From Fela! to The Rascals: Once Upon a Dream, A Look at the 2012-13 Season: Special Engagements

By Playbill Staff
April 26, 2013

With the 2012-13 Broadway season now at an end (April 25 was the cut-off date for eligibility for the 67th Annual Tony Awards), Playbill.com offers a four-part look at the season. Here are the 2012-13 special engagements.



From the brief return of the Tony Award-winning musical Fela!, with its original Tony Award-nominated star Sahr Ngaujah, to The Rascals reunion in The Rascals: Once Upon a Dream, a new concert event written by guitarist Steven Van Zandt, here is an overview of the six special events that opened in time for the 2013 Tonys, which will take place June 9 at Radio City Music Hall.

Click here for a look at this season's musicals, here for a look at this season's original plays and here for a look at this season's play revivals.

Show: Fela!
Theatre: Al Hirschfeld Theatre

Preview: July 9, 2012

Opening: July 12, 2012
Closing: Aug. 4, 2012

Creators: Music and lyrics by Fela Anikulapo-Kuti. Additional music by Jordan McLean. Additional lyrics by Jim Lewis. Book by Bill T. Jones and Jim Lewis. Direction and choreography by Bill T. Jones. Co-conception by Bill T. Jones, Jim Lewis and Stephen Hendel.
Original Principal Cast: Sahr Ngaujah as Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, Adesola Osakalumi as Fela Anikulapo-Kuti [alternate], Duain Richmond as Fela Anikulapo-Kuti [alternate], Melanie Marshall as Funmilayo, Paulette Ivory as Sandra, Rasaan-Elijah "Talu" Green as Djembe-"Mustafa" and Ismael Kouyate as Ismael.

Synopsis: In Fela!, according to producers, "audiences are welcomed into the extravagant, decadent and rebellious world of Afrobeat legend Fela Anikulapo Kuti. Using his pioneering music (a blend of jazz, funk and African rhythm and harmonies), [the musical] explores Kuti's controversial life as artist, political activist and revolutionary musician."

Check out photos from the opening night of Fela!'s return engagement.

Watch Playbill Video's highlights of the production:

Show: Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth
Theatre: Longacre Theatre

Preview: July 31, 2012

Opening: Aug. 2, 2012
Closing: Aug. 12, 2012

Creators: Written by Kiki Tyson and Randy Johnson.
Original Principal Cast: Mike Tyson.

Synopsis: The evening promised "a rare, personal look inside the life and mind of one of the most feared men ever to wear the heavyweight crown... This riveting one-man show goes beyond the headlines, behind the scenes and between the lines to deliver a must-see theatrical knockout."

Check out photos from Mike Tyson's opening night on Broadway.

Watch Playbill Video's highlights of the production:

Show: Lewis Black: Running On Empty
Theatre: Richard Rodgers Theatre

Opening: Oct. 9, 2012
Closing: Oct. 20, 2012

Creators: Written by Lewis Black.
Original Principal Cast: Lewis Black.

Synopsis: Running On Empty is the latest politically charged show by comedian Lewis Black. Black, a stand-up comedian, actor and author, is one of the most prolific and popular performers working today. A graduate from the Yale School of Drama, an accomplished playwright, a familiar presence on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," and a Grammy Award-winning artist, Black performs over 200 nights a year to sell-out audiences around the world. He is one of few performers to sell out multiple, renowned theatres including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Broadway’s Brooks Atkinson Theatre, New York City Center and the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. His HBO specials include "Black On Broadway" and the Emmy-nominated "Red, White and Screwed."

Black talks about Running On Empty:

Show: Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons On Broadway
Theatre: Broadway Theatre

Opening: Oct. 19, 2012
Closing: Oct. 27, 2012
Creators: Stage direction and choreography by Raymond del Barrio.
Original Principal Cast: Frankie Valli with Landon Beard, Brandon Brigham, Brian Brigham and Todd Fournier.

Synopsis: Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons On Broadway features all of the singing group's greatest hits and Valli’s solo hits, including “Sherry," “Big Girls Don't Cry," “Walk Like A Man," “Dawn (Go Away)," “Rag Doll," “Bye, Bye, Baby (Baby Goodbye)," “Let's Hang On!," “Working My Way Back To You," “Can't Take My Eyes Off You," “Grease,” "My Eyes Adored You," “Who Loves You" and “December ‘63 (Oh What A Night)."

Check out photos of Franki Valli with the cast of Jersey Boys.

Watch Playbill Video's interview with Valli:

Show: Manilow on Broadway
Theatre: St. James Theatre

Preview: Jan. 18, 2013

Opening: Jan. 29, 2013
Closing: March 2, 2013

Creators: Staging by Kye Brackett. Special material by Larry Amoros.
Original Principal Cast: Barry Manilow.

Synopsis: "Manilow is returning to the place where it all began, his hometown, New York City, with a new concert series on Broadway — marking his return to The Great White Way for the first time in more than two decades," according to producers. Manilow has had 25 consecutive Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 between 1975 and 1983. The list includes songs that Manilow still sings today: "Mandy," "It's a Miracle," "Could It Be Magic," "I Write the Songs," "Tryin' To Get the Feeling Again," "This One's For You," "Weekend in New England," "Looks Like We Made It," "Can't Smile Without You," "Even Now," and the Grammy Award-winning "Copacabana (At the Copa)."

Check out photos from the unveiling of "Manilow Way".

Watch Playbill Video's interview with Manilow:

Show: The Rascals: Once Upon a Dream
Theatre: Richard Rodgers Theatre

Preview: April 15, 2013

Opening: April 16, 2013
Closing: May 5, 2013

Creators: Music and lyrics by Felix Cavaliere and Eddie Brigati. Book by Steven Van Zandt.
Original Principal Cast: Felix Cavaliere, Eddie Brigati, Dino Danelli and Gene Cornish.

Synopsis: Here's how the experience is billed: "A hybrid of a rock 'n' roll concert and a Broadway show, The Rascals: Once Upon a Dream marks the first time The Rascals, America's classic blue-eyed soul band, have played together since 1970. Original band members Felix Cavaliere (keyboard & vocals), Eddie Brigati (vocals), Dino Danelli (drums) and Gene Cornish (guitar) will present a complete concert performance including songs that captured the spirit of America in the 1960s — their smash hits 'Good Lovin',' 'Lonely Too Long,' 'It's a Beautiful Morning,' 'How Can I Be Sure' and 'Groovin'.' The production will also feature the history of the iconic group told through archival footage, narration, and dramatic film segments viewed on the latest LED screen technology."

Check out pictures from opening night of Once Upon a Dream.

Watch Playbill Video's highlights from the production: