By Barbara Bellesi
Maybe you’ve tried your luck with the “Hamilton” lottery. Or perhaps you’ve actually been able to snag “Hamilton” tickets … for 2017. That’s a long time to wait! Fortunately, Broadway has a lot of options – and shorter waits for tickets – to get you to the theatre sooner than next year. Here are four buzz-worthy musicals that will keep you “satisfied” while you wait to see one of the most talked-about shows in the history of theatre.
Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre
236 W. 45th Street
It’s the late 1980s in Manhattan and slick investment banker Patrick Bateman has a secret hobby: He’s a serial killer. Make that a singing serial killer. This season, Bret Easton Ellis’ controversial novel takes the Broadway stage as a musical, of all things. Set against an electronic score written by Duncan Sheik (Tony and Grammy® winner of “Spring Awakening”), Benjamin Walker takes Bateman’s designer duds and ax for a spin, alongside Broadway favorites Alice Ripley and Jennifer Damiano (both of the Pulitzer-Prize winning musical “Next to Normal”). Before its New York debut, the production originated in London and had a sold-out run. If “American Psycho” sounds too creepy, just remember that it’s not the first time horror has found its place on The Great White Way; the bloody “Sweeney Todd” slashed its way toward numerous Tony Awards® in 1979.
138 W. 48th Street
What do you get when you combine the talents of Steve Martin and Edie Brickell? A brand new musical whose star is on the rise this season. Set just after World War II, “Bright Star” tells the amazing-but-true story of Alice Murphy, a Southern literary editor who meets a young soldier home from the war. Their relationship leads Alice to face a long-kept secret from her past that has the power to change both of their lives. With music and book from Martin, music and lyrics from Brickell, and direction from Broadway mainstay Walter Bobbie, Broadway is sure to shine a bit brighter.
Brooks Atkinson Theatre
256 West 47th Street
Photo credit: Jeremy Daniel
Grammy® nominee Sara Bareilles has written the music and lyrics to help serve up the stage version of Adrienne Shelly’s film of the same name. Tony Award® winner Jessie Mueller (“Beautiful”) makes her return to Broadway as Jenna, a Southern waitress and pie maker extraordinaire for whom a baking contest and the handsome town doctor might be just what she needs to get out of her unhappy marriage and back in charge of her own life. This funny yet touching musical has a book by Jessie Nelson (screenwriter of “I Am Sam”) and is directed by Tony Award® winner Diane Paulus. “Waitress” enjoyed a sold-out run at the American Repertory Theatre in Boston before debuting in New York.
235 W. 44th Street
You can download hi-res photos here, all credit to Greg Mooney:
“Tuck Everlasting” is another highly anticipated adaptation that opened on Broadway this season. It tells the story of young Winnie Foster and her encounters with the Tuck family and their enchanting secret: They have found the fountain of youth. As Winnie falls in love with Jesse Tuck, she must choose immortality or take her rightful place in the circle of life. Based on Natalie Babbitt’s award-winning novel of the same name, “Tuck Everlasting” has direction and choreography by Tony Award® winner Casey Nicholaw and a book by Claudia Sheer (Tony Award® nominee) and Tim Federle. With music by Chris Miller and lyrics by Nathan Tysen, this play about love, life, and family is a perfect outing for your own family.
What Makes a Hit Broadway Show?
For a show to be a hit on Broadway, it helps to follow the “kids and grandma” rule, says Robyn Ruehl-Lippert, group sales manager of TicketsForGroups.com. “If you can bring your children and your mother or mother-in-law to the show,” Ruehl-Lippert explains, “it’s an automatic [multi-ticket] sale.” She cites “Tuck Everlasting” as one of the family-friendly shows that obey that rule this season.
Then again, rules were meant to be broken. Both “Hamilton” and “The Book of Mormon” – that other big show on Broadway – do not follow the kids and grandma rule at all. In fact, between the hip-hop soundtrack of “Hamilton” and the sacrilegious humor of “Mormon,” there’s high potential for scandalizing or offending key audience demographics.
But ticket sales don’t lie and neither do theatre reviews; when shows are that good, people will line up to see it.
“Hamilton,” The Book
If “Hamilton” tickets have so far eluded your grasp, there is a consolation prize: a book about the man and the musical is now available. “Hamilton” (Grand Central Publishing) combines the story of Alexander Hamilton with images of the stage production, along with commentary by the musical’s author, Lin-Manuel Miranda. Unlike the musical, whose hip-hop soundtrack pushes this Founding Father’s story in a decidedly modern direction, the book is designed in the likeness of a historical artifact from the Hamiltonian era.