Neil’s 5 Must-See Shows
The best tickets in town
The Music Man
There’s nary a bigger shoe-in for success than the revival of this classic. Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster, both multiple Tony winners with so much talent and charisma that together they might combust, would really really realllly have to fuck up for this to fail. Event theatre at its finest.
This brilliant Stephen Sondheim show is unique in its structure, and made even more unique-r by the gender-bending casting. The lead part of Bobby, once played by yours truly at Lincoln Center, is now Bobbie, played by Katrina Lenk. Good word of mouth and Lenk’s brilliant co-star Patti LuPone should make this a no-brainer.
Flying Over Sunset
These days, it’s rare to find a musical that isn’t a revival or based on some other intellectual property (see Lion King, Book of Mormon, Beetlejuice), but this new show by creators Tom Kitt (who co-wrote my 2013 Tony opening number “Bigger”) and James Lapine (who won a Pulitzer Prize for Sunday in the Park with George) did just that. Here is the synopsis on the show’s website: “1950s Hollywood. You are at a beautiful beach house overlooking the Pacific with Cary Grant, Clare Boothe Luce and Aldous Huxley … and they are on an acid trip. Together.” Swinging for the fences? Totally. But I love it. I’m so in.
David Byrne’s American Utopia
Okay, so this isn’t a musical, per se, and it opened last year, but I’ve talked to maybe half a dozen people who say that, hands down, it’s the best thing playing on Broadway. So there’s that. American Utopia is an intimate rock concert, no one wears shoes, and you leave transfixed and inspired. Sounds like the best date night ever.
Enough with the musicals, Harris. We get it, you sing. You love harmonies, costumes and sets that move. But what about us normal folk? What about our sophisticated, cheese-free intellects? What’s a show for us? Okay, first of all, simmer down. This season is musical heavy, yo (MJ, Diana, Six, Tina … and those are just the ones with one word titles!), but I hear you. So try this: a new play by two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage (take that, James Lapine!) starring Uzo Aduba and Ron Cephas Jones. Set at a truck-stop sandwich shop, its formerly incarcerated kitchen staff are given a shot at redemption. Heady, modern and utterly song-free. I, for one, can’t wait.
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