Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Looking Forward: The SOB Top Five

Looking Forward: The SOB Top Five

The calendar year may have just begun, but Broadway theatregoers -- as well as those throughout the United States -- know that there's close to another five months left for the 2007-08 Theatrical Season.

While I'll wait until the season's close to list my "Best of" lists for the entire year in theatre, here's a preview of the top five shows I'm most looking forward to seeing in 2008:

Superior Donuts (Steppenwolf, Chicago, IL) - While you can expect Tracy Letts' wildly successful August: Osage County to make a strong run toward all the top theatrical awards come May and June, the latest work by the Steppenwolf ensemble member will enjoy its world premiere in Chicago just four days after this year's Tony Awards.

With Amy Morton directing, expect ticket sales for this play about a decrepit donut shop in Chicago's Uptown neighborhood to fly. Yasen Peyankov, who received an "Honorable Mention" among my Singular Sensations of 2007, and Jon Hill star.

Sunday In The Park With George (Studio 54, New York, NY) - The Olivier Award-winning West End hit finally transfers to Broadway and arguably becomes the year's most eagerly anticipated musical, old or new.

This first Great White Way revival for the Stephen Sondheim/James Lapine classic is directed by Sam Buntrock and stars Daniel Evans and Jenna Russell, who reprise their Olivier Award-winning turns.

The Country Girl (Broadway theatre to be announced, New York, NY) - After long absences from the Great White Way, Academy Award-winning actors
Morgan Freeman and Frances McDormand headline Clifford Odets' classic 1950 play about a washed-up alcoholic actor seeking a return to the spotlight.

With Mike Nichols at the helm and a cast that includes Peter Gallagher, expect this to be one tough ticket once it begins in April.

Cry-Baby (Broadway theatre to be announced, New York, NY) - Can lightning strike twice on Broadway for a John Waters-inspired musical? If the reception on the Left Coast is any indication, this could very well be the tuner to beat come Tony time.

With book by Mark O'Donnell and Thomas Meehan, direction from Mark Brokaw, choreography by Rob Ashford and a cast led by Harriet Harris, Cry-Baby has winner written all over it.

The show is set to also star James Snyder and Elizabeth Stanley, along with Hairspray alums Carly Jibson and Chester Gregory II.

The Visit (Signature Theatre, Arlington, VA) - Chita Rivera returns to her hometown in May to star in this "new" John Kander/Fred Ebb tuner. Frank Galati directs, while Ann Reinking provides the choreography.

Personally, I would go just about anywhere to see the incomparable Miss Rivera -- one of the stage's true living legends. So a return visit to Washington DC is officially in my travel plans.

What shows are you most looking forward to seeing this year? I invite you to provide your top picks wherever they may be.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

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At 02 January, 2008, Blogger Esther said...

Hi Steve:
Wow, there's so much I want to see this year, including some of the ones on your list. I'd love to see the new Tracy Letts play. And given my love for "Hairspray" I'm certainly interested in "Cry-Baby."

My list includes:

The Country Girl. I'd love to see Morgan Freeman on stage, and I'm a big Peter Gallagher fan, too. (Ok, I'll admit I watched "The O.C." at least the first year!)

A Catered Affair. Just like with The Country Girl, the attraction for me is the cast. I'd love to see anything with Harvey Fierstein. Plus, I loved Matt Cavenaugh from "Grey Gardens."

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. The cast sounds great, and it would be my first Tennessee Williams play on stage.

South Pacific. Likewise, my first time seeing a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical in the theater. Plus, I've only seen Lincoln Center from the outside!

Thurgood. I think that Thurgood Marshall was such an important figure in the history of this country in the 1950s and 1960s, and I'd love to see Laurence Fishburne's portrayal of him in a one-man show.

Stalag 17. Spike Lee's first theatrical effort. 'Nuff said.

The 39 Steps. I saw the show during its pre-Broadway tryout in Boston and loved it. It's such a funny, inspired take on the Hitchcock movie. I really hope it does well on Broadway.

There's one off-Broadway show I'm really interested in seeing:

Two Thousand Years. It's a play by British playwright and director Mike Leigh about an assimilated Jewish family in London whose son becomes religious. I know a few people who have been in similar situations, and I'm very curious to see how it's portrayed.

At 02 January, 2008, Anonymous BroadwayBaby said...

My list of things I'm really looking forward to seeing includes:

1) The San Diego pre-Broadway tryout of Dancing In The Dark, based on the MGM musical, the Bandwagon.

2) Gypsy starring Patti Lupone on Broadway

3) A possible Broadway transfer of Horton Foote's "Dividing The estate".

4) And finally, a guilty pleasure- the "Joan Rivers Theatre project", Joan Rivers' theatrical work-in-progress in Los Angeles.

At 02 January, 2008, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Esther, No fair. You listed more than five shows! (Just kidding!!).

I'm very interested in seeing Thurgood and South Pacific as well. I already have my tickets for The 39 Steps and November, so I guess that means they're on my list, too. As a huge Harvey Fierstein fan, you can bet I'll see A Catered Affair, too.

Having just seen the last Cat On A Hot Tin Roof revival on Broadway four short years ago, it's not high on my list, although its cast certainly helps.

And finally on Stalag 17, after the flood of initial reports of it coming to Broadway in "early 2008," I have yet to see any recent confirmation that it's still coming. But if it does, I would certainly welcome the chance to see this tale told again, this time by Spike Lee.

At 02 January, 2008, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Broadway Baby,

Joan Rivers? Can we talk?! Seriously, it sounds like fun.

I'm totally with you on Gypsy. I wouldn't miss the Broadway revival of my favorite musical for anything.

I may have to visit San Diego for the Old Globe's Dancing In The Dark. Just wonder how many Springsteen fans will think this is his jukebox musical instead of a stage remake of "Band Wagon"!

And yes, if the rumors of a Broadway transfer of Dividing The Estate come to fruition, I will be there, too!

At 02 January, 2008, Blogger Esther said...

Oh Steve, you know I've become such an enthusiastic theatergoer that there's no way I could stop at five! If I could, I'd see everything on Broadway and a good amount off-Broadway, too. And if there ever is a Springsteen jukebox musical, I'll be there!

At 02 January, 2008, Anonymous BroadwayBaby said...

I'm curious what you will think of Catered Affair. I saw it in San Diego - Despite wonderful performances by the entire cast (including a breakout performance by Leslie Kritser), I felt that neither the book nor the score were memorable. The show, IMHO, needs a complete re-haul of book and score if it were to succeed on Broadway.


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