Broadway Is Back With A Vengeance

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THE WIZ

The lure of New York City struck me hard way back in the early 1970s. My parents took me along with a few of my siblings to visit the city for a day of entertainment and excitement — the bright lights, energy and wonderment made me determined at a very early age that I would live here — I was a child actor in a small town only two hours away from the metropolis.

The first musical that I saw was The Wiz with Stephanie Mills as Dorothy, Tiger Haynes as the Tinman, Ted Ross as the Lion, Hinton Battle as the Scarecrow, Clarice Taylor as Addaperle, Mabel King as Evillene, André De Shields as the Wiz (above). I knew that I found my emerald city at the age of 10.

I am slowly approaching my 40th anniversary as a city dweller and, oh the stories I could tell. Mostly how the city changes all of the time from little incidents to major events. The Broadway theater league reflects many of these changes.

Everyone has suffered from the pandemic over this past year and a half — however, I see a glimmer of hope and have some good news that theater fans need to hear — the marquees and klieg lights are fired up and Broadway is back. Following is what you need to know.

Curtain up!

ALADDIN

Grab the kids and start your flying carpet: Aladdin reopens in October with all the magic you can rub out of a golden oil lamp. It’s housed at the New Amsterdam Theater directly on 42nd Street. The mouse and people at Disney reopen this musical with 84 special effects and the return of Michael Maliakel as Aladdin, Shoba Narayan (Jasmin), Michael James Scott (Genie), and Jonathan Freeman as Jafar.

Click on the link below for tickets and more information:

ALADDIN

CHICAGO

With a Grammy, 2 Olivier Awards and 6 Tony Awards, it’s no wonder why this steamy and sexy musical has lasted on Broadway for more than 25 years. A brand new cast is waiting in the wings as two great American cities join forces: New York and Chicago. It’s time to rouge your knees and roll your stockings down again for all that jazz.

Shimmy over for tickets and more debauchery:

CHICAGO

COME FROM AWAY

A musical about 911!? Yes.

I felt the same, as I am a local who suffered the consequences of that horrific and tragic day. This musical actually helped me to heal several wounds that I wasn’t even aware of, in the back of my mind.

This show takes place in Newfoundland, Canada — it’s a heartwarming, witty and soulful musical that tells the tale of that horrific time when a small community came together to help strangers with open arms, doors, and hearts. You will also learn a lot about our northern neighbors.

It’s a must-see.

COME FROM AWAY

HADESTOWN

Diabolically infused, Hadestown mixes two mythic tales between Orpheus and Eurydice and King Hades and Persephone (his wife). This heady and thought-provoking musical is hauntingly inspirational and playing at the Walter Kerr Theatre — Tony Award winner Endré de Shields (The Wizard from The Wiz when I was a kid) returns in his acclaimed role as Hermes.

Brace yourself for the outcome.

HADESTOWN

HAMILTON
History, or so it is written, tells a story of this American President and his personal life. Writer/Performer, Lin-Manuel Miranda (photobombing me) slams it home with this breathtaking, rapid-fire musical about both Alexander Hamilton and his nemesis, Aaron Burr. It’s certainly a tour de force for a night out on Broadway.

Note: Aaron Burr’s carriage house was in Greenwich Village and converted into a very popular and elegant restaurant called, One if by Land, Two if by Sea (also reopened).

HAMILTON

LION KING
You can’t miss the lion’s roar or mane coming from the marquee outside of the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Times Square. This Disney production opens its doors for every world traveler and theater buff. The Lion King rules most of the city with Hakuna Matada and the circle of life. He is waiting for all whelps while stoickly perched on Broadway at 44th Street.

LION KING

MOULIN ROUGE

Yes, we can, Can-Can! Moulin Rouge returns to The Great White Way this season with the trio of talent: Natalie Mendoza, Aaron Tveit and Danny Burstein, et al… This burlesque-inspired and over-the-top production is not for the timid, so much as those who want to think they are in the in-club. The word bawdy comes to mind.

Buckle up for a raucous and eye-catching evening with the stage production via Baz Luhrmann.

MOULIN ROUGUE

SIX
Off with her head! From Catherine of Aragon to Anne Boleyn as well as other women of royalty (the Queen of Hearts), this musical faces everything revolutionary including the word, Guiolotine.

I haven’t seen it yet, however, the buzz on the streets and avenues is that Six is a sensation. And you just might lose your head over this impressive cast and production.

SIX

WICKED

Back for good! Wicked reopened this September with a long and winding road of yellow brick fans — many of them sporting a fancy costume in the audience.

While the original cast has matured and moved on to other endeavors (Kristen Chenoweth and Idina Menzel), the new duo fit into their shoes or slippers quite well.

KRISTIN CHENOWETH AND WRITER, P.K. GREENFIELD
This Broadway show has become a cult classic in the vein of Rocky Horror Picture Show. Where they get the green, I do not know, but they show up nightly at the Gershwin Theatre.

It’s funny how my life has come almost full circle from The Wiz to Wicked on this avenue called Broadway. I recommend that you jump on your broom for tickets because this show with its 1,933 seats is selling out very quickly.

WICKED

NOTE: You need to show proof of Covid-19 vaccination along with your ticket to enter the theaters. Bring a mask as well. Check out the websites above for more information.

Other shows in the pipeline include: To Kill a Mockingbird, Ain’t Too Proud, Jagged Little Pill, MJ The Musical, Harry Potter and The Cursed Child, Book of Morman, Mrs. Doubtfire, Company and more.

I’ll keep you posted as they open their doors.

Photo Credits: Disney, Getty Images, F. Nicolella, Bruce Ortman.

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