Around The Town

Broadway Update

Oh, Mary, Crazy Rich Asians, R&J, Drama Desk Awards.

By: David Sheward

April 25, 2024: Mary Todd Lincoln is coming to Broadway. After a sold-out, twice extended run at the Lortel Theater Off-Broadway, Cole Escola’s riotous comedy Oh, Mary! starring Escola in the title role, will transfer to the Lyceum Theater this summer. Performances begin June 26 in advance of a July 11 opening for a limited run through Sept. 15. 

Cole Escola in “Oh, Mary!” will transfer to Broadway this summer. Credit: Emilio Madrid

Oh, Mary, Crazy Rich Asians, R&J, Drama Desk Awards.

By: David Sheward

April 25, 2024: Mary Todd Lincoln is coming to Broadway. After a sold-out, twice extended run at the Lortel Theater Off-Broadway, Cole Escola’s riotous comedy Oh, Mary! starring Escola in the title role, will transfer to the Lyceum Theater this summer. Performances begin June 26 in advance of a July 11 opening for a limited run through Sept. 15. 

Oh, Mary! stars Escola as a miserable, suffocated Mary Todd Lincoln in the weeks leading up to Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. Unrequited yearning, alcoholism and suppressed desires abound in this one act play that finally examines the forgotten life and dreams of Mrs. Lincoln through the lens of an idiot (Cole Escola). The show also stars Conrad Ricamora as Mary’s Husband, James Scully as Mary’s Teacher, Bianca Leigh as Mary’s Chaperone, and Tony Macht as Mary’s Husband’s Assistant, with Hannah Solow and Peter Smith completing the cast. 

Mrs. Lincoln has been portrayed on Broadway before in more serious vein. In the Broadway season of 1972-73, she was portrayed in three productions by Julie Harris in The Last of Mrs. Lincoln (Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play), Eva Marie Saint in The Lincoln Mask and Geraldine Page in Look Away.

Crazy Rich Asians: In other news, Crazy Rich Asians, the hit 2018 romantic comedy based on Kevin Kwan’s novel, is being developed as a musical. The music is by Tony nominee Helen Park (KPOP) with a book by Leah Nanako Winkler (Schmigadoon), and lyrics by Tony nominee Amanda Green (Hands on a Hard Body, Mr. Saturday Night) and Singapore songwriter Tat Tong. Jon M. Chu who directed the film will also direct this stage version. A sequel to the film has been announced, but it is still in development.

Kit Connor and Rachel Zegler  will star in Romeo and Juliet on Broadway
this fall.

Romeo and Juliet: A new production of Romeo and Juliet is coming to Broadway this fall, but not the one with Tom Holland and Francesca Amewudah-Rivers that is opening in London this May. A totally different Romeo and Juliet, starring Kit Connor (Heartstopper) and Rachel Zegler (Steven Speilberg’s West Side Story) featuring music by Grammy winner Jack Antonoff and direction by Tony winner Sam Gold (Fun Home) has been announced to open this fall 2024. The UK Mail had reported the London R&J, directed by Jamie Lloyd, was planning to transfer to Broadway after its sold-out West End, but this has not been confirmed. 

So we might have two Romeo and Juliets on Broadway in 2024-25. It’s not unprecedented. There were two major simultaneous productions of R&J in NYC in 2013: one on Broadway with Orlando Bloom and Condola Rashad, and one Off-Broadway at CSC with Elizabeth Olsen and Julian Cihi.

Director Sam Gold said, “With the presidential election coming up in November, I felt like making a show this fall that celebrates youth and hope, and unleashes the anger young people feel about the world they are inheriting.”

The press release explains the story thusly: “The youth are fucked. Left to their own devices in their parents’ world of violent ends, an impulsive pair of star-crossed lovers hurtle towards their inescapable fate. The intoxicating high of passion quickly descends into a brutal chaos that can only end one way.”

Theater Award News: The Drama League and the Outer Critics have had their say, now the Drama Desks will weigh in. Oscar and Tony nominee Kathleen Turner will announce the nominees for the Drama Desk Awards live on WNBC’s Live on New York (Channel 4) during the 11:30 am segment on Mon. April 29. 

Kathleen Turner will announce the Drama Desk nominees live on WNBC.

This year’s awards will be held on Monday, June 10 at The Skirball Center for the Performing Arts (556 LaGuardia Place). Drama Desk co-presidents David Barbour and Charles Wright also announced that the cutoff for this year’s awards is April 25. “We extend our gratitude to Kathleen Turner, a legendary actor who has performed both on Broadway and off, for kicking off what we know will be an exciting Drama Desk Awards period. The sheer number of noteworthy performances this season is extraordinary.”

“We are particularly honored to executive-produce this year’s Drama Desk Awards which celebrates the tremendous abundance of creativity gracing our New York stages,” said co-Executive Producers Staci Levine and Jessica R. Jenen . “It has been a remarkable season on Broadway and Off, and we are thrilled to honor all nominees who grace our New York stages in this theater industry-inclusive event.”

Additional details will be announced shortly.

The Drama Desk Awards are the only major New York City theater awards for which productions on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and Off-Off-Broadway compete against each other in the same categories.

As was the case last year, all performance categories will be gender-free. The updated gender-free categories are: Outstanding Leading Performance in a Play, Outstanding Leading Performance in a Musical, Outstanding Featured Performance in a Play, and Outstanding Featured Performance in a Musical.

Each of these categories will have twice as many nominees as the former gendered categories and voters will cast two votes for each category. These categories will also have two winners each. If there is a tie, there may be more than two winners in a category.

What sets the Drama Desk Awards apart is that they are voted on and bestowed by theater critics, journalists, editors, and publishers covering theater. The Drama Desk Awards honor all aspects of New York’s professional theater.

The 2023-2024 Drama Desk Nominating Committee is composed of: Martha Wade Steketee (Chair; freelance: UrbanExcavations.com), Linda Armstrong (New York Amsterdam News), Daniel Dinero (Theatre is Easy), Peter Filichia (Broadway Radio), Kenji Fujishima (freelance: Theatermania), Margaret Hall (Playbill) and Charles Wright, ex-officio.

2023-24 Broadway/Off-Broadway/Awards Calendar (and Beyond)

Spring 2024

April 25–Mother Play (Second Stage/Hayes)

April 25–The Great Gatsby (Broadway)

April 26–Chita Rivera Award nominations announced

April 28–Staff Meal (Playwrights Horizons)

April 29–Drama Desk Award nominations announced (WNBC-TV, 11:30 am)

April 30–Tony Nominations Announced

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

May 5–Lortel Awards (NYU Skirball)

May 6–Pulitzer Prize winners announced

May 13–Here There Are Blueberries (NYTW)

May 13–Outer Critics Circle winners announced

May 14–All of Me (The New Group/Signature Center)

May 17–Drama League Awards (Ziegfeld Ballroom)

May 20–Chita Rivera Awards Ceremony (NYU Skirball)

May 23–Outer Critics Circle Awards ceremony (Bruno Walter Auditorium/NY Public Library for the Performing Arts)

May 28–Ben Platt at the Palace

Summer 2024

June 5–Home (Roundabout/Todd Haimes)

June 10–Drama Desk Awards

June 10–Theater World Awards

June 12–The Welkin (Atlantic Theater Company)

June 12–Titanic (Encores/City Center)

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

June 20–Cats (Perelman Performing Arts Center)

July 11–Oh, Mary! (Lyceum)

Aug. 5–Forbidden Broadway on Broadway: Merrily We Stole a Song (Hayes)

Fall 2024

Sept. 24–Vladimir (MTC/City Center Stage I) (previews begin; opening TBA)

September–The Roommate (Booth)

Oct. 1–Yellowface (Roundabout/Todd Haimes)

Oct. 9–The Counter (Roundabout/Laura Pels)

Oct. 10–Our Town (Barrymore)

Oct. 20–Sunset Boulevard (St. James)

Nov. 11–What a Wonderful World: The Louis Armstrong Musical (Studio 54)

Nov. 14–Tammy Faye (Palace)

Nov. 25–Eureka Day (MTC/Samuel J. Friedman) (previews begin; opening TBA)

King Lear (Kenneth Branagh Theater Company/The Shed)

Left on Tenth

Romeo and Juliet w/Kit O’Connor, Rachel Zegler

Winter 2024-25

Jan. 23–English (Roundabout/Todd Haimes Theater)

Feb. 20–Liberation (Roundabout/Laura Pels)

2024-25

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

Romeo and Juliet w.Tom Holland/Francesca Amewudah-Rivers (?)

Smash

Wine in the Wilderness (CSC)

Spring 2025

March 25–Old Friends (MTC/Samuel J. Friedman) (previews begins opening TBA)

Othello

April 24–The Pirates of Penzance (Roundabout/Todd Haimes Theater)

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; Crazy Rich Asians; Death Becomes Her; The Devil Wears Prada; Ella: An American Miracle; Everybody’s Talking About Jamie; Frida, the Musical; Game of Thrones; The Griswolds’ Broadway Vacation; High Noon; Imitation of Life; The Interestings; 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; Purple Rain; The Queen’s Gambit; Rear Window; The Nanny; The Normal Heart/The Destiny of Me; The Queen of Versailles; The Secret Garden; Sing Street; Soul Train; Stranger Things: The First Shadow; Working Girl.

2023-24 Broadway Season Breakdown:

New Plays:

The Cottage

Grey House

I Need That

Jaja’s African Hair Braiding

Mother Play

Patriots

Prayer for the French Republic

The Shark Is Broken

Stereophonic

New Musicals:

Back to the Future

Days of Wine and Roses

The Great Gatsby

Harmony

The Heart of Rock and Roll

Hell’s Kitchen

How to Dance in Ohio

Illinoise

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