Summer sizzles as Broadway and beyond heats up with new productions and some old favorites. Here’s what The Broadway Blog recommends this month…
Penn & Teller on Broadway
For 40 years Penn & Teller have defied labels—and at times physics and good taste—by redefining the genre of magic and inventing their own very distinct niche in comedy. With sold out runs on Broadway, world tours, Emmy-winning TV specials and hundreds of outrageous appearances on everything from “Letterman” to “Fallon,” comedy’s most enduring team shows no signs of slowing down.
The duo made their off-Broadway debut in 1985 and first played Broadway in 1987. Following a national tour, they returned to Broadway in 1991 with The Refrigerator Tour which then moved off-Broadway. Their last New York stage appearance was a weeklong engagement at the Beacon Theatre in 2000. This will be a rare opportunity for New Yorkers and tourists to see Penn & Teller live on Broadway.
Penn & Teller on Broadway
Opening night: July 12
Before there was “Toddlers & Tiaras” there was Ruthless!, an off-Broadway hit that first appeared 23 years ago at the Players Theatre. The show won both the Drama Desk Award for Best Lyrics and the Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Musical. Most notably, the production featured a few young girls in the role of Tina whose names might be familiar to contemporary audiences including Britney Spears, Natalie Portman and Laura Bell Bundy. The show continues to be a favorite among regional theaters and productions are continually being staged around the globe.
But make no mistake – this is not your mother’s Ruthless!. This is no mere revival, but a newly imagined meditation on narcissism, talented tykes and stage mothers.
St. Luke’s Theatre
308 West 46th Street
Opening July 13
In case you were wondering, Hamilton isn’t the only historical musical rolling into town this summer. Amazing Grace premiered in Chicago last year and is finally making its way to Broadway. Amazing Grace is based on the awe-inspiring true story behind the world’s most beloved song. A captivating tale of romance, rebellion and redemption, the story follows one man whose incredible journey ignited a historic wave of change that gave birth to the abolitionist movement.
The new musical features music and lyrics by Christopher Smith and a book by Christopher Smith and Arthur Giron, directed by Gabriel Barre (Andrew Lippa’s The Wild Party) and choreographed by Tony Award-winner Christopher Gattelli (Newsies).
The cast for Amazing Grace on Broadway will include members of the show’s sold-out Chicago run: Tony Award nominee Josh Young (Jesus Christ Superstar), Erin Mackey (NY Philharmonic’s concert production of Sweeney Todd, Chaplin), Tony Award-winner Chuck Cooper (Act One, The Life), and more.
208 West 41st Street
Opening night: July 16
Matthew Wexler is The Broadway Blog’s editor. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @roodeloo.