Producers of the musical have hoped to bring the show to New York ever since the production’s summer bow (pictured above) at the Williamstown Theater Festival. Now that the well-received but sales-challenged Pulitzer Prize winner “Disgraced” has announced it will close at the Lyceum on March 1, there’s a suitably intimate venue available for “The Visit” to arrive on the Main Stem in time for the April 23 eligibility cutoff for the Tony Awards.
Chita Rivera and Roger Rees will reprise their toplining roles in the production after playing their respective parts in Williamstown over the summer. Based on the Friedrich Durrenmatt play, “The Visit” follows the richest woman in the world (Rivera) as she returns to her hometown to exact revenge on the man (Rees) who wronged her.
“The Visit” has taken an unusually long road to New York for a show by John Kander and Fred Ebb, the songwriting duo behind shows including “Chicago,” “Cabaret” and “The Scottsboro Boys.” After a 2001 premiere in Chicago didn’t move on to future life, a new take on the show was produced at the D.C. area’s Signature Theater in 2008. The Broadway version is the third major stab at the musical, this time spearheaded by director John Doyle and choreographer Graciela Daniele.
Tom Kirdahy, Tom Smedes, Hugh Hayes and Judith Ann Abrams head up the Broadway producing team. Kirdahy already has the season’s biggest hit play (so far) on his hands with “It’s Only a Play,” also written by Terrence McNally, who penned the book for “The Visit,” which begins previews at the Lyceum March 26 ahead of an April 23 opening.
Meanwhile, in the latest of Broadway’s spring shifts, the imminent closing of Sting musical “The Last Ship” frees up the Neil Simon Theater for a potential tenant — although which title might land there seems anyone’s guess. The Public Theater’s upcoming production of “Hamilton,” the latest by Lin-Manuel Miranda (“In the Heights”), has already amassed the kind of industry enthusiasm that makes a Broadway transfer a foregone conclusion. That show, it’s said, might move into the Simon this season, but others say the show might wait until next season.
“Hamilton” is just one of the possibilities that might, if stars align, squeeze into Broadway’s 2014-15 season. The Vanessa Hudgens-toplined revival of “Gigi,” which starts its D.C. tryout at the Kennedy Center on Jan. 16, seems a potential contender, although it remains to be seen how critics will take to the show. Musicals including “Amazing Grace” and “Allegiance” are out there, too, with Broadway firmly in their sights.