Look to the Source, Of Course! (Webway Video)

Inside Track   Look to the Source, Of Course! (Webway Video)
Welcome to September — better known to us theatre folk as the start of the fall season.  Announced so far are 17 new shows on the Broadway boards from now 'til December. These works are based on a myriad of sources that range from American history to comic books to true stories to true-ish stories.  One of the biggest sources of inspiration for this Broadway season is TV shows and films.

For you theatre purists who have been lamenting this rising trend, perhaps here is where you start rolling your eyes, but remember: Hollywood gave us Sunset Boulevard, Hairspray, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Producers, Billy Elliot, Sweet Charity, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Little Shop of Horrors, The Lion King, Legally Blonde and other successful ventures.

As a season appetizer, now is a great time to get a little taste of the source material of some upcoming productions. Enjoy.

Pedro Almodóvar’s 1988 film “Women on the Verge of Nervous Breakdown” starred Antonio Banderas and Carmen Maura. It was nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign-Language Film and won five Goya Awards (Spain’s version of the Oscars). The Broadway version will get a score by David Yazbek (composer of The Full Monty and the aforementioned Scoundrels — both films-turned-musicals) and a book by Soundrels' Jeffrey Lane.

Director Emma Rice re-imagines David Lean’s classic 1946 film “Brief Encounter” for a stage production of the same name.  Rice’s clever multi-media visual extravaganza (with songs and underscoring) garnered rave reviews both in London (where it originated) and last year on a U.S. tour that included a stop at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn.

The Al Hirschfeld Theatre will get into the holiday spirit with the musical Elf, based on the 2003 film directed by John Favreau and  starring Will Ferrell, James Caan, Bob Newhart and Mary Steenburgen. The musical adaptation features Beth Level, George Wendt and Mark Jacoby.

Saturday morning television has sadly gone the way of the dodo bird, but for many children of the '80s (myself included), Broadway’s The Pee-wee Herman Show brings us right back to those lazy Saturday mornings on our couches munching on a bowl of Kix yelling “I know you are, but what am I?”

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