2018 Broadway spring season preview of musicals: Which will be remembered by the Tony Awards?

In the last four months of the 2017-18 Broadway season, six productions of musicals (four new, two revivals) will open. Could we be seeing any of them contend at this year’s Tony Awards? (Read our preview of the nine plays coming to Broadway this spring.)

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.

“Escape to Margaritaville” (previews begin February 16; opens March 15)
In this new jukebox musical consisting of Jimmy Buffett songs, Tully, a part-time bartender, part-time singer, and full-time charmer thinks he’s got life all figured out. Until a beautiful career-minded tourist steals his heart and makes him question everything.

With a book by Emmy winner Greg Garcia (“My Name is Earl”, 2006) and Emmy nominated actor Mike O’Malley (“Glee”, 2010), this production stars Drama Desk nominee Paul Alexander Nolan (“Bright Star”, 2016), Alison Luff, Drama Desk nominee Lisa Howard (“It Shoulda Been You”, 2015), Eric Petersen, Rema Webb, Don Sparks and Andre Ward, and is directed by Tony winner Christopher Ashley (“Come From Away”, 2017).

“Frozen” (previews begin February 22; opens March 22)
In the latest screen-to-stage adaptation from Disney, two sisters are pulled apart by a mysterious secret. As one young woman struggles to find her voice and harness her powers within, the other embarks on an epic adventure to bring her family together once and for all.

The 2013 Disney movie not only holds the record as the highest-grossing animated film of all time, but it also managed to win two Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature Film and Best Original Song (‘Let It Go’). With Oscar winner Jennifer Lee adapting her screenplay for the stage and fellow Oscar winners Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez augmenting their score from the film with new songs, this production stars Caissie Levy (“Hair”, 2009), Patti Murin (“Lysistrata Jones”, 2011), newcomer Jelani Alladin, Greg Hildreth (“Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella”, 2013), John Riddle (“The Visit”, 2015) and Drama Desk nominee Robert Creighton (“Cagney”, 2016), and is directed by Tony winner Michael Grandage (“Red”, 2010).

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“Mean Girls” (previews begin March 12; opens April 8)
In this stage musical adaptation of the 2004 Lindsay Lohan-led comedy, Cady Heron moves to Illinois after years of living with her zoologist parents in Africa, and must find where she fits in the social hierarchy. As a sweet, naive newbie, Cady quickly attracts the attention of The Plastics, a trio of popular frenemies led by the vicious and calculating Regina George. When Cady devises a plan to end Regina’s reign, she learns that you can’t cross a Queen Bee without getting stung.

With nine-time Emmy winner Tina Fey adapting her screenplay for the stage and a score by her husband, three-time Emmy winner Jeff Richmond (“30 Rock”, 2007-09) and Tony nominee Nell Benjamin (“Legally Blonde”, 2007), this production stars Erika Henningsen, Taylor Louderman (“Bring It On”, 2012), Ashley Park (“The King & I”, 2015), Kate Rockwell (“Bring It On”, 2012) and Tony nominee Kerry Butler (“Xanadu”, 2008), and is directed & choreographed by Tony winner Casey Nicholaw (“The Book of Mormon”, 2011).

“Carousel” (previews begin February 28; opens April 12)
In the fifth Broadway revival of Richard Rodgers & Oscar Hammerstein II’s 1945 classic, a swaggering, carefree carnival barker by the name of Billy Bigelow captivates and marries a naive millworker by the name of Julie Jordan. Just as Billy learns that Julie is pregnant, he loses his job and desperately intends upon providing a decent life for his family.

The original Broadway production debut about two years before the Tony Awards were established. The last revival from 1994 won five Tonys (including Best Revival of a Musical). This production stars two-time Tony nominee Joshua Henry (“The Scottsboro Boys”, 2011; “Violet”, 2014), Tony winner Jessie Mueller (“Beautiful”, 2014), four-time Grammy winner Renee Fleming, Drama Desk nominee Lindsay Mendez (off-Broadway’s “Dogfight”, 2013), Drama Desk nominee Alexander Gemignani (“Sweeney Todd”, 2005), SAG winner Margaret Colin (“Veep”, 2018) and Tony nominee John Douglas Thompson (“Jitney”, 2017), and is directed by three-time Tony winner Jack O’Brien (“Hairspray”, 2003; “Henry IV”, 2004; “The Coast of Utopia”, 2007).

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“My Fair Lady” (previews begin March 15; opens April 19)
In the fourth Broadway revival of Alan Jay Lerner & Frederick Loewe’s 1956 classic, Eliza Doolittle, a cockney flower girl takes speech lessons from Henry Higgins, a phonetics professor, so that she may pass as a well-born lady.

This original Broadway production won six Tony Awards (including Best Musical), and made a star out of a then 20-year-old Julie Andrews. The musical was then brought to the big screen in 1964, where it won eight Academy Awards (including Best Picture). This production presented by Lincoln Center Theater stars two-time Emmy nominee Lauren Ambrose (“Six Feet Under”, 2002-03), two-time SAG nominee Harry Hadden-Paton (“Downton Abbey”, 2017; “The Crown”, 2017), two-time Tony winner Norbert Leo Butz (“Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”, 2005; “Catch Me If You Can”, 2011), Tony & Emmy winner Diana Rigg (“Medea”, 1994; “Rebecca”, 1997), Allan Corduner (“Titanic: The Musical”, 1997), Jordan Donica and Linda Mugleston, and is directed by Tony winner Bartlett Sher (“South Pacific”, 2008).

“Summer: The Donna Summer Musical” (previews begin March 28; opens April 23)
In this biographical musical about the life of legendary recording artist Donna Summer, the story is told through the dramatic lens of her final concert. The show presents the complexities and conflicts the famed singer/songwriter faced in her meteoric rise and descent.

The musical has a book by Tony nominated actor Colman Domingo (“The Scottsboro Boys”, 2011), Robert Cary, and two-time Tony-winning director Des McAnuff (“Big River”, 1985; “The Who’s Tommy”, 1993), who is also directing this production.

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