It’s seven degrees outside, so get to Broadway where it’s “Too Darn Hot” and full of Temptations including a popularly pill and a female King Lear. In the next four weeks, four shows will join the Great White Way – and the Broadway Roulette wheel. Here’s Broadway Spin’s rundown of the two brand new productions and two revivals that have us excited to leave the house.
Be More Chill: Previews begin Wednesday, February 13
SMASH fans may recall Season Two’s standout single, “Broadway, Here I Come”: composer Joe Iconis wrote it – and, Broadway, he is HERE. Iconis’s star continues to rise, with Be More Chill’s cast album already closing in on 200 million online album streams before its Broadway debut at the Lyceum Theatre. Following a sold-out, extended Off-Broadway run at Signature Theatre, this high school-based hybrid of sci-fi and contemporary culture features Dear Evan Hansen original Broadway cast member Will Roland alongside a social media savvy – and now super-popular – cast of SQUIP-enhanced teens trying their best to “More Than Survive” Junior Year at Middle Borough High. (What’s a SQUIP? Super Quantum Unit Intel Processor – a pill that can make anyone “cool.”) #knowledgeispower
Kiss Me, Kate: Previews begin Thursday, February 14
“Brush up your Shakespeare” at Studio 54 with Tony Award winner Kelli O’Hara as Roundabout Theatre Company revives this classic slapstick comedy set in late-1940s Baltimore. When overly-dramatic, faded-star divorcees find themselves cast opposite one another in a musical adaptation of The Taming of the Shrew, hilarity ensues – all set charmingly to one of Cole Porter’s most beloved scores. Kiss Me, Kate’s original Broadway production won the first ever(!) Tony Award for Best Musical in 1949, and marks Porter’s first integrated musical. (What’s an “integrated musical”? A show with songs and dances designed specifically to flow from straight dialogue as part of the narrative – as opposed to, say, plotless song cycles like Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller’s Smokey Joe’s Café or Jason Robert Brown’s Songs for a New World.) #themoreyouknow
Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations: Previews begin Thursday, February 28
You know (and love) the music of Motown quintet The Temptations – even if you don’t realize it. Marking the Broadway debut of Detroit playwright and 2018 MacArthur Fellow Dominique Morisseau, Ain’t Too Proud joins Beautiful and The Cher Show as Broadway’s next biographical musical, revealing stories you don’t know about… well, the life and times of the Temptations 🙂 Fresh off his Broadway debut as the Tony-worthy lead of Choir Boy, Jeremy Pope will move from the Samuel J. Friedman theatre to the Imperial Theatre to play the role of Eddie Kendricks. (What’s Choir Boy? So glad you asked – especially since it’s been extended a second time, now until March 10, with Pope’s final performance on February 24.)
King Lear: Previews begin Thursday, February 28
You may think you know this one – but buckle up, because this is not the King Lear you studied in high school: Last season’s Tony Award-winner Glenda Jackson is back on Broadway at the Cort Theatre to tackle Shakespeare’s legendary Lear in a brand-new production with Fun Home director Sam Gold at the helm and original compositions by Philip Glass. At age 82, Jackson remains in her acting prime and this promises to be a not-to-miss performance. (Another gender-blind casting twist: Ruth Wilson will play both loyal daughter, Cordelia, and Lear’s Fool.)
Be More Chill, Kiss Me, Kate, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations and King Lear are all in play at Broadway Roulette.