Five New Plays and Musicals to Anticipate for Broadway


Catherine Hurwitz

Ever since the first show of Hamilton in 2016, a musical craze has swept the nation. Fans of the rendition of Alexander Hamilton’s life with lead Lin-Manuel Miranda aim to one day have tickets to see such a popular and greatly-acclaimed show. Aside from Hamilton’s massive success, Broadway is currently releasing plans for new shows. Classic stories, famous movies and even other historical fiction works are the basis and inspiration for today’s new, highly-anticipated musicals and plays.

On Oct. 7, David Henry Hwang’s M. Butterfly will be shown at the Cort Theatre in New York. Originally a Tony Award-winning dramatic play from 1988, M. Butterfly is now directed by the talented Julie Taymor—who also directed the Lion King musical. Based on a true incident of a French diplomat who carried out a 20-year affair with a Beijing opera singer with a deep secret, Clive Owen will act as Rene Gallimard and Jin Ha will play Song Liling. The characters are based off of the real-life Bernard Boursicot and Shi Pei Pu. Owen is a British actor who won a Golden Globe Award and Academy Award nomination for the 2004 movie Closer. Acting alongside him in M. Butterfly, Ha is an emerging actor with a recent masters in fine arts, and he was in the Chicago production of Hamilton. Bound to be a success, M. Butterfly is a riveting story that captivates attention to this day.

A favorite among many millennials, Mean Girls will become a musical, which will be shown at Washington D.C.’s The National Theatre in October and will be on Broadway in March, 2018. Tina Fey, comedian and writer of the original 2004 movie, will work alongside her husband Jeff Richmond, who is a three-time Emmy winner and composer. Tony-nominee Nell Benjamin from Legally Blonde will create lyrics, and Tony-winner Casey Nicholaw from Aladdin and The Book of Mormon will be the choreographer and director. With a power team of faces behind the scenes, the actors and actresses who will star on the stage also prove to be a strong group. Erika Henningsen will play Cady Heron, Taylor Louderman will play Regina George, Ashley Park will play Gretchen Wieners and Kate Rockwell will play Karen Smith. They are all young, accomplished actors who have been in other well-known musicals. The musical will feature the same story as the book, in which Heron moves from Africa to Illinois and faces encounters with the school’s clique, the Plastics. Fans are awaiting the release of this fetch musical.

Once just a naïve child himself who learned of his wizardry, the beloved fictional character Harry Potter becomes a father of three wizards himself in a play by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany. In the spring of 2018, two years after its original opening, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child will open on Broadway at the fully renovated Lyric Theatre. The original showing of the play earned acclaim at the 2017 Laurence Olivier Awards, such as Best New Play, Best Actor and Best Director. With actors and actresses such as Jamie Parker as Potter, Noma Dumezweni as Hermione Granger and Paul Thornley as Ron Weasley, the magical story will come to life. This is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series. The play begins 19 years after the timeframe of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It focuses on Potter’s son, Albus Severus Potter, attending the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Fans will travel to Broadway to watch the reign of wizardry spread to a new generation.

The Disney princess movie, Frozen, exploded when released in 2013: Frozen merchandise such as school supplies, clothing and Halloween costumes were coupled with people constantly singing the catchy songs. Five years later in the spring of 2018, Frozen will be released on Broadway. The amount of songs tripled from around 7 to 21, with the help of composers and lyricists Robert Lopez, Kristen Anderson Lopez and two-time Tony Award winner Stephen Oremus. Written by Jennifer Lee, the writer of Wreck-It Ralph, directed by Tony-winner Michael Grandage and choreographed by Tony-winner Rob Ashford, Frozen’s team will create chilling effects. The dynamic Arendelle duo of sisters will star Caissie Levy as Elsa, who previously played Fantine in Les Miserables, and Patti Murin as Anna. Cinderella actor Greg Hildreth will be the lovable snowman Olaf, John Riddle will be Hans and Jelani Alladin will debut his Broadway career as Kristoff. Once the producers let it go on Broadway, the Frozen trend is bound to blow up once more in the spring when the old and many new songs create a new Broadway atmosphere.

In 2006 when Anne Hathaway, Meryl Streep and Emily Blunt starred in the movie version of Lauren Weisberger’s 2003 novel The Devil Wears Prada, movie-lovers admired the humorous and relatable story line. The story features main character Andy Sachs who works as an assistant to the strict Miranda Priestly, editor-in-chief of Runway, a fashion magazine. The movie spent six months on the New York Times’s bestsellers list. Today, Paul Rudnick and Sir Elton John are writing the musical version of the play for Broadway. Rudnick’s expertise from writing Addams Family Values, In & Out and Jeffrey will reflect in this stage adaptation. John, a famous singer and composer of The Lion King, Aida and Billy Elliot has a knack for music that will contribute to the musical. Kevin McCollum will be the producer in collaboration with Fox Stage Productions and Rocket Entertainment. Casting will be announced at a later time. That’s all!

With plays such as M. Butterfly and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, as well as musicals like Mean Girls, Frozen and The Devil Wears Prada, thespians have plenty to look forward to. These new shows have great potential to have the success that Hamilton did, and they will all certainly have a chance to be featured at the 2018 Tony Awards.