Fall Broadway Season brings excitement to the theatre community

The fall Broadway season begins. (photo courtesty of Playbill)

Josh Rittberg

Staff Writer

The Fall Broadway Season of 2017 is promised to be one of innovation and thrills. With four exciting musicals and many intriguing plays, the Fall Broadway season is sure to delight and entertain theatregoers.  

The first musical of the season “Prince of Broadway”, which played through October 29th at Manhattan Theatre Club, was a revue honoring the work of the acclaimed director Hal Prince. Prince has directed musicals which include “Phantom of The Opera”, “Cabaret”, and “Sweeney Todd”. In this musical revue, Prince is given tribute by some of the brightest names on Broadway, who perform the songs of his hit productions in this extravagant evening of music and joy.  

The next musical to hit Broadway is the highly anticipated “The Band’s Visit” which opened on November 9th to rave reviews at The Ethel Barrymore Theatre. This musical with a score by the celebrated composer, David Yazbeck and a book by Itamar Moses, tells the story of an Egyptian band who accidentally find themselves in a small Israeli town after a mistake at the border. With no sure way out of the town, the band quickly forms powerful relationships with the locals. Although, not the most complex plot for a musical, this simple story led by Tony Shalhoub and the rising star Katrina Lenk simply shows humanity at its best. Coming into the Broadway scene with universal acclaim from its Off Broadway run, this musical is already touted to be a front runner at the Tony Awards and one of the biggest hits of the season.  

The next show and first musical revival of the season is a fresh new production of the much beloved musical “Once on this Island”, which began performances at The Circle in the Square Theatre   on November 9th.  This Caribbean influenced show, written by the extraordinary team Ahrens and Flaherty, tells of a peasant girl named Ti Moune who falls in love with a young wealthy boy from the other side of the island named Daniel. Ti Moune, with the help of the gods who rule her island, decides to chase her feelings for Daniel as she goes on a magical journey of love and joy.  

Ahrens and Flaherty, who wrote the scores for the hit musicals, “Anastasia” and “Ragtime”, now get to see one of their earlier works back on the boards with “Once on this island”. With a bold new vision from the young director Michael Arden, and a cast made up of bright newcomers and veterans who include the legendary Lea Salonga, this is sure to be a production that will sweep audiences off their feet and leave them enchanted.  

The last musical of the Fall season is the stage adaption of the hit television show “SpongeBob Squarepants”. “Spongebob Squarepants” began performances on November 6th at The Palace Theatre and features a score by some of the music world’s most iconic artists who include Aerosmith, Cyndi Lauper, Sarah Bareilles and even the late great David Bowie.   

Although this may sound like many names for one score, the team at “SpongeBob Squarepants” has enlisted Tony winning composer Tom Kitt for orchestrations and arrangements of the score. With innovative direction, by Tina Landau, the world of SpongeBob is brought to life with astounding creativity and theatricality. The musical follows SpongeBob and the gang as he fights to save the town Bikini Bottom when it is under extreme danger. Led with a star making turn by the talented Ethan Slater as SpongeBob, and an enthusiastic group of performers, this gleeful musical is expected to be an event for all ages to enjoy.  

Along with musicals, this Broadway season also boasts a fair share of enticing plays. The play “Time and The Conways” by J.B. Priestley, stars Elizabeth McGovern who audiences might know from her work on PBS’s Downton Abbey. The cast also includes Anna Camp who was in the popular “Pitch Perfect” movies. “Time and the Conways” which is playing a limited run at the American Airlines Theatre through November 26th, tells the story of a family from 1919 to 1946. The play examines the effect of time on our lives and our future. With rave reviews, this production of the unconventional play seems like a bright spot of the broadway season. 

Another anticipated play is Steve Martin’s “Meteor Shower”. This talented comedian and actor was last seen on Broadway a couple of seasons ago with the musical “Bright Star”, which he co-wrote the score and book for. Now, with “Meteor Shower”, Martin gets to show audiences his comedic and playwriting talents. Astar-studded cast of four actors who include comedians Amy Schumer and Keegan-Michael Key along with Broadway regulars Laura Benanti and Jeremy Shamos star in this play. The play tells of a dinner conversation between two couples that literally turns fiery when there is news of an incoming meteor shower. This dark comedy is already selling extremely well at the box office, and plays at The Booth Theatre for 12 weeks only starting on November 1st . This play is sure to be an explosive night of theatre that is not to be missed. 

Another major event of the fall theatre season is the play “Fairnelli and The King” starring the great Mark Rylance. Coming off an Oscar win from the movie “Bridge of Spies” and an acclaimed performance in the hit film “Dunkink”, Rylance’s return to broadway in “Fairnelli and The King” is sure to be a tour de force performance. This acclaimed play from The Shakespeare Globe Theatre tells of a Spanish Monarch played by Rylance who finds hope in an opera singer named Fairnelli. “Fairnelli and The King” plays for 16 weeks only starting December 1st at The Belasco Theatre, and considering the caliber of Rylance, this play is one audiences cannot miss. 

Other plays this season include Ayad Ahktar’s “Junk” which is playing at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre, and is a follow-up to Ahktar’s Pulitzer Prize winning play “Disgraced”. Also coming to broadway is a play called “The Parisian Woman” which stars Uma Thurman and Broadway’s Phillipa Soo. The play which  started performances at The Hudson Theatre on November 9th , takes place in today’s contemporary political climate and is having script changes often to accommodate the events in the nation. The other anticipated show of the season is director Julie Taymore’s return to broadway in the revival of “M. Butterfly” which is currently running at The Cort Theatre.   

Tickets for these shows can be purchased for a decent price at the half priced TKTS ticket booths which have multiple locations throughout the city. Most shows also hold ticket lotteries and rush policies which also have opportunities for discounted tickets. There are also the websites Today Tix and Broadway Box which also offer stellar discounts for plays and musicals. With heartwarming new works and stunning revivals of classics, this Fall Broadway season is sure to have something for everybody.