Broadway's comeback kids: Andrew Lloyd Webber and David Auburn
Former hitmakers make a long-awaited return to the Great White Way.
Wed Feb 22 2012
Photograph: David Hou
Jesus Christ Superstar
Andrew Lloyd Webber
In 1988, a Time magazine cover dubbed Lloyd Webber the "magician of the musical," but the creator of Cats and Phantom of the Opera hasn't had a new hit on Broadway in 24 years. Since then, there have been a string of quick flops (By Jeeves, The Woman in White) and 1994's Sunset Boulevard, which held on for 977 performances but never turned a profit. This season, he will have three shows running simultaneously on the Great White Way: Jesus Christ Superstar and Evita join the deathless Phantom. Superstar garnered raves when it opened in Canada at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, and the revival of Evita boasts Latin pop star Ricky Martin as Che. If the shows do well, perhaps Lloyd Webber's troubled Phantom sequel, Love Never Dies, will finally make it here from London. (Curious fans can see a taped performance of the musical from Melbourne's Regent Theatre in movie theaters on Tuesday 28 and Wednesday 7.) Jesus Christ Superstar begins previews Thu 1 and opens Mar 22 at the Neil Simon Theatre (250 W 52nd St between Broadway and Eighth Ave, 877-250-2929, superstaronbroadway.com). $62--$142. Evita begins previews Mar 12 and opens Apr 5 at the Marquis Theatre (1535 Broadway at 46th St, 800-745-3000, evitaonbroadway.com). $67--$142.
It's hard to believe, but nearly 12 years have passed since Auburn made his Broadway debut with Proof. The sharp comedy-drama about mathematical theorems and mental illness won every award possible following its debut in 2000. It's even harder to believe that the young playwright hasn't had another production on Broadway since—until now. His follow up is The Columnist, presented by Manhattan Theatre Club: The period piece stars John Lithgow as Joseph Alsop, a real-life, high-powered Washington journalist who struggles with a rapidly changing world during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. Here's hoping Auburn doesn't experience sophomore slump. The Columnist begins previews Apr 4 and opens Apr 25 at Samuel J. Friedman Theatre (261 W 47th St between Broadway and Eighth Ave; 212-239-6200, mtc-nyc.org). $57--$116.