeton, New Jersey on January 22, 1938. It later went on to success on Broadway and won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. It remains popular today and revivals are frequent.
- March 2020
Assassins is a musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by John Weidman, based on an idea by Charles Gilbert, Jr. It uses the premise of a murderous carnival game to produce a revue-style portrayal of men and women who attempted to assassinate Presidents of the United States. The music varies to reflect the popular music of the eras depicted.
The musical first opened Off-Broadway in 1990, and the 2004 Broadway production won five Tony Awards.
- February 2020
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.
- December 2019–January 2020
Twelfth Night; or, What You Will is a comedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written around 1601–02 as a Twelfth Night's entertainment for the close of the Christmas season. The play expanded on the musical interludes and riotous disorder expected of the occasion, with plot elements drawn from the short story "Of Apollonius and Silla" by Barnabe Rich, based on a story by Matteo Bandello. The first recorded performance was on 2 February 1602, at Candlemas, the formal end of Christmastide in the year's calendar. The play was not published until its inclusion in the 1623 First Folio.
- September 2019
Sweet Charity is a musical with music by Cy Coleman, lyrics by Dorothy Fields and book by Neil Simon. It was directed and choreographed for Broadway by Bob Fosse starring his wife and muse Gwen Verdon alongside John McMartin. It is based on Federico Fellini's screenplay for Nights of Cabiria. However, where Fellini's black-and-white Italian film concerns the romantic ups-and-downs of an ever-hopeful prostitute, in the musical the central character is a dancer-for-hire at a Times Square dance hall. The musical premiered on Broadway in 1966, where it was nominated for 12 Tony Awards, and also ran in the West End as well as having revivals and international productions.
The movie/show was adapted for the screen in 1969 with Shirley MacLaine as Charity and John McMartin recreating his Broadway role as Oscar Lindquist. Bob Fosse directed and choreographed this film.
- July 2019
Rock of Ages is a rock/jukebox musical, with a book by Chris D'Arienzo, built around classic rock hits from the 1980s, especially from the famous glam metal bands of the decade. The musical features songs from Styx, Journey, Bon Jovi, Pat Benatar, Twisted Sister, Steve Perry, Poison and Europe among other well-known rock bands.
It is directed by Kristin Hanggi and choreographed by Kelly Devine with music supervision, arrangements, and orchestrations by Ethan Popp. Arrangements for the original Los Angeles production were furnished by David Gibbs.
The show is noted for being more lighthearted and comedic than other shows on Broadway. During performance, the performers frequently break the "fourth wall", directly addressing the audience and seemingly forgetting that they are actors in a musical.
- January 2019
Oklahoma! is the first musical written by the team of composer Richard Rodgers and librettist Oscar Hammerstein II. The musical is based on Lynn Riggs' 1931 play, Green Grow the Lilacs. Set in Oklahoma Territory outside the town of Claremore in 1906, it tells the story of cowboy Curly McLain and his romance with farm girl Laurey Williams. A secondary romance concerns cowboy Will Parker and his flirtatious fiancée, Ado Annie.
The original Broadway production opened on March 31, 1943. It was a box-office smash and ran for an unprecedented 2,212 performances, later enjoying award-winning revivals, national tours, foreign productions and an Academy Award-winning 1955 film adaptation. It has long been a popular choice for school and community productions.
This musical, building on the innovations of the earlier Show Boat, epitomized the development of the "book musical", a musical play where the songs and dances are fully integrated into a well-made story with serious dramatic goals that are able to evoke genuine emotions other than laughter. In addition, Oklahoma! features musical themes, or motifs, that recur throughout the work to connect the music and story. A fifteen-minute "dream ballet" reflects Laurey's struggle with her feelings about two men, Curley and Jud. A special Pulitzer Prize was awarded to Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II for Oklahoma! in the category of "Special Awards And Citations – Letters" in 1944.