Broadway fall season preview of musicals: Which will be remembered by the Tony Awards?

A new Broadway season is already gearing up and there are currently three productions of musicals (two new, one revival) set to open this fall. Could we be seeing any of them contend at next spring’s Tony Awards? (Read our preview of the eight plays coming to Broadway this fall.)

Below, we recap the plot of each musical as well as the awards history of its author, cast and creative types and the opening and (where applicable) closing dates.

“The Band’s Visit” (previews begin October 7; opens November 9)
In this musical adaptation of the 2007 Israeli film of the same name, an Egyptian police band arrives in Israel to play a concert. After a mix-up at the border, they are sent to a remote village in the middle of the desert. With no bus until morning and no hotel in sight, these unlikely travelers are taken in by the locals. Under the spell of the desert sky, their lives become intertwined in the most unexpected ways.

With a score by three-time Tony nominee David Yazbek (“The Full Monty”, “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”, “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown”), this production follows an acclaimed run off-Broadway at Atlantic Theater Company last year and stars three-time Emmy winner Tony Shalhoub (“Monk”), Katrina Lenk (“Indecent”), Tony nominee John Cariani (“Fiddler on the Roof” [2004]), and is directed by David Cromer.

“Once on This Island” (previews begin November 9; opens December 3)
This is the first Broadway of revival of the 1990 Tony nominated musical by Lynn Ahrens & Stephen Flaherty. This charmer follows Ti Moune, a peasant girl in the Antilles who falls in love with Daniel, a young man she saves from a car crash. When he returns to his wealthy family on the other side of the island, four Gods: Mother of the Earth Asaka, God of Water Agwé, Goddess of Love Erzulie and Demon of Death Papa Ge, guide Ti Moune through a test of her love against prejudice and hate.

The original Broadway production earned eight Tony Award nominations (including Best Musical). This remouting stars newcomers Hailey Kilgore and Isaac Powell, along with “Glee” alumni Alex Newell, Broadway veteran Quentin Earl Darrington (“Ragtime” [2009]), Tony winner Lea Salonga (“Miss Saigon” [1991]), Merle Dandridge (“Tarzan”), Tony nominee Phillip Boykin (“The Gershwin’s Porgy & Bess” [2012]), and is directed by Tony nominee Michael Arden (“Spring Awakening” [2016]).

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“SpongeBob SquarePants” (previews begin November 6; opens December 4)
In this stage musical adaptation of the long-running animated series on Nickelodeon, the stakes are higher than ever before as SpongeBob and all of Bikini Bottom face the total annihilation of their undersea world. Chaos erupts. Lives hang in the balance. And just when all hope seems lost, a most unexpected hero rises up and takes center stage.

Featuring original songs from Yolanda Adams, Lady Antebellum, Sara Bareilles, David Bowie, Cyndi Lauper, John Legend, and Steven Tyler, the production stars newcomers Ethan Slater and Danny Skinner, along with Lilli Cooper (the daughter of Tony-winning actor, Chuck Cooper), Tony nominee Gavin Lee (“Mary Poppins”) and Wesley Taylor (“Rock of Ages”, “The Addams Family”), and is directed by Tina Landau (off-Broadway’s “Floyd Collins”).

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