2018-19 Broadway/Off-Broadway Season Forecast
By: David Sheward
June 22, 2018: The Tony Awards have been handed out and the 2017-18 New York theater season has drawn to a close. The big winners were The Band’s Visit and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Band swept the evening with a near-record ten wins including Best Musical (only two shows The Producers and Hamilton have won more). Harry Potter took six accolades including Best Play and most of the design categories. Because Band played Off-Broadway last season it was ineligible for all the other theater awards this season. The Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle went for SpongeBob SquarePants while the New York Drama Critics Circle opted to give no award for Best Musical. The NYDCC and Drama Desk skipped over Harry Potter to name Off-Broadway plays, Mary Jane and Admissions respectively, the best of the season.
Will the next Broadway season be similarly lean? We can expect another pseudo-jukebox/diva musical and some of the straight plays will be Off-Broadway transfers such as MTC’s Choir Boy and Second Stage’s Torch Song as well as hits from London (The Ferryman, The Nap). Cher (in the fall) and Michael Jackson (in 2020) will follow Donna Summer in the latest trend as subjects of bio-musicals.
There will be a few new American plays such as American Son with Kerry Washington and Steve Pasquale as an estranged interracial couple waiting in a police station for news of their missing son. The Lifespan of a Fact will star Daniel Radcliffe, Cherry Jones, and Bobby Cannavale. The play is based on the real-life controversy surrounding an essay about the suicide of a Las Vegas teen.
Comedy legend Elaine May will make her first official onstage Broadway appearance since her comedy act with Mike Nichols played the Golden Theater in 1960. May headlines a revival of Kenneth Lonergan’s The Waverly Gallery at the same theater in the role which won Eileen Heckart an Obie and a Drama Desk Award. Michael Cera and Lucas Hedges co-star. Sidenote: I said “official” because according to ibdb.com, May starred in a forgotten comedy called The Office, which only ran 10 preview performances and closed before opening in 1966. It sounds like a fascinating flop. The script was written by Maria Irene Fornes, the multiple Obie winning playwright (this is her only Broadway credit) and directed by Jerome Robbins. The supporting cast included Tony Lo Bianco, Doris Roberts and Jack Weston.
Here is a breakdown of announced Broadway and major Off-Broadway openings.
June 18–Othello (Public/Delacorte)
June 21–Skintight (Roundabout/Laura Pels)
June 25–Log Cabin (Playwrights Horizons)
June 27–Carmen Jones (CSC)
June 28–On a Clear Day You Can See Forever (Irish Repertory Theater)
July 12–Mary Page Marlowe (Second Stage)
July 15–Fiddler on the Roof (Folksbiene/Museum of Jewish Heritage)
July 23–Straight White Men (Second Stage/Helen Hayes)
July 24–This Ain’t No Disco (Atlantic Theater Company)
July 26–Head Over Heels (Hudson)
July 31–Twelfth Night (Public/Delacorte)
Aug. 13–Getting the Band Back Together (Belasco)
Aug. 16–Pretty Woman (Nederlander)
Sept. 25–Berndhart/Hamlet (Roundabout/American Airlines)
Sept. 27–The Nap (MTC/Friedman)
Oct. 16–Apologia (Roundabout/Laura Pels)
Oct. 18–The Lifespan of a Fact (Studio 54)
Oct. 21–The Ferryman (Jacobs)
Oct. 23–India Pale Ale (MTC/City Center Stage I)
Oct. 25–The Waverly Gallery (Golden)
Nov. 1–Torch Song (Second Stage/Hayes)
Nov. 4–American Son (Booth)
Nov. 8–King Kong (Broadway)
Nov. 15–The Prom (Cort)
Dec. 3–The Cher Show (Neil Simon)
Dec. 13–To Kill a Mockingbird (Shubert)
Jan. 22–Choir Boy (MTC/Freidman)
Jan. 24–True West (Roundabout/American Airlines)
Feb. 19–Merrily We Roll Along (Roundabout/Fiasco/Laura Pels)
March 14–Kiss Me, Kate (Roundabout/Studio 54)
2019–The Secret Garden, Burn This
April 24–Ink (MTC/Friedman)
2020–Michael Jackson Musical
Future–Death Becomes Her, Hadestown, Moulin Rouge the Musical, Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations, Mighty Real: A Fabulous Sylvester Musical, The Devil Wears Prada, Jagged Little Pill, Working Girl, Half-Time, Roman Holiday, The Wiz, Camp David, Photograph 51, An Enemy of the People, Sherlock Holmes, Singin’ in the Rain, Pat Benatar Musical