With the Tony frenzy over and the Main Stem’s slate essentially unchanging until September, industry denizens have a bit more time to go out of town — and sniff around the regional productions that might show some promise for a future life in New York. Some of the summer’s big shows — notably Sting musical “The Last Ship” and the Michael Cera starrer “This Is Our Youth,” both bowing in Chicago — already have deals in place and Broadway venues booked. But other notable titles — drawn from a pool of hot-weather regional productions, summer festival slates and developmental stagings — have no firm future plans set. Click through for a rundown of the productions that Broadway types intend to check out as they head into the summer.
(Pictured: “Slide Show”)
Dog and Pony
Old Globe Theater, San Diego
May 28-July 6This one got an early start on the summer, opening when New York was in full Tony lockdown. But given the pedigree of the creative team — “Jersey Boys” book writer Rick Elice, reteaming with his “Peter and the Starcatcher” director Roger Rees and joined by “Altar Boyz” co-writer Michael Patrick Walker — it’s no surprise there’s already commercial interest with producer Hal Luftig (“Kinky Boots”) attached. Reviews were mixed, and plans are afoot to do some tinkering based on what they learned from the premiere production. Nothing’s set yet, but the Old Globe run doesn’t seem to be the last we’ll hear of “Dog and Pony.”
Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C.
June 14-July 13This revised version of the cult-fave 1997 musical first made ears perk up in its initial staging at the La Jolla Playhouse last year. The co-production from nonprofits La Jolla and the Kennedy Center just opened the second leg of its bicoastal premiere run to strong reviews. Director Bill Condon describes the revisical as a more unified version that gives the proper dramatic weight to new elements — such as the idea that the freak show’s Siamese-twin protagonists could be separated. Condon also drew on his film-world connections to give the show’s costumes and make-up even more of a verite look. “We’ve made it all feel a little less candycolored and a little more real and true to the difficulty of these two women’s lives,” the helmer said.
The Babylon Line
Powerhouse Theater, Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
June 26-July 6The summer lineup at Powerhouse Theater, the annual team-up of New York Stage and Film and Vassar College, usually has a handful of notable developing works on its slate. This year’s includes a new play by John Patrick Shanley starring Kyra Sedgwick, a new Ahrens-Flaherty musical of a series of vignettes by high-profile playwrights, and “The Babylon Line,” the new one from Broadway regular Richard Greenberg that earns attention in part for its starring turn by a post-“How I Met Your Mother” Josh Radnor (pictured with “Babylon Line” co-star Leslie Bibb). He’ll play a writer in 1967 who commutes from Greenwich Village to Long Island to teach an adult-ed creative writing class. “He’s a guy at a crossroads, and I’m at one now,” Radnor said. “But I also think we’re never not at a crossroads.”
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Goodman Theater, Chicago
June 27-Aug. 10Lerner and Loewe’s 1947 musical “Brigadoon” inspires a lot of affection among musical-theater fans — but it shows up in New York about as regularly as the titular lost-in-time village. The last Broadway staging was in 1980, and a revival planned for the 2008-09 season fell apart before it even started its tryout. But now Liza Lerner, daughter of lyricist-librettist Alan J. Lerner, has tapped Chicago helmer-choreographer Rachel Rockwell for a new version, with a revised book by Brian Hill that lays a historical foundation for the story. “We’re figuring out a tone that would be a little less cloying and a little more grounded, while honoring what Lerner and Loewe have done,” Rockwell said. With Kevin McCollum (“Motown”) keeping an eye on the title, it might not be another 100 years before New Yorkers catch sight of “Brigadoon.”
Steppenwolf Theater, Chicago
July 3-Aug. 31This one earns a look because it’s the new play written by Bruce Norris (right) and directed by Pam MacKinnon (left), the duo whose collaboration on Norris’ “Clybourne Park” yielded a Pulitzer and a Tony. MacKinnon describes “The Qualms,” centering on a swingers’ party that’s thrown into upheaval when a new couple joins the group, as a biting look at monogamy, jealousy and marriage. “Like ‘Clybourne Park’ in a way, it’s very much a marriage play about what happens between couples,” she said. “Monogamy may not be hardwired into our limbic systems, but free love may not be either.”
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American Repertory Theater, Cambridge, Mass.
July 23-Sept. 28
All 7 million viewers of the Tony Awards earlier this month got a taste of “Finding Neverland” (pictured in its Tony segment), the Harvey Weinstein-backed tuner that’s getting a ground-up redo with a new score and book following its U.K. bow in 2012. Tony-winning director Diane Paulus (“Pippin,” “Hair”) said the story, about J.M. Barrie’s creation of Peter Pan, is ripe for musicalization because it’s all about the imagination. “That was my keyhole,” she said. “The music [by Gary Barlow and Eliot Kennedy] functions as Barrie’s imagination, and it’s this British pop sound, ‘Yellow Submarine’ and onward. It liberates the story. It doesn’t feel like an Edwardian historical drama at all.”
July 31-Aug. 17The 2001 Kander and Ebb musical “The Visit,” which seems like a natural for New York but has yet to make it there, gets its latest lease on life at the Williamstown Theater Festival, with Chita Rivera still on board as a rich woman out to pay someone to murder her former lover. Roger Reese, Judy Kuhn and Jason Danieley star in the new version (with new orchestrations) overseen by director John Doyle. “It somehow didn’t get its chance the first time around,” Doyle said of the show, now performed in one intermissionless act. “It’s complex, and sometimes that takes a few shots to get right.”