PLAYBILL PICKS: Playbill Contributors Share Titles They're Eager to See in Spring 2014

By Playbill Staff
01 Jan 2014

Idina Menzel
Photo by Joan Marcus

ANDREW GANS, Senior Editor

Brian Yorkey and Tom Kitt's Next to Normal was one of the most intriguing and moving musicals of the past decade, so the newest work from these talented writers, which is titled If/Then, may be at the top of my most-anticipated-productions list for 2014. The cast also features an array of some of the musical theatre's finest: Tony winners Idina Menzel and LaChanze and original Renter Anthony Rapp.

The Bridges of Madison County
I'm a big fan of Jason Robert Brown’s scores to both Parade and 13, and I’m eager to hear what many are already calling his best score. The staging of The Bridges of Madison County also marks the Broadway musical debut of Steven Pasquale, whose work I've admired since his breakout turn Off-Broadway in A Man of No Importance, and his co-star is four-time Tony nominee Kelli O'Hara.

Bullets Over Broadway
A musical version of a Woody Allen film: How could one not be intrigued? Though Bullets Over Broadway doesn't feature an original score, I’m more than curious to see how this tale of a playwright, a mobster and his talent-free girlfriend will make the leap from screen to stage.

Any show that boasts two-time Tony winner Sutton Foster is high on my priority list, so the Broadway debut of Brian Crawley and Jeanine Tesori’s Violet is another evening I'm looking forward to this spring.

Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty always deliver emotionally compelling and melodic scores. Even though I may be the one person who has never seen any of the "Rocky" films, I always look forward to a new work from the composers of Ragtime, Dessa Rose, Once On This Island and more.

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
Sitting through the revival of On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, I was very thankful for the presence of Jessie Mueller, who managed to shine despite a somewhat disappointing production. Since then she has gone from one success to another – The Public Theater's Into the Woods, the Roundabout Theatre Company's Mystery of Edwin Drood and the Gershwin charmer Nice Work If You Can Get It. Now she's leading the cast of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, and I can’t wait to hear what this up-and-coming actress does with the songs of one of our great pop writers.

Mothers and Sons
Although I often attend musicals more than once, it’s a practice I follow far less frequently with non-musical fare. Two plays I have enjoyed on repeat visits were both penned by Tony winner Terrence McNally: Master Class and Love! Valour! Compassion. McNally, whose works tend to sing, will be represented on Broadway this season with Mothers and Sons, which will feature Tony winner Tyne Daly and Tony nominee Bobby Steggert.

The Realistic Joneses
Toni Collette. Michael C. Hall. Tracy Letts. Marisa Tomei. An impressive cast by any standard. All will be featured in the New York premiere of Will Eno’s The Realistic Joneses, which arrives this spring under the direction of Sam Gold.