PLAYBILL PICKS: Anticipation! Playbill Contributors Share Titles They're Eager to See in Fall 2013

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07 Sep 2013

Norbert Leo Butz in Big Fish.
Photo by Paul Kolnik

MARK EZOVSKI, Playbill.com Video Content Producer

The Glass Menagerie (Broadway). This is one of my all-time favorite works for the stage. I've read the play many times throughout the years, seen multiple productions, and used a Tom Wingfield monologue as my early audition material – so I've lived with these characters for many years. With the soft touch of John Tiffany and a cast headed by Cherry Jones, Celia Keenan-Bolger and Zachary Quinto, it seems like a no-brainer that this is going to be a great production that delivers the complex shading of this great Tennessee Williams work.

Fetch Clay, Make Man (Off-Broadway). The New York Theatre Workshop's production focuses on the relationship between heavyweight boxing champ Muhammad Ali (in my opinion one of the most fascinating and compelling figures of the 20th century) and Stepin Fetchit (born Lincoln Theodore Monroe Andrew Perry), an African American actor widely disparaged for portraying lazy and shiftless characters. Set in the midst of the Civil Rights era, there's no doubt that director Des McAnuff will mine Will Power's play for compelling moments and messages.

Big Fish (Broadway). I always felt like the Tim Burton film would have been better suited to the stage. With Andrew Lippa (music and lyrics), John August (book and the film's screenplay) and Susan Stroman (director) on board, the creative end is in good hands. The casting of Norbert Leo Butz, Kate Baldwin and Bobby Steggert creates a very dynamic version of the Bloom family. I think the actors are going to be able to match the energies of the characters in the film without duplicating them. This is going to be a fun show and I'm looking forward to seeing how the "larger than life" elements are employed.

A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder (Broadway). Jefferson Mays gets to strut his stuff as eight different characters in this Edwardian-era-set darkly comic musical. This production looks like a wonderfully enjoyable romp; it reminds me of The Mystery of Edwin Drood and The 39 Steps, two of my favorite shows in recent memory. The production design looks top notch and the Robert L. Freedman (lyrics) and Steven Lutvak (music) tunes are sardonic but very catchy.

Honeymoon in Vegas (Regional Pre-Broadway Premiere). Vegas? Multiple Elvises? What's not to like? Rob McClure and Tony Danza seem like a perfectly matched pair. Add the funky and personally revealing pop tunes of Jason Robert Brown and you have a musical with Broadway written all over it.



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