BROADWAY SPRING 2014 PREVIEW: Rocky, If/Then, Denzel Washington, Les MisÚrables, Neil Patrick Harris in Hedwig and More

By Robert Simonson
27 Dec 2013

Jessie Mueller in Beautiful.
Photo by Joan Marcus

Rocky, yet another musical adapted from a film, takes as its inspiration the 1976 boxing drama that made Sylvester Stallone a star. The sterling team of composers Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty and bookwriter Thomas Meehan were drafted to bring the story to the stage. Already having bowed in Hamburg, Germany, the Alex Timbers-directed show will begin Feb. 11 at the Winter Garden (the first show to win that coveted house since Mamma Mia! blew into town in 2001). Andy Karl plays the title underdog palooka.

It took an original, new musical from the Next to Normal composers Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey to lure Tony-winning Wicked star Idina Menzel back to the Broadway stage. In If/Then, which begins previews March 5 at the Richard Rodgers, she plays a woman who, on the brink of her 40th birthday, moves to New York for a fresh start.

The creators of Bullets Over Broadway, based on the Woody Allen film of the same name, decided they didn't need a new score for their show. Instead, they are employing music from the 1920s and '30s. Zach Braff will play David Shayne, the playwright who learns his play is getting the Broadway treatment thanks to a wealthy gangster who insisted on casting his untalented moll, and Marin Mazzie will play stage diva Helen Sinclair. Susan Stroman will direct the show, which begins March 11 at the St. James.

The musical Beautiful takes its entire score from the considerable catalogue of singer-songwriter Carole King, whose life — from modest Brooklyn roots to the Brill Building to solo artist fame — provides the plotline. Jessie Mueller plays King in the show, which opens Jan. 12 at the Stephen Sondheim under the direction of Marc Bruni.