Much has been made in recent weeks about the fact that one third of the 1996-97 Broadway season's shows -- including four of the season's seven new musicals -- crowded their openings into the last few weeks before the April 30 deadline for the Tony Awards.
A look at the upcoming 1997-98 season reveals that four major new musicals have scheduled their openings before Dec. 31, 1997, and a fifth has scheduled a opening in January 1998. Four of the shows have definitely booked a theatre; the opening of the fifth is contingent on finding a vacant playhouse:
TRIUMPH OF LOVE: New musical starring Susan Egan. Based on the Marivaux comedy. Book by James Magruder. Music by Jeffrey Stock. Lyrics by Susan Birkenhead. Previews begin Sept. 2. Opens Sept. 25. Walter Kerr Theatre.
JANE EYRE: New musical based on the Charlotte Bronte novel, starring Anthony Crivello and Marla Schaffel. Directed by John Caird. Previews begin Oct. 7. Opens Oct. 26. Theatre TBA. THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL: New musical based on the novel by Baroness Orczy. Music by Frank Wildhorn of Jekyll & Hyde; book and lyrics by Nan Knighton. Directed by Peter Hunt. Previews begin Oct. 13. Opens Nov. 9. Minskoff Theatre.
THE LION KING: Stage adaptation of Disney animated musical, with music by Elton John, lyrics by Tim Rice. Directed by Julie Taymor. Previews Oct. 10. Opens Nov. 13. New Amsterdam Theatre. Box office not open yet.
RAGTIME: New musical with score by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, libretto by Terrence McNally, based on the E.L. Doctorow novel. Directed by Frank Galati. Choreographed by Graciela Daniele. Previews Dec. 26, 1997. Opens Jan. 18, 1998 Ford Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets on sale now: (212) 307-4100. Outside NY metro area: (800) 755-4000.
A sixth musical is promised for fall 1997, but has not yet scheduled an opening date:
SIDESHOW: New musical by Henry Krieger (Dreamgirls) and Bill Russell, about a pair of Siamese twins in vaudeville. Directed and choreographed by Robert Longbottom. Fall 1997 previews, opening and theatre TBA.
Longer stories on all these projects can be found in Playbill On-Line's Theatre News.
For a complete schedule of 1997-98 Broadway shows please see Schedule of Broadway Openings.
-- By Robert Viagas