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September 18, 2017
Fall 2017 Theater Preview: The Shows You Can’t Miss on Broadway

Those summer days may be drifting away, but theatre fans needn’t worry, because this fall on Broadway simply couldn’t be hotter. While the rest of the world obsesses over the imminent arrival of their peacoats and pumpkin spice, Broadway junkies are all about the masterworks, megastars, and overall sense of theatrical razzle dazzle that will permeate the Main Stem in the upcoming autumnal months. With shows like Prince of Broadway and The Terms of My Surrender already captivating audiences across the board, there’s no question the season is off to a strong start. And with everything from drag queens to demigods joining the roster in the weeks to come, we can’t imagine it’ll finish as anything short of spectacular. Don’t believe us? Check out a list of our complete guide to theatre in Fall 2017, including our top five must-see picks of the season… then head on down to Broadway if you can and catch a show for yourself! Happy reading!

OUR FABULOUS FIVE PICKS 

M. Butterfly - The much-lauded Tony winner, which put playwright David Henry Hwang on the map, makes a grand return to Broadway amid much fanfare and revelry. Hwang’s history-making pièce de résistance chronicles the 20-year rendezvous between a distinguished French diplomat and a world-renowned opera singer harboring a secret. Based on true events, this chilling account of international espionage is reawakened in a groundbreaking new light, thanks to the incomparable vision of Tony winner Julie Taymor. Oscar nominee Clive Owen and newcomer Jin Ha take on the leads. Previews begin Oct. 7th. Opens Oct. 26th. Cort Theatre, 138 W. 48th Street, www.mbutterflybroadway.com. 

The Band’s Visit - Based on the 2007 Eran Kolirin film of the same name, which, in turn, was inspired by entirely true events, The Band’s Visit follows an Egyptian police band as they travel to Israel to perform their latest concert. A mix-up at the border leaves them in a desolate desert town, where they’re forced to seek the help of the locals…and in learning about the lives of these strangers, they discover a little something about themselves. Winner of the 2017 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Musical, and separate Drama Desks for Music and Lyrics, respectively, this inevitable Tony magnet is an experience not to be missed! Stage vets Tony Shaloub and Katrina Lenk lead the cast; David Yazbeck pens the score, with a book by Itamar Moses. Previews begin Oct. 7th. Opens Nov. 9th. Barrymore Theatre, 243 W. 47th Street, www.thebandsvisitmusical.com. (Read our review of the Off-Broadway production here.)

Latin History for Morons - Class is in session as it’s never been before! After educating audiences Off-Broadway with his solo show earlier this year, comedy king John Leguizamo is now putting chalk to chalkboard on the Great White Way, schooling Main Stem audiences in Latin history through the ages. Triggered by the complete lack of Latino coverage in his real-life son’s American History class, the 90-minute “crash course” sees the Carlito’s Way actor attempt to fill in all the gaps your teacher may have missed, from the fall of the Aztec empire to the rise of Ricky Ricardo — all delivered, naturally, with his signature irreverent flair. A surefire crowd-pleaser! Previews begin Oct. 19th. Limited run opens Nov. 15th. Studio 54, 254 W. 54th Street, www.latinhistorybroadway.com. 

Once On This Island - Sure as a wave needs to be near the shore, this 1990 Ahrens and Flattery fan fave makes its much-ballyhooed return to the place it was intended for!! Peppered with elements of Romeo and Juliet, the musical follows Antillean peasant girl Ti Moune, as she falls for a white-skinned aristocrat from the other side of the island, and must then endure an emotional test of strength and loyalty to prove she is devoted to the man she loves. Radically reimagined with a gender-bending twist, courtesy of Spring Awakening mastermind Michael Arden, the production boasts golden-voiced newcomer Hailey Kilgore in the title role, and a top-notch supporting cast brimming with Broadway's best, including Glee standout Alex Newell and perennial queen of Broadway, Lea Salonga. We guarantee you'll see it once... and it'll instantly become forever yours! Previews begin Nov. 9th. Opens Dec. 3rd. Circle in the Square Theatre, 235 W. 50th Street, www.onceonthisisland.com. 

SpongeBob SquarePants - Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? Yes, folks, the rumors are true — your favorite childhood sea sponge and all his undersea pals will make quite a splash when they jump from the small screen to the big Broadway stage later this year. Of course, epic new digs call for an epic musical adventure, and that’s exactly what our friends are in for — tasked with rescuing their beloved Bikini Bottom from total decimation by a mysterious unnamed antagonist. Set to a score of original tunes by such pop-rock royalty as Sara Bareilles, Cyndi Lauper, David Bowie and Panic! at the Disco, with the incomparable Tina Landau at the helm, this much-anticipated mega-musical is sure to appeal to everyone, and have families of all sizes shouting “Aye, aye, captain!” Ethan Slater takes on the title role, with stage faves Gavin Lee, Lilli Cooper and Wesley Taylor in the supporting cast. Previews begin Nov. 6th. Opens Dec. 4th. Palace Theatre, 1564 Broadway; www.spongebobbroadway.com. 

Farinelli and the King

Farinelli and the King - All hail the king! Three-time Tony winner Mark Rylance reprises his critically acclaimed role in the Broadway transfer of this West End hit. The story follows the titular King Phillipe V of Spain, who discovers the only relief from his harrowing depression is the lilting arias of world-renowned opera star Farinelli. But knowing he’s the singular solution to curing the sovereign’s woes, will the young castrato have the strength to lure himself away from a luscious life of fame and fortune to forever be at Phillipe’s beck and call? Based entirely on true events, this saga will play a limited run through March 25, 2018. Previews begin Dec. 5th. Limited run opens Dec. 17th. Belasco Theatre, 111 W. 44th Street; www.farinelliandthekingbroadway.com.

STAGEBUDDY BONUS PICK: Springsteen on Broadway - We're anything but “dancing in the dark,” over this news!! 20-time Grammy winner Bruce Springsteen will make his Main Stem debut later this Fall, when he brings his acclaimed road show to the Broadway stage. Fusing high-octane performances of iconic "greatest hits”, such as “I’m on Fire,” “Streets of Philadelphia,” and the aforementioned “Dancing in the Dark,” with excerpts from his intimate 2016 autobiography, aptly titled Born to Run, this highly-anticipated event blends together the best of the best of the one-and-only Boss to create a unique theatrical experience tramps like us won’t soon forget. Recently extended through Feb. 3, 2018. Previews begin Oct. 3rd. Opens Oct. 12th. Walter Kerr Theatre, 219 W. 48th Street; https://brucespringsteen.net/broadway/.

Prince of Broadway. Photo credit: Matthew Murphy

OTHER HITS AND MUST-SEES

Prince of Broadway - A colorful revue of the octogenarian hitmaker’s best-known works. Through Oct. 29. Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, 261 W. 47th Street; www.princeofbway.com. (Read our review here, and our interview with actor Michael Xavier here.)

Time and the Conways - J.B. Priestly’s classic time-traveler about the rise and fall of a wealthy Yorkshire family over a period of nineteen years. Opens Oct. 10th. American Airlines Theatre, 227 W. 42nd Street; http://www.roundabouttheatre.org/Shows-Events/Time-and-the-Conways.aspx.

Junk - Steven Pasquale makes a smashing Broadway return in this Pulitzer Prize winner about the gritty world of finance in the 1980s and what a junk bond king will do to make it to the top. Previews begin Oct. 5th. Opens Nov. 2nd. Vivian Beaumont Theatre, 150 W. 65th Street; http://www.lct.org/shows/junk/

Meteor Shower - Steve Martin’s much-lauded playwriting debut, chronicling two couples in marital freefall during a meteor shower in Ojai, California. Comedy queen Amy Schumer leads an all-star cast including Laura Benanti, Keegan-Michael Key and Jeremy Shamos. Previews begin Nov. 1. Limited run opens Nov. 29. Booth Theatre, 222 W. 45th Street; www.meteoronbroadway.com 

The Parisian Woman - An up-to-the-minute political commentary through the eyes of a powerful British socialite. Uma Thurman stars alongside Josh Lucas, Blair Brown, and Phillipa Soo. Previews begin Nov. 7th. Opens Nov. 30th. Hudson Theatre, 141 W. 44th Street; www.parisianwomanbroadway.com

The Children - The lives of two retired nuclear engineers living on the British coast are thrown into chaos when an old friend shows up at their door. American transfer of the acclaimed Royal Court Theatre production. Previews begin Nov. 28th. Opens Dec. 12th. Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, 261 W. 47th Street; https://www.manhattantheatreclub.com/2017-18-season/the-children/.

Photo credit: Julieta Cervantes

CATCH IT WHILE YOU CAN! 

Parting is such sweet sorrow. While a new season always brings about fresh and exciting new work, it also annually signals the end of the road for those few fan favorites that struggled through the summer.

Among the most recent casualties are Bandstand, the swing-tastic 1940s musical which starred Laura Osnes and Corey Cott, about a group of war vets who (jazz) band together for a shot at superstardom, while simultaneously battling the crippling effects of post-war depression and PTSD, and Groundhog Day, the Olivier Award-winning Best Musical based on the 1993 Columbia Pictures film, which saw the indefatigable Andy Karl in a stunning star turn as curmudgeonly weatherman Phil Connors. Both shows bade Broadway goodbye on September 17th.

Meanwhile, the Tony-nominated A Doll's House, Part 2, which marked the Broadway debut of playwright Lucas Hnath and picked up a trophy at this year's ceremony for original cast member Laurie Metcalf (since replaced by Julie White), will shutter later this week on September 24th. Catch it while you can, folks! You won't be disappointed!!

So, that's our complete Fall preview in all its glory. How’d we do? Did we get it right? Feel free to tweet at us with your thoughts, and share which of this season’s shows you’re most looking forward to seeing. Thanks for reading… and we’ll see you at the show! 

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Written by: Matt Smith
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