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Broadway bounces back from summer cancellations

Broadway bounces back from summer cancellations

Courtesy of The Verge

Summer began on Broadway with the 73rd Annual Tony Awards highlighting the best on Broadway this year. Now, as the summer comes to an end, several new shows have taken their final curtain call, leaving theaters empty and waiting to be filled. In years past, the summer has always been the time for a majority of shows to close on Broadway, but with five different shows closing within days of each other, it is hard to tell what – if anything at all – could fill their shoes.

Current front runners on Broadway are new shows “Hadestown” and “Beetlejuice,” which have done surprisingly well despite many negative reviews. While these shows have gained a strong following and a continued increase in ticket sales, “King Kong,” “Be More Chill,” “The Prom,” “Pretty Woman” and “The Cher Show” crumbled under the pressure of low ticket sales and failed to counteract the cost of production. 

Since these shows have all finished their short-lived runs on Broadway, there is no certainty about what the next hit Broadway sensation may be. It was also announced this summer that longer-running shows like “Waitress,” “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” and “Oklahoma” will be closing in the upcoming months, leaving even more room for new productions. With suddenly empty theaters comes a scramble to find the next Tony Award-winning show. Although Broadway may seem bare at the moment, the 2019-2020 season is already looking up with expected new arrivals.

New shows in the fall include the highly-anticipated musical “Jagged Little Pill,” based on the Alanis Morrissette album of the same name. Previews begin on Sunday, Nov. 3, at the Broadhurst Theatre, where it will be taking the place of shows like “Anastasia” and “Frankie and Johnny and the Clair de Lune.” There will also be a limited run of “The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical,” which just finished its national tour. Previews begin Friday, Sept. 20, at the Longacre Theatre, where it will replace “The Prom.” 

The new year will kick off on Broadway with “West Side Story” which will offer a fresh, modern take on the 1957 original. Previews begin on Tuesday, Dec. 10, and will officially open on Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020. It features Isaac Powell (“Once On This Island”) who will lead as Tony alongside Shereen Pimentel (“The Lion King”) as the female lead, Maria.

“Six: The Musical,” which began and continues its run throughout the UK, follows the story of Henry VIII’s six wives and will replace “Waitress” in the Brooks Atkinson Theatre in January 2020. While its fan base is primarily located in England, the musical has gained attention in national theaters from the rapid popularization of its cast album. If you can’t wait until next year to see the retelling of this story set through high-intensity pop songs, then you can catch the show currently in Boston and Chicago. Broadway will also become host to “Diana,” a show about the late princess, as well as a revival of “Company” and “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” during the first months of 2020.

Only time will tell if these productions will be able to compete with the established shows currently on Broadway and reserve their spots on the iconic Great White Way for another year. As we all try to patiently wait for the 2020-2021 Broadway season to see “Music Man” starring Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster, you might want to go see the new shows Broadway has to offer this season before they leave – you never know when that might be!

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