Broadway Update: Christmas Carol; Sweeney Todd; Etc.
By: David Sheward
September 8, 2022: Tony and Drama Desk winner Jefferson Mays (I Am My Own Wife, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder) will bring his one-man version of A Christmas Carol to Broadway. The stage adaptation will begin previews at the Nederlander on Nov. 8 in advance of a Nov. 21 opening for a limited 66-performance run. Mays will leave his current role of Mayor Shinn in The Music Man at the Winter Garden on Oct. 23.
Mays plays 50 different roles in this spectacular staging of Charles Dickens’ beloved classic. This breaks a record for the actor who played 40 characters in I Am My Own Wife and 9 in A Gentleman’s Guide. This version, directed by Tony nominee Michael Arden (Once on This Island, Spring Awakening), adapted by Mays, Susan Lyons, and Arden and conceived by Arden and Tony nominee Dane Laffrey (set design for Island and Awakening), premiered in 2018 at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles. In the winter of 2020, a filmed version was streamed.
There have been many stage versions of the immortal tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim, and the ghosts of Christmas. The most recent was a 2019 multi-character edition starring Campbell Scott, Andrea Martin and LaChanze on Broadway which won five Tony Awards. Patrick Stewart did his own solo Christmas Carol four times on Broadway (1991, 1993, 1995, 2001). Madison Square Garden hosted an elaborate musical adaptation annually from 1994 to 2003. Richard Kiley headlined a short-lived musical version with songs by Michel LeGrand and Sheldon Harnick which toured briefly in 1981 but never made it to New York. Movie and TV Scrooges have included Alastair Sim (my favorite), Reginald Owen, George C. Scott, Kelsey Grammer, and Albert Finney.
Speaking of yuletide holiday fare, the smash hit revival of Into the Woods has announced its final extension at the St. James. The acclaimed revival of the Stephen Sondheim-James Lapine fairy-tale musical will play through Jan. 8, 2023. Casting for the extension will be announced.
Sweeney Todd Confirmed
It’s official. The revival of Sweeney Todd, the 1979 Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler musical about a cut-throat barber and his pie-making cannibalistic accomplice, will definitely begin previews at the Lunt-Fontanne Theater on Feb. 25, 2023 in advance of a March 26 opening. Pop superstar Josh Groban and Tony winner Annaleigh Ashford will star. The production had been rumored for several weeks and was reported on in Broadway Journal. On Sept. 5, artwork for the show began showing up on social media and the Ticketmaster website posted a performance calendar (tickets go on sale Mon. Sept. 18).
Additional cast members will be announced at a later date. The creative team will be an all-star one. Thomas Kail (Hamilton) directs, Olivier winner Steven Hoggett choreographs, Tony winner Mimi Lein will design the sets, Tony nominee Emilio Sosa handles the costumes, and multiple Tony winner Natasha Katz the lighting. There will be a 26-piece orchestra with musical supervision by Alex Lacamoire. The previous Sweeney Todd revivals (two on Broadway and one Off) have been on a small scale.
New Little Shop Cast
Tony nominees Brad Oscar and Bryce Pinkham will join the cast of the Off-Broadway revival of Little Shop of Horrors beginning Sept. 27. Oscar (The Producers, Something Rotten!) steps into the role of Mishnik and Pinkham, who co-starred with Jefferson Mays in A Gentleman’s Guide, takes on the smock of sadistic dentist Dr. Orin Scrivello. Andrew Call returns to the role of Dr. Scrivello on Nov. 8. Tony nominee Rob McLure (Mrs. Doubtfire) and Tony winner Lena Hall (Hedwig and the Angry Inch) continue as Seymour and Audrey.
Danny and Lucy DeVito in New Rebeck Play
Emmy and Drama Desk winner Danny DeVito (Taxi, The Price) recently headlined a staged reading of a new play by prolific playwright Theresa Rebeck (Bernhardt/Hamlet, Dead Accounts, Seminar, Mauritius) at the Dorset Theater Festival in Vermont. In an interview with Vanity Fair, the actor stated he intends to bring the play, I Need That, which co-stars his daughter Lucy, to Broadway or Off-Broadway in a year. DeVito plays Sam, a compulsive hoarder who must clean up his apartment or face eviction. Lucy DeVito will play his daughter in the play and a third actor, Ray Anthony Thomas, is his friend Foster who aids in the clean-up. Rebeck was also recently in theater news for joining the team of the musical version of Working Girl as book writer.
Louis Armstrong Musical
Tony winner James Monroe Igelhart (Aladdin) stars in an industry reading of What a Wonderful World, a bio musical on jazz legend Louis Armstrong, on Sept. 19 and 20. Conceived by Tony nominee Christopher Renshaw (Taboo, The King and I) and Andrew Delaplaine, the musical is told from the point of view of the women in Armstrong’s life and will feature songs made famous by the legendary Satchmo and a book by Aurin Squire (TV’s The Good Fight, This Is Us). Renshaw directs. Wonderful World debuted at Miami New Drama in 2020.
2022-23 Broadway/Off-Broadway Schedule
Sept. 10–Remember This: The Lesson of Jan Karski (TFANA/Polonsky Shakespeare Center)
Sept. 13–Cheek to Cheek: Irving Berlin in Hollywood (York Theater Company)
Sept. 22–Sesame Street: The Musical (Theater Row)
Sept. 29–american (tele)visions (New York Theatre Workshop)
Oct. 2–Leopoldstadt (Longacre)
Oct. 2–Baldwin and Buckley at Cambridge (Public Theater/Elevator Repair Service)
Oct. 3–Cost of Living (MTC/Friedman)
Oct. 6–1776 (Roundabout/AA)
Oct. 6–Peerless (Primary Stages/59E59)
Oct. 9–Death of a Salesman (Hudson)
Oct. 13–The Piano Lesson (Barrymore)
Oct. 19–A Raisin in the Sun (Public Theater)
Oct. 19–The Year of Magical Thinking (Keen Company/location TBA) (previews begin; opening TBA)
Oct. 20–Topdog/Underdog (Golden)
Oct. 25–Candida (Gingold Theatrical Group/Theatre Row)
Oct. 26–Straight Line Crazy (The Shed/Griffin)
Oct. 27–Walking with Ghosts (Music Box)
Oct. 27–Take Me Out (return engagement) (Schoenfeld)
Oct. 30–A Man of No Importance (CSC)
October–Catch as Catch Can (Playwrights Horizons); Downstate (Playwrights Horizons)
Nov. 2–Where the Mountain Meets the Sea (MTC/City Center Stage I)
Nov. 3–Almost Famous (Bernard Jacobs)
Nov. 6–You Will Get Sick (Roundabout/Laura Pels)
Nov. 6–A Delicate Balance (NAATCO/Transport Group/Connelly Theater)
Nov. 7–Only Gold (MCC Theater)
Nov. 9–Where We Belong (Public Theater)
Nov. 10–Kimberly Akimbo (Booth)
Nov. 15–the bandaged place (Roundabout/Underground)
Nov. 15–Camp Siegfried (Second Stage/Tony Kiser)
Nov. 16–Plays for the Plague Year (Public Theater)
Nov. 17–& Juliet (Sondheim)
Nov. 20–KPOP (Circle in the Square)
Nov. 21–A Christmas Carol (Nederlander)
Nov. 21–Becky Nurse of Salem (LCT/Mitzi Newhouse)
Nov. 21–Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish (New World Stages)
Nov. 29–Des Moines (TFANA/Polonsky Shakespeare Center)
Dec. 1–Ain’t No Mo (Belasco)
Dec. 1–Hoagy Carmichael’s Stardust Land (York Theater Company)
Dec. 4–A Beautiful Noise: The Neil Diamond Musical (Broadhurst)
Dec. 8–The Ohio State Murders (James Earl Jones)
Dec. 11–Some Like It Hot (Shubert)
Dec. 12–Merrily We Roll Along (New York Theatre Workshop)
Dec. 19–Between Riverside and Crazy (Second Stage/Hayes)
Dec. 20–The Collaboration (MTC/Friedman)
February–The Trees (Playwrights Horizons)
March 1–the best we could (a family tragedy) (MTC/City Center Stage I)
March 8–Crumbs from the Table of Joy (Keen Company/Theater Row)
March 26–Sweeney Todd (Lunt-Fontanne)
March–Regretfully So the Birds Are (Playwrights Horizons)
April 4–Summer, 1976 (MTC/Samuel J. Friedman) (previews begin, opening TBA)
April 13–Camelot (Lincoln Center/Vivian Beaumont)
April 29–Fuenta Ovejuna (TFANA/Polonsky Shakespeare Center)
April 30–The Thanksgiving Play (Second Stage/Hayes)
May 16–King James (MTC/City Center Stage I)
May–Wet Brain (Playwrights Horizons)
July 9–Orpheus Descending (TFANA/Polonsky Shakespeare Center)
2022-23 (no dates or theaters yet)
Ain’t Supposed to Die a Natural Death, Black Orpheus, Cinderella, Come Fall in Love–The DDLJ Musical, Dancin’, Pal Joey, Square One
Dark Disabled Stories (Public)
The Wanderers (Roundabout/Laura Pels)
Prime Facie (a Shubert theater TBA)
Good Bones (Public)
New York, New York
Poor Yella Rednecks (MTC/City Center Stage II)
2023, 2024 and Beyond
Game of Thrones, The Great Gatsby, Frida, the Musical, High Noon
Future–Good Night, Oscar; The Devil Wears Prada; Ella: An American Miracle; Everybody’s Talking About Jamie; The Griswolds’ Family Vacation; Harmony; I Need That; Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat; The Karate Kid; Lempicka; Back to the Future; Our Town; The Nanny; The Normal Heart/The Destiny of Me; Sing Street; Smash; Soul Train; What a Wonderful World; The Who’s Tommy; Working Girl