I'm learning that spring is a great time of year for a theatre fan, because that's when plans for the new season come together - repertory companies announce which plays they'll be putting on and touring companies announce which shows will be coming my way.
There's a great rundown at Modern Fabulousity of the upcoming Broadway season, and once again, there's practically nothing I don't want to see. Well, maybe I'm not that interested in Shrek.
High on my list is the Elton John musical Billy Elliot, which has been a hit in London's West End since it opened in 2005. It's based on the 2000 movie with Jamie Bell and Julie Walters about a working-class boy from a family of coal miners who dreams of becoming a dancer.
Billy Elliot is one of those "little" British movies that I love. They're movies that take place away from London, away from posh, upper-class England, in rural parts of the country or gritty, industrial cities. Often, there's a political element - Billy Elliot is set against the backdrop of a miner's strike in the 1980s, during the Margaret Thatcher era. They're not big blockbusters, but small stories, well-told with a big dollop of humor and humanity. (I think I'm a sucker for mining stories, too. I loved How Green Was My Valley. And I've been underground in a real Yorkshire coal mine that's been turned into a museum.)
Other shows on ModFab's list that I've put on my personal Broadway wish list include:
Al Pacino's return to Broadway in Lyle Kessler's three-hander play Orphans. I have to admit, I've never heard of the play or Kessler, but it's Al Pacino, one of America's greatest actors, star of one of my all-time favorite movies, The Godfather. I even like the mostly unlamented The Godfather: Part III. "Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in." I'd go see him in just about anything.
Horton Foote's play Dividing the Estate. This one got good reviews off-Broadway last fall, and it sounds like a messy, dysfunctional, multigenerational family drama filled with quirky characters and plot twists. What fun! I just hope there are a few long-buried family secrets. Every family has some, right?
[title of show] is a musical about the making of a musical, and in addition to stories about miners and dysfunctional families, I also love backstage stories. From everything I've read, [title of show] sounds really funny. In fact, when I was first thinking about starting my blog, I thought about calling it title of blog. But since I'd never seen the show, I realized that probably wasn't such a hot idea.
I'm also excited about a revival of the Rodgers and Hart musical Pal Joey. Since plans to bring a revival of the Frank Loesser musical Guys and Dolls to Broadway have fallen through, I figure this is the closest I can get to a story of somewhat unsavory characters in the big city. And I think they both take place during the 1930s. Sure, it's based on a work by John O'Hara, not Damon Runyon, and it takes place in Chicago, not New York, but I think Pal Joey will have the same kind of feel to it. At least I hope so.