Special Reports

TheaterMania Report Card: Grading Our Predictions From 2019

Theater predictions are a tradition at TheaterMania. Now it’s time to look back and see how we did in 2019.

Every year, after spending 12 months studying the many subjects of the theatrical curriculum, we at TheaterMania like to take a moment to stop, reflect on what we've seen, and look into the future to predict what we expect to see in the upcoming year. As 2019 comes to an end, we thought we'd take a moment to revisit our predictions and see how we fared. Were we disciplined and studious, earning a place on the honor roll? Or did we misread the signs entirely and end up in theater detention? Read on to find out if we made the grade.

Heroes of the Fourth Turning and Slave Play.
Heroes of the Fourth Turning and Slave Play.
(© Joan Marcus/Matthew Murphy)

1. The Theater Will Push Back Against Political Correctness

Discussions of political correctness are flooding the zeitgeist. As Zachary Stewart wrote in his prediction last year, "If you want to inspire a playwright, tell her what she can't say." The past year saw two fantastic plays that prove his point. Slave Play and Heroes of the Fourth Turning confronted the unspeakable head-on. We also saw Dave Chappelle on Broadway this year. As you can see for yourself in his Netflix special, Chappelle gives a master class in turning political correctness on its head. Should this trend continue we can expect theater will steer away from becoming part of, as Heroes put it, "the heroin drip of self-satisfied activism."


West Side Story director Ivo van Hove is notorious for his creative reimaginings of well known titles.
West Side Story director Ivo van Hove is notorious for his creative reimaginings of well known titles.
(© David Gordon)

2. Musical Revivals Will Play Fast and Loose With Authorial Intent

A year ago, this prediction referenced "boldly reimagined productions of classic musicals" such as Oklahoma!, Carousel, and Company. The only other musical revival to open on Broadway last season was a (mostly) traditional Kiss Me, Kate. This season, Ivo van Hove is playing "fast and loose" with West Side Story, but that's the only evidence of this prediction coming true, so for now at least, it's barely getting a pass.


Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
(© Matthey Murphy)

3. Plays Will Jump on the Musical-Theater Bandwagon and Leverage Familiar Titles

Last year, it was beginning to look like new plays based on familiar titles were trending with the openings of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Network. With the exception of the new adaptation of this season's A Christmas Carol, however, that trend seemed to die off after Mockingbird. There are a plethora of new plays this season, none of which are banking on a familiar title. While originality might be deficient in the musical department, straight plays on Broadway still know how to keep it real.


4. Broadway Musicals Will Get Big-Budget Movie Adaptations

At the time this prediction was made last year, the big Hollywood musical adaptations in the works were Cats, In the Heights, and West Side Story. Since then there have been a slew of movie musical announcements including but not limited to Merrily We Roll Along, The Prom, 13, Follies, and Gypsy. But the good news doesn't stop there. Broadway is also branching out to TV. Netflix announced a Chorus Line miniseries, and even straight plays are getting picked up, with the already released American Son on Netflix as well as Boys in the Band. Whether these film adaptations will be any good has yet to be determined. But it's nice to see that Hollywood is taking notice of the magic of a great musical number. This prediction knocks it out of the park.


5. Purple Rain Is in the Forecast

There has been no news that Prince's life will be adapted for the Broadway stage, or any stage for that matter. There isn't even any new information about the Prince movie musical. Last December headlines broke rumors about about the film, but Hollywood has been silent ever since. This year did see two new bio musicals on the East Coast, Tina: The Tina Turner Musical, and Chasing Rainbows, a bio musical about the early life of Judy Garland. One thing is for certain, the bio musical is here to stay. Let's hope Prince gets picked up soon. But as of right now, this prediction hasn't yielded even a drizzle.


Featured In This Story


Closed: July 31, 2022

Slave Play

Closed: January 19, 2020

A Christmas Carol

Closed: January 5, 2020