By: David Sheward
July is here and that means the 2018-19 Broadway season is officially done with and the next one is underway. Frankie and Johnny in the Claire de Lune, the revival of Terrence McNally’s 1988 two-hander, was the first official production of the season, opening in May. The summer is pretty slow this year with only two Broadway openings confirmed–Moulin Rouge, the stage version of Baz Luhrmann’s gaudy and superficial 2001 film musical and Sea Wall/A Life, a transfer of a pair of solo pieces starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Tom Sturridge which played the Public Theater earlier this year. Tea at Five, the one-woman play starring Faye Dunaway as Katharine Hepburn, was supposed to open sometime during the summer, as was an all-female staging of David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross. But neither ever secured a theater and their future is uncertain. Tea at Five is now playing Boston’s Huntington Theater through July 14.
Here’s a rundown of announced Broadway openings for 2019-20:
Betrayal: Harold Pinter’s reverse-chronicle triangle drama returns to Broadway for its third revival with Tom Hiddleston, Zawe Ashton and Charlie Cox making their Broadway debuts after a smashing success in London’s West End. (Original: 1980 with Raul Julia, Blythe Danner, and Roy Scheider, Reprised in 2001 with Liev Schreiber, Juliette Binoche and John Slattery, and in 2013 with Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz, and Rafe Spall). (Jacobs/Sept. 15)
Derren Brown: Secret–The magician and mentalist brings his Drama Desk winning show to Broadway after a run at the Atlantic Theater Company in 2017.
The Height of the Storm–Manhattan Theater Club opens its Broadway season with this drama by French playwright Florian Zeller starring Eileen Atkins and Jonathan Pryce repeating their London performances as a couple who, not unlike the protagonists of Zeller’s plays The Father and The Mother, face uncertainty and despair after decades of marriage.
Linda Vista and The Minutes–Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and Tony-winning actor Tracey Letts will have two plays on Broadway this season. Linda Vista profiles a middle-aged man ricocheting between relationships and The Minutes takes an absurdist view of a town meeting which turns deadly.
The Rose Tattoo–Marisa Tomei tackles Tennessee Williams’ impassioned seamstress Serafina, previously played by Maureen Stapleton and Mercedes Ruehl on Broadway and Anna Magnani in an Oscar-winning performance on screen. Trip Cullman directs this production for Roundabout which he also staged with Tomei for the Williamstown Theater Festival.
Freestyle Love Supreme–An improvised, rap, hip-hop show from the creators of Hamilton previously seen Off-Broadway and at Ars Nova.
The Sound Inside–Mary Louise Parker headlines another Williamstown transfer. Adam Rapp’s play concerns an Ivy League professor (Parker) becoming entangled with a mysterious student.
Tina: The Tina Turner Musical–The jukebox parade continues with Adrienne Warren repeating her London performance.
The Inheritance: Like Angels in America, Matthew Lopez’s epic covers two evenings, follows a group of gay men and premiered in London (Tony Kushner’s massive work had its first part debut at the National Theater.) Loosely inspired by E.M. Forster’s Howard’s End, the Olivier-winning multi-part play takes place in New York City the generation after the AIDS epidemic erupted.
Jagged Little Pill and American Utopia–Derived from Alanis Morrisette’s Grammy-winning album with additional material, and directed by Tony winner Diane Paulus (Pippin, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, Waitress), Pill will be swallowed on Broadway after a 2018 run at ART where Paulus is artistic director. American Utopia is also derived from a groundbreaking album, David Bryne’s 2018 work.
My Name Is Lucy Barton–Manhattan Theater Club opens 2020 with Laura Linney recreating her solo London performance in Elizabeth Strout’s stage version of her novel.
Grand Horizons–Bess Wohl (Small Mouth Sounds) makes her Broadway debut at Second Stage’s Hayes Theater with a drama about a couple moving into the titular retirement community and the wife announcing she wants to end her marriage of 50 years.
West Side Story–Avant-garde director Ivo von Hove has turned American classics like The Crucible, A View from the Bridge, The Little Foxes and A Streetcar Named Desire inside out as well as bringing beloved movies like Network and All About Eve to the stage in startlingly original productions. What will he do with Leonard Bernstein’s cherished street-gang update of Romeo and Juliet?
Girl from the North Country–Conor McPherson’s musical incorporating the songs of Bob Dylan into a story of Depression-era boarding house transfers to the Belasco after a run at the Public. The show won the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Off-Broadway musical last season.
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?–Laurie Metcalf and director Joe Mantello reunite after their triumphs with Three Tall Women and Hillary and Clinton in the ultimate dysfunctional marriage play. Eddie Izzard co-stars in this fourth Broadway revival of Edward Albee’s witches’ brew.
Birthday Candles–Debra Messing (Will and Grace) is a woman going through the stages of her life from 17 to 101 as seen in successive birthday parties in Noah Haidle’s play previously seen at Detroit Public Theater.
Take Me Out–Richard Greenberg’s award-winning work about the first openly gay major league baseball player returns with Jessie Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family) and Jesse Williams (Grey’s Anatomy) up at bat.
Blue–Charles Randolph-Wright’s play with music by Nona Hendryx about a prosperous African-American family directed by Phylicia Rashad who starred in the 2001 Off-Broadway production.
Looking even further into the future, there are revivals of The Music Man (with Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster) planned for October 2020 and 1776 in 2021. Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough, the Michael Jackson jukebox bio tuner, is planned for summer 2020, but controversy over the late legend’s alleged abusive behavior with young boys may prevent the production from ever getting off the ground.
Off-Broadway highlights include Harvey Fierstein as Bella Abzug in a solo show, a musical update of the Scottish play, Judith Ivey in a new play from Samuel D. Hunter (Greater Clements), and an operatic version of Lynn Nottage’s Intimate Apparel.
Here’s a 2019-20 production calendar of the shows listed above plus Broadway and Off-Broadway shows into 2020-21 and beyond.
July 15–The Rolling Stone (LCT/Mitzi Newhouse)
July 17–Mojada (Public Theater)
July 18–Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow (MCC)
July 23–Broadway Bounty Hunter (Greenwich House)
July 25–Moulin Rouge (Hirschfeld)
Aug. 8–Sea Wall/A Life (Hudson)
Aug 15–Make Believe (Second Stage/Tony Kiser)
Summer 2019–Tea at Five
Sept. 15–Derren Brown: Secret (Cort)
Sept. 15–Betrayal (Bernard Jacobs)
Sept. 24–The Height of the Storm (MTC/Samuel J. Friedman)
Sept. 24–Our Dear Dead Drug Lord (Second Stage/McGinn/Cazale)
Oct. 2–Freestyle Love Supreme (Booth)
Oct. 2–The New Englanders (MTC/City Center Stage II)
Oct. 10–Linda Vista (Second Stage/Helen Hayes)
Oct. 15–Scotland, PA (Roundabout/Laura Pels)
Oct. 15–The Rose Tattoo (Roundabout/American Airlines)
Oct. 17–The Sound Inside (Studio 54)
Oct. 20–American Utopia (Hudson)
Oct. 22–Bella Bella (MTC/City Center)
Nov. 7–Tina: The Tina Turner Musical (Lunt-Fontanne)
Nov. 17–The Inheritance (Barrymore)
Nov. 23–The Underlying Chris (Second Stage/Terry Kiser)
Dec. 5–Jagged Little Pill (Broadhurst)
Dec. 9–Great Clements (LCT/Mitzi Newhouse)
Jan. 15, 2020–My Name is Lucy Barton (MTC/Friedman)
Jan. 23–Grand Horizons (Second Stage/Helen Hayes)
Feb. 6–West Side Story
March 3–The Perplexed (MTC/City Center Stage I)
March 5–Girl from the North Country (Belasco)
March 23–Intimate Apparel (LCT/Mitzi Newhouse)
April 9–Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
April 21–Birthday Candles (Roundabout/AA)
April 23–Take Me Out (Second Stage/Helen Hayes)
May 19–The Best We Could Do (MTC/City Center Stage II)
June 2–Poor Yella Rednecks (MTC/City Center Stage I)
Summer 2020–Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough
Oct. 20, 2020–The Music Man
Future–Cagney, Dave, Death Becomes Her, Mrs. Doubtfire, Mighty Real: A Fabulous Sylvester Musical, The Devil Wears Prada, 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, Chasing Rainbows, Magic Mike
2019-20 Broadway Season
The Height of the Storm
My Name Is Lucy Barton
Sea Wall/A Life (Off-Broadway transfer)
The Sound Inside
Girl from the North Country (transfer from Off-Broadway)
Jagged Little Pill
Tina: The Tina Turner Musical
Frankie and Johnny in the Clare de Lune
Glengarry Glen Ross
The Rose Tattoo
Take Me Out
Tea at Five (previously presented Off-Broadway)
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
West Side Story
Derren Brown: Secret
The Music Man