What to Expect on Broadway in January 2011

What to expect on Broadway in January 2011? There is one thing for sure – not a lot.

For the second year in a row, I’ll be in New York City during the 3rd weekend of January and both visits will be right after the mass closings on Broadway at the beginning of the new year. It’s when Broadway becomes a ginormous unemployment line. It’s going to be dismal this upcoming January.  From big Tony Award winning hits like In the Heights to Christmas fare like Elf and last season’s hits: Promises, Promises, A Little Night Music and Fela! all seem to be getting the axe. Now, two new musicals this season are closing: The Scottsboro Boys and Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson.

What will be worth your time?

Spiderman: Turn off the DarkThis is on top of my list to see in January. It’s the first new musical opening on January 11th and it will be after a six-week preview time. A guest writer, Sean O’Conner, talked about his experience at the first preview on The Broadway Critic. He concluded, “The real reason to attend Spider Man: Turn Off the Dark is to witness the magical and original stage craft, but we all already knew that. The flying sequences are truly remarkable. I imagine the spectacle will be enough to get an audience in building. The sets by George Tsypin and costumes by Eiko Ishioka are the stuff of theatre legend. You can see the money on the stage and it will take your breath away. Taymor has done nothing but turn her ultimate dreams into reality, and for that she deserves our respect and praise. Well done Julie!”

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American IdiotAmerican Idiot didn’t win the Tony Award for Best Musical, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t see this show! It did win the Tony Award for the lighting and set design (which were well-deserved). I saw it four times at Berkeley Rep in it’s out-of-town try-out and I can tell you it will blow your mind. It was the musical that actually inspired me to start this website.

“Finally, someone has come along and given musical theatre the electro shock therapy it has needed for so long. While Tom Kitt’s newest musical, Next to Normal, deals directly with the affects of electro shock therapy, American Idiot is electro shock therapy for the audience. It screams independence and acceptance in a way that is nothing short of brilliant.” You can read the full review here.

Here is my latest review of American Idiot when I saw it on Broadway on 10/10/10. The best part is that Billie Joe Armstrong is coming back to play St. Jimmy for 50 performances between the beginning of January to the end of February. Luckily enough, I’ll be at there on one of the weekend’s he is performing. I can’t wait!

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La Cage aux Folles at Longacre Theatre: First off, you have to congratulate La Cage aux Folles for being the first musical in history to win “Best Musical” or “Best Musical Revival” three times! Talk about a huge triumph and making musical theatre history! The Menier Chocolate Factory’s acclaimed revival hits the Broadway stage, starring Douglas Hodge (Olivier Award and Tony Award) as Albin, a drag performer with a heart of gold, and Kelsey Grammer as his partner Georges. They are only contracted to stay in the show until February. (Make sure you see them now!)

I haven’t seen this production yet, but from what I’ve heard, you don’t want to miss it – the Cagelles are worth the price of admission. (Did you see them on the Tony Awards? Talk about fierce!)

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Honorable Mention:

  • The Addams Family at Lunt-Fontanne Theatre – You’ll probably have a little while to see this show. They just announced that Roger Rees will be taking over for Gomez (Nathan Lane). Last week they were at 91% capacity. Critics be damned with this show!
  • Memphis at Sam S. Schubert Theatre – Here’s a show I didn’t particularly enjoy. I thought the book was terrible and the music was so-so. It won the Tony Award for Best Musical. It probably will be on Broadway for awhile; it’s going strong.
  • Million Dollar Quartet at Nederlander Theatre – This show I’m surprised that it’s still playing. I thought it was going to close at the end of summer. It’s only playing 51.7% capacity last week, so I wonder how long it can sustain without a huge profit margin. It probably has an extremely low running cost, but still, with the new London production opening in February 2011, I won’t be surprised to hear about Million Dollar Quartet‘s closing notice soon.

Broadway Standards:

  • Billy Elliot at Imperial Theatre – Not a fan. I saw it twice – the little kids just don’t do it for me — plus that damn set, particularly the bed. I can’t stand it. 2 out of 5 stars
  • Chicago at Ambassador Theatre – Great show, with sizzling music and an even better plot. Must see. 5 out of 5 stars
  • Jersey Boys at August Wilson Theatre – I saw this in Las Vegas and absolutely loved it. Great show for a family with teenagers. 5 out of 5 stars
  • Mamma Mia at The Winter Garden Theatre – I’ve never seen this. Thoughts?
  • Mary Poppins at New Amsterdam Theatre – A childhood dream come true; I absolutely loved the choreography. Good for kids (ages 6-adult). 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • The Lion King at Minskoff Theatre – Another show I saw in Las Vegas and never on Broadway. I loved it. Fantastic imagery — might be a little long for ages 3-7. 4 out of 5 stars
  • The Phantom of the Opera at Majestic Theatre – I loved the Las Vegas production, but never seen the Broadway version. It’s a staple.
  • Rock of Ages at Brooks Atkinson Theatre – Try to win the lotto on this one. It’s an rockin’ 80’s show that is good for a laugh or two. 3 out of 5 stars
  • Wicked at Gershwin Theatre – It’s still selling out after seven years. 4 out of 5 stars

Two Plays:

  • Time Stands Still at Cort Theatre – I saw this on a whim, last January, and loved it. Here’s my review. Closing, January 30th, 2011
  • Lombardi at Circle in the Square Theatre – I’ve heard really great things about this play and I think it definitely has some staying power until at least the Tony Awards in June.

What will you be seeing in January?

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