One of the true joys of experiencing the magic of live theatre is being transported to unimaginable and extraordinary worlds. On any given night without ever having to leave the island of Manhattan, Broadway audiences have the opportunity to visit different countries, historical periods, and to be introduced to characters both real and fictional. In a city as diverse as New York, it’s only fitting that the theatre scene reflect that diversity of not only experience, but also in the worlds represented on stage in thrilling stories. This month we take a closer look at Globetrotting Tales that take audiences on adventures spanning the globe that start after their tickets are torn and the lights go down.
Les Miserables (Imperial Theatre, 249 W. 45th St.)
After countless awards and a wildly successful Hollywood adaptation, a true Broadway masterpiece sings once again on the New York stage. The beloved and international smash hit musical Les Miserables takes audiences on a sweeping and epic journey through 19th century France. The musical by the renowned composing team Claude-Michel Schonberg and Alain Boublil (Miss Saigon) is inspired by Victor Hugo’s classic novel which follows the course of one remarkable man’s lifetime. Les Miserables tells the story of ex-con Jean Valjean as he seeks redemption while running as a fugitive from the officer who would stop at nothing to see him re-imprisoned. Along the way, Valjean encounters tragic and inspiring figures who help him to reclaim his humanity as he raises the young orphan Cosette and finds himself swept up in a student uprising on the streets of Paris. With a classic score including “I Dreamed a Dream,” “On My Own,” and “Bring Him Home,” Les Miserables is a timeless story that continues to speak to the power of the human spirit, consistently winning the hearts of audiences worldwide.
Fiddler on the Roof (Broadway Theatre, 1681 Broadway)
Fiddler on the Roof is another epic and classic musical that gives theatergoers a chance to experience another world. This time, the setting is the fictional Russian village Anatevka in pre-revolutionary Imperial Russia. And while the town and its characters may be steeped in fiction, the story is inspired by the true stories of Russian Jews displaced from their homes under the harsh rule of the Tsar. This classic show currently comes to life in a rich new revival directed by Tony Award winning Broadway veteran Bartlett Sher and features a winning score including “Tradition,” “If I Were A Rich Man,” “Matchmaker, Matchmaker,” and “Sunrise, Sunset.” The musical follows the milkman Tevye and his five daughters as he struggles to maintain his faith and its traditions in the face of changing times and persecution in a small Russian village. The new production has received critical accolades for its groundbreaking and earthy new take on the original Jerome Robbins choreography by Hofesh Shecter.
Finding Neverland (Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, 205 W. 46th St.)
Inspired by the true story behind the creation of the timeless classic Peter Pan, the new musical Finding Neverland offers audiences an opportunity to take a closer look at turn-of-the-century London and a fascinating literary figure. After his latest show is a flop, the struggling playwright J.M. Barrie is struck with severe writer’s block. One fateful morning, he meets the Llewelyn-Davies family in Kensington Gardens and the widow and her four children inspire Barrie to create the story of the boy who wouldn’t grow up. The musical captures the spirit of life across the pond and the trials and tribulations of the creative pursuit, celebrating the individuals encountered along the way who help writers find their voice. Also drawing inspiration from the 2004 film of the same name, Finding Neverland is a thrilling production directed by prolific stage director Diane Paulus (Pippin, Waitress) with a pop-infused score by Gary Barlow and Eliot Kennedy. Based on actual events and with choreography by Mia Michaels from So You Think You Can Dance, Finding Neverland is an uplifting classic in the making.
On Your Feet! (Marquis Theatre, 1535 Broadway)
The new musical On Your Feet! offers a behind- the-scenes look at one of music’s most iconic artists while giving voice to the Cuban-American experience. The electric new production which follows the lives of Gloria Estefan and her husband Emilio features the same undeniable passion and energy for which the Grammy Award-winning artist is known. From the streets of Miami to the global stage, the show bursts alive with the pulsing beats of Estefan’s greatest hits including “Conga,” “Rhythm is gonna get you,” “1, 2, 3.” and of course, “Get On Your Feet.” The show tells the story of the Cuban American couple’s journey from humble beginnings to international super-stardom. Two-time Tony Award-winning Director Jerry Mitchell (Hairspray, Kinky Boots) is at the helm with explosive choreography by Serigo Trujillo (Jersey Boys). This inspirational story about the power of love features a winning performance from leading lady Ana Villafane as the unstoppable Estefan.