Last night the KeyBank Broadway Series was announced is a surprisingly fun and informative evening. I attended with my chorus buddy Patrick and our excitment in this picture was both genuine and shared by the rest of the capacity crowd in the Connor Palace (which seats 2,800). The announcement of each show was accompanied by some enthusiastic discussion between series producer Gina Vernaci and local newscaster Natalie Herbick. This patter was often joined by a special guest star and/or live musical performance. My thoughts on each announced show – as well as notes on the presentation specials guests and performances – is below.
For the record, I correctly predicted 5 out 7 shows (and one more was a prediction until I changed my mind on February 21st). Correctly predicted shows will be GREEN. Incorrectly predicted shows will be in RED.
On March 22, I will attend the Key Bank Broadway Series launch event, at which the shows for next season will be announced. This will be the first season to run each show for 3 weeks (a fact Playhouse Square is REALLY driving home). It doesn’t seem like we’ve had an issue getting first-tier tours to stop here before adding a third week, so I’m curious what effect this will have on the line-up. Does it make us more or less likely to get a show like The Bridges of Madison County to stop here? Would Idina have added Cleveland to her list of If/Then cities it we had or 3rd week? I know literally nothing about how these decisions are made, so this kind of speculating is pointless. That being said, I have been looking into what OTHER cities have planned for 2016/2017 (though most have not announced their season’s yet either) and have created the following list of possible shows. This is probably 50% prediction and 50% wish list.
The list is broken up into 3 categories.
“God I Hope I Get It” represents the tours launching in 2016/2017 I most want to come to Cleveland.
“I Ain’t Down Yet” lists shows that I wanted to come last year and didn’t, but appear to be making bookings in other cities next season.
“Possible…Very, very possible” lists shows that could possibly (or even very likely) come to Cleveland next season…and I’m not particularly excited about it. These are also shows that could come to Cleveland even if they are not included in the Broadway series.
The shows in RED are my best (if random and totally uninformed) guesses and to what will be announced on March 22.
GOD I HOPE I GET IT
- Aladdin (This is more likely to happen in 2017/2018 as it launches in Chicago in April 2017…but it could definitely hit Cleveland next summer.)
- An American in Paris
- Curious Incident…
- Fun Home
- Hedwig and the Angry Inch (**added to list 2/5/2016, made a prediction on 2/21/2016)
- The King and I
I AIN’T DOWN YET
- The Sound of Music (Jack O’Brien)
POSSIBLE…VERY VERY POSSIBLE
- An Act of God (** added 2/15/2016 per Denver’s announced season)
- Amazing Grace (**added 2/11/2016 per this article)
- The Bodyguard
- A Christmas Story
- Finding Neverland
- The Illusionists
- The Lion King
- The Little Mermaid
A Night with Janice Joplin (***removed on 2/21/2016 because it’s playing in Cleveland this March)
- Rent 20th Anniversary
- Something Rotten! (***removed from prediction 2/21/2016)
I may update this list periodically as more cities announce shows. I will try to make revisions clear
The gulf between the musicals that connoisseurs love and those that people pay to see is ever widening. The rapturously beautiful The Bridges of Madison County doesn’t last half a season, while the pedestrian Beautiful – The Carol King Musical continues to play to capacity, full-price-paying houses. Roundabout’s Broadway revival of Violet got among the best reviews of the season, but was consistently near the bottom of weekly box office, audience capacity, and ticket price rankings. My recent listens to the studio cast recording of 110 in the Shade (recorded in 1997, released in 1999) reminded me that this chasm is not necessarily new. Continue reading
The public library system here in Cleveland is fantastic, with a great many new cast recordings at my disposal between my library’s well curated stock and what I can find through inter-library loan. Every few weeks I drop off a collection of CDs and pick up a new one. The Cast Recording Response contains my thoughts on my latest returns.
Before listening, I had concerns about being able to appreciate the score (or follow the story) without benefit of seeing the production. Fortunately Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron’s score is tuneful and the emotional underpinnings resonant. The score manages the trick of writing very specifically for the characters and situations and, in doing so, reveals themes and feelings that are universal. “Ring of Keys” marks Young Alison’s transformative experience of meeting her first “butch”, but it’s joy and wonder can be appreciated by anyone who discovers a community in which they belong after previously feeling singular and alone. Continue reading