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Broadway Update

B’way Update: Little Prince, Cancellations, MacBeth and Strange Loop

By: David Sheward

December 20, 2021: While Broadway is in turmoil over multiple performance cancellations and uncertainty due to the rapid spread of the omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus, a new production has been announced for the spring–The Little Prince, a stage version of the classic 1943 novella by Antoine de Saint-Exupery about the titular boy royal who seeks companionship on a journey to many different planets. Described as a theatrical experience with musical elements, the show combines elements of acrobatics, circus arts, dance, and video. It is the creation of director-choreographer Annie Tournie and has had runs in Paris, Sydney and Dubai. 

Lionel Zalachis and Charlotte Kah in The Little Prince at the Sydney Opera House. Credit: Prudence Upton

B’way Update: Little Prince, Cancellations, MacBeth and Strange Loop

By: David Sheward

December 20, 2021: While Broadway is in turmoil over multiple performance cancellations and uncertainty due to the rapid spread of the omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus, a new production has been announced for the spring–The Little Prince, a stage version of the classic 1943 novella by Antoine de Saint-Exupery about the titular boy royal who seeks companionship on a journey to many different planets. Described as a theatrical experience with musical elements, the show combines elements of acrobatics, circus arts, dance, and video. It is the creation of director-choreographer Annie Tournie and has had runs in Paris, Sydney and Dubai. 

Previews begin March 4 at the Broadway Theater with an opening set for March 17 for a run through Aug. 14. The show features a libretto by co-director Chris Mourin who also plays the narrator, and music by Terry Truck. It’s not clear if this presentation is a traditional musical, a play with music, and a sort of Cirque du Soleil show. A spokesperson stated it would be up to the Tony Eligibility Committee to determine its status for awards consideration. For our purposes, I have listed it as a new musical under the list of productions for the 2021-22 Broadway season. After seeing it, I might shift it to Special Presentations.

Director Tournié said, “We are thrilled for our company to continue The Little Prince’s world journey to the bright lights of Broadway and New York. On his journey, the Little Prince shares a message of humanity with the many different people and cultures he encounters. We are humbled to bring his story of friendship, loneliness, love, and caring for others and our planet back to the melting pot where Antoine de Saint-Exupéry first created this beloved tale.”

Bob Fosse as the Snake in the 1974 film of The Little Prince.

Another adaptation appeared on Broadway in 1982 under the title of The Little Prince and the Aviator. Starring Anthony Rapp and Michael York in the title roles, this version closed during previews and never officially opened. A 1974 film version was directed by Stanley Donen (Singin’ in the Rain, It’s Always Fair Weather and a dozen other screen classics) and featured a score by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe and an impressive cast including Bob Fosse, Gene Wilder, Richard Kiley, Clive Revill, Joss Ackland, and Donna McKechnie. This was the first new project Lerner and Loewe had collaborated on since Camelot. With a pedigree like that, you’d think the film would have been a classic, but it faded into obscurity soon after the opening.

Radio City’s Christmas Spectacular cancelled the remainder of its run due to COVID.

It’s heartening to hear of a new, unexpected Broadway production, especially amid the high number of shows canceling performances due to positive COVID tests. Ten productions have eliminated performances including Ain’t Too Proud, Aladdin, Freestyle Love Supreme, Hamilton, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Jagged Little Pill, Little Shop of Horrors (Off-Broadway), Moulin Rogue, Mrs. Doubtfire, MJ: The Michael Jackson Musical, and Tina. Company had to scrap a performance due to a non-COVID illness in the cast (Claybourne Elder who plays Andy, tweeted he had been thrown up on at the start of a performance.) MJ is going on the longest hiatus and will begin new performances on Dec. 27. In the most extreme move, Radio City has shuttered the rest of its Rockettes Christmas Spectacular which had several performances a day through Jan. 2.

In another drastic development, the Public Theater is now requiring its patrons to show proof of a negative COVID test within 24 hours of the date of the performance in addition to a photo ID and evidence of full vaccination. This new protocol will be in place until Jan. 30. Will Broadway adopt this extra layer of precaution?

There have been some panicky posts on social media foretelling the doom of live theatre in New York, but most of these shows have resumed performances or have announced their return. However, this uncertain state could spell trouble at the box office with audiences jittery over attending if performances are cancelled at the last minute. With omicron spreading rapidly, there could be more closures in the future.

James Jackson, Jr., Jason Veasey, John Michael Lyles, Jaquel Spivey, L. Morgan Lee, John Andrew Morrison, Antwayn Hooper in A Strange Loop Photo: Marc J. Franklin

In other news: the revival of Macbeth starring Daniel Craig and Ruth Negga, previously announced for the Lyceum has switched to the more desirable Longacre which became available once Diana posted a closing notice for Dec. 19. That left the Lyceum vacant and it was snapped up in a hurry by the Pulitzer Prize-winning A Strange Loop from the Washington DC-based Woolly Mammoth Theater. Loop is the autobiographical portrait of a gay, African-American theater writer dealing with his community’s homophobia and his own self-acceptance. Michael R. Jackson’s musical had a limited run at Playwrights Horizons in 2019 and won the Pulitzer Prize as well as the Drama Desk and New York Drama Critics Circle Awards for the 2019-20 season. The Woolly Mammoth run has been extended to Jan. 9, 2022. The NYC transfer will open sometime in the spring of 2022. Specific dates and casting will be announced soon. The question is will it be considered a new musical or a revival by the Tony eligibility committee? I will list it as a revival for the moment (see below).

2021-22 Broadway/Off-Broadway Schedule

Jan. 19, 2022–Skeleton Crew (MTC/Samuel J. Friedman)

Jan. 23–Long Day’s Journey Into Night (Audible Theater/Minetta Lane)

Jan. 27–Intimate Apparel (LCT/Mitzi Newhouse)

Jan. 31–Tambo and Bones (Playwrights Horizons)

Feb. 1–MJ: The Michael Jackson Musical (Neil Simon); Prayer for the French Republic (MTC/City Center)

Feb. 3–English (Atlantic Theater Company); Sandblasted (Vineyard)

Feb. 5–The Merchant of Venice (TFANA/Polonksy Shakespeare Center)

Feb. 10–The Music Man (Winter Garden)

Feb. 14–Sleep No More (McKittrick Hotel)

Feb. 22–Black No More (The New Group)

March 17–The Little Prince (Broadway)

March 20–Paradise Square (Barrymore)

March 24–for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf (Booth)

March 28–Plaza Suite (Hudson)

March 31–Mr. Saturday Night (Nederlander)

April 4–Take Me Out (Second Stage/Hayes)

April 6–Suffs (Public Theater)

April 7–The Minutes (Studio 54)

April 8–Beetlejuice (Marriott Marquis)

April 10–Birthday Candles (Roundabout/AA)

April 13–Harmony (Museum of Jewish Heritage)

April 14–American Buffalo (Circle In the Square); To My Girls (Second Stage/Kiser)

April 19–How I Learned to Drive (MTC/Samuel J. Friedman)

April 23–Wedding Band (TFANA/Polonsky Shakespeare Center)

April 24–Funny Girl (August Wilson)

April 25–The Skin of Our Teeth (LTC/Vivian Beaumont)

April 28–Macbeth (Longacre)

April 30–The Bedwetter (Atlantic Theater Company)

Spring 2022—A Strange Loop (Lyceum)

May 17–Golden Shield (MTC/City Center)

Fall 2022

1776 (Roundabout/AA)

Between Riverside and Crazy (Second Stage/Hayes)

2022

Ain’t Supposed to Die a Natural Death, The Ohio State Murders, The Piano Lesson

2022-23

Dancin’, Pal Joey, Square One

2023 and Beyond

Game of Thrones, The Great Gatsby

Future–Our Town; Death of a Salesman; K-pop the Broadway Musical; The Nanny; The Normal Heart/The Destiny of Me; Smash; Some Like It Hot; Soul Train; A Strange Loop; The Who’s Tommy

2021-22 Broadway Season Breakdown:

New Plays

Birthday Candles

Chicken and Biscuits

Clyde’s

Dana H. (transfer from Off-Broadway)

Is This A Room (transfer from Off-Broadway)

The Lehman Trilogy (transfer from Off-Broadway)

The Minutes

Pass Over (previously presented Off-Broadway)

Skeleton Crew (previously presented Off-Broadway in a different production)

Thoughts of a Colored Man

Play Revivals

American Buffalo

for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf

How I Learned to Drive

Lackawanna Blues (previously produced Off-Broadway)

Macbeth

Plaza Suite

The Skin of Our Teeth

Slave Play (return engagement)

Take Me Out

Trouble in Mind

New Musicals

Diana

Flying Over Sunset

The Little Prince

Mr. Saturday Night

Mrs. Doubtfire

Paradise Square

Six

Musical Revivals

Beetlejuice (return engagement)

Caroline or Change

Company

Funny Girl 

A Strange Loop (previously presented Off-Broadway)

Waitress (return engagement)

Specialties

Bruce Springsteen on Broadway (return engagement)

David Bryne’s American Utopia (return engagement)

Freestyle Love Supreme (return engagement)

Originally Posted on The David Desk 2 on December 19, 2021