Broadway favorite Laura Benanti (“Nashville,” “The Good Wife”) has signed on to star in “New York Spring Spectacular,” the new show at Radio City Music Hall jointly produced by MSG Entertainment and Harvey Weinstein’s Weinstein Live Entertainment. “So You Think You Can Dance” choreographer Mia Michaels has come aboard to choreograph the show’s opening number.
Benanti adds further Broadway cred to a project that’s already co-conceived by Tony winner Diane Paulus and directed and choreographed by Warren Carlyle (“After Midnight”). Weinstein makes his Broadway debut as a lead producer this spring on musical “Finding Neverland,” which Paulus directs and Michaels choreographs.
Benanti and Michaels are among a list of new names attached to the project that also includes Whoopi Goldberg, providing the recorded voice of the show’s giant Statue of Liberty puppet, as well as Donald Trump, Martha Stewart and a roster of sports figures, all of whom appear in video segments.
“Spring Spectacular,” also co-created by “Sleep No More” and “Queen of Night” impresario Randy Weiner, is a retooled iteration of the show that began life as “Hearts and Lights,” the Rockettes show that was to have bowed in spring 2014 but was nixed at the last minute. The new production builds a tour of New York City landmarks into the story of a veteran Gotham tour guide and the young tech type (Benanti) who wants to supplant his real-world tours with virtual reality experiences.
Michaels’ number introduces the show’s 36 Rockettes (who appear in the show alongside an ensemble of some 40 additional performers) in Grand Central, into which all three dozen march at the top of the show. “It’s this army of women coming into Grand Central,” she said. “On a stage that big, you can’t just do a step. It had to be life-changing. It has to be epic.”
Additional casting has yet to be set for the show, which begins previews March 12 ahead of a March 26 opening. If it proves successful, MSG Entertainment, owner of Radio City, aims to position “Spring Spectacular” as an annual seasonal attraction along the lines of the venue’s long-running “Christmas Spectacular.”