Around The Town

Broadway Update

Huey Lewis and Lempicka Musical; Sweeney Casting, Etc.

By: David Sheward

November 1, 2023: Huey Lewis and the News is the latest pop group to have their song catalogue serve as the inspiration for a Broadway musical. The Heart of Rock and Roll, a romantic comedy featuring the music of the group, will begin previews at the James Earl Jones Theater on March 29, 2024 with an opening set for April 22. 

Huey Lewis and the News.

Huey Lewis and Lempicka Musical; Sweeney Casting, Etc.

By: David Sheward

November 1, 2023: Huey Lewis and the News is the latest pop group to have their song catalogue serve as the inspiration for a Broadway musical. The Heart of Rock and Roll, a romantic comedy featuring the music of the group, will begin previews at the James Earl Jones Theater on March 29, 2024 with an opening set for April 22. 

The musical was seen in a production at San Diego’s Old Globe Theater in 2018. A pre-Broadway workshop was held this past summer. Gordon Greenberg who directed the show in San Diego and for the workshop returns as stager. The book is by Jonathan Abrams with the story credited to Abrams and Tyler Mitchell. The score features such News hits as the title song, “If This Is It,” “Hip To Be Square,” “Stuck with You,” and “Power of Love, ” which is also heard in this season’s musical version of Back to the Future. The press release describes the plot as being about “two 30-somethings who know exactly what they want from life–until they find each other.” Reviews of the San Diego production offer additional details such as the protagonist is a guy named Bobby whose failed band leads him back to a corporate job where he meets his boss Cassandra. She also traded in her dreams for a tailored suit and a secure position. Of course, they get together by the final number.

Matt Doyle, Katie Rose Clarke and cast in the 2018 Old Globe production of The Heart of Rock and Roll. Credit: Jim Cox

“Working on our show has been so gratifying,” said Lewis. “I’ve always been a storyteller, and it’s a thrill to see my songs woven together in service of a fantastic, new story. That it will all take place on the world’s most prestigious stage–Broadway–just makes the ride that much sweeter.”

Casting and further creative personnel will be announced at a later date. 

Lempicka Confirmed: The musical Lempicka, based on the life of controversial Polish painter Tamara de Lempicka, will join The Heart of Rock and Roll and a growing number of new musicals opening on Broadway this spring. After regional runs at the Williamstown Theater Festival and La Jolla Playhouse, previews begin March 19 in advance of an April 14 opening at the Longacre Theater. Eden Espinosa (also starring in The Gardens of Anuncia this season Off-Broadway) will play the title role and Tony winner Rachel Chavkin (Hadestown) will direct. The book, lyrics and original concept are by Carson Kreitzer and the music is by Matt Gould who also co-authored the book.

Eden Espinosa and George Abud in Lempicka at La Jolla Playhouse. Credit: Matthew Murphy

“When I first saw this show inspired by the life and times of Tamara de Lempicka, my great-grandmother, I got goosebumps and tears in my eyes,” says Lempicka Estate President Marisa de Lempicka in a statement. “The music, the story, the choreography, the set, and the incredibly talented cast, directed by Tony Award winner Rachel Chavkin, were truly moving. We feel so happy and proud that Tamara’s art and life story keep inspiring new generations, almost 100 years later, and that her resilience and iconic creativity are being portrayed in this extraordinary production.”

“Tamara de Lempicka’s life spanned some of the most consequential eras in modern history, and her deep and complex story is an ideal subject for exactly the kind of show I love to both see and create: one that is simultaneously intimate and epic,” adds Chavkin. “I think Carson and Matt are visionary storytellers—Carson is an under-recognized leader in the new play field, known for exquisite sparseness and thematic density, and Matt is a wild heart whose music fuses contemporary vibes with classical musical theatre…and simply makes your heart swell. How lucky for all of us to have this piece brought to life by a performer as dynamic and brilliant as Eden Espinosa.”

Aaron Tveit, the next Sweeney Todd.

Sweeney Todd and Cabaret Casting: Tony winners Aaron Tveit and Sutton Foster will assume the roles of Sweeney and Mrs. Lovett in the current revival of Sweeney Todd at the Lunt-Fontanne. They will begin performances Feb. 9, 2024 for 12 weeks through May 5. Josh Groban and Annaleigh Ashford continue in the starring parts until Jan. 14, 2024….Tony nominee Ato Blankson-Wood (Slave Play, Hamlet) has been cast in the role of Cliff (originated by Bert Convy of Tattletales fame) in the upcoming revival of Cabaret, alongside Eddie Redmayne and Gayle Rankin. Ato Blankson-Wood said, “I am beyond excited to return to Broadway in Rebecca Frecknall’s brilliant production of Cabaret. I recognize the weight and responsibility of telling this particular story at this particular moment and am emboldened by the fact that I’ll get to do it alongside Eddie Redmayne and Gayle Rankin, two actors whom I admire so deeply. Cliff, like me, is an artist attempting to create and make sense of the world against a backdrop of escalating violence and hatred, I look forward to learning what he has to teach me.”

Sutton Foster and Aaron Tveit will star in Sweeney Todd
Credit: Matthew Murphy
Ato Blankson-Wood

2023-24 Broadway/Off-Broadway Calendar

Fall 2023

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. 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. 15–Scene Partners (Vineyard 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)

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

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

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

April 11–The Outsiders (Jacobs)

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 20/21–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–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)

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

The Heart of Rock and Roll

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?)