It’s easy to sum up the spring theater season: Anna and Elsa vs. Harry.
Ticket brokers have been salivating for months over two upcoming spectacles: “Frozen,” the latest animated cartoon to make it to Broadway, starts previews in February, and the two-part “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” begins in March.
Disney’s stage version of “Frozen,” the highest-grossing animated film ever, got decent reviews but not raves during its Denver tryout (“technically polished,” said The Denver Post), while the Potter saga, which looks at a grown-up Harry as he sends his youngest son off to Hogwarts, is still selling out in London.
The season seems short on star power at this point — perhaps that particular attraction has lost its luster after recent letdowns from Uma Thurman and Clive Owen. Denzel Washington is the heaviest hitter on the list, set to star in a revival of “The Iceman Cometh” as the iconic traveling salesman Hickey.
But there’s plenty to look forward to in the coming year, from major revivals of both classic musicals (“Carousel,” “My Fair Lady”) and serious dramas (“Angels in America”). Among new works set to debut is Tina Fey’s musical “Mean Girls,” which got solid reviews during Washington, D.C., tryouts, and Jimmy Buffett’s “Escape to Margaritaville,” starting in February. (Sorry, Parrotheads, we fear it will be too cold for tailgating outside the Marquis Theatre.)
All are set to open before April 26, the deadline for the Tony nominations, but we already know about a couple of promising offerings later in the year. In July, yet another film makes the transition to Broadway with a musical version of “Pretty Woman.” Then in the fall, make way for a 20-foot-high animatronic ape that will take over the Broadway Theatre in “King Kong.”
Here is a chronological look at next season’s highlights.
ESCAPE TO MARGARITAVILLE With the songs of Jimmy Buffett — a mix of new ones and classics — the musical is set on a tropical island (there’s a shocker) where a commitment-phobic bartender-singer gets his head turned by a beautiful tourist. (Previews start Feb. 16, opens March 15 at the Marquis Theatre.)
FROZEN We’ll all be singing “Let It Go” one more time as the ’toon comes to Broadway. We’re promised new songs and a deeper look at the relationship of sisters Anna and Elsa. (Previews start Feb. 22, opens March 22 at the St. James Theatre.)
ANGELS IN AMERICA Tony Kushner’s sweeping two-play drama set in the ’80s and exploring the growing AIDS crisis comes back to Broadway after 25 years in a limited run starring Nathan Lane and Andrew Garfield. (Previews start Feb. 23, opens March 21 at the Neil Simon Theatre.)
CAROUSEL The Rodgers and Hammerstein classic with enduring songs like “You’ll Never Walk Alone” (opera star Renée Fleming sings it in this revival) and “June Is Bustin’ Out All Over” has a tragic, hard edge about an abusive husband. (Previews start Feb. 28, opens April 12 at the Imperial Theatre.)
MEAN GIRLS The Plastics rule again as Tina Fey turns the screenplay of her 2004 movie about high school girls and their cliques into a Broadway musical. The movie’s Merrick-raised star Lindsay Lohan is not scheduled to appear. (Previews start March 12, opens April 8 at the August Wilson Theatre.)
HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD All grown up with three kids, Harry faces questions from his youngest son, who is about to enter Hogwarts. A hot ticket in London, this is a two-part play, meaning two separate tickets, but producers have emphasized their goal to keep at least some of the tickets reasonably priced. (Previews start March 16, opens April 22 at the Lyric Theatre.)
MY FAIR LADY Lauren Ambrose, best known for her role in the dark HBO series “Six Feet Under,” takes on one of musical theater’s most loved characters, Eliza Doolittle. Harry Hadden-Paton (Bertie Pelham on “Downton Abbey”) plays Henry Higgins in the revival directed by Bartlett Sher. (Previews begin March 15, opens April 19 at Lincoln Center’s Vivian Beaumont Theater.)
THE ICEMAN COMETH It’s yet another revival for Eugene O’Neill’s 1946 drama set in an East Village saloon. Denzel Washington stars as Hickey, the charismatic traveling salesman. (Previews start March 22, opens April 26 at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre.)
PRETTY WOMAN The romance about a hooker with a heart of gold and the businessman who falls for her comes to Broadway, with the late Garry Marshall, who did the screenplay for the hit movie, doing the book. We’re eager to see what costumer Gregg Barnes does with one of the most famous makeovers of all times. (Previews start July 20, opens Aug. 16 at the Nederlander Theatre.)
KING KONG A 20-foot-high animatronic puppet weighing 2,000 pounds will take over the stage in the theatrical retelling of the story of the giant ape who ends up on top of the Empire State Building. (Previews start Oct. 5, opens Nov. 8 at the Broadway Theatre.)