2013 on Broadway

Matilda BroadwayAfter a somewhat difficult year for new musicals on Broadway in 2012, the 2013 season brought with it a handful of new shows hoping to light the lights and soar to success at the Tony Awards. From the tried and tested to the risky gambles, this season was another interesting one on the Great White Way, and it was hard to tell which shows would sink or swim. The first musical to stake a claim was a reinvention of a classic, seen for the first time on the Broadway stage. Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella was the duo’s first made-for-screen musical and starred a young Julie Andrews in the title role. This brand new stage production raised some eyebrows after the Thanksgiving Day Parade showcased some of their rather garish costumes, but Producers were hoping the sense of familiarity and classic fairy tale will result in theatrical magic. Laura Osnes starred as the shoe losing Princess to be, after shooting to fame in Grease and Bonnie and Clyde – she finally got the hit (and nomination!) she deserved. Cinderella opened at the Broadway Theatre on March 3. The first new musical to open was Hands on a Hardbody at the Brooks Aitkins from March 21. This reality inspired musical was set at a car dealership, where an endurance test pushes contestants’ minds and bodies to the extreme, featuring  a score by Trey Anastasio (music), Amanda Green (music and lyrics), and book by Doug Wright. Perhaps the most eagerly anticipated musical of the season came direct from London’s West End, as Roald Dahl’s Matilda opened at the Schubert Theatre on April 11. The show premiered at the RSC’s Stratford home, before opening in London in 2011. The show was an instant success and remains as one of the hottest tickets in town after taking home a record number of Olivier Awards. Matthew Warchus directed a talented company which included his wife Laura Ward and Olivier Award winner Bertie Carvel as the androgynous Trunchbull.

Kinky BootsHarvey Fierstein returned to Broadway with another screen-to-stage adaptation. Kinky Boots includes a score by Cyndi Lauper and direction by Jerry Mitchell, and is based on the film of the same name. The show has enjoyed various out of town tryouts and opened at the Al Hirschfeld from April 4, describing itself as an “uplifting” musical that proves that the best way to fit in is to stand out. Hot on its (stiletto) heels was Motown the musical at the Lunt-Fontanne, based on the life of Berry Gordy which promised “a gripping story about the protégés and stars of a uniquely talented musical family who, under Berry Gordy’s guidance, began as ‘the Sound of Young America’ and went on to become some of the greatest superstars of all time.” A jukebox musical for a new generation.

Two revivals that have caught attention are Pippin and Jekyll and Hyde which both opened in the latter half of the year. The first was Bob Fosse’s iconic show, brought to life by Dianne Paulus originally opening at the American Repertory Theatre. Stephen Schwartz’s score is full of standards such as ‘Corner of the Sky’ and the production featured Terrence Mann and Patina Miller. Frank Wildhorn turned up again like the proverbial bad penny, finally bringing his most successful show to Broadway after two seasons worth of expensive flops (Bonnie and Clyde & Wonderland). The revival made a token Broadway appearance at the Richard Rodgers Theatre from April.

Cat on a Hot Tin RoofA host of new plays as well as revivals lined up to open during the year, bringing the usual amount of star quality back to the Great White Way. From Nathan Lane to Bette Midler, to Tom Hanks and Scarlett Johansson – it was a contest to see whose name is big enough to pull in the punters. Director Rob Ashford brought a new production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof back to Broadway at the Richard Rodgers Theatre from January 17 with a cast that featured Debra Monk, Ciaran Hinds and Scarlett Johansson as Maggie the cat. Despite being just five years since the last highly successful revival, the draw of Tennessee Williams should prove hard to resist. Truman Capote’s new adaptation of Breakfast at Tiffany’s opens at the Court Theatre from March 20th, once again trying to bring the famous film to the stage, as Emilia Clarke took on the role of Holly Golightly.

Lucky GuysTom Hanks made a return to the stage in Nora Ephron’s play Lucky Guy at the Broadhurst Theatre from April 1. George C Wolfe directed this new play set in 1980s New York surrounding controversial tabloid columnist Mike McAlary. Broadway veteran Nathan Lane made yet another welcome appearance in Douglas Carter Beane’s play The Nance, which focused on a male homosexual burlesque performer living in 1930s New York. We were given an insight into the humour and pathos of his  life both offstage and on in the dangerous Gay scene of the time. 

Four times Olivier Award winner Fiona Shaw opened in the premiere of The Testament of Mary, the stage adaptation of Colm Toiblin’s novella of the same name that tells the story of Mary following the crucifixion of Jesus. Directed by Deborah Warner, the play opened at the Walter Kerr on April 22. Bette Midler also starred in a one-woman show, directed by Joe Mantello in John Logan’s I’ll Eat You Last which is based on the life of Hollywood agent Sue Mengers, who rose from poverty in Hitler’s Germany to be the most successful agent in Hollywood.

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