Around The Town

Broadway / Off-Broadway Update

Sign of the Times, Stranger Things, The Effect, Etc.

By: David Sheward

December 20. 2023: Yet another jukebox musical is headed our way. A Sign of the Times will feature music from 1960s pop legends such as Petula Clark, Leslie Gore, and Dusty Springfield. Preview performances being Feb. 2 at New World Stage in advance of a Feb. 22 opening. Sign of the Times will star Chilina Kennedy (Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, Paradise Square) as Cindy, two-time Drama Desk nominee Ryan Silverman (The Phantom of the Opera, Chicago) as Brian, Justin Matthew Sargent (Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, Rock of Ages) as Matt and Tony Award nominee Crystal Lucas-Perry (1776, Ain’t No Mo) as Tanya.

Crystal Lucas-Perry and Chilina Kennedy in “A Sign of the Times” at Delaware Theater Company. Credit: Matt Urban

Sign of the Times, Stranger Things, The Effect, Etc.

By: David Sheward

December 20. 2023: Yet another jukebox musical is headed our way. A Sign of the Times will feature music from 1960s pop legends such as Petula Clark, Leslie Gore, and Dusty Springfield. Preview performances being Feb. 2 at New World Stage in advance of a Feb. 22 opening. Sign of the Times will star Chilina Kennedy (Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, Paradise Square) as Cindy, two-time Drama Desk nominee Ryan Silverman (The Phantom of the Opera, Chicago) as Brian, Justin Matthew Sargent (Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, Rock of Ages) as Matt and Tony Award nominee Crystal Lucas-Perry (1776, Ain’t No Mo) as Tanya.

York Theater Company in association with Richard J. Robin, President, Wells St. Productions LLC., produces. With a book by Lindsey Hope Pearlman (Roar!, Cassandra Complex), based on an original story by Richard J. Robin, the production features music supervision, music arrangements and orchestrations by Joseph Church (The Lion King, In the Heights), choreography by JoAnn M. Hunter (School of Rock, London: SuperYou), and is directed by Gabriel Barre (Amazing Grace, Almost Maine, The Wild Party). 

A Sign of the Times had its world premiere at Goodspeed Musicals’ Norma Terris Theatre in 2016 and played a sold out, critically acclaimed run at the Delaware Theatre Company in 2018. 

The story involves a young woman arriving in NYC in 1965 ready to make her way as a photographer. Some of the hit songs included are “The Shoop Shoop Song,” “Downtown,” “I Know a Place,” These Boots Are Made for Walkin'” “You Don’t Own Me” and “The Boy from New York City.” 

Louis McCartney in Stranger Things: The First Shadow.
Credit: Manuel Hardin

Stranger Things, Effect: According to Deadline, the newly-opened London stage version of Stranger Things, the long-running hit Netflix sci-fi series, is headed for Broadway. The spectacular production, subtitled The First Shadow, is the first in a trilogy of projected plays and according its co-director Stephen Daldry is a bridge between season four and season five of the series. Nothing is official yet, but the Deadline article states plans are in the works for a NYC run if the London box office and reviews are positive. Like Harry Potter and the Cursed Child which is still running on Broadway, Stranger Things includes dazzling special effects and has input by playwright Jack Thorne who won a Tony for his Harry Potter stage adaptation. Kate Trefry is the author and the “original story” is credited to the Duffer Brothers, Thorne and Trefry. The producers are Netflix and Sonia Friedman who has brought many London hits to Broadway including Harry Potter, Tom Stoppard’s Leopoldstadt, A View from the Bridge and more.

Paapa Essiedu and Taylor Russell in The Effect.
Credit: Marc Brenner

Speaking of transfers from London, The Effect by Lucy Prebble (Succession, Enron) will have its US premiere at the Shed (current home of Sondheim and Ives’ Here We Are) for a four-week run from March 3-31 with an opening date set for March 13. The 2012 play, which ran in revival at London’s National Theater under the direction of Jamie Lloyd (A Doll’s House, Betrayal), concerns two participants in a clinical drug trial who begin a romantic relationship. 

“The concurrent mastery of cinematic performances, sculptural lighting design, and immersive hip-hop influenced score is just the kind of interdisciplinary theatre making that is so compelling for our times,” says The Shed Artistic Director Alex Poots in a statement. “It’s an honor to premiere The National Theater’s production of this modern classic for our New York audiences.”

Casting News: Two-time Tony winner Judy Kaye (Phantom of the Opera, Nice Work If You Can Get It) will join Charles Busch in his play Ibsen’s Ghost…Tony winner Harriet Harris (Thoroughly Modern Millie) will play Queen Agravain in Encores’ concert presentation of Once Upon a Mattress. The rest of all-star cast includes Sutton Foster, Michael Urie (who I guess will be taking time off from Spamalot), Cheyenne Jackson, J. Harrison Ghee, Nikki Renee Daniels, Francis Jue, and David Patrick Kelly….Jonathan Hadary (As Is, Golden Boy, Awake and Sing) will play the neighbor Waffles in the Lincoln Center revival of Uncle Vanya. I saw it on the poster while I was at the Mitzi Newhouse to see The Gardens of Anuncia.

Harriet Harris
Credit: Joseph Marzullo/WENN

2023-24 Broadway/Off-Broadway Schedule

Winter 2023-24

Jan. 9–Prayer for the French Republic (MTC/Friedman)

Jan. 17–Public Obscenities (TFANA/Polonsky Center)

Jan. 21–Aristocrats (IRT)

Jan. 24–Once Upon a Mattress (Encores/City Center)

Jan. 26–Oh, Mary (Lortel)

Jan. 28–Days of Wine and Roses (Studio 54)

Jan. 30–Sunset Baby (previews begin; opening TBA) (Signature Theater)

Feb. 1–The White Chip (Frankel Theater/MCC Theater)

Feb. 1–Jonah (Roundabout/Laura Pels)

Feb. 6–The Connector (MCC)

Feb. 8–Russian Troll Farm: A Workplace Comedy (Vineyard Theater)

Feb. 11–Hamlet (Solo version with Eddie Izzard) (Greenwich House)

Feb. 13–The Apiary (Second Stage/Tony Kiser Theater)

Feb. 14–I Love You So Much I Could Die (NYTW)

Feb. 21–Jelly’s Last Jam (Encores/City Center)

Feb. 22–The Life and Slimes of Marc Summers (New World Stages)

Feb. 22–A Sign of the Times (New World Stages)

Feb. 26–Pericles (CSC)

Feb. 27–The Ally (Public)

Feb. 28–Brooklyn Laundry (MTC/City Center Stage I)

Feb. 29–Doubt: A Parable (Roundabout/AA)

TBA–The Seven Year Disappear (The New Group/Signature Center)

Spring 2024

March 11–Corruption (LCT/Mitzi Newhouse)

March 12–My Son’s a Queer (But What Can You Do?) (Lyceum)

March 12–Teeth (Playwrights Horizons)

March 13–The Effect (The Shed/Griffin Theater)

March 14–The Notebook (Schoenfeld)

March 14–Ibsen’s Ghost (Primary Stages/59E59)

March 18–An Enemy of the People (Circle in the Square)

March 19–Fish (previews begin; opening TBA) (Keen Co./Theater Five) 

March 21–Water for Elephants (Imperial)

March 24–Philadelphia, Here I Come (IRT)

March 28–The Who’s Tommy (Nederlander)

March 28–Sally and Tom (Public) (previews begin; opening TBA)

April 2–Mary Jane (previews begin; opening TBA) (MTC/Friedman) 

April 2–Orlando (previews begin; opening TBA) (Signature Theatre)

April 5–Macbeth (an undoing) (TFANA/Polonsky Center)

April 11–The Outsiders (Jacobs)

April 11–Jordans (Public) (previews begin; opening TBA)

April 12–Staff Meal (previews begin; opening TBA) (Playwrights Horizons)

April 14–Lempicka (Longacre)

April 17–The Wiz (Marquis)

April 18–Suffs (Music Box)

April 20–Hell’s Kitchen (Shubert)

April 20/21–Cabaret (August Wilson)

April 22–The Heart of Rock and Roll (James Earl Jones)

April 24–Uncle Vanya (LCT/Vivian Beaumont)

April 25–Mother Play (Second Stage/Hayes)

April 30–Tony Nominations Announced

April 30–Three Houses (previews begin; opening TBA) (Signature Theatre)

April–Here There Are Blueberries (NYTW)

May 2–Wine in the Wilderness (previews begin; opening TBA) (CSC)

Summer 2024

June 5–Home (Roundabout/AA)

June 12–The Welkin (Atlantic Theater Company)

June 12–Titanic (Encores/City Center)

June 16–Tony Awards (David Koch Theater/Lincoln Center)

June–Cats (Perelman Performing Arts Center)

TBA–All of Me (The New Group/Signature Center)

Fall 2024

King Lear (Kenneth Branagh Theater Company/The Shed)

2024-25

Our Town

Smash

Tammy Faye

Spring 2025

Show Boat (Target Margin/NYU Skirball)

Future–Ain’t Supposed to Die a Natural Death; Beaches the Musical; Black Orpheus; BOOP! The Betty Boop Musical; Come Fall in Love–The DDLJ Musical; Death Becomes Her; The Devil Wears Prada; Ella: An American Miracle; Everybody’s Talking About Jamie; Frida, the Musical; Game of Thrones; The Great Gatsby; The Griswolds’ Broadway Vacation; High Noon; Imitation of Life; Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat; The Karate Kid; La La Land; Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil; The Mousetrap; Nancy Drew and the Mystery at Spotlight Manor; Pal Joey; The Queen’s Gambit; Rear Window; The Nanny; The Normal Heart/The Destiny of Me; The Secret Garden; Sing Street; Soul Train; Stranger Things: The First Shadow; What a Wonderful World; Working Girl.

2023-24 Broadway Season Breakdown:

New Plays:

The Cottage

Grey House

I Need That

Jaja’s African Hair Braiding

Mother Play

Prayer for the French Republic

The Shark Is Broken

New Musicals:

Back to the Future

Days of Wine and Roses

Harmony

The Heart of Rock and Roll

Hell’s Kitchen

How to Dance in Ohio

Lempicka

The Notebook

Once Upon a One More Time

The Outsiders

Suffs

Water for Elephants

Play Revivals:

Appropriate

Doubt: A Parable

An Enemy of the People

Mary Jane

Purlie Victorious

Uncle Vanya

Musical Revivals:

Cabaret

Gutenberg! The Musical

Here Lies Love

Merrily We Roll Along

Monty Python’s Spamalot

The Who’s Tommy

The Wiz

Solos/Specialties:

Alex Edelman: Just for Us

Melissa Etheridge: My Window

My Son’s a Queer (But What Can You Do?)