Does the Theater District seem buzzier than usual? That’s because it is. Between now and April 25—the cutoff date for shows to open and be eligible for Tony nominations—several new musicals are strapping on the tap shoes and warming up their voices. True, some blockbusters opened in the fall (Pretty Woman, The Prom, and The Cher Show) and hope to be remembered by the Tony committee, but spring is really when the competition heats up. So here are the Broadway musicals to catch if you want your season complete.
The Viral Fan-Site Sensation: Be More Chill
Were you a dork in high school? A dweeb? A geek? What if you’d had an ingestible pill that contained a supercomputer that would make you act cool? That’s the premise of Joe Iconis’s pop musical, whose online fandom has ushered it to Broadway. Don’t be surprised if you go early in the run and find the crowd already losing its damn mind. Lyceum Theatre; opens Sunday, March 10
The Latest Bunch of Jukebox Heroes: Ain’t Too Proud
Five guys with amazing rhythm and smooth moves croon their way from the streets of Detroit to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in this R&B-filled jukebox musical about the Motown hitmakers the Temptations. Will these guys join Carole King, the Four Seasons, and Cher in Broadway glory? Imperial Theatre; opens Thursday, March 21
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Standing Ovations in Hell: Hadestown
The Greek legend of Orpheus and Eurydice has been told in plays and operas many times, but not so much in musicals. Now indie-folk songwriter Anaïs Mitchell tells the story of the poet’s journey to hell to rescue his true love. Like the surprise hits Once and Rent, this one started life downtown at New York Theatre Workshop. Walter Kerr Theatre; opens Wednesday, April 17
Dude Looks Like a Lady: Tootsie
Those of us who adore David Yazbek’s work are bummed to see The Band’s Visit close April 7. But you can’t keep a great composer-lyricist down. Yazbek also crafted the tunes for one of the season’s most anticipated shows: an adaptation of the 1982 hit movie, in which Dustin Hoffman played an out-of-work actor who finds fame disguised as a woman. The ultracharming Santino Fontana takes on the Hoffman role. Marquis Theatre; opens Tuesday, April 23
Say It Three Times: Beetlejuice
Tootsie is not the only ’80s movie that has been musicalized for the Broadway stage this season. Arguably Tim Burton’s greatest flick, the 1988 haunted house comedy will return as a high-energy, visually stunning song-and-dance spectacle. We can’t wait to see how the backstage crew translates Burton’s ghoulish sight gags to live theater. But if there were ever a shameless stage hog and ham actor, it’s Beetlejuice. Winter Garden Theatre; opens Thursday, April 25