With the 50th annual Tony Awards looming in June, several big-budget contenders will move into Broadway theaters this spring. They’ll be up against tough competition from some successful fall openings, such as Master Class, starring Zoe Caldwell; Victor/Victoria, starring Julie Andrews; and Moon Over Buffalo, starring Carol Burnett. And while last autumn was noted for its density of divas, this spring’s star lineup is looking decidedly younger — starting with Mary-Louise Parker, who stars in a revival of William Inge’s Bus Stop (opens Feb. 22, tickets available through Tele-charge).
In Getting Away with Murder (March 17, TC), composer Stephen Sondheim reteams with his Company collaborator George Furth, but this time they’ll duet sans music in a comedy-thriller about the disappearance of a shrink in New York. Judd Hirsch (Taxi) and Robert Sean Leonard (Dead Poets Society) costar as petty bureaucrats in the dark comedy Below the Belt (March 14, TC). Marsha Mason and Cherry Jones revive Tennessee Williams’ The Night of the Iguana (March 21, 212-869-8400). The Royal Shakespeare Company exports A Midsummer Night’s Dream (March 21, tickets available through Ticketmaster), and the Bard will go head-to-head with all-American August Wilson’s new play, Seven Guitars (March 28, TC). A stage version of the 1945 Rodgers and Hammerstein movie State Fair (March 27, TC) stars Andrea McArdle (the original Annie), Donna McKechnie (an original member of A Chorus Line), and John Davidson (the original John Davidson). Leonard Nimoy beams down to direct the new comedy The Apple Doesn’t Fall… (April 14, TC). Nathan Lane orates in a revival of Sondheim’s A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (April 18, TC), and Lou Diamond Phillips steps into Yul Brynner’s pointy shoes in a revival of The King and I (April 11, Ticketmaster), costarring Donna Murphy (Passion). The estimable Rosemary Harris and Elaine Stritch star in a revival of Edward Albee’s Pulitzer Prize winner A Delicate Balance (April 21, TC). Bring in Da Noise, Bring in Da Funk (April 24, TC), which caused the critics to dance during its smash Off Broadway run, moves to Broadway starring tap-dancing neo-maestro Savion Glover.
Off Broadway, where tickets are cheaper, there’s a revival of Craig Lucas’ bittersweet comedy-drama Blue Window (currently playing, 212-581-1212); also Jon Robin Baitz’s drama A Fair Country (Feb. 19, TC); and Floyd Collins (March 3, 212-279-4200), based on the true story of a Kentucky farmer who, trapped in a cave in 1925, set off America’s first media frenzy but died before he could be rescued. Yes, it’s a musical. The Public Theater (212-260-2400) will present Caryl Churchill’s nightmarish drama The Skriker (April 23) as well as two one-woman shows: A Line Around the Block (March 22), starring openly lesbian comedian Marga Gomez; and Nude Nude Totally Nude (March 15), starring openly heterosexual comedian Andrea Martin.
Out on the fringes known as Off Off Broadway, where tickets are practically free, will be the ribald camp satire The Tragic and Horrible Life of the Singing Nun (March 20, 212-279-4200), based on the real life of the 1960s chart-topping Dominican recording diva, and the Ridiculous Theatrical Company’s twist on turn-of-the-century melodrama, Call Me Sarah Bernhardt (March 6, 212-477-5288). Leading man Everett Quinton is also the leading lady. And way off Broadway — in Chicago — the heralded production of Carousel continues its tour from Feb. 21 to 25 and goes all over the country thereafter. (For tour information, call 212-841-9640.)
Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, the Mark Taper Forum (213-972-0700) mounts a new production of the Off Broadway boxing drama Blade to the Heat from March 17 to May 5. After that, starting May 23, the Taper will present Psyhopathia Sexualis, a satire by John Patrick Shanley (Moonstruck) about a man who can’t have sex unless he’s wearing his father’s argyle socks. Presumably, he’ll never wear tube socks in this town again.