Based on the True Story

Real Life in Broadway Lights

This month we take a look at plays and musicals inspired by true life stories and, in the process, see that real life is often just as compelling as fiction.

 

Six Degrees of Separation(Ethel Barrymore Theatre, 243 W. 47th St.)Screen Shot 2017-05-01 at 1.52.17 PMBased on the headline-making story of David Hampton, a con man who duped some of New York’s wealthiest couples in the 1980s, John Guare’s modern classic Six Degrees of Separation finds life this spring in a new revival starring stage and screen favorite Allison Janney (The West Wing, Drop Dead Gorgeous) and Tony Award- winning actor John Benjamin Hickey.

The poignant comedy-drama follows a wealthy Manhattan couple who find themselves at the center of an extraordinary adventure after falling for the ruse of a charismatic con man. After an unbelievable series of events involving Paul, a young man claiming to be the son of Sidney Poitier and friend of their children, Ouisa and Flan Kittredge endeavor to piece together the imposter’s true identity. Throughout the ordeal, they also contend with the ripple effects his presence has had on their lives. Directed by Trip Cullman, Six Degrees of Separation is ultimately an understated and touching musing on the nature of human interconnectivity and how unexpected experiences can o er our lives the most meaning.

 

War Paint (Nederlander Theatre, 208 W. 41st St.)
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Theatre legends Patti Lupone and Christine Ebersole are pitted against each other in the juicy new musical War Paint, inspired by the true-life rivalry between two of the greatest business leaders of the 20th century. The new musical is the story of cosmetic entrepreneurs Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden, whose revolutionary spirit forever changed the face of the beauty industry.

As wildly creative as they were fiercely competitive, both women were true pioneers in their field with careers spanning over 50 years. War Paint  is ultimately a celebration of the two women who blazed trails as they built empires in a business world dominated by men. The musical also offers an inside view into the exotic locales that served as backdrops for the women’s lives, from the glamorous heights of Fifth Avenue society to the congressional halls of Washington, D.C. Warpaint is directed by Michael Greif and features an all-new score from Scott Frankel and Michael Korie, the acclaimed musical writing team behind Grey Gardens and Farm From Heaven.
Come From Away (Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, 236 W. 45th St.)
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The critically lauded new musical Come From Away finds inspiration for its touching story in the aftermath of one of history’s darkest and most incomprehensible days.  From the Canadian writing duo Irene Sanko and David Hein, the new production follows the extraordinary real-life events that unfolded in a small Canadian town during and after the 9/11 terrorist  attacks. When 38 planes were grounded during the tragic events, the coastal town of Gander saw its population double as 6,579 passengers became stranded at the tiny Newfoundland airport.

Come From Away is based on actual interviews conducted with locals about their experiences during the harrowing time. This affecting new musical is about the unexpected camaraderie and human connections that arose from an unimaginable situation.

 

Oslo (Vivian Beaumont Theatre, 150 W. 65th St.)
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Direct from a critically-acclaimed Off-Broadway run, the new play Oslo transfers to the Lincoln Center’s Vivian Beaumont Theatre this spring. The new drama by J.T. Rogers is the thrilling and intriguing story behind the signing of the 1993 Oslo Accords between the State of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization. The play follows the until-now untold story of the Norwegian couple Mona Juul and Terje Rod-Larsen as they planned and orchestrated the top-secret and high-level meetings that ultimately led to the signing of the accords at the White House in 1993.

The diplomat and her social scientist husband fought rigorously not only to bring the declaration to fruition but also to ultimately change the world. Oslo rivetingly brings their story to life. Tony winner Bartlett Sher (The King and I, South Pacific) directs this true-life political thriller starring Jennifer Ehle and Jefferson Mays.