Live Performance in New York: Here’s What to See This Spring


THE NOTEBOOK Nicholas Sparks’s 1996 novel (adapted for the screen in 2004) is now a sweeping musical tale of romantic idealism and the decades-long love between Allie and Noah. The Chicago Tribune gave a glowing review to the 2022 Chicago Shakespeare Theater premiere, and several performers from the Chicago cast, including Maryann Plunkett as Older Allie, will reprise their roles. The show features a book by Bekah Brunstetter (“This Is Us”) and music and lyrics by Ingrid Michaelson, with Michael Greif and Schele Williams directing. Now playing at the Schoenfeld Theater, Manhattan.

THE WHO’S TOMMY The show, with music and lyrics by Pete Townshend who wrote the book with Des McAnuff, was on Broadway 30 years ago, but this new take, which had its premiere at the Goodman Theater in Chicago, is very heavy on visual spectacle (and, egad, how theatrical effects have changed in three decades!). Tommy is a traumatized child who witnesses violence and loses his ability to see, hear and speak. He plays mean pinball, though, and in the strange spectacle becomes something of a messiah. The leads, including Ali Louis Bourzgui (Tommy), Alison Luff (Mrs. Walker) and Adam Jacobs (Captain Walker), are revisiting the roles they played at the Goodman. Choreography is by Lorin Latarro (“Waitress”), and McAnuff directs. Performances begin March 8 at the Nederlander Theater, Manhattan.

Louis Bourzgui in “The Who’s Tommy.”Credit…Liz Lauren

LEMPICKA The life of the Art Deco painter Tamara de Lempicka was not a screamingly obvious topic for a Broadway musical, but an impressive team has collaborated on this show. The Polish-born Lempicka (1898-1980), who was married, twice, to men, but had female lovers as well, lived through two world wars, surrounded by cultural and political change in Russia, Paris and California. Rachel Chavkin directs a cast led by Eden Espinosa as Lempicka, who returns to the role that wowed critics in productions at the Williamstown Theater Festival and La Jolla Playhouse. The show features music by Matt Gould and lyrics by Carson Kreitzer; they collaborated on the book. Performances begin March 19 at the Longacre Theater, Manhattan.

SUFFS The hard-fought passage of the 19th amendment, which codified women’s right to vote in 1919, is the focus of this musical by Shaina Taub. In addition to the challenge of being book writer, lyricist and composer, Taub also stars as Alice Paul (1885-1977), a leader of the National Woman’s Party. She and a group of like-minded women, including Ida B. Wells (Nikki M. James) and Carrie Chapman Catt (Jenn Colella), battle the patriarchy and, at times, one another. Directed by Leigh Silverman. Performances begin March 26 at the Music Box Theater, Manhattan.

HELL’S KITCHEN Alicia Keys makes her Broadway debut with this semi-autobiographical jukebox musical about a 17-year-old girl named Ali, raised in a small Manhattan apartment by her protective single mother alongside a community of artists. The show features music and lyrics by Keys, a mix of hits, including “Fallin’” and “Empire State of Mind,” and new songs. The show’s premiere last year at the Public Theater received decent, if not exceptional, reviews, but c’mon, this girl is on fire. The book is by Kristoffer Diaz and choreography by Camille A. Brown. Maleah Joi Moon, Shoshana Bean and Brandon Victor Dixon will reprise their roles. The busy Michael Greif (see also “The Notebook”) directs. Performances begin March 28 at the Shubert Theater, Manhattan.

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