I just celebrated my birthday last week, and I’m moving back to New York City this week. I had a pretty darn good birthday week, and with a whole year ahead of me I thought I’d make a list of the things I want most of all in the theatre world in the next 365 days… some could happen, who knows, but most of these likely won’t happen unless a miracle occurs. Here’s to blowing out my candles and wishing on the lights of Broadway!
First, I want revivals of shows with incredibly specific casting or revisals. Revive Mame with Donna Murphy as Mame and Christine Baranski as Vera! Revive Kiss of the Spider Woman with Katrina Lenk as Aurora! Revive Baby with a revised book so one of the three couples having babies is a same-sex couple! Revive Parade, and actually let it have the long run it deserves! Revive In Trousers with Brandon Uranowitz, Stephanie J. Block, Betsy Wolfe, and Tracie Thoms, because there’s never a bad time for a Falsettos reunion! Revive the Encores! Grand Hotel with the exact same cast as the City Center production from earlier this year, because that production deserved a longer life than one weekend! Have Encores! revive a bunch of really obscure musicals I only know about because I’ve read Not Since Carrie: Forty Years of Broadway Musical Flops by Ken Mandelbaum too many times – and if not Encores, maybe 54 Below can do them, and on days I can go!
Second, I want a bunch of shows from the West End to transfer to New York. I’m dying to see Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, the gender-swapped production of Sondheim’s Company with Patti LuPone, Tina the Musical, and some more obscure recent shows like The Smiling Man make their way across the pond. I’d also love if the fairly recent National Theatre production of Peter Pan with a female Hook and diverse cast found another life in America – I saw the NT Live stream at a movie theatre and completely fell in love with the entire production, and could totally see it work off-Broadway at BAM or St. Ann’s Warehouse. Also, while we’re at it, revive War Horse, because puppeteers need jobs.
Third, I want big Broadway adaptations of a bunch of my favorite childhood movies. Disney’s Hercules getting the stage treatment it deserves! The Princess and the Frog with Denée Benton as Tiana and all the animal characters as puppets! Hunchback actually transferring to Broadway in some capacity! That stage adaptation of The Prince of Egypt getting itself together and having a diverse cast in a New York run! A stage adaptation of The Nightmare Before Christmas, preferably with the cast I saw at 54 Below last Halloween! This list could go on and on and on, if I wanted it to.
Fourth, I want a bunch of my favorite performers back on Broadway, because I miss them. Brian D’Arcy James has been doing movies and TV for a few years now, and his presence is sorely missed after his short return to Hamilton last spring. Lucas Steele has been off the radar for a little while after Comet’s premature closing, but after seeing him give a stunning performance off-Broadway in The St. Vincent Project I’m hopeful he’ll make his way back in due time. With SpongeBob closing, Ethan Slater will be unemployed – I sincerely hope he finds another star vehicle to climb aboard, because he’s human sunshine and I’d love to see him in another role besides our favorite cartoon sponge. Love of my life Laura Benanti deserves another starring role, too. As does Heidi Blickenstaff, because hopefully Freaky Friday will get her the attention she deserves.
Lastly, I want more representation of people like me in shows both on and off Broadway. And not just in subject matter or character representation, but in their creative teams too. I want Lempicka and Jagged Little Pill to transfer, I want more plays and maybe even musicals about people on the autism spectrum to be produced, I want more nonbinary representation and even more LGBTQ representation. If you’ve been reading my articles you know I am longing for the visibility and acceptance my communities deserve. To see that happen if not in the next year but sometime in my lifetime… that would be one of the best birthday wishes to come true.
So, whoever’s out there, if you’re reading this and have the power to make someone’s big Broadway wishes come true…
(Photo credit: Joan Marcus)