Complete Broadway Musicals A–Z
The Temptations are hard to resist: No matter how much you may chafe at the clunky machinery of Broadway’s latest jukebox biomusical, the hits just keep coming. The workmanlike script gives us Motown the Musical by way of Jersey Boys, but when the show’s lavishly gifted stars (Including Derrick Baskin and the sensational Ephraim Sykes) are moving and singing in sync, the pull of nostalgia is strong.—Adam Feldman
Disney's latest toon tuner is a tourist-family–friendly theme-park attraction, robed in the billowing fabrics of orientalist Arabian fantasy. As in the 1992 film, the Genie (a charismatic James Monroe Iglehart) steals the show from its eponymous “street rat” hero (Adam Jacobs). Stuffed with glitz, the musical is a carpet with little texture but colorful patterns aplenty.—Adam Feldman
Broadway’s latest boomer jukebox musical never achieves the comic zip or dramatic force of Jersey Boys, but it is an appealing and skillfully built vehicle for Carole King’s hit ditties and soulful ballads. It's a lovable love letter to a fine songwriter and natural woman.—David Cote
If nothing else, this musical adaptation of Tim Burton’s 1988 film is spectacularly weird: Its designers come at it from all kinds of crazy angles. If only so much of the rest of the show were not a busy mess. The tone varies wildly, and the rules that govern the plot (which veers ill-advisedly widely from its source) are both overexplained and opaque.—Adam Feldman
If theater is your religion, and the Broadway musical your particular sect, it’s time to rejoice. This gleefully obscene and subversive satire is one of the funniest shows to grace the Great White Way since The Producers and Urinetown. Writers Trey Parker and Matt Stone of South Park, along with composer Robert Lopez (Avenue Q), find the perfect blend of sweet and nasty for this tale of mismatched Mormon proselytizers in Uganda.—David Cote
This John Kander–Fred Ebb–Bob Fosse favorite—revived by director Walter Bobbie and choreographer Ann Reinking—tells the saga of chorus girl Roxie Hart, who murders her lover and, with the help of a huckster lawyer, becomes a vaudeville star.—David Cote
Irene Sankoff and David Hein’s swelling heart of a musical tells a true story from the aftermath of 9/11, when 38 flights were forced to land in the small town of Gander, Newfoundland. Under Christopher Ashley’s fluid direction, 12 versatile actors play dozens of roles. The show makes a persuasive case for the value of good intentions; for this kind of uplift you don’t need planes.—Adam Feldman
In this captivating original musical, Hello, Dolly! scene-stealer Andrew Barth Feldman now plays the title role of a high school student thrust into social relevance after a classmate's suicide. Benj Pasek and Justin Paul's score combines well-crafted lyrics with an exciting pop sound, and Steven Levenson’s book gives all the characters shaded motives.—Adam Feldman
Very talented performers offer a funky and inventive tribute to spontaneity in this storm of improvised raps stuffed into sketches, directed by Hamilton's Thomas Kail. Notable alums of the show (such as Lin-Manuel Miranda, James Monroe Iglehart, Christopher Jackson and Daveed Diggs) may drop by for guest appearances during the run—not that the show's core cast needs any help.
There is too little magic in this lukewarm stage adaptation of the smash 2013 Disney movie about a princess who must save her realm from the eternal winter to which her witchy sister has unwittingly condemned it. There are glimmers of light in the performances and design, but the shaky plot now seems even less secure, and the show feels substantially less animated all around.—Adam Feldman
Off Broadway Musicals A–Z
In this comedic musical, Annie Pulsipher imagines the Broadway musical Annie as rewritten by the failed vice presidential candidate and resigned Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, with the New Deal–friendly spirit of the original replaced by Ayn Randian lessons about the virtues of selfishness. Stephen M. Eckert directs the premiere at the PIT.
“If you don’t go over the top, how are you going to see what’s on the other side?” So says a character in Jim Steinman’s ludicrous new musical, which certainly can’t be accused of not taking big chances. This postapocalyptic rock & roll parable throws off its helmet, revs its engines and rides full-throttle straight off a cliff. But if the show is a fail, at least it's an epic one.—Adam Feldman
A Filipino faith healer and his teenage grandson make a trip to San Francisco in this new musical by Jessica Hagedorn and Fabian Obispo, directed by Ralph B. Peña for Ma-Yi Theater Company. The cast of seven includes Alan Ariano, Nacho Tambunting and Ching Valdes-Aran.
How do you make Fiddler on the Roof even more Jewish? Do it in Yiddish! Fans of Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick’s landmark musical about Tevye the Milkman and his shtetl community in early-20th-century Russia will go meshuga for National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene's version, which lets the characters speak (and sing) in the expressive guttural tongue they would have used in real life.—Raven Snook
Undeterred by the failures of Frankenstein-themed tuners on Broadway and Off Broadway in 2007 (and Off-Off Broadway in 2016), composer-librettist-scientist Eric B. Sirota ventures back into the mad musical laboratory for his adaptation of Mary Shelley's classic horror novel. Clint Hromsco directs the premiere.
[Note: The review below is for a 2014 version of this show, which was then titled The Imbible. A revised version now plays at New World Stages. A different, brunch-theater edition, titled Day Drinking, plays on weekend matinees.] Remember Bill Nye the Science Guy? Great! Now imagine him as a bartender who is deeply interested in the history of ethanol alcohol, really likes wigs and costumes, and just joined a coed barbershop quartet. That description of Anthony Caporale’s The Imbible: A Spirited History of Drinking may sound far-out, but the show is both educational and entertaining. (It's also a fine showcase for a cappella classics arranged by Josh Ehrlich and performed by a gifted ensemble that includes the show's director, soprano Nicole DiMattei.) Mixing whimsy and information, Caporale makes the story of our relationship with alcohol remarkably compelling. And the show's lessons—on subjects like the drinks served at Prohibition-era speakeasies, the origin of the gin and tonic, and the difference between a cocktail and a mixed drink—can be washed down with complimentary, thematically appropriate beverages. As Caporale says, “Trust me, I get funnier with every sip.” That makes the show a must-see for anyone who enjoys free booze, which is probably nearly everyone.—Amelia Bienstock
Four friends explore the history of brunch and the cocktails associated with it in a musical companion piece to Anthony Caporale's popular A Spirited History of Drinking, formerly known as The Imbible. The score is by Josh Erlich; Carorale wrote the book, and codirects the show with Nicole DiMattei. Admission includes a modest brunch and three complimentary cocktails, so arrive half an hour early to take full advantage.
Yo! Ho! Ho! This latest spin-off of Anthony Caporale's long-running drink-history show The Imbible focuses on the lore surrounding rum, with an emphasis on its popularity among pirates of the Caribbean. Written and directed by Caporale and Nicole DiMattei, the production includes musical numbers and three rummy cocktails.
Musical theater does right by the jukebox with this behind-the-music tale, presenting the Four Seasons’ energetic 1960s tunes (including “Walk Like a Man” and “Big Girls Don’t Cry”) as they were meant to be performed. After an 11-year run on Broadway, the show has returned for a scaled-down open-ended run at New World Stages.—Adam Feldman
Cabaret masters KT Sullivan and Steve Ross bring decades of wit, sophistication and musical expertise to this selection of writings by the peerless English songwriter, playwright and smoking-jacket enthusiast Noël Coward. Assembled by Barry Day and directed by the Irish Rep's Charlotte Moore, the show touches on Coward's relationships with such notable personages as Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo, Elaine Stritch, Virginia Woolf and the Queen Mum.
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