As the holiday season approaches, Broadway theaters begin to fill with original productions and starry revivals all hoping to attract out-of-town tourists. Here are some shows that are must-sees, some that are average and others you should probably only go to if your ticket is free.
This summer, Broadway theaters were home to big Hollywood names, such as Corbin Bleu (High School Musical), Kelsey Grammer (Frasier), Sean Hayes (Will & Grace) and Nathan Lane (The Producers). This holiday season is no different; however, remember that big stars are not necessarily conducive to an amazing show.
A few weeks ago, a wonderful comedy called La Bête opened. This play examines the hijinx that ensues when a professional actor and a street clown are forced to work together. A classic comedy in the style of Moliere, La Bête stars David Hyde Pierce from television’s Frasier. If you are looking for a more updated version of La Bête, check out David Mamet’s A Life in the Theatre, a new comedy about the relationship that develops between an older, experienced actor (played by Sir Patrick Stewart, X-Men) and a fresh-faced actor (played by T. R. Knight, Grey’s Anatomy).
If comedy is not your thing, have no fear: Shakespeare is back on the Great White Way this season. Al Pacino (Scarface) stars in The Merchant of Venice, which is receiving rave reviews. This drama displays the true meaning of friendship, loyalty and humanity. Yet another star-studded drama is Driving Miss Daisy, starring James Earl Jones (Star Wars) and Vanessa Redgrave (Letters to Juliet). This is a perfect example of how two big celebrities do not always equal a great show. Almost all reviews for this show have been negative. Therefore, I suggest you stay home and simply watch the classic movie. No one can beat Morgan Freeman, anyway.
The next few months will also feature some brand new musicals. Rain: A Tribute to the Beatles finally makes its way to Broadway after years of a widely successful national tour. A wonderful Beatles cover band takes you through the incredible journey of one of the most famous bands of all time. If you are looking for a good time, this is your show.
A perfect new show for the holiday season is the musical Elf, based on the 2003 Will Ferrell movie. Being a huge fan of the movie, I am extremely excited to see this story come to life on stage. Look out for a bus trip to see Elf through the Student Entertainment Council on Friday, Dec. 3.
I recently saw a new musical I think will be a clear runner for a Tony Award, the highest honor in theater, later in the year. Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson is a brilliant new show that takes its audience through the life of President Andrew Jackson, set to an excellent emo rock score. This show is not to be missed. Run, don’t walk, to this performance.
For a complete list of what is currently playing on Broadway, go to www.playbill.com. Be sure to go to New York City this holiday season and take in a great show.
– Ryan Oliveti
Junior elementary education and theater major