9 New Musicals on Broadway That Are Not Hamilton
Look closely and you may find the next great American musical lurking in the massive shadow cast by Broadway's biggest sensation.
The must-see show on Broadway this season is Hamilton: Between seats being sold out for months, philanthropists doling out five figures for a backstage tour, and the online lottery site crashing, there is no doubt about that. But since gaining access to the Richard Rodgers Theatre these days is kind of like snagging a golden ticket to Willy Wonka's chocolate factory, you might want to consider spending your dough on one of the many other new musicals hitting the Rialto this season.
Here are nine new shows either currently playing Broadway, or set to open very soon. While very different in form and content (there's something for everyone in this list), they all have one thing in common: Tickets are a lot easier to come by for these shows than for Hamilton. Take a look:
1. American Psycho
Is guiltless murder the natural end result of American capitalism? The musical version of a Bret Easton Ellis novel, American Psycho tells the story of Wall Street investment banker/serial killer Patrick Bateman. It features a new score by Duncan Sheik (Spring Awakening) and an innovative production by director Rupert Goold (King Charles III). Michael Coveney of WhatsOnStage called the show's 2013 London debut, "One of the most original [musicals] in recent years: creepy, beautiful, reverberative, hollow, sleek, and disturbing. It's Sweeney Todd for the MTV generation."
Based on Adrienne Shelly's 2007 film, Waitress is about Jenna (Tony Award winner Jessie Mueller), a waitress at a small-town diner who is also a pie-making prodigy. Could a big pie contest in a local town be her ticket to escape? The show features a score by singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles and direction from Diane Paulus (Finding Neverland), who premiered the show last summer at A.R.T. in Cambridge. Early word gives high praise for Mueller (who really wowed us in Beautiful) in what looks like a charmingly idiosyncratic show.
3. Tuck Everlasting
This new musical finds its basis in Natalie Babbitt's bestselling children's novel about a family that has discovered the secret of immortality. The adaptation is by Claudia Shear and Tim Federle (of the acclaimed Nate books), with a score by Broadway newcomers Chris Miller and Nathan Tysen. With director Casey Nicholaw (Aladdin, Something Rotten!) at the helm, expect a showstopper or two. Also expect Terrence Mann to scare the crap out of us as the nefarious man in the yellow suit.
An uproarious send-up of 1970s disaster movies like The Poseidon Adventure set to the music of the era (songs like "Hot Stuff" and "Knock on Wood"), Disaster! is the creation of Broadway deconstructionist Seth Rudetsky. Taking place inside a floating disco during a major earthquake, it features an all-star cast, including Roger Bart, Kerry Butler, Adam Pascal, Faith Prince, and Rudetsky himself. This is the show you want to see for a campy, irreverent, and possibly boozy night on Broadway.
5. Bright Star
Billy is a G.I. just home from the war who wants to write. Alice is a successful literary editor with a dark past. Their story is set to a bluegrass score by Edie Brickell and Steve Martin (yes, that Steve Martin). Helmed by legendary director Walter Bobbie (Chicago), this is one of the most highly anticipated musicals of the season, guaranteed to delight anyone with a taste for American roots music and sprawling narrative.
6. Shuffle Along
Strictly speaking, this is not a "new" musical; nor is it a revival. It's something completely different: a backstager (written and directed by George C. Wolfe) set around the sensational 1921 all-black revue, using that show's original songs. While that almost century-old tuner has been largely forgotten, Wolfe and company hope to resurrect its ghost on the stage of the Music Box Theatre. Brandon Victor Dixon plays composer Eubie Blake, and Joshua Henry plays lyricist Noble Sissle. Audra McDonald, Brian Stokes Mitchell, and Billy Porter join them to form the most star-studded cast of the season. This one is not to be missed.
7. School of Rock
If you loved Jack Black's 2003 comedy, you'll probably also love this new musical, starring dynamo Alex Brightman as a schlub who takes over a classroom at an exclusive private academy with the aim of forming an awesome rock band. This is the first new Andrew Lloyd Webber show on Broadway since 2005's The Woman in White.
Facebook mayor George Takei stars in this emotional new musical about the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. With its grandiose score and epic scale, this show will especially appeal to die-hard fans of Les Misérables and Miss Saigon — certainly, no one knows how to sell a soaring ballad quite like star Lea Salonga. Catch it while you can: Allegiance is slated to play its final performance February 14.
9. On Your Feet!
A jukebox bio-musical about Gloria Estefan, On Your Feet! features Estefan's timeless pop, a whimsical book by Alexander Dinelaris (Birdman), and Sergio Trujillo's sweaty choreography. This one is just plain fun. How many shows end the first act with a conga line through the aisles? (Tip: Get on your feet and into that conga line if you want to beat the intermission bathroom rush. Blessedly, this show still has one.)