The theater season is in full swing and producers are scrambling to get their Broadway babies up and kicking before the May Tony-eligibility deadline. This is when I prepare myself for all the productions I’m about to sit through. For every show I’m excited to see, there’s another that makes me wonder what the fuck they were thinking. Here are my predictions for what will go boom and bust this first half of 2006.
Give Me Comps!
Faith Healer (Booth Theatre, begins previews April 18) Ralph Fiennes is a movie star, and that doesn’t always bode well for Broadway. But he’s also a Tony-winning stage actor working with two-time Tony-winner Cherry Jones in a play by Tony-winner Brian Friel. And if you’re still not impressed, Ian McDiarmid, aka the Emperor from Star Wars, is in this, too. The Threepenny Opera (Studio 54, begins previews March 24) Androgynous sex symbol Alan Cumming returns to Broadway in Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill’s 19th-century period piece about cops, criminals and really hot costumes. His costars include 80s pop diva Cyndi Lauper. Maybe she can finally pull those old crinolines out of her closet.
Three Days of Rain (Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, begins previews March 28) I’m not saying this revival of Richard Greenberg’s family drama is going to be good. But it stars Julia Roberts. Yes, that Julia Roberts. No, she’s never acted on stage. Considering the advance ticket sales, experience isn’t required.
Well (Longacre Theatre, begins previews March 10) Lisa Kron’s hilarious off-Broadway show finally makes it Uptown. Autobiographical pieces can often be deadeningly dull, but Kron isn’t your average gal and neither is the character of her mother, who’s on hand to comment on and critique the proceedings.
They Must Be Kidding…
Jay Johnson: The Two and Only! (Helen Hayes Theatre, begins previews March 21) Who the hell is Jay Johnson? He was the guy with the dummy on the 70s sitcom Soap. Now he’s got a one-man show about his life. It’s always a bad sign when a title ends with an exclamation point.
Lestat (Palace Theater, begins previews March 11) Dracula, the Musical ran for four months. Dance of the Vampires closed in less than two. I give this Anne Rice-inspired, Elton John-Bernie Taupin project until June. Ring of Fire (Ethel Barrymore Theatre, began previews February 8) Johnny Cash is dead, people. For the love of God, let the man rest in peace. Then again, Joaquin just won a Golden Globe, so what do I know?
The Wedding Singer (Al Hirschfeld Theatre, begins previews March 20) What made the Adam Sandler movie rock was its awesome 80s soundtrack. Yet this musical has original tunes! They’ve taken the associative feel-good value out of this show. At least the Broadway production of Footloose still had Kenny Loggins’ theme song.