Broadway shows we'd love to see in the UK
We pick ten shows we'd love to see over here!
We've picked ten productions *currently playing * on Broadway that we'd love to see on these shores! Giving us an insider's opinion on the hottest shows to see, our US sibling site TheaterMania's editor David Gordon has provided some key pointers of his own – straight from the source!
Ohio State Murders
Audra McDonald manages to top herself in every successive show she does. US theatregoers are especially lucky to see her sink her teeth into Adrienne Kennedy's Ohio State Murders, a primal scream of a drama that marks its 91-year-old author's way overdue Broadway debut. Kenny Leon provides McDonald, who never leaves the stage, with a gorgeous and spooky production, and while this is essentially a one-woman show, there are terrific supporting performances from Bryce Pinkham and Lizan Mitchell. But it is McDonald's play, and she is delivering a performance for the ages yet again. Two, actually, if you consider how she's playing her character's older and younger selves, usually performed by separate actors. She can do it all.
Ain't No Mo
David Gordon missed Jordan E. Cooper's Ain't No Mo' when it premiered at the Public Theater in 2019, but he is so glad he got to see it on Broadway during its undeservedly brief run at the Belasco. It's really wonderful, the kind of thoughtful, provocative theatre that doesn't come around on Broadway too often and doesn't last that long when it does. Director Stevie Walker-Webb pulled some outrageously good performances from his actors, specifically Crystal Lucas-Perry in a dazzling turn that hopefully gets remembered come awards time for an extraordinary monologue where she seemed to change dialects with every next line.
Some Like it Hot
Not all theatre needs to make you think, and in that respect, the unabashed joy of Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman, Matthew López, and Amber Ruffin's musical Some Like it Hot really stood out in the back half of the year. The show, directed and choreographed to the hilt by Casey Nicholaw, asks you to sit back and have fun. It felt like a glorious throwback to a bygone era of musical-theater, and benefitted from excellent performances by J Harrison Ghee, Christian Borle, Adrianna Hicks, NaTasha Yvette Williams, and Kevin Del Aguila.
Into the Woods
Yes, we might have a foot-stomping, colossal UK version opening in Bath and seemingly destined for some future life, but the lightning-in-a-bottle success of Lear deBessonet's production of Into the Woods is its simplicity, with a group of actors having the times of their lives while faithfully articulating James Lapine's script and beautifully delivering Stephen Sondheim's score without embellishment. The wonderful surprise of the season was Sara Bareilles's thoughtful and funny Baker's Wife, ably backed by a to-die-for cast including Brian d'Arcy James, Gavin Creel, Joshua Henry, Patina Miller, and the list goes on and on. Steve would be smiling.
A Strange Loop
The Pulitzer Prize-winning piece is an absolute storm of a show (you can listen to the cast recording now) that explores the life of a queer black writer working front of house at The Lion King. It is about to wrap up its Broadway run, so could possibly be looking for a new home at a UK venue.
Adapted by David Lindsay-Abaire from his own 2001 play, with music by Jeanine Tesori (Fun Home), the show follows a young girl who has a genetic condition that causes her to age rapidly – so rapidly in fact that she has the appearance of an old woman. It's proving a heart-winning hit on Broadway, so the magic could be repeated over here for sure.
The Piano Lesson
There are some very heavy rumours that Samuel L Jackson, Danielle Brooks and John David Washington will be hopping over from Broadway to the UK to star in this new revival of August Wilson's Pulitzer Prize-winning 1990 play, set in Pittsburgh's Hill District in the 1930s. We might as well leave it there for now!
Take Me Out
A great revival can make you look at a show you know very well as if you're seeing it for the first time. That was my experience with Scott Ellis's production of Take Me Out, Richard Greenberg's drama about bigotry and baseball. Ellis assembled a crackerjack team, drawing enthralling performances from stars Jesse Williams, Patrick J Adams, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Michael Oberholtzer, and Brandon J. Dirden, who carried the show straight to the Tony Awards and helped find shocking relevance in a 20-year-old play. More importantly, it was the kind of thrilling, edge-of-your-seat experience that doesn't come along very often. What a home run.
The Music Man
Indulge us on this one – imagine a transfer of the major musical revival featuring the one and only Hugh Jackman alongside Sutton Foster. A major box office draw in a beleaguered Broadway environment post-lockdowns, it'd be easy to see this show transfer seamlessly from the Winter Gardens to a venue like the Prince Edward Theatre.
We won't rest until Beetlejuice has arrived in the UK. That's all we have to say at this point.