Theater is the ultimate collaborative art, but that doesn't mean we can't be wowed by the contributions of an individual performer. With that in mind, here are seven performances set to play New York this spring that have us giddy with excitement.
1. Jessie Mueller – Waitress
The 2014 Tony Award winner for her uncanny portrayal of Carole King in Beautiful is now leading the brand-new Sarah Bareilles musical, Waitress, about a baking prodigy who sees a pie-making contest as her ticket out of a dead-end job. With a powerful voice and undeniable acting chops, Mueller can do anything, so we cannot wait to see her sink her teeth into this delicious role.
2. Ramin Karimloo – White Rabbit Red Rabbit
This New York debut from Iranian playwright Nassim Soleimanpour has been attracting big names to its constantly changing cast. Iranian-born Tony nominee Ramin Karimloo (Les Misérables) is currently slated to lead the show sometime this spring or summer (an official date has not yet been announced). It promises to be an unforgettable one-night-only theatrical experience.
3. Jessica Lange – Long Day's Journey Into Night
Two-time Academy Award winner Jessica Lange plays the morphine-addicted matriarch Mary Cavan Tyrone in this highly anticipated Broadway revival of Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey Into Night. This towering work of drama is widely considered O'Neill's magnum opus. We think it only fitting that it be brought back to life by one of America's greatest actresses.
4. Jesse Tyler Ferguson – Fully Committed
Modern Family star Jesse Tyler Ferguson returns to Broadway for the first time since The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee playing not one, but 40 characters in Becky Mode's uproarious solo comedy, Fully Committed. The show is about Sam, a phone operator at a trendy Manhattan restaurant, and all the insane socialites trying to get a reservation. Blind item: According to Ferguson, one of his characters is based on a very special Real Housewife.
5. Alex Hassell – King and Country: Shakespeare's Great Cycle of Kings
BAM is hosting the Royal Shakespeare Company in an epic production of The Henriad (here rebranded as King and Country). That's four plays (Richard II, Henry IV, Part 1, Henry IV, Part 2, and Henry V) totaling 12 hours. Alex Hassell stars in nine of them as Hal, the wayward prince who becomes King Henry V. Rarely does a stage actor get to take audiences on an episodic bildungsroman quite like this, so Hassell (who featured in the Shakespearean intrigue film Anonymous) has his work cut out for him.
6. Gillian Anderson – A Streetcar Named Desire
Yes, this is your opportunity to see Agent Scully of The X-Files perform one of the greatest roles of the American stage: Blanche DuBois. When Anderson portrayed the tragically fallen Southern belle at London's Young Vic, it became the fastest-selling show in the theater's history. Tickets are sure to be just as hard to come by at St. Ann's Warehouse, so you'll want to nab yours right away.
7. Everyone in Shuffle Along – Shuffle Along
Audra McDonald, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Billy Porter, Brandon Victor Dixon, Joshua Henry: It's hard to pick just one performer to be excited about in this new musical (which is actually based on a very old musical and its fraught history). Even the supporting cast is packed with powerhouse performers like Amber Iman and Darius de Haas. With such a bright constellation of stars, Shuffle Along has shot our expectations into orbit.
- Joshua Henry
- Jesse Tyler Ferguson
- Audra McDonald
- Billy Porter
- Brian Stokes Mitchell
- Young Vic
- Jessica Lange
- Jessie Mueller
- Brandon Victor Dixon
- Ramin Karimloo
- Henry IV
- Royal Shakespeare Company
- Amber Iman
- Henry V
- Gillian Anderson
- Alex Hassell
- Becky Mode
- Sarah Bareilles
- Richard II
- Darius de Haas
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