Jesus Christ Superstar
Producers: The Really Useful Superstar Company Inc., The Nederlander Producing Company of America Inc., Terry Allen Kramer.
This new revival of the groundbreaking 1971 "rock opera" by composer Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyricist Tim Rice has its roots in a recent staging in England, directed by Gale Edwards, who conceptually set the timeless tale in an urban, Rent-like place that was part Middle East, part Las Vegas. Glenn Carter leads a starless cast of young performers in this once-controversial retelling of the last days of Christ.
Kiss Me, Kate
Producers: Roger Berlind, Roger Horchow
Marin Mazzie and Brian Stokes Mitchell are Broadway stars, but not yet household names. Still, their talents have potently served the crowd pleasing revival of Cole Porter's Shakespeare romp since fall 1999. New York dance darling Kathleen Marshall choreographed and versatile Michael Blakemore directed, bringing new life to "Too Darn Hot," "Wunderbar" and the surefire blood-pumper, "Another Openin', Another Show."
The Music Man
Producer: Dodger Theatricals, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Elizabeth Williams/Anita Waxman, Kardana-Swinsky Productions, Lorie Cowen Levy/Dede Harris.
Like Kiss Me, Kate, the star of this show just might be the title (indeed, the Playbill covers read, "Meredith Willson's The Music Man"). The show has been an American favorite since 1957, when it beat West Side Story out of the Best Musical Tony. Newcomer Craig Bierko and revival veteran Rebecca Luker star as Prof. Harold Hill and Marian the Librarian, respectively. The story, book, music and lyrics -- including "Seventy-Six Trombones" -- are by the late Meredith Willson. Susan Stroman (Contact) directed and choreographed.
Producer: DG Producciones
In what seems like the dancingest Broadway season ever, this sizzling revue of tango and tango variations lured in audiences who like their choreography to be full of sex and struggle. The limited November-to January engagement at the Gershwin Theatre revived the passion of the 1985 Broadway visit. Created by Claudio Segovia and Hector Orezzoli, who also brought Flamenco Puro and Black And Blue to Broadway, Tango Argentino was a Best Musical Tony nominee in its first incarnation.
Analysis: Tango is perceived as a specialized dance show and is now gone, limiting its Tony possibility. Although Jesus Christ Superstar is beloved for its passionate score, it received some of the season's harshest notices and has nary a star. Broadway observers say the struggle is between the equally bright Music Man and Kiss Me, Kate, with the bets going to Kate for taking a risk by starting earlier in the season and paying its dues. -- By Kenneth Jones