Broadway boots up for the Tony Awards
So how was the 2012-2013 season? Don't ask.
No, I mean it. Really don't ask because, despite the looming official end of the Broadway year on April 25, 15 major offerings are still to come. Compare that with the 16 total openings we had just from September until the holidays. In other words, who can guess how the season will turn out?
Welcome to a week before April madness, the annual galumph to the weeks before Tony nominators decide which productions and careers will get the national showcase on the awards telecast, set for June 9.
Tom Hanks' hugely anticipated Broadway debut in "Lucky Guy" by Nora Ephron kicks off the month April 1, followed days later with a musical adaptation of the movie "Kinky Boots," with book by Harvey Fierstein and score by Cyndi Lauper, a team that sounds as if it should be its own act.
But if you like improbable statistics, know that 12 of the new 15 will reveal themselves in those final two ridiculous weeks. This begins with the big Brit musical hit "Matilda" on April 11 and ends with a revival of "Pippin" that was well received at the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, Mass.
Things we do know include the scratching of "Pump Boys and Dinettes," whose producers decided to reschedule perhaps to a less competitive time. And though it's hardly a precise swap, Broadway has added a hard-to-categorize limited run of "The Rascals: Once Upon a Dream," described as a "bio-concert" and a "hybrid of a rock 'n' roll concert and a Broadway show."
The news here is that Steven Van Zandt -- think Springsteen's Little Steven or Silvio on "The Sopranos" -- is producer, writer and director. And the original band members will perform. If this juxtaposition doesn't sound jarring enough, the show moves into the Richard Rodgers Theatre after Scarlett Johansson and "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" end their run.
Also, when "Matilda" opens, it joins "Cinderella" and "Annie" in our hot new genre of spunky girls with damaged home lives. Broadway hasn't had a good scandal since the lawsuits around "Rebecca" quieted down, at least for a while. Even the noisy departure of Shia LaBeouf couldn't disturb the revival of "Orphans," starring Alec Baldwin. The play merely replaced LaBeouf with Ben Foster and postponed a few weeks, which means it opens now on the same night, April 18, with the return of the undead -- Frank Wildhorn's "Jekyll & Hyde," now starring Constantine Maroulis.
I'm excited about the multiple returns of Richard Greenberg, the terrific playwright ("Take Me Out") who went from being outlandishly prolific to disappearing from New York theater. For this spring season, he wrote the adaptation for "Breakfast at Tiffany's" (which opened last week) and the book for a musical version of "Far From Heaven" (which opens Off-Broadway in June). Most of all, his original play, "The Assembled Parties," about an Upper West Side Jewish family in 1980, opens on Broadway next month.
What else? Nathan Lane is returning to Broadway in "The Nance," a new play by Douglas Carter Beane, not a musical or a revival. And we have three ridiculously enticing one-person shows -- Alan Cumming doing the entire "Macbeth," the mesmerizing Fiona Shaw in "The Testament of Mary" and Bette Midler as the late superagent Sue Mengers in "I'll Eat You Last."
Here are details about all this, plus much more.
APRIL 11 "Matilda," Brit hit musical based on the magically wicked book by Roald Dahl, Shubert Theatre, 225 W. 44th St.
APRIL 14 "Motown," written by music mogul Berry Gordy about his nurturance of, let's see, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson and others. At last, a jukebox musical with songs worth putting in a jukebox, Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, 205 W. 46th St.
APRIL 15 "The Nance," Nathan Lane in Douglas Carter Beane's play about the stereotypically camp gay characters in burlesque, Lyceum Theatre, 149 W. 45th St.
APRIL 15 "The Rascals: Once Upon a Dream," bio-concert-play about and starring the '60s band whose hits included "Good Lovin' " and "It's a Beautiful Morning," Richard Rodgers Theatre, 226 W. 46th St.
APRIL 16 "The Big Knife," a revival of Clifford Odets' 1949 drama about Hollywood, starring the irresistibly combustible Bobby Cannavale, American Airlines Theatre, 227 W. 42nd St.
APRIL 17 "The Assembled Parties," by Richard Greenberg, starring Jessica Hecht and Judith Light, Friedman Theatre, 261 W. 47th St.
APRIL 18 "Orphans," a revival of Lyle Kessler's 1983 testosterone outbreak about a couple of orphan brothers who kidnap a rich older man, Schoenfeld Theatre, 236 W. 45th St.
APRIL 18 "Jekyll & Hyde," a revival of the 1997 musical with book and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse, music by Frank Wildhorn, Marquis Theatre, 1535 Broadway.
APRIL 21 "Macbeth," with Alan Cumming as just about every character Shakespeare wrote in the play, directed by John Tiffany ("Once"), Barrymore Theatre, 243 W. 47th St.
APRIL 22 "The Testament of Mary," Fiona Shaw as the mother of Jesus in Colm Toibin's play, directed by the Irish actress' invaluable collaborator Deborah Warner, Kerr Theatre, 219 W. 48th St.
APRIL 23 "The Trip to Bountiful," starring Cicely Tyson, Cuba Gooding Jr., Vanessa Williams, Condola Rashad and Tom Wopat in the Horton Foote revival, Sondheim Theatre, 124 W. 43rd St.
APRIL 24 "I'll Eat You Last: A Chat With Sue Mengers," starring Bette Midler, Booth Theatre, 222 W. 45th St.
APRIL 25 "Pippin," 40th-anniversary revival of the musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz ("Wicked"), directed by Diane Paulus ("Porgy and Bess"), Music Box Theatre, 239 W. 45th St.
Oh, and if you have a little extra time that week, the Public Theater has chosen April 23 to open "Here Lies Love," the wildly anticipated new musical by composer-lyricist David Byrne and co-composer Fatboy Slim and directed by Alex Timbers ("Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson"). Whoever scheduled this has a sadistic sense of humor.