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

By Playbill Staff
01 Jan 2014

Neil Patrick Harris

BEN RIMALOWER, Contributor

Without a doubt, I am most excited for the Roundabout Theatre Company’s upcoming revival of their 1998 revival of the John Kander/Fred Ebb/Joe Masteroff classic, Cabaret, once again directed by Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall and once again starring Alan Cumming. My timing the first time around prevented me from catching Cumming’s Tony-winning turn (I moved to New York City mere weeks after he left the cast) and though I enjoyed fabulous performances by several of his replacements, I have long dreamed of witnessing Cumming’s star-making triumph in person.

One of the brilliant stars I saw as the Emcee in Cabaret the last time was the versatile Neil Patrick Harris. Between his numerous acclaimed performances on television and in theatre, as well as his successful outings as an award show host (not to mention his status as a prominent, out gay man), Harris is an icon of my generation, if anyone is. For him to be taking on a part as dynamic and risky as the Hedwig in the show’s forthcoming Broadway premiere is truly brave. Hedwig And The Angry Inch is one of the top handful of shows I’ve ever seen onstage and I’m thrilled that this production with Neil Patrick Harris will finally give this major work the mainstream exposure it so deserves.

Another upcoming production full of superlatives is the new Tom Kitt/Brian Yorkey musical, If/Then. Their last collaboration, Next to Normal, was a riveting and devastating original musical that tackled modern life with groundbreaking honesty and sensitivity. And they know how to write for divas—I am forever changed by Alice Ripley’s stunning (Tony-winning) performance in Next to Normal. I cannot wait to see (and hear!) what this talented pair is cooking up for Idina Menzel in If/Then. Menzel’s Broadway performances may be few in number, but she’s two for two giving knockout performances originating lead roles in mammoth hits, with Wicked and Rent. If/Then is bound to be thrilling!

If/Then isn't the only new musical I’m looking forward to seeing on Broadway this season. Fan favorite songwriter Jason Robert Brown is teaming up with veteran playwright Marsha Norman on a Broadway musical adaptation of the hit novel-film, "The Bridges Of Madison County." The intimate and complicated love story is an excellent fit for Brown, as the composer and lyricist of the song cycle, The Last Five Years, and opening up that format with a full cast and as accomplished a collaborator as Norman bodes very well for this piece. I’m especially eager to see the gorgeous and talented Kelli O’Hara and Steven Pasquale in the lead roles.