Well, folks, we did it. Another year is coming to a close, which means two things: One, we get to start new resolutions to inevitably break, and two, Broadway will have seen several shows come and go. As I’m preparing to say my goodbyes to the Great White Way’s 2018 casualties, I’d like to bid a final farewell to the shows that closed/will have closed by the end of this year.
A Bronx Tale
I had a soft spot in my heart for this one. It was the first time I had followed a show from its out-of-town tryout to Broadway. I truly believe A Bronx Tale had everything a great show should: a lesson to be learned, well fleshed out characters, a charming love story, a score by Alan Menken...it was truly One of the Great Ones. I thought the way Chazz Palminteri was able to tell his story in a brand new way was really creative, and I am so glad I was able to experience it. If you didn’t get a chance to see the production on Broadway, it is currently on tour!
I wasn’t the biggest fan of this show, but I was seemingly the only one. Everyone I knew raved about it, so I was shocked when it announced its closing. Lindsay Mendez won her first Tony (out of undoubtedly many more to come) for her role in Carousel, and rightfully so. She was such a ray of light in a show that got really dark. I think the subject matter of the show was unintentionally serendipitous to the times, and I hope that it opened eyes and minds.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Truth be told, I didn’t see this show. Mostly because the movie adaptation scared the living daylights out of me, and I was not about to relive that live. However, I do regret never seeing what kind of zany antics Christian Borle got himself into as Wonka. I’ve heard so many mixed things about the show, but I never heard anything negative about his performance. The story itself seems like it’d be a great big musical production, so if you’d like to see it for yourself, you can see if it’s coming to a city near you here.
Escape to Margaritaville
This is another one I didn’t see. I’m not a big Jimmy Buffett fan, so it was never really at the forefront of my mind. But still, after speaking with friends who had seen the show, it seems like Margaritaville was a good place to escape to (that wording wasn’t intentional but I am so rolling with it) when the weight of the world became too much. It was widely known as a lighthearted show, and in this day and age, lighthearted is hard to come by. There is a tour slated to begin October 2019, but if you’d like to listen to what’s to come, feel free!
I was fortunate enough to see all of the fiercely talented ladies who graced the stage as Dolly Levi in this revival, and I couldn’t be more grateful. Each woman brought her own spin on the character, which made for a completely different experience every time. I wish it could have stayed open because there were so many women I would have loved to see take on the iconic character (shout-out to Audra McDonald). Even without the rotation of legendary leading ladies, this show was such a sweet revival that paid homage to its predecessor while still feeling new and fresh. The ridiculously talented Betty Buckley takes on Dolly Levi in the touring production.
SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical
They say never judge a book by its cover, but in this show’s case, audiences judged it by its title, and that is a damn shame. SpongeBob was one of the most creative, witty, and extravagant musicals I have ever had the pleasure of seeing. The set, characters, music, and lighting all played equal parts in bringing the Bikini Bottom from the TV screen in our bedrooms to the stage at the Palace Theatre. I really wonder what would have become of this show if it wasn’t for the unfortunate timing of the Palace going through renovations. On the bright side, Spongebob is planning to launch a national tour in Fall 2019!
Summer: The Donna Summer Musical
I’m not the biggest fan of jukebox musicals unless they are biographical. I hadn’t known just how many Donna Summer songs I already knew before seeing this production. The show was a party and a music history lesson all wrapped up in a pretty one-act show. Getting to see it with my mother was so special because we rarely get to experience theatre together. And the CAST of Summer. Oh my goodness, everything about them is top notch. I’m sad to see this one go. If you want to catch it on Broadway before it goes on tour next fall, you have until December 30th! One might say it’s your…(last dance) last chance (for love) to see the show!
They say the show must go on, and it does. But before the year ended, I wanted to give a final nod to all of the stories told and characters met this past year. Theatre is so ever-changing that it’s nice to look back at how everything changes as time goes on.
(Photo by Kevin Berne, Hollywood Reporter)