This Fall on Broadway: What You Need to See

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“The Cherry Orchard” opens on Sept. 15 at the American Airlines Theatre. (ANA FOTA/ THE OBSERVER)

By ELENA CIOTTA, ANA FOTA AND MORGAN STEWARD
Arts & Culture Co-Editors

As the curtain closes on many beloved Broadway shows and the Hamilton buzz finally begins to subside, theatergoers anxiously await the start of the 2016–17 season. The Arts and Culture Editors have rounded up a short list of the shows they cannot wait to see and that the rest of the Fordham community should check out as well. From brand new musicals to a play revival featuring one of Fordham’s own, here is what you should look out for this year.

FALSETTOS

One of the most anticipated shows returning to Broadway is the revival of “Falsettos,” a 1992 musical with a book by William Finn and James Lapine. Set in the late 1970s and early 1980s at the beginning of the AIDS epidemic, “Falsettos” follows the complex relationships of Marvin, his ex-wife Trina, their 10-year-old son Jason and Marvin’s new male lover, Whizzer. Whereas most productions are written as one entity, “Falsettos” has a unique structure: each of its two acts is a different one-act play that, when combined, tells the complete quirky story of this disintegration of a traditional family unit into a more contemporary  same-sex unit. Act one, adapted from “March of the Falsettos,” opens at a group therapy session with Marvin, Jason and Whizzer that explains the story to the audience. Marvin, portrayed by two-time Tony winner Christian Borle, was once happily married to Trina, Tony nominee Stephanie J. Block, but unexpectedly fell in love with another man. He decided to divorce his wife, in hopes of creating a tight-knit family with his new partner Whizzer, portrayed by Andrew Rannells ( “Girls” and “The Book of Mormon”) and his son Jason. While the first half of the musical is comedy-driven, act two, titled “Falsettosland,” is decidedly more dramatic. Although it does keep some light comedy musical routines, the seriousness of Marvin and Whizzer’s situation becomes clear as the story progresses. “Falsettos” will have a limited run at the Walter Kerr Theatre, with previews starting on Sept. 29 and an official opening on Oct. 27. before closing in Jan. of 2017.

DEAR EVAN HANSEN

Following a sold-out Off-Broadway run at Second Stage Theatre, “Dear Evan Hansen,” a new musical based on real life events of music and lyric co-writer Benj Pasek, will take its first bow on Broadway this fall. “Dear Evan Hansen” features a creative team comprised of three-time Tony Award Nominated director Michael Greif (“Rent,” Next to Normal,” “Grey Gardens”), Tony Nominated composing team Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (“A Christmas Story, The Musical;” “Dogfight;” NBC’s “Smash”) and Obie-Award winning playwright Steven Levenson. Featuring “Pitch Perfect’s” Ben Platt in the title role, the musical tells the story of Evan, an unknown teenager who is thrust into the spotlight when a letter he wrote is found after Connor, a student at his school, commits suicide. The letter changes Evan’s life, and takes him from invisible student to someone everyone wants to know. The show had its world premiere during the summer of 2015 at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. Since its Off-Broadway debut, it has gone on to impress cirics and audiences alike, winning the 2016 Obie Award for Best musical, an Outer Critics Circle award for Best Off-Broadway Musical and the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Musical. Previews begin on Nov. 14 at the Belasco Theatre, with opening night on Dec. 4.

THE CHERRY ORCHARD

The Roundabout Theatre Company is known for bringing older, beloved productions back to Broadway. “The Cherry Orchard,” one of Anton Chekhov’s  most staged plays, previously graced the Great White Way almost 40 years ago. It is set to get a makeover, at the hands of celebrated young director Stephen Karam. Despite being young, Karam has had a very successful career– in 2016, “The Humans,” the new play Karem directed, won the Tony Award for “Best Play.” The play reflects Russian society on the brink of revolution at the turn of the 20th Century, and is centered around the life of an aristocratic family, while their orchard is getting auctioned off to pay their mortgage. The cast will be headlined by Academy Award nominee Diane Lane, who will take on the main role of Lyubov Ranevskaya. Who else will be part of the cast? None other than Fordham theatre professor, Tina Benko! Having recently portrayed Anne Putnam in last year’s revival of “The Crucible,” she will be back come September. As all Roundabout productions do, the play will follow a limited engagement, with previews beginning on Sep. 15, at the American Airlines Theatre. The last performance will take place on Dec. 4.

HOLIDAY INN

This re-interpretation of the Oscar-winning film of the same name will bring a star-studded cast to Broadway.  Broadway favorites such as Bryce Pinkham (“A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder”) and Lora Lee Gayer (“Follies”) will put on their dance shoes to tell the story of a young man who leaves show business behind and settles down on his farmhouse in Connecticut. With Christmas carols and a budding romance, this production has all the ingredients of a hit. Fans of “High School Musical” will be delighted to see Corbin Bleu return to Broadway as Ted, the role originated by Fred Astaire. Fans will be seeing much more of Bleu in the upcoming weeks as Broadway.com has  commissioned him as their next vlogger. Over the course of the next eight weeks, the actor will take fans behind the scenes to show the viewers how a Broadway production is produced. The score will feature over 20 songs by legendary American composer Irving Berlin. Previews begin Sep. 1 with opening night on Oct. 6.