From Spider-Man to Leap of Faith, A Look at the 2011-12 Broadway Season: The Musicals

News   From Spider-Man to Leap of Faith, A Look at the 2011-12 Broadway Season: The Musicals
With the 2011-12 Broadway season coming to a close next month (April 26 is the cut-off date for eligibility for the 66th Annual Tony Awards), offers a two-part look at the current season. First up are the musicals.

Ra Photo by Craig Schwartz

From the much-in-the-news Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark to Leap of Faith, which will open on the last day of eligibility, here is an overview of the 14 musicals that have opened or will open in time for the 2012 Tonys, which will take place June 10 at the Beacon Theatre.

Show: Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark
Theatre: Foxwoods Theatre
Preview: Nov. 28, 2010
Opening: June 14, 2011
Closing: Open-ended
Creators: Book by Julie Taymor, Glen Berger and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa. Music and lyrics by Bono and The Edge. Original direction by Julie Taymor. Creative consultant: Philip William McKinley.
Original Principal Cast: Reeve Carney as Peter Parker / Spider-Man, Jennifer Damiano as Mary Jane Watson, T.V. Carpio as Arachne and Patrick Page as Norman Osborn / Green Goblin.
Synopsis: Spider-Man, according to press notes, "follows the story of teenager Peter Parker, whose unremarkable life is turned upside-down when he's bitten by a genetically altered spider and wakes up the next morning clinging to his bedroom ceiling. This bullied science-geek suddenly endowed with incredible powers soon learns, however, that with great power comes great responsibility as villains put both his physical strength and strength of character to the test."

Check out production photos from the show.

Watch Playbill Video's interviews from opening night:

Show: Follies
Theatre: Marquis Theatre
Preview: Aug. 7, 2011
Opening: Sept. 12, 2011
Closing: Jan. 22, 2012
Creators: Book by James Goldman. Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Direction by Eric D. Schaeffer.
Original Principal Cast: Bernadette Peters as Sally Durant Plummer, Jan Maxwell as Phyllis Rogers Stone, Danny Burstein as Buddy Plummer, Ron Raines as Benjamin Stone, Elaine Paige as Carlotta Campion, Don Correia as Theodore Whitman, Rosalind Elias as Heidi Schiller, Jayne Houdyshell as Hattie Walker, Mary Beth Peil as Solange LaFitte and Terri White as Stella Deems.
Synopsis: Follies is about a group of former "Follies" stars who return to the site of their former glory, the Weismann Theatre, which is about to be demolished. Old wounds resurface as two Follies stars (Phyllis and Sally) and their husbands (Benjamin and Buddy) reassess their lives and what could have been.

Check out production photos from the show.

Watch Playbill Video's interviews from opening night:

Show: Godspell
Theatre: Circle in the Square Theatre
Preview: Oct. 13, 2011
Opening: Nov. 7, 2011
Closing: Open-ended
Creators: Music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz. Book by John-Michael Tebelak. Vocal arrangements by Michael Holland. Direction by Daniel Goldstein.
Original Principal Cast: Hunter Parrish as Jesus and Wallace Smith as Judas / John, with Uzo Aduba, Nick Blaemire, Celisse Henderson, Morgan James, Telly Leung, Lindsay Mendez, George Salazar and Anna Maria Perez de Tagle.
Synopsis: Godspell features the songs "Day by Day," "Turn Back, O Man," "Learn Your Lessons Well, "Prepare Ye the Way," "Light of the World" and many more. The musical, the producers say, uses "improvisation and contemporary themes to illustrate the parables, [bringing] these lessons to life through the grand tradition of musical theatre."

Check out production photos from the show.

Watch Playbill Video's interviews from opening night:

Show: Bonnie & Clyde
Theatre: Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre
Preview: Nov. 4, 2011
Opening: Dec. 1, 2011
Closing: Dec. 30, 2011
Creators: Music by Frank Wildhorn. Lyrics by Don Black. Book by Ivan Menchell. Direction by Jeff Calhoun.
Original Principal Cast: Laura Osnes as Bonnie Parker, Jeremy Jordan as Clyde Barrow, Melissa Van Der Schyff as Blanche Barrow, Clybourne Elder as Buck Barrow, Joe Hart as Sheriff Schmid and Louis Hobson as Ted Hinton.
Synopsis: Bonnie & Clyde tells the story of the Depression-era American outlaws Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow. Their love affair soon spirals out of control, as Bonnie & Clyde commit a series of bank robberies. As their notoriety — and body count — rises, the ill-fated lovers find themselves racing to the top of the Public Enemies list. Sex, flesh, violence and American greed — or "want," if you will — are major elements in the pop show.

Check out production photos from the show.

Playbill Video visits rehearsal:

Show: On a Clear Day You Can See Forever
Theatre: St. James Theatre
Preview: Nov. 12, 2011
Opening: Dec. 11, 2011
Closing: Jan. 29, 2012
Creators: Music by Burton Lane. Book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner. New book by Peter Parnell. Directed and reconceived by Michael Mayer.
Original Principal Cast: Harry Connick, Jr. as Dr. Mark Bruckner, David Turner as David Gamble, Jessie Mueller as Melinda Wells, Kerry O'Malley as Dr. Sharone Stein, Drew Gehling as Warren Smith, Sarah Stiles as Muriel Bunson and Paul O'Brien as Anton / Dr. Leo Kravis.
Synopsis: "Love blooms in unexpected places in the delightfully reimagined world of On a Clear Day You Can See Forever," according to producers. "Still in love with his deceased wife, Dr. Mark Bruckner (Connick, Jr.), a dashing psychiatrist and professor, unknowingly takes on the case of his life with David Gamble (Turner), a quirky young florists' assistant. While putting David under hypnosis to help him quit smoking so he can move in with his perfect boyfriend Warren (Gehling), Dr. Bruckner stumbles upon what he believes to be David’s former self — a dazzling and self-possessed 1940s jazz singer Melinda Wells (Mueller). Instantly intrigued by Melinda, Dr. Bruckner finds himself swept up in the pursuit of an irresistible (and impossible) love affair with this woman from another time and place, who may or may not have ever existed."

Check out production photos from the show.

Watch Playbill Video's interviews from opening night:

Show: Lysistrata Jones
Theatre: Walter Kerr Theatre
Preview: Nov. 12, 2011
Opening: Dec. 14, 2011
Closing: Jan. 8, 2012
Creators: Music and lyrics by Lewis Flinn. Book by Douglas Carter Beane. Direction by Dan Knechtges.
Original Principal Cast: Patti Murin as Lysistrata Jones, Liz Mikel as Hetaira, Josh Segarra as Mick, Jason Tam as Xander and Lindsay Nicole Chambers as Robin.
Synopsis: According to producers, "The Athens University basketball team hasn't won a game in 30 years. But when spunky transfer student Lysistrata Jones (Murin) dares the squad’s fed-up girlfriends to stop 'giving it up' to their boyfriends until they win a game, their legendary losing streak could be coming to an end. In this boisterous new musical comedy, Lyssie J. and her girl-power posse give Aristophanes' classic comedy a sexy, modern twist and take student activism to a whole new level."

Check out production photos from the show.

Watch highlights from the show:

Show: The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess
Theatre: Richard Rodgers Theatre
Preview: Dec. 17, 2011
Opening: Jan. 12, 2012
Closing: Sept. 30, 2012
Creators: Music by George Gershwin. Lyrics by Ira Gershwin, DuBose Heyward and Dorothy Heryward. Libretto by DuBose and Dorothy Heyward. Directed and reconceived by Diane Paulus.
Original Principal Cast: Audra McDonald as Bess, Norm Lewis as Porgy, David Alan Grier as Sporting Life, Philip Boykin as Crown, Nikki Renée Daniels as Clara, Joshua Henry as Jake and NaTasha Yvette Williams as Mariah.
Synopsis: According to the producers, Porgy and Bess "is set in Charleston’s fabled Catfish Row, where the beautiful Bess struggles to break free from her scandalous past, and the only one who can rescue her is the crippled but courageous Porgy. Threatened by her formidable former lover Crown, and the seductive enticements of the colorful troublemaker Sporting Life, Porgy and Bess’ relationship evolves into a deep romance that triumphs as one of theater’s most exhilarating love stories."

Check out production photos from the show.

Watch highlights from Porgy and Bess media day:

Show: Once
Theatre: Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre
Preview: Feb. 28, 2012
Opening: March 18, 2012
Closing: Open-ended
Creators: Music and lyrics by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová. Book by Enda Walsh. Direction by John Tiffany.
Original Principal Cast: Steve Kazee as Guy, Cristin Milioti as Girl, David Abeles as Eamon, Will Connolly as Andrej.
Synopsis: Once, according to producers, "tells the story of an Irish musician and a Czech immigrant drawn together by their shared love of music. Over the course of one fateful week, their unexpected friendship and collaboration evolves into a powerful but complicated romance, heightened by the raw emotion of the songs they create together. Brought to the stage by an award-winning team of visionary artists and featuring an ensemble cast of gifted actor/musicians, Once is a musical celebration of life and love: thrilling in its originality, daring in its honesty... and unforgettable in every way."

Check out pictures from Once press day.

Watch highlights from the show:

Show: Jesus Christ Superstar
Theatre: Neil Simon Theatre
Preview: March 1, 2012
Opening: March 22, 2012
Closing: Open-ended
Creators: Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Lyrics by Tim Rice. Direction by Des McAnuff.
Original Principal Cast: Paul Nolan as Jesus Christ, Josh Young as Judas Iscariot, Chilina Kennedy as Mary Magdalene, Tom Hewitt as Pontius Pilate, Bruce Dow as King Herod, Marcus Nance as Caiaphas, Aaron Walpole as Annas and Lee Siegel as Simon Zealotes.
Synopsis: Jesus Christ Superstar was initially conceived as a stadium event, according to current director McAnuff, whose new production connects Christ's historic rise as a religious phenomenon to contemporary media sensationalism (the staging incorporates of crawling news tickers). The cinematic staging puts focus on the multi-layered emotional triangle between Jesus Christ, Judas Iscariot and Mary Madgelene.

Check out pictures from Jesus Christ Superstar press day.

Watch the Jesus Christ Superstar Fan Concert:

Show: Newsies
Theatre: Nederlander Theatre
Preview: March 15, 2012
Opening: March 29, 2012
Closing: June 10, 2012
Creators: Music by Alan Menken. Lyrics by Jack Feldman. Book by Harvey Fierstein. Direction by Jeff Calhoun.
Original Principal Cast: Jeremy Jordan as Jack Kelly, John Dossett as Joseph Pulitzer, Kara Lindsay as Katherine Plumber, Capathia Jenkins as Medda Larkin, Ben Fankhauser as Davey and Andrew Keenan-Bolger as Crutchie with Lewis Grosso and Matthew Schechter alternating the role of Les.
Synopsis: "Set in New York City at the turn of the century," Newsies, according to press notes, is the "rousing tale of Jack Kelly, a charismatic newsboy and leader of a ragged band of teenaged ‘newsies,’ who dreams only of a better life far from the hardship of the streets. But when publishing titans Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst raise distribution prices at the newsboys’ expense, Jack finds a cause to fight for and rallies newsies from across the city to strike for what’s right."

Check out pictures from Newsies press day.

Playbill Video visits the Newsies in rehearsal:

Show: Evita
Theatre: Marquis Theatre
Preview: March 12, 2012
Opening: April 5, 2012
Closing: Open-ended
Creators: Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Book and lyrics by Tim Rice. Direction by Michael Grandage.
Original Principal Cast: Ricky Martin as Che, Elena Roger as Eva, Michael Cerveris as Juan Perón, Max von Essen as Magaldi and Rachel Potter as the Mistress. Christina DeCicco is the alternate for Eva.
Synopsis: "Eva Perón used her beauty and charisma to rise meteorically from the slums of Argentina to the presidential mansion as First Lady," according to production notes. "She won international acclaim and adoration from her own people as a champion of the poor, while glamour, power and greed made her the world’s first major political celebrity." The revival promises songs from the original staging, such as "Don’t Cry for Me Argentina," "Buenos Aires," "Rainbow High" and "High Flying Adored," as well as "You Must Love Me," which was penned for the 1996 film adaptation.

Check out the Playbill Evita Files with Elaine Paige and Patti LuPone.

Roger sings "Don't Cry For Me Argentina":

Watch renditions of "Don't Cry For Me Argentina" from LuPone, Paige, Lea Salonga and more.

Show: Ghost The Musical
Theatre: Lunt-Fontanne Theatre
Preview: March 15, 2012
Opening: April 23, 2012
Closing: Open-ended
Creators: Music by Dave Stewart and Glen Ballard. Lyrics by Stewart, Ballard and Bruce Joel Rubin. Book by Rubin. Direction by Matthew Warchus.
Original Principal Cast: Richard Fleeshman as Sam Wheat, Caissie Levy as Molly Jensen, Da'Vine Joy Randolph as Oda Mae Brown and Bryce Pinkham Carl Bruner.
Synopsis: According to producers, "Ghost The Musical is a timeless fantasy about the power of love. Walking back to their apartment one night, Sam and Molly are mugged, leaving Sam murdered on a dark street. Sam is trapped as a ghost between this world and the next and unable to leave Molly who he learns is in grave danger. With the help of a phony storefront psychic, Oda Mae Brown, Sam tries to communicate with Molly in the hope of saving and protecting her."

Check out production photos from the show.

Watch highlights from the musical:

Show: Nice Work If You Can Get It
Theatre: Imperial Theatre
Preview: March 29, 2012
Opening: April 24, 2012
Closing: Open-ended
Creators: Music by George Gershwin. Lyrics by Ira Gershwin. Book by Joe DiPietro. Direction by Kathleen Marshall.
Original Principal Cast: Matthew Broderick as Jimmy Winter, Kelli O'Hara as Billie Bendix, Estelle Parsons as Millicent Winter, Judy Kaye as Estonia Dulworth, Michael McGrath as Cookie McGee, Jennifer Laura Thompson as Eileen Evergreen, Chris Sullivan as Duke Mahoney and Robyn Hurder as Jeannie Muldoon.
Synopsis: According to the producers, "This new musical features a veritable hit parade of iconic George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin songs as well as some unknown gems in their catalog. Nice Work If You Can Get It follows Billie Bendix (O'Hara), a tough-as-nails bootlegger who meets wealthy playboy Jimmy Winter (Broderick) on the weekend of his nuptials. Mayhem ensues."

Watch interviews with Nice Work stars O'Hara and Broderick:

Show: Leap of Faith
Theatre: St. James Theatre
Preview: April 3, 2012
Opening: April 26, 2012
Closing: Open-ended
Creators: Music by Alan Menken. Lyrics by Glenn Slater. Book by Warren Leight and Janus Cercone. Direction by Christopher Ashley.
Original Principal Cast: Raúl Esparza as Jonas Nightingale, Jessica Phillips as Marla Humes, Kendra Kassebaum as Sam Nightingale, Kecia Lewis-Evans as Ida Mae Robinson, Leslie Odom, Jr. as Isaiah Robinson, Krystal Joy Brown as Ornella and Talon Ackerman as Jake Humes.
Synopsis: Here's how producers bill Leap of Faith: "When his traveling ministry breaks down in a small Kansas town, part-time reverend and full-time con artist Jonas Nightingale (Esparza) quickly pitches a tent and invites the locals to a revival. The town sheriff, Marla Humes (Phillips) is determined to stop him from separating the townspeople from their money."

Check out photos from the sneak preview performance of Leap of Faith.

Watch a preview of Leap of Faith:

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