Around The Town

Broadway Update

The Who’s Tommy; Our Town

By: David Sheward

October 28, 2023: The reimagined revival of The Who’s Tommy which had a hit run at Chicago’s Goodman Theater this past summer will join other renovated revivals including Cabaret, Merrily We Roll Along, and The Wiz on Broadway. The musical based on The Who’s 1969 concept album about a deaf, mute and blind pinball wizard will begin previews at the Nederlander Theater, to be vacated by Shucked in early 2024, on March 8 with an opening set for March 28. The Who’s Tommy originally opened in 1993 with direction by Des McAnuff who will return as stager. McAnuff also co-wrote the book with The Who’s Pete Townshend. The two reunited for this production to revise the script. 

Ali Louis Bourzgui (on table) in the Goodman Theater production of “The Who’s Tommy”, headed for Broadway in March 2024. Credit: Liz Lauren

The Who’s Tommy; Our Town

By: David Sheward

October 28, 2023: The reimagined revival of The Who’s Tommy which had a hit run at Chicago’s Goodman Theater this past summer will join other renovated revivals including Cabaret, Merrily We Roll Along, and The Wiz on Broadway. The musical based on The Who’s 1969 concept album about a deaf, mute and blind pinball wizard will begin previews at the Nederlander Theater, to be vacated by Shucked in early 2024, on March 8 with an opening set for March 28. The Who’s Tommy originally opened in 1993 with direction by Des McAnuff who will return as stager. McAnuff also co-wrote the book with The Who’s Pete Townshend. The two reunited for this production to revise the script. 

Casting will be announced at a later date. 

The original Broadway production ran for 899 performances and won five Tony Awards and six Drama Desk Awards. A 1975 film based on the album starred Roger Daltry, Ann-Margret (Oscar nomination), Oliver Reed, Elton John, Tina Turner, Jack Nicholson, Eric Clapton, and Keith Moon.

“In many ways, I think the world has caught up to Tommy Walker, which makes it exciting to revisit The Who’s Tommy for a new generation who, possibly more than any other, has a broad appetite for all kinds of music and story-telling,” said Des McAnuff.

“While the music remains as glorious as ever, our world years later is unimaginably and irrevocably changed. As a result, there’s so much more we all can recognize—and celebrate—in our protagonist’s evolution, as a collective deeper understanding of mental health has sharpened our lens. Tommy Walker’s triumph over devastating childhood trauma, to enlightened leadership, to ultimately recognizing the folly in which he’s surrounded himself is an ‘Amazing Journey’ to discover anew.”

“In 1969, when I originally wrote Tommy with The Who, nobody had ever written popular music songs about trauma, nobody talked about bullying, domestic sexual abuse was a subject that was virtually censored,” said Pete Townshend.

“Then, in 1993, working with Des on the staged theatre piece, we broke the established rules for a musical show. Now, the current generation is breaking all of those rules again—and what Des has achieved with this incredible new production honors them and their courage and audacity. I can’t wait to see how this newly empowered show connects with younger Broadway audiences today. I hope the younger ones come, for they will identify in an entirely new and important way with Tommy’s tumultuous life. Meanwhile, longtime fans of Tommy, The Who and all their music will be blown away by this new show.”

Frank Craven, Martha Scott, and John Craven in the original 1938 production of Our Town.

Kenny Leon to Direct Our Town: Tony winning director Kenny Leon, represented this season with the revival of Purlie Victorious, will direct Our Town, Thornton Wilder’s 1938 Pulitzer Prize-winning play, for the 2024-25 Broadway season. Casting, specific dates and a theater will be announced at a later date. 

The favorite of community and high-school theaters focuses on the town of Grovers’ Corners, New Hampshire as a microcosm for the human condition as we view two typical families going through the stages of youth, marriage, and death. 

Our Town has been seen on Broadway a total of five times with the most recent revivals starring Henry Fonda (1969), Spalding Gray (1988) and Paul Newman (2002). An Off-Broadway 2009 production directed by David Cromer ran for 644 performances, the longest run of the play. A 1940 film version featured original cast members Frank Craven and Martha Scott as well as a very young William Holden. A 1955 TV musical version starred a younger Newman, Eva Marie Saint and Frank Sinatra. A later 1977 video staging was headlined by Hal Holbrook, Sada Thompson, Ned Beatty, Robbie Benson, Barbara Del Geddes, Ronny Cox, and Gynnis O’Connor.

Kenny Leon has recently staged productions of Suzan Lori Parks’ Topdog/Underdog (Tony Award for Best Revival), Ohio State Murders by Adrienne Kennedy, A Soldier’s Play, Fences, American Son and two revivals of A Raisin in the Sun garnering him a Tony Award for Best Director.  In the spring of 2024, he will direct the previously announced Broadway production of Home by Samm-Art Williams presented by Roundabout Theatre Company at the American Airlines Theatre.

“Thornton Wilder’s Our Town – in my mind stands at the top of the Mount Rushmore of great American Theatre,” said Kenny Leon in a statement. “I feel blessed and fortunate to have gained the trust of the Wilder estate to present this classic to another generation of theatre lovers. It’s long been a burning desire to collaborate on a Broadway production of such magnitude that speaks so beautifully and intimately to all people about our shared time on the planet.”

Speaking for the Wilder family, the playwright’s nephew and literary executor, Tappan Wilder said: “The Wilders are thrilled beyond measure that the distinguished director Kenny Leon has agreed to direct Our Town on Broadway.  The stars are truly aligned for Grover’s Corners, the play about everywhere.”

2023-24 Broadway/Off-Broadway Calendar

Oct. 29–Translations (Irish Repertory Theater)

Oct. 29–Stereophonic (Playwrights Horizons)

Oct. 30–I Can Get It for You Wholesale (CSC)

Oct. 31–Merry Me (NYTW)

Nov. 1–Poor Yella Rednecks (MTC/City Center Stage I)

Nov. 2–I Need That (Roundabout/AA)

Nov. 2–Sabbath’s Theater (New Group/Signature Theater)

Nov. 4–Waiting for Godot (TFANA/Polonsky Center)

Nov. 12–Scene Partners (Vineyard Theater)

Nov. 13–Harmony (Barrymore)

Nov. 13–Danny and the Deep Blue Sea (Lortel)

Nov. 13–Walk on Through: Confessions of a Museum Guide (MCC Theater)

Nov. 16–Monty Python’s Spamalot (St. James)

Nov. 19–Hell’s Kitchen (Public)

Nov. 20–The Gardens of Anuncia (LCT/Mitzi Newhouse)

Nov. 24–Lone Star (Ruth Stage/Theater Row)

Nov. 30–Spain (Second Stage/Terry Kiser)

Nov.–Sad Boys in Harpy Land; Amusements; School Pictures (solo shows performed in repertory at Playwrights Horizons)

Winter 2023-24

Dec. 5–Manhatta (Public)

Dec. 10–How To Dance in Ohio (Belasco)

Dec. 11–Madwomen of the West (Actors Temple)

Dec. 12–Buena Vista Social Club (Atlantic Theater Company/Linda Gross)

Dec. 17–The Night of the Iguana (La Femme Theater Prods./Signature Center)

Dec. 18–Appropriate (Second Stage/Hayes)

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

Jan. 17–Public Obscenities (previews begin; opening TBA) (TFANA/Polonsky Center)

Jan. 21–Aristocrats (IRT)

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

Feb. 6–The Connector (MCC)

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

Feb. 21–Teeth (previews begin; opening TBA) (Playwrights Horizons)

Feb. 26–Pericles (previews begin; opening TBA) (CSC)

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

Feb.–The Ally (Public)

TBA–Brooklyn Laundry (MTC/City Center Stage I)

TBA–An Enemy of the People

TBA–I Love You So Much I Could Die (NYTW)

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

Spring 2024

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

March 14–The Notebook (Schoenfeld)

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–Sally and Tom (Public)

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

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

April 11–The Outsiders (Jacobs)

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

April 17–The Wiz (Marquis)

April 18–Suffs (Music Box)

April 20/21–Cabaret (August Wilson)

April 24–Uncle Vanya (LCT/Vivian Beaumont)

April 25–Mother Play (Second Stage/Hayes)

April 30–Tony Nominations Announced

April–Jordans (Public)

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

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

June–Cats (Perelman Performing Arts Center)

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

TBA–Here There Are Blueberries (NYTW)

TBA–Home (Roundabout/AA)

TBA–Jonah (Roundabout/Laura Pels)

TBA–Lempicka

Fall 2024

King Lear (Kenneth Branagh Theater Company/The Shed)

2024-25

Our Town

Smash

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; Rear Window; The Nanny; The Normal Heart/The Destiny of Me; The Secret Garden; Sing Street; Soul Train; 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

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

Home

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?)