BROADWAY FALL 2013 PREVIEW: A Theatregoer's Guide to Love and Murder

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02 Sep 2013

Kate Baldwin and Norbert Leo Butz in Big Fish.
Photo by Paul Kolnik

Making sure American masterpieces are not neglected are director John Tiffany and actress Cherry Jones, who will together give Broadway its latest Tennessee Williams revival when they present The Glass Menagerie at the Booth Theatre beginning Sept. 5. This production was previously received with acclaim at the American Repertory Theater in Boston, which, under artistic director Diane Paulus, has become a Broadway-transfer machine in recent years. Keeping the kids interested will be the Tom of Zachary Quinto, famous as the new Spock in the recently rebooted "Star Trek" film franchise.

The most anticipated of this fall's musical offerings is Big Fish, a florid bouquet of tall tales based on the 2003 film of the same name. Susan Stroman is directing and choreographing the Andrew Lippa-John August show, which will star Norbert Leo Butz — a born grandstander who's a perfect fit for the story's central yarn-spinner — Kate Baldwin and Bobby Steggert, and a host of others impersonating various giants, witches and werewolves. The show docks at the Neil Simon Sept. 5.

More dark-hued, but just as far-fetched, is the plot of A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, set to begin at the Walter Kerr Oct. 22. Our hero is the Edwardian England-set tale in one Monty Navarro, the black sheep of the D'Ysquith family, whose solution to the problem of being ninth in line to inherit a dukedom is to knock off the other eight relatives. As in "Kind Hearts and Coronets," the 1949 Ealing Studios film starring Alec Guinness that shares its story, those eight heirs are played by the same actor. Perfectly suited to this oddball, bravura task is New York theatre's resident bravura oddball, Jefferson Mays (I Am My Own Wife).

In the concert-as-musical vein are both After Midnight, coming to the Brooks Atkinson on Oct. 18, and A Night With Janis Joplin, arriving at the Lyceum on Sept. 20. The latter has the bluesy rock singer tell of her various musical influences in between songs. Mary Bridget Davies plays Joplin, who died in 1970 at the age of 27. After Midnight is a collaboration between director-choreographer Warren Carlyle, fashion duo Isabel and Ruben Toledo, jazzman Wynton Marsalis and The Jazz at Lincoln Center All-Stars. Together, they aim to bring the lavish jazz shows of the Harlem nightclub The Cotton Club to a new generation of theatergoers.

Last, but not least (certainly, in terms of box office) will be a return run of Billy Crystal's autobiographical 700 Sundays, an enormous hit on Broadway back in 2004. Beginning Nov. 5, it will ironically play only one Sunday at the Imperial: Dec. 29. But don't worry; there are dozens of performances on other days of the week.

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