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Broadway's Bright Lights

Updated: Jul 25

We cover the creative decisions and the business calculations, the artful collaborations and the boffo ballyhooing, the gossip columnists and the critics, the stars and the chorus lines, the composers, lyricists, playwrights, directors, designers, and producers.



"Life of Pi" is a mesmerizing stage adaptation of the novel and film of the same name. The play features impressive animal puppets co-designed by Nick Barnes and Finn Caldwell. The puppets are made of wood, aluminum, and foam and brought to life with bungee cords and trigger mechanisms. The story revolves around Pi, an Indian boy trapped on a boat with a tiger named Richard Parker after a shipwreck. The puppetry brings the animals to life, using flotsam and jetsam as materials to represent Pi's memories of his time at sea. Finn Caldwell serves as the puppet and movement director, using principles of existence, thought, and presence to make the puppets seem real. The show's puppeteers work together with joy and synergy, creating a magical and electrifying experience for the audience. Puppetry in "Life of Pi" mirrors the fragility and improbability of life, making it a unique and special theatrical experience.


Musical theater writer Michael R. Jackson worked for 16 years on his Broadway debut, the Pulitzer Prize-winning "A Strange Loop." It's a personal delving into the voices of the thoughts (and demons) in his head. His latest, "White Girl in Danger," (which opened at the Vineyard) is a satire, inspired by soap opera themes and tropes. The musical is set in Allwhite, a soap opera town, and revolves around three white teen-girl stereotypes named Megan, Meagan, and Maegan, as well as a Black girl named Keesha, who aims to break free from racial stereotypes. The show incorporates iconic soap opera moments and references to romance novels, Lifetime movies, and Black girl groups. It explores the melodramatic elements of soap operas and features multiple influences, including the TV show "Days of Our Lives" and romance writer Jackie Collins. The musical also addresses teenage social hierarchies and includes choreography inspired by teen queen movies like "Clueless." Additionally, it showcases the perspective of Black characters trying to escape stereotypical Black narratives in a soap opera world. We catch up with director Stephen Brackett as the musical eyes Broadway.


Larissa FastHorse will become the first female Native American playwright produced on Broadway when Second Stage brings her The Thanksgiving Play to the Hayes Theatre in Spring 2023, a production set to be helmed by Tony-winning director Rachel Chavkin. A satirical comedy, the play centers on a troupe of well-meaning white theatre artists who attempt to create a culturally sensitive Thanksgiving school pageant that gives voice to Native Americans. The work received its world premiere Off-Broadway in 2018 at Playwrights Horizons, and an online production starring Bobby Cannavale, Keanu Reeves, Heidi Schreck, and Alia Shawkat streamed in March 2021.

HADESTOWN Based on the 2010 folk concept album of the same name by Anais Mitchell, this new musical is a retelling of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth from Greek mythology. The setting has been adapted here to represent a post-apocalyptic world inspired by the Great Depression. After its success as an album, the piece was staged at the New York Theater Workshop. We talk with director Rachel Chavkin about that production and how the musical was reshaped for Broadway where it opened in the Spring of 2019 at the Walter Kerr Theater. Hadestown went on to become only the second show in history with an all-female creative team to win the Tony Award for Best Musical. (The other being Fun Home)

SING STREET Set in Dublin, 1982, Sing Street follows eighteen year old Conor Lawlor as he and his schoolmates escape their troubles through music and stumble headfirst into first love. With a Broadway bow set back by Covid-19 protocols, the musical played The Huntington's Calderwood Pavilion and received rave reviews. We catch up with the director, Rebecca Taichman, who has been with the show every step of the way, on the challenges and joys of working with such a young cast.

We’ll use our inside connections to bring you the latest news coming out of Broadway and take you behind the scenes to see this world in all its dynamically diverse aspects.

Indispensables: the making of a Broadway show is a collaborative process. We’ll take you inside and showcase the essential contenders, from wardrobe to stage hands, absent from the spotlight but without whom the show can’t go on. With the different perspectives this detailed and informative feature will provide, you may never look at a theater production the same way again.

Inside scoop: Broadway is the home base for our Hound, and you’ll find Talk of the Hound featured on this page with plenty to say. He’ll sniff around and find the latest scoop, investigating all the rumors floating around 42nd street. From shows in the works, up-and-coming stars and offstage battles, the Hound will report back—and no topic is off grounds.

The Forum: We’ll spark conversation with a currently debated topic giving our readers a venue to voice opinions and ideas. Example: Revivals– Some of Broadway’s greatest shows return again and again. No one production is alike. Sometimes, a revival is a bold new interpretation; at other times, it’s an attempt at mimicking the original’s success. Critics differ. Take Gypsy: Out of the five Broadway productions of Gypsy, which did you see? And which Mama Rose did you like the most and why?

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