New tuners hit the Rialto
While new plays outnumber new musicals this spring season, they don’t have exclusivity on dramatic conflict.
High among the season’s most anticipated tuners is “LoveMusik,” which spans a quarter-century in the turbulent relationship of composer Kurt Weill and his actress wife, Lotte Lenya. Michael Cerveris and Donna Murphy will star in the show, written by Alfred Uhry, with music by Weill. Opening May 3 at the Biltmore, the MTC production showcases another welcome return to Broadway, as it’s the first new musical staged by Harold Prince since “Parade” in 1998.
The clashes are more physical in swashbuckling saga “The Pirate Queen,” the new historical tuner from Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg, the French composers of “Les Miserables” and “Miss Saigon.”
Produced by the team behind “Riverdance,” the tale centers on 16th-century Irish pirate chieftain Grace O’Malley. Following the mixed reception to its Chicago tryout, Frank Galati’s production has added Broadway vets Richard Maltby Jr. and Graciela Daniele to the creative crew for some doctoring before its April 5 bow at the Hilton Theater.
Roundabout will revive “110 in the Shade,” the musicalization by “The Fantasticks” team Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt of “The Rainmaker.” Show is about a woman in the American West who is torn between a charismatic conman and a local sheriff. Audra McDonald stars in Lonny Price’s production, opening May 9 at Studio 54.
The romantic elements of these tuners aside, Broadway fans craving unapologetic effervescence will have to content themselves this spring with a small handful of new shows, including two tuners adapted from popular movies and one of the final collaborations from famed composing team Kander & Ebb.
Completed by John Kander and book writer Rupert Holmes after the death of Fred Ebb and original author Peter Stone, “Curtains” is a murder mystery with a theater-insider twist. It stars David Hyde Pierce as a Boston detective with a passion for musicals, with Debra Monk as producer of a show whose lead actress is murdered. Opening is March 22 at the Hirschfeld, with Scott Ellis directing.
Elle Woods continues her journey from Rodeo Drive to Harvard Law to the Palace Theater, opening April 29 in “Legally Blonde.” Laura Bell Bundy will don the pink wardrobe for the tuner, which just started tryouts in S.F., with Tony-winning choreographer Jerry Mitchell making his directing bow.
Finally, Douglas Carter Beane’s reworking of the kitsch classic “Xanadu,” about a struggling artist and his roller-skating muse, has been announced for an unspecified May opening at the Helen Hayes. Christopher Ashley directs.