The Broadway Musical Blog – Musical theater news and gossip from the Great White Way

Dishing out daily (or almost daily) Broadway musical news and gossip. The companion site to The Broadway Musical Home (broadwaymusicalhome.com), a directory of Broadway musicals with the story, songs, merchandise, video clips, lyrics, tickets, rights & awards for almost 200 shows.

Archive for Unchain My Heart

An Exciting New Season Begins!


I hope you all had a wonderful summer. I escaped to Maine and I’m afraid summer-stock ate up all of my free time, so that (and the lack of any real exciting Broadway news) has keep the blog pretty quiet this summer. But never-fear, I’m back again and vow to maintain a more consistent posting schedule this Broadway season.

We’ve got some gems opening in the next year, lots of movie adaptations, Off-Broadway transfers and a couple infamous big-spenders who’ll soon be making splashes. Here’s the line-up:

  • Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson – October 13
  • The Scottsboro Boys – October 31
  • Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown – November 4
  • The Pee-Wee Herman Show – November 11
  • Elf – November 14
  • Zorba – Fall 2011
  • Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark – Dec 21
  • How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying – March 27
  • The Book of Mormon – March 2011
  • Priscilla, Queen of the Desert – March 2011
  • Anything Goes – April 7
  • Wonderland – April 17
  • Phantom: Love Never Dies – April 2011
  • Sister Act – April 2011
  • Catch Me If You Can – Spring 2011
  • Unchain My Heart – Spring 2011

I’ll be tweeting live from Broadway on Broadway, where a couple new shows will be performing for the first time alongside many of the long-running hits.

There’s a lot of star power behind a lot of these shows, but unlike last season, it appears (for the most part) to be homegrown Broadway talent, rather than Hollywood ringers – exciting news for those who got up-in-arms around Tony Award time last year.

What are you most excited about in this upcoming season?

I’ll be back next week with an update about cast changes and announcements.

A preview of the musicals opening next season on Broadway

As the 2009-2010 Broadway season has officially come to an end, I thought it timely to look forward to the shows on the docket for next season. There are a lot of movie to stage productions, couple of TV to stage productions, some Off-Broadway transfers, some revivals, a new jukebox musical and the messes that are Spider-Man and Love Never Dies. Last year sales went up slightly but audience attendance went down for the 4th year in a row. Will this next season get more “butts in seats”? Here’s hoping!

The Pee-Wee Herman Show – Opening October 26

Paul Reubens brings his iconic character Pee-Wee Herman to the stage in a show featuring the good ol’ Playhouse gang. The show premiered in Los Angeles earlier this year – attracting a die-hard cult fan-base who had nothing but good things to say about the show. It’s now headed to the Great White Way for six-week limited run at the newly christened Stephen Sondheim Theatre. Critics who saw it in LA named it a “phantasmagorical visual treat” and a “trip down memory lane;” hopefully it can retain its whimsical charm on a bigger scale.


The Scottsboro Boys – Opening October 31

After a successful Off-Broadway run, this new Kander and Ebb musical about the Scottsboro case that helped to ignite the civil rights movement is headed to Broadway after a brief fix-up at the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis, MN. Using a minstrel show treatment, critics found the Off-Broadway show thought-provoking and shattering (in a good way), with just a few kinks to work out. Hopefully they’ll make better fixes than American Idiot (which cut away at the poor book rather than adding more substance to it), before it makes its way to the Lyceum Theatre.


Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown – Opening October 2010

A stage musical based on the Spanish film of the same name is headed to Broadway this fall, starring Jessica Biel and possibly Salma Hayek, Matthew Morrison and Paulo Szot (who all participated in a reading). Some are skeptical about the casting, but then again, we’ve been surprised by more than one Hollywood starlet in recent years (just look at this year’s Tony nominees). The production will be directed by Bartlett Sher at the Belasco Theatre.


Unchain My Heart – Opening November 7

With a book by Pulitzer Prize winner Suzan-Lori Parks (Topdog/Underdog, The Book of Grace) and direction by Sheldon Epps, this musical biography of Ray Charles is opening this fall at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre and hoping to cash in on the recent success of jukebox musicals like Jersey Boys, Million Dollar Quartet and Mamma Mia. The show will star will star Brandon Victor Dixon, Nikki Renée Daniels, Harrison White and Tasha Taylor.


Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark – Opening November 2011

Now having spent nearly 50 million dollars, the Julie Taymor-directed musical with music and lyrics by Bono and the Edge is finally supposed to open at the Hilton Theatre in the fall. Reeve Carney is the only member of the original cast to remain. Patrick Page (How the Grinch Stole Christmas) has been offered the role of the Green Goblin, but they are still looking for a replacement for Evan Rachel Wood’s character. Will it ever actually open? For the sake of their investors, I sure hope so.


The Book of Mormon – Opening March 2011

The creators of Avenue Q have teamed up with those of South Park to bring a musical about Mormonism to the Great White Way. When they made their movie-musical “South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut,” many, including Stephen Sondheim, called it one of the best musicals of the past 15 years. The plot may seem a bit odd, but with those names on board, we can safely say we’re in for a fun show…


Priscilla, Queen of the Desert – Opening March 2011

Based on the movie of the same name, this musical, which has had great success on the West End, is now headed to Toronto and then making its way to Broadway. Simon Phillips will direct the show, which has a book by Stephan Elliott (director of the original film) and Allan Scott and will star Will Swenson (Hair) and Tony Sheldon, from the London production. Judging by the success La Cage Aux Folles has found on the Great White Way, campy fun like this may be just what Broadway audiences are looking for.


How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying – Opening Spring 2011

Daniel Ratcliff (Harry Potter) is headed back to Broadway, where he successfully played Alan Strang in Equus last year. This time he will be taking on a much lighter (and fully clothed) role – that of Finch in a revival of this fun musical directed by Rob Ashford, (Promises, Promises, Curtains). The original Broadway production starred Robert Morse (whose performance was captured on film in the Hollywood version) and a 1995 revival starred Matthew Broderick. Will Daniel be able to carry a show like this? I can’t be the only one waiting to find out…


Catch Me If You Can – Opening Spring 2011

A new musical based on Steven Spielberg’s film about young con artist Frank Abagnale, Jr. will be directed by Jack O’Brien, with choreography by Jerry Mitchell, a book by Terrence McNally and a score by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman. Aaron Tveit (Next to Normal) and Norbert Leo Butz (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Wicked) starred in the Seattle mounting of the show and are expected to appear in the Broadway version, though no official casting has yet been announced. Critics in Seattle were a bit negative, so a lot of work will need to go into sprucing up the production.


Phantom: Love Never Dies – Opening TBA

Originally planned for a November opening, Andrew Lloyd Webber‘s doctor has caused producers to move the opening to the Spring. Jack O’Brien and Jerry Mitchell were originally on board to mount the production, but by spring will be busy with Catch Me If You Can, so the production team is now up in the air. The musical opened on the West End to mixed reviews, so the delay might be a good thing, allowing them more time to make fixes before heading to New York.


Zorba – Opening Fall 2011

The Scottsboro Boys isn’t the only Kander and Ebb musical headed to the Great White Way next season – a revival of Zorba is also hitting Broadway. Starring another big Hollywood name, Antonio Banderas, the production will be directed by David Leveaux (Nine, Fiddler on the Roof). When these two last collaborated in Nine, critics and audiences ate it up. Hopefully they’ll find that same magic in this show.


Yank! – Opening TBA

Yank!, another Off-Broadway hit dealing with the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, will be making a Broadway transfer. The Off-Broadway production, directed by Igor Goldin, starred Bobby Steggert (Ragtime) and Ivan Hernandez (The Fantasticks), but no official director, cast or production team has been announced for the Broadway mounting. The producers were inspired to bring it to Broadway by “the success of other non-traditional musicals” like Next to Normal, Avenue Q and Spring Awakening and thank goodness.


Godspell – Opening TBA

Finally, producer Ken Davenport (Altar Boyz) has announced plans to try to bring the Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Pippin) musical, Godspell to Broadway. The revival will be helmed by Daniel Goldstein, who directed the Paper Mill Playhouse production in 2006. No casting has yet been announced.

New Musicals, News, Casting, Cast Albums, TV Appearances and More

New Musicals and Transfers

The Michael Grandage-directed production of Evita, which opened at London’s Adelphi Theatre in June 2006 is officially heading to Broadway next year. Elena Roger, who starred in the West End production, will repeat her performance in the Broadway remount. Rumor has it that Ricky Martin is in talks to play Che, though this has not been confirmed.

Disney was apparently in talks with Billy Elliot‘s Stephen Daldry to direct a stage adaptation of Dumbo. Though he turned down the job, they’re still on the hunt for a new director for the musical. We can only hope Dumbo will fare better than some of Disney’s recent attempts to adapt their animated films for the stage (ie. The Little Mermaid, Tarzan). No names have yet been attached to this project.

A new jukebox musical called Unchain My Heart will be heading to Broadway on Nov. 7 this year. Featuring the music of Ray Charles and a book by Suzan-Lori Parks, casting for the production has not yet been announced.

The Canadian Press is reporting that Mel Brooks is working on a musical adaptation of his  film, Blazing Saddles. Brooks has apparently already written two songs for the show though he’ll be taking his time bringing it to Broadway due to the “lukewarm” reception Young Frankenstein received.

Producer David Shor announced the creative team for the Broadway aimed Sleepless in Seattle – The Musical. Michelle Citrin, Michael Garin and Josh Nelson will serve as composers/lyricists, Jeff Arch (who co-wrote the movie’s screenplay) will be the show’s librettist and Joel Zwick will direct. The musical adaptation is hoping to make a Broadway bow on Valentine’s Day 2011.

News About Shows Opening Soon

Kristin Chenoweth will be singing the song “I Say a Little Prayer” in the revival of Promises, Promises. Though by the show’s composer, Burt Bacharach, the song was not included in the original production. Not exactly sure where they’re gonna put it, but I’m guessing it’s gonna be one of those where the guy behind you starts singing along…

Kelsey Grammer who is returning to Broadway in the role of Georges in La Cage Aux Folles, shared that he will take on the role of Albin six months into the musical’s run. In other casting news, the musical’s producers announced that Fred Applegate (The Producers, Young Frankenstein) will take on the roles of Edouard Dindon and M. Renaud in La Cage Aux Folles.

It may not even fit under this category anymore (though Julie Taymor is adamant that it will open this fall), but the big news is that Evan Rachel Wood, who was to play Mary Jane Watson in Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, has left the production due to “scheduling conflicts.”

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s sequel to Phantom of the Opera, Love Never Dies, opened to mixed reviews in London. The show is likely to undergo changes before heading to the Great White Way, so who knows what it will look like when it comes our way. Anyone here seen it on the West End?

Casting Announcements

Rumor is that Alice Ripley will be touring with the Next to Normal cast, which is exciting news for those who haven’t been able to make the trip to NYC! As to the Broadway replacement, producers are holding open Equity auditions. Wonder who they’ll find to replace her…

The new tribe for Broadway’s Hair has taken over and the OBC headed to the West End. Led by Diana DeGarmo, Ace Young, and Kyle Riabko, this American-Idol heavy group seems to be just as energetic and excited as their predecessors.

Mandy Gonzalez, who originated the role of Nina in In the Heights, will assume that of Elphaba in the Broadway production of Wicked at the Gershwin Theatre on March 23.

Emily Padgett (Grease, Legally Blonde) has succeeded Tony nominee Kerry Butler as Sherrie in the Broadway production of Rock of Ages. Derek St. Pierre and Katie Webber (Memphis) will join the cast on March 22.

Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury are leaving A Little Night Music on June 20 but the show will run through through Aug 29. It will be interesting to see who ends up stepping in for the last couple of months and if the show will last after its stars’ departure.

Karl Kenzler and Megan Osterhaus joined the Broadway company of Mary Poppins on March 1 in the roles of George Banks and Winifred Banks, succeeding Jeff Binder and Rebecca Luker.

Cast Album and DVD Releases

The album for the current revival of A Little Night Music, starring Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury, will be available on April 6. It is now available for pre-order.

The cast album for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Love Never Dies is now out in stores.

And the cast recording for The Addams Family, which opens on Broadway on April 8, will be available in June 2010.

The DVD and Blue-Ray version of Nine will be available in stores on May 4. It is now available for pre-order.

Television Appearances

“Glee” – Air dates TBA – Neil Patrick Harris, Idina Menzel

“Ugly Betty” – Wed, Mar 17 – Aaron Tveit and Carol Kane

“The View” – Thur, March 25 – Michael Feinstein and Dame Edna

“The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” – Tues, March 16 – Hugh Jackman

“The Today Show” – Wed, March 17 – Riverdance performance


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