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Spotlight on Musicals

Updated: Apr 7


From development to stage, we follow the best in musical theater. From classic revivals to new experimental shows, from jukebox musicals to the freshest young composers on the scene.


HERE ARE SOME EXAMPLES:


REQUIRED READING

The Secret Life of the American Musical: How Broadway Shows Are Built *** Producer and critic Jack Viertel dives into classic shows from Gypsy to Book of Mormon and examines the architecture of these shows: What are the types of songs a show needs to succeed? What order do you put them in? Far from an academic study, the New York Times says the book is “both revelatory and entertaining.” Viertel traces unexpected and delightful connections between works spanning a century. This is a must-read for any fan of the American musical theater.


MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL

The musical adaptation of John Berendt's novel "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" will premiere at Chicago's Goodman Theatre next summer, featuring a book by Taylor Mac and music/lyrics by Jason Robert Brown. Directed by Rob Ashford, performances are scheduled from June 25 to August 4, 2024. The novel, based on true events in Savannah, Georgia, follows an antiques dealer's trials for murdering a male prostitute and has won literary acclaim, with the musical adaptation set to celebrate the eccentricities of Savannah through song and storytelling. With two contemporary masters of the form creating this show, we will be tracking its development as it eyes a New York premiere.


REIGNING BEST MUSICAL

"Kim is a bright and funny Jersey teen, who happens to look like a 72-year-old lady. And yet her aging disease may be the least of her problems." Victoria Clark (The Light in the Piazza) plays the titular teen in this new musical adaptation of David Lindsay-Abaire's play of the same name, which opened at Atlantic Theater Company before transferring to Broadway. Lindsay-Abaire returns to write the book and lyrics, with master composer Jeanine Tesori crafting the music.


24 HOUR MUSICALS

On November 19th, at the Laura Pels Theatre, Broadway performers, TV and film stars, directors, musical directors and choreographers created and performed four new short musicals over the course of a single day. This year’s fabulous collaboration benefited the Lymphatic Education and Research Network. We ask famed award winning actress and LE&RN spokesperson, Kathy Bates, to talk about the 24 hour musicals event and how it is aiding the work of the organization. Some of last year’s stars included: John Mulaney, Savion Glover, Patti Murin, and Aimee Mann.


ALBUM OF THE MONTH

Widely considered one of the best new musicals of 2014, Fun Home’s original cast recording features a splendid cast, including Tony Award-winner Michael Cerveris and three-time Tony Award-nominee Judy Kuhn. Fun Home is a daring musical based on the acclaimed graphic novel by Alison Bechdel. The music of four-time Tony Award-nominee Jeanine Tesori and book and lyrics by Tony Award-nominated playwright Lisa Kron illuminate Bechdel’s riveting story. The 25-track recording, which packs an emotional wallop, includes the notable songs “Changing My Major,” “Ring of Keys,” and “Flying Away.”


SEE NEW MUSICALS IN DEVELOPMENT

Musical Theater Factory: Founded by a group of graduates from NYU’s Graduate Musical Theater Writing Program, this collective develops and produces a plethora of exciting new musicals every year.

MusicalWriters.com: An online community of resources about all things writing musicals.

Goodspeed Opera House (Connecticut) La Jolla Playhouse (San Diego): These legendary organizations have been developing and moving big name musicals to Broadway for half a century.


GREAT REVIVALS

Check out these theaters for new interpretations of Golden Age and modern classics, as well as the occasional new musical:

Guthrie Theater (Minneapolis)

Village Theatre (Issaquah)

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1 Comment


Wes Braver
Wes Braver
Aug 15, 2023

Does anybody else wish Fun Home could just stay at the Circle in the Square forever? I'd go again and again and again...

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