2020 Broadway spring season preview of musicals: Which will be remembered by the Tony Awards?

As we are now about halfway through the Broadway season, and there are currently nine productions of musicals (six new, three revivals) set to open this spring. Could we be seeing any of them contend at this year’s Tony Awards? Below, we recap the plot of each musical as well as the awards history of its author, cast, creative types, the opening, and (where applicable) closing dates.

“West Side Story” (previews begin December 10, 2019; opens February 20)
In the fifth Broadway revival of Arthur Laurents, Lenoard Bernstein, and Stephen Sondheim’s 1957 classic inspired by William Shakespeare’s famous play, “Romeo & Juliet,” this musical is set in the Upper West Side neighborhood of New York City. The story explores the rivalry between two teenage street gangs of different ethnic backgrounds. The Jets, a white gang, and the Sharks, who are immigrants from Puerto Rico. Meanwhile, Tony, a former member of the Jets and best friend of the gang’s leader, Riff, falls in love with Maria, the sister of Bernardo, the leader of the Sharks.

The original production directed & choreographed by Jerome Robbins earned six Tony nominations (including Best Musical), yet lost to “The Music Man.” The show received a film adaptation in 1961 directed by Robert Wise & Jerome Robbins, where it won 10 Academy Awards (including Best Picture). This production stars Grammy nominee Isaac Powell (“Once on This Island,” 2018), Shereen Pimentel, Yesenia Ayala, Dharon E. Jones, Amar Ramasar (“Carousel,” 2018), Jacob Guzman, Thomas Jay Ryan (“The Crucible,” 2016), Danny Wolohan, Daniel Oreskes (“Aida,” 2000), and is directed by Tony winner Ivo van Hove (“A View From the Bridge,” 2016).

“Girl From the North Country” (previews begin February 7; opens March 5)
In this jukebox musical utilizing the songs of Bob Dylan, the story is set in a time-weathered guest house in the heartland of America in 1934. Only a song can shake off the dust for one group of wayward souls—and old dreams may hold the promise of new beginnings. As they pass in and out of each other’s lives, their stories awaken with passion, fury and extraordinary beauty.

With a book by two-time Tony nominated playwright Conor McPherson (“Shining City,” 2006; “The Seafarer,” 2008), this production originated in London’s West End, where it received five Laurence Olivier Award nominations (including Best New Musical). The show is now coming in after a successful run at Off-Broadway’s Public Theater last season. The cast includes Drama Desk winner Jay O. Sanders (Off-Broadway’s “Uncle Vanya,” 2019), two-time Emmy winner Mare Winningham (“Amber Waves,” 1980; “George Wallace,” 1998), Kimber Elayne Sprawl, Colton Ryan, three-time Tony nominee Marc Kudisch (“Thoroughly Modern Millie,” 2002; “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,” 2005; “9 to 5,” 2009), Drama Desk nominee Luba Mason (Off-Broadway’s “Pretty Filthy,” 2015), Todd Almond, Jeannette Bayardelle, Caitlin Houlahan, Robert Joy (“Abe Lincoln in Illinois,” 1993),  Tom Neils (“Indecent,” 2017), two-time Tony nominee David Pittu (“Lovemusik,” 2007; “Is He Dead?,” 2008), Austin Scott, and is directed by Conor McPherson.

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“Six” (previews begin February 13; opens March 12)
In this original musical by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss, it’s a modern retelling of the lives of the six wives of King Henry VIII presented as a pop concert. Each ex-wife gets their own opportunity to sing and tell their story to see who suffered the most due to Henry and should therefore become the group’s lead singer.

This production is coming in from London’s West End, where it earned five Olivier nominations (including Best New Musical). The cast includes Adrianna Hicks, Andrea Macasaet, Brittney Mack, Abby Mueller (who’s the sister of Tony-winning actress Jessie Mueller), Samantha Pauly, Anna Uzele, and is directed by Jamie Armitage & Lucy Moss.

“Company” (previews begin March 2; opens March 22)
In the third Broadway revival of Stephen Sondheim & George Furth’s 1970 classic, Bobbie is a single woman celebrating her 35th birthday, yet is unable to fully commit to a steady relationship, let alone marriage. Over the course of a series of dinners, drinks, and a wedding, her married friends explain the pros and cons of taking on a spouse.

The original production directed by the late Hal Prince won six Tony Awards (including Best Musical). This production – which gender flips certain characters, including the main protagonist – is coming in from London’s West End, where it won four Olivier Awards (including Best Musical Revival). The cast includes Tony winner Katrina Lenk (“The Band’s Visit,” 2018), two-time Tony nominee Christopher Sieber (“Monty Python’s Spamalot,” 2005; “Shrek,” 2009), Tony nominee Jennifer Simard (“Disaster!,” 2016), Rashidra Scott, Greg Hildreth (“Frozen,” 2018), Nikki Renée Daniels (“Porgy & Bess,” 2012), three-time Tony nominee Christopher Fitzgerald (“Young Frankenstein,” 2008; “Finian’s Rainbow,” 2010; “Waitress,” 2016), Matt Doyle (“Bye Bye Birdie,” 2009), Etai Benson (“The Band’s Visit”), two-time Tony winner Patti LuPone (“Evita,” 1980; “Gypsy,” 2008), Terrence Archie (“Kiss Me, Kate,” 2019), Drama Desk nominee Claybourne Elder (Off-Broadway’s “One Arm,” 2012), Kyle Dean Massey, Bobby Conte Thornton (“A Bronx Tale,” 2016), and is helmed by two-time Tony-winning director Marianne Elliott (“War Horse,” 2011; “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” 2015).

“Diana” (previews begin March 2; opens March 31)
In this biographical musical, Princess Diana finds herself at odds with her husband, an unrelenting news media, and the monarchy itself. Leading fiercely with her heart, Princess Diana stands up for her family, her country and herself, while managing to capture the hearts of the world. She defied expectations, she rocked the royals and she created a legacy that will endure forever.

This project reunites the Tony-winning writing team behind “Memphis” (2010), composer/lyricist David Bryan and book writer/co-lyricist Joe DiPietro. The production stars Jeanna de Waal, newcomer Roe Hartrampf, Drama Desk nominee Erin Davie (“Side Show,” 2015), two-time Tony winner Judy Kaye (“The Phantom of the Opera,” 1988; “Nice Work If You Can Get It,” 2012), and is directed by Tony winner Christopher Ashley (“Come From Away,” 2017).

“Mrs. Doubtfire” (previews begin March 9; opens April 5)
In this stage musical adaptation of Chris Columbus’ 1993 Academy Award-winning film of the same name adapted from Anne Fine’s 1987 novel titled “Alias Madame Doubtfire,” out-of-work actor Daniel Hillard loses custody of his kids in a divorce, so he has to disguise himself as Scottish nanny Euphegenia Doubtfire in a desperate attempt to stay in their lives. As he gets lost in his new persona and grows closer to his kids, Mrs. Doubtfire teaches Daniel more than he bargained for about how to be a father.

This project reunites the Tony nominated writing team behind “Something Rotten!” (2015), composer/lyricist Wayne Kirkpatrick, co-composer/lyricist/book writer Karey Kirkpatrick, and co-book writer John O’Farrell. The production stars Tony nominee Rob McClure (“Chaplin,” 2013), Jenn Gambatese (“Tarzan,” 2006), two-time Tony nominee Brad Oscar (“The Producers,” 2001; “Something Rotten!”), Analise Scarpaci, Jake Ryan Flynn (“Charlie & the Chocolate Factory,” 2017), Avery Sell, J. Harrison Ghee, Mark Evans, Charity Angél Dawson, Drama Desk nominee Peter Bartlett (Off-Broadway’s “The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told,” 1999), and is directed by four-time Tony winner Jerry Zaks.

“Flying Over Sunset” (previews begin March 12; opens April 16)
In this original musical with a book by three-time Tony winner James Lapine (“Into the Woods,” 1988; “Falsettos,” 1992; “Passion,” 1994), the story is inspired by the lives of three extraordinary and accomplished people—playwright, diplomat and congresswoman Clare Boothe Luce; film legend Cary Grant; and writer Aldous Huxley—each of whom in real life experimented with the drug LSD. At a crossroads in their lives the three come together, and under the influence of the drug, take a trip and confront the mysteries of their lives and their world.

With a score by Tony & Pulitzer Prize winner Tom Kitt (“Next to Normal,” 2009) and Tony nominee Michael Korie (“Grey Gardens,” 2007), this production presented by Lincoln Center Theater stars Tony nominee Carmen Cusack (“Bright Star,” 2016), Tony nominee Tony Yazbeck (“On the Town,” 2015), Tony nominee Harry Hadden-Paton (“My Fair Lady,” 2018), and is directed by James Lapine.

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“Sing Street” (previews begin March 26; opens April 19)
In this stage adaptation of John Carney’s 2016 Golden Globe nominated film musical of the same name, the story is set in 1982, where everyone in Dublin is out of work. Thousands are seeking bluer skies across the Irish Sea. Sixteen-year-old Conor and his schoolmates turn to music to escape troubles at home and impress a mysterious girl.

Adapted for the stage by Tony winner Enda Walsh (“Once,” 2012), this production is coming in following a run at Off-Broadway’s New York Theatre Workshop this past winter. The cast includes Brenock O’Connor, Zara Devlin, Billy Carter, Drama Desk nominee Amy Warren (Off-Broadway’s “Adding Machine,” 2008), Skyler Volpe, Max Bartos, Sam Poon (“Macbeth,” 2013), Jakeim Hart, Brendan C. Callahan, Johnny Newcomb, Drama Desk nominee Martin Moran (Off-Broadway’s “The Tricky Part,” 2004), Anne L. Nathan (“Thoroughly Modern Millie”), Gian Perez, and is directed by Tony winner Rebecca Taichman (“Indecent”).

“Caroline, or Change” (opens April 7; closes June 28)
In the first Broadway revival of Jeanine Tesori & Tony Kushner’s 2004 Tony-winning musical, the story is set in 1963, where the Gellman family and their African-American maid, Caroline, live in sleepy Lake Charles, Louisiana. Caroline is drifting through life as a single mother of four working in a service job to a white family. A fragile, yet beautiful friendship develops between the young Gellman son, Noah, and Caroline. Noah’s stepmother, Rose, unable to give Caroline a raise, tells Caroline that she may keep the money that Noah leaves in his pockets. Caroline balks and refuses to take money from a child but her own children desperately need food, clothing and shoes. Outside of the laundry room, some of the greatest social advancements that the country has seen are being set in motion, and change is knocking on the door.

The original production starring Tonya Pinkins earned six Tony nominations (including Best Musical). This production presented by Roundabout Theatre Company is coming in from London’s West End, where it received three Olivier nominations (including Best Musical Revival). The cast includes Oliver winner Sharon D. Clarke, Jonah Mussolino, Caissie Levy (“Frozen”), Tony nominee John Cariani (“Fiddler on the Roof,” 2004), Tamika Lawrence, Arica Jackson, Nasia Thomas, Nya, Harper Miles, two-time Drama Desk nominee Chip Zien (Off-Broadway’s “Isn’t It Romantic,” 1984; Off-Broadway’s “A New Brain,” 1999), Stuart Zagnit (“The Wild Party,” 2000), Chinua Payne, Alexander Bello (“All My Sons,” 2019), and is directed by Michael Longhurst (“Constellations,” 2015).

 

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