(BROADWAY MAGAZINE) Always look on the bright side of life, as they sing in Spamalot. No doubt the audience will sing along as the show finds its grail for the last time on Broadway…until the Spamalot revival hits the stage. Taking a cue from the wisdom of Monty Python, we offer a short glimpse at some of the bright sides of Broadway, even though the plague has hit many, many shows this month.
- Shrek The Musical and Billy Elliot are a success. Whether you like musicals based on animated movies which were themselves based on books, the fact that Shrek did not stumble out of the gate bodes well for the show, and Broadway. It may not be everyone’s swamp to swim in, but that it works for many is a good sign. Billy Elliot has been a hit too.
- Rock Of Ages is taking on Broadway’s high-price ticket system. The revolutionary spirit of Rock N Roll from the 80s was grass-roots and home grown, as garage bands crafted infectious tunes and dressed up in theatrical costumes and make-up as they made their mark. Now, with the Broadway arrival of Rock of Ages in March, the show itself is challenging the high-price ticket of Broadway, offering all seats at aggressively low prices.
- West Side Story, HAIR, and Guys and Dolls are coming back. With South Pacific still packing them in, the successful arrival of West Side Story on Broadway is definitely a bright side to see. With HAIR & Guys and Dolls on deck as well, it is a rare time to experience an A-list schedule of Broadway gems.
- Will Ferrell is on Broadway. More than a star, Ferrell is a gifted comic satirist in a long tradition. Word is that his upcoming production of You’re Welcome America…will pack some surprises. The short commercials now playing in New York make us laugh, and are the only effective theater advertising on television in this century.
- The Stars are aligning for Broadway. Jane Fonda, Jeremy Irons, Nathan Lane, Bill Irwin, John Goodman and Joan Allen are all on deck to name a few. There are plenty of productions on the way with big names, talented creative teams, and even new plays coming up. Also, Daniel Radcliffe still has time left in Equus, which is a must see.
- The Tony Awards are coming. With the amount of talent in play this season on Broadway, the race in June could be quite exciting. Just look at the Best Featured Actress in a play category to see what may happen: Katie Holmes, Dianne Wiest, Kristin Scott Thomas, Kate Mulgrew, Elizabeth Ashley, Hallie Foote, Mercedes Ruehl and many more already worth consideration…and Jane Fonda, Janet McTeer, Joan Allen and other performances yet to open.
- Mamma Mia! is still playing. The show that arrived on Broadway just in time to raise spirits in the months after 9/11 is still going strong. Ben Brantley described the hit musical as a cupcake, in the most positive way…something comfortable that lifts your spirits. Well, as economic and political crisis continue around the globe, we are glad to know that this particular show will go on and on.
- Samuel Beckett is coming. Waiting For Godot is on the way for Broadway ticket buyers looking for a chance to reflect on our existential state with a community of others…and of course, looking to laugh a great deal too. Nathan Lane is on hand to make sure the brighter side of Beckett is not neglected. If you feel like saying “Nothing to be done,” the only thing you can do is wait to see this production in May.
Tags: Billy Elliot, Broadway, Daniel Radcliffe, Dianne Wiest, Elizabeth Ashley, Guys and Dolls, Hair, Jane Fonda, Janet McTeer, Jeremy Irons, Joan Allen, John Goodman, Katie Holmes, Kristin Scott Thomas, Mamma Mia!, Mary Stuart, Mercedes Ruehl, Nathan Lane, Rock of Ages, Samuel Beckett, Shrek The Musical, South Pacific, Spamalot, Thank You, Tickets, Waiting For Godot, West Side Story, Will Ferrell