A Sequel to Cats and "American Horror Story" the Musical? Imagining the Most Unexpected Musicals for Broadway

News   A Sequel to Cats and "American Horror Story" the Musical? Imagining the Most Unexpected Musicals for Broadway
 
While the recent announcement of the upcoming Spongebob Squarepants musical may have raised some eyebrows, it's no more surprising than some other theatrical offerings. Here are a few imagined, unexpected productions that could grace the stages of the Great White Way.

G.I. Joe, by Joe Iconis
This thoughtful modern adaptation of the classic cartoon series (and the line of action figures, of course) is a gritty look at warfare and the long-term effects it can have on soldiers and their loved ones. After another round of fighting COBRA, our heroes struggle with PTSD and ennui as they contemplate the cycle of violence, the futility of armed conflicts and the feeling that they're all part of a giant marketing conspiracy to sell dolls. The 11-o'clock number, Iconis' pre-written hit "Going to War," has already become a standard. Channing Tatum, who got his start in the industry as a dancer, is in talks to star.

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Cats and Thundercats, by Andrew Lloyd Webber and T.S. Elliot
What happened to Grizabella after she was reborn from the Heaviside Layer? She met a group of animated warrior cats and joined their fight against an evil undead mummy, of course. In this mix of ballet, poetry and butt-kicking action inspired by the classic 1980s cartoon and toy line (and both designed and directed by Julie Taymor), the reincarnated protagonist of one of the most successful musicals of all time gets to shine in her own story...and also gets an action figure. Look for Betty Buckley to recreate her iconic role of Grizabella, Elaine Paige to tear up the scenery as Mumm-ra and Patrick Page to score comic highlights as the lovable Snarf.

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Harrison, by Lin-Manuel Miranda
Right on the heels of the white-hot Hamilton, the young Tony-winning composer, lyricist, librettist, actor, rapper and all-around cool guy will tell the story of William Henry Harrison, the ninth president of the United States, who died in office just 32 days after catching pneumonia during his inauguration. (He famously refused to wear a coat in March, and delivered the longest inaugural address in presidential history, which Miranda is adapting as an epic rap soliloquy.) Granted, Harrison didn't accomplish quite as much as Hamilton did, he never wound up on any money, and is mostly remembered for his rapid demise, but under Miranda's pen, this is sure to be another hit. Look for Miranda to star as Harrison, Leslie Odom, Jr. to take on the role of John Tyler and Christopher Jackson to play Martin Van Buren.

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American Horror Story: Broadway, by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk
If you thought "Smash" was a dishy, soapy look behind the scenes of bringing an original musical to the stage, just wait till the team behind the hit FX anthology series take a stab (pun intended) at the genre. Breaking with all tradition, this series will be filmed live each week in a real Broadway theatre with a real audience for maximum verisimilitude. While creating a 10-part original musical series may seem daunting, Murphy and Falchuk have stated in interviews that it can't be any harder than writing for "Glee." Jessica Lange, Lily Rabe, Lea Michele and Chris Colfer are in talks to star.

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Ulysses, by Jerry Herman
The man behind the classic comedies Hello, Dolly!, Mame and La Cage aux Folles is set to return to Broadway after a 30-year hiatus. This adaptation of James Joyce's stream-of-consciousness masterpiece of desire, betrayal and bodily functions will have all the classic toe-tapping moments we've come to expect from Herman's musicals. (His version of Molly Bloom's soliloquy has already become a standard in cabarets and nightclubs across the country.) Due to the length of the script, the play will be broken up into five parts to be performed at random. Matthew Broderick is set to star as Leopold Bloom.

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My Dinner With Andre, by Wallace Shawn
This will be the thinking man's musical — an intellectual study of a demographic rarely depicted in Broadway musicals: straight white men. Running four hours in length, this oratorio-style two-character show will explore the thoughts and worldviews of two upper-class, middle-aged American men who work in the arts and have opinions on everything. Nothing much happens, we hear, but at least rich straight white college-educated men can know that a musical is out there that truly speaks to them and their under-represented needs. Shawn and Andre Gregory are expected to star.

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Life of Pi, the Musical, by Elton John and Alan Menken
This one-man (and one puppet) musical, adapted from the bestselling novel and hit movie, follows the adventures of a young Indian boy who survives a shipwreck on a life raft alone with a Bengal tiger. Using interpretive dance, puppetry and high-tech sets (we hear the shipwreck scene is amazing), the musical examines faith, strength and the bonds between a boy and his cat.

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Cosmos, the Musical, by Neil DeGrasse Tyson
The famed astrophysicist can do everything else, so why not writing, composing and starring in a musical? This intimate piece will explore space and time and introduce audiences to some of history's greatest minds, including Giordano Bruno (whose dance solo, "Hot Feet," reportedly stops the show), Galileo (who gets the stirring anthem "Eppur si Muove") and Jenny McCarthy. Tyson, naturally, also directs.

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True Detective, by Stephen Sondheim
Who better to adapt the dark HBO mystery noir series for the stage than the master of dark, atmospheric musicals himself, Stephen Sondheim? Just imagine all of Rust Cohle's monologues set to music. Just imagine all that gritty HBO violence and angst and depression with a Sondheim score. Just imagine the perfect rhymes! This musical will undoubtedly be the hit of the season. Raul Esparza and Michael Cerveris are reportedly set to star.

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