Rosemary Harris and Carla GuginoinThe Road to Mecca
(© Joan Marcus)
Rosemary Harris and Carla Gugino
inThe Road to Mecca
(© Joan Marcus)
2012 has arrived, and with it comes the promise of an exciting Broadway season, full of much-anticipated revivals, original musicals, and the presence of some of the greatest stars of stage and screen on the Great White Way.

The Gershwins' Porgy & Bess
(Richard Rodgers Theatre; in previews, opens January 12)
Visionary director Diane Paulus helms this new "musical theater" version of the beloved opera by George and Ira Gershwin and Dubose and Dorothy Heyward, which boasts a powerhouse cast, led by four-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald and Norm Lewis in the title roles, choreography by the sublime Ronald K. Brown, and a new book by Pulitzer Prize-winner Suzan-Lori Parks. It may be winter, but we're all ready for "Summertime."

The Road to Mecca
(American Airlines Theater; in previews, opens January 17)
The great South African playwright Athol Fugard's 80th birthday celebration in New York begins with the Roundabout Theatre Company's production of his celebrated 1982 play, directed by Gordon Edelstein, about a determined elderly artist (played by Tony Award winner Rosemary Harris) who finds her allegiances torn between the local clergyman (Jim Dale) and a recently arrived schoolteacher (Carla Gugino).

Wit
(Samuel J. Friedman Theater; previews begin January 5, opens January 26)
Tony Award winner Cynthia Nixon returns to Broadway in Manhattan Theatre Club's production, helmed by artistic director Lynne Meadow, of Margaret Edson's devastating Pulitzer Prize-winning drama about an English professor facing her battle with cancer and maintaining her dignity and independence in the process. The supporting cast includes Tony nominee Suzanne Bertish and the always reliable Michael Countryman.

Venus in Fur
(Lyceum Theatre; begins performances on February 7)
Less than two months after its closing at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club's production of David Ives' brilliantly clever drama returns for a commercial run, giving theatergoers another chance to witness the amazing Nina Arianda as a determined young actress auditioning for an initially flustered writer-director (superbly played by Hugh Dancy) who is desperately trying to cast his stage adaptation of the famous German novel about sadomasochism.

Death of a Salesman
(Barrymore Theatre; previews begin February 13, opens March 15)
Arthur Miller's classic drama about the death of the American dream gets another Broadway go-round under the direction of the peerless Mike Nichols. Oscar winner Philip Seymour Hoffman heads the top-notch cast as the beleaguered Willy Loman, alongside the extraordinary Linda Emond as his wife, film star Andrew Garfield and Off-Broadway favorite Finn Witrock as his sons, Biff and Happy, and Tony winner John Glover as his brother Ben. Attention must be paid to this revival.

Steve Kazee in Once
(© Joan Marcus)
Steve Kazee in Once
(© Joan Marcus)
Once
(Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre; previews begin February 28, opens March 18)
This absolutely gorgeous stage version of the Oscar-winning film about the unlikely romance between an Irishman and Czech immigrant, helmed by John Tiffany, comes almost directly from New York Theatre Workshop, where audiences fell in love nightly with the glorious score by Glen Hansard and Margeta Iklova and the superb lead performances of Steve Kazee and Cristin Milioti.

Jesus Christ Superstar
(Neil Simon Theatre; previews begin March 1, opens March 22)
Des McAnuff's production of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's seminal rock opera, which has already earned raves at the Stratford Theatre Festival and the La Jolla Playhouse, comes to the Big Apple with Canadian actor Paul Nolan in the title role, the sensational Josh Young as Judas, Stratford favorite Bruce Dow as King Herod, and Broadway favorite Tom Hewitt as Pontius Pilate.

Newsies
(Nederlander Theatre; previews begin March 15, opens March 29)
This new musical about a group of young newspaper workers who organize against a strike against the legendary Joseph Pulitzer, based on the 1992 Disney film, was a surprise smash hit at New Jersey's Paper Mill Playhouse, thanks in no small part to the savvy direction of Jeff Calhoun, the smashing choreography of Christopher Gattelli, the smartly reworked book by Harvey Fierstein, and the super-snappy score by Alan Menken and Jack Feldman.

The Best Man
(Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre; previews begin March 6, opens April 1)
Gore Vidal's sizzling drama about the world of Presidential politics gets its third Broadway outing with a to-die-for cast headed by Eric McCormack and John Larroquette as the rival candidates, along with such heavy hitters as Candice Bergen, Michael McKean, Jefferson Mays, Dakin Matthews, the incomparable Angela Lansbury and the truly legendary James Earl Jones. Talk about the Best!

Tracie Bennett in End of the Rainbow
(© Robert Day)
Tracie Bennett in End of the Rainbow
(© Robert Day)
End of the Rainbow
(Belasco Theatre; previews begin March 19, opens April 2)
This London import about the late, great Judy Garland (played by Olivier Award winner Tracie Bennett) combines music and drama to create an unforgettable experience. The cast, under the direction of Tony winner Terry Johnson, also includes such talented performers as Michael Cumpsty, Tom Pelphrey, and Jay Russell.

Evita
(Marquis Theatre; previews begin March 12, opens April 5)
This first Broadway revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's musical about the famed Argentine president brings Olivier Award winner Elena Roger to our shores in the title role. But it's pop singer Ricky Martin as revolutionary Che Guevara that is the main attraction for many in this production, directed by Tony winner Michael Grandage and choreographed by Tony winner Rob Ashford.

One Man, Two Guvnors
(Music Box Theatre; previews begin April 6, opens April 18)
Richard Bean's hilarious adaptation of Carlo Goldoni's classic comedy of mistaken identity, Servant of Two Masters has had them rolling in the aisles for months across the pond, and American audiences are sure to follow suit, especially since the gifted James Corden is coming stateside to recreate his acclaimed performance.

Rebecca
(Broadhurst Theatre; previews begin March 27, opens April 22)
Daphne du Maurier's classic suspense novel about an innocent young woman (played by Sierra Boggess) who marries a handsome if mysterious widower (played by Tam Matu) -- much to the displeasure of his stern housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers (played by Karen Mason) has become a lavish musical, co-directed by Michael Blakemore and Francesca Zambello. Broadway favorites Howard McGillin and James Barbour head up the supporting cast.

Caissie Levy and Richard Fleeshman
in Ghost the Musical
(© Sean Ebsworth Barnes)
Caissie Levy and Richard Fleeshman
in Ghost the Musical
(© Sean Ebsworth Barnes)
Ghost the Musical
(Lunt-Fontanne Theatre; previews begin March 15, opens April 23)
Tony Award winner Mattthew Warchus helms this musical adaptation of the very popular film about a young widow (played by Hair's Caissie Levy) who gets some supernatural protection and guidance, thanks to the spirit of her dead husband (played by Richard Fleeshman) and the help of a phony psychic (played by Da'Vine Joy Randolph).

Nice Work If You Can Get It
(Imperial Theatre; previews begin March 29, opens April 24)
This latest confection using the songs of George and Ira Gershwin, based on their musical Oh, Kay, finds Matthew Broderick and Kelli O'Hara at the center of an unlikely romance. Tony Award-winning director and choreographer Kathleen Marshall has marshaled a superb group of players for this enterprise, including Judy Kaye, Michael McGrath, and Jennifer Laura Thompson. Nice work, indeed!

The Columnist
(Samuel J. Friedman Theatre; previews begin April 3, opens April 25)
Two-time Tony winner John Lithgow comes back to Broadway in Manhattan Theatre Club's world premiere production -- directed by the great Daniel Sullivan -- of David Auburn's drama about famed newspaper columnist Joseph Alsop.

Don't Dress for Dinner
(American Airlines Theatre; previews begin March 30, opens April 26)
The Roundabout Theatre brings Marc Camoletti's popular farce to Broadway for the first time, with the excellent director John Tillinger set to work his magic.