New music on Broadway will be at a minimum this spring — and it’s got nothing to do with striking (or possibly striking) musicians. After last spring’s deluge of seven musical arrivals (only two of which were revivals), this year’s warm weather will bring just three: the just-opened “The Sound of Music,” “Cabaret,” and “High Society.”
And of the three only one is a “new” musical — at least to the stage. The Cole Porter “Society” is based, of course, on the 1956 MGM film tuner, and opens April 23 at the St. James Theater. The Roundabout Theater Co.’s “Cabaret” opens March 19 at the Kit Kat Klub, a converted Times Square nightclub.
The dearth of new music is, in fact, a return to recent springtime form for Broadway — last season, with “Titanic,” “The Life,” “Steel Pier,” “Play On!” and “Dream,” plus revivals of “Annie” and “Candide,” was the anomaly. This year, though, even revivals are in short supply, as many of Broadway’s musical houses are filled with tuners that continue to at least pull their weight.
Of last spring’s entries, “The Life” continues to register passable numbers at the Ethel Barrymore Theater and “Titanic” remains a powerful hit at the Lunt-Fontanne. The fall and winter brought the still-going “The Scarlet Pimpernel” to the Minskoff and “1776” to the Gershwin. “The Lion King” and “Ragtime” received the bulk of ticketbuyers’ interest, although those shows are occupying the new homes of their producers, the Walt Disney Co. and Livent, respectively.
None of which is to say that Broadway won’t see much activity during the March-to-May slot: Dramas, many of them from London, will make this spring one of the busiest play seasons in memory. Joining recent opener “Art” on Broadway’s spring play roster will be the Lincoln Center Theater revival of Eugene O’Neill’s “Ah, Wilderness!” (opening March 18), followed by the Roundabout Theater Co.’s revival of Terence Rattigan’s “The Deep Blue Sea,” opening March 26.
April kicks off with the hit London production of Ionesco’s “The Chairs” (opening April 1 at the Golden), with David Henry Hwang’s “Golden Child” opening a day later at the Longacre. The Quentin Tarantino/Marisa Tomei starrer “Wait Until Dark” opens April 5 at the Brooks Atkinson, and on April 15 the Roundabout’s revival of Arthur Miller’s “A View From the Bridge” gets a commercial transfer to the Neil Simon. Peter Whelan’s “The Herbal Bed,” another London hit, opens April 16 at the Eugene O’Neill, and on April 22 Martin McDonagh’s “The Beauty Queen of Leenane” arrives from its acclaimed Off Broadway staging to open at the Walter Kerr.
The season ends with a pair of plays featuring name stars above the titles. Joanna Murray-Smith’s “Honour,” starring Jane Alexander, opens April 26 at the Belasco. Liam Neeson returns to Broadway as Oscar Wilde in David Hare’s “The Judas Kiss,” yet another acclaimed London production, opening April 29 at the Broadhurst.