Rich American story telling grips the Great White Way
July marks the time when Americans express their patriotism and celebrate their independence on the Fourth of July. Amidst the spirited festivities, BBQs, and fireworks displays, the lights of New York’s Theatre District continue to sparkle and shine on the great American institution that is the Broadway theatre. From past runs ranging from West Side Story to A Streetcar Named Desire, the American theatre has a grand tradition of capturing stories that give voice to the American experience. This month we take a closer look at some of these Stories of the States that continue the heritage of sharing American tales on stage.
The Crucible (Walter Kerr Theatre, 219 W. 48th St.)
A true masterpiece of American theatre written by one of the country’s greatest playwrights finds life again this season in a daring new production. Arthur Miller’s classic parable on the infamous Salem Witch Hunt, The Crucible, is currently playing a critically acclaimed revival in the heart of Broadway. Renowned Belgian director Ivo van Hove takes on this explosive political allegory which was written at the height of the anti-communist McCarthy Era and follows the events of the Salem Witch Trials of the 1690s. The play tells the story of how a small town succumbs to hysteria after falling victim to the spellbinding lies of one young woman. Ultimately a cautionary tale of the power of deception, fear, and paranoia, The Crucible proves just as relevant today as when it rst premiered. The strictly limited engagement, featuring an original score by composer Philip Glass and starring stage and lm actors Ben Wishaw (Perfume, Skyfall), Sophie Okonedo (Hotel Rwanda), Ciaran Hinds (Game of Thrones), and Saoirse Ronan (Atonement, Brooklyn), ends its run July 17.
Hamilton (Richard Rodgers Theatre, 226 W 46th St.)
After winning the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, the 2016 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album along with numerous other awards, Lin Manuel Miranda’s sensationally original musical Hamilton continues to remain the hottest ticket in town. A true emblem of the American Dream, this multicultural hip-hop inspired take on the life of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton has become an authentic cultural phenomenon since premiering O -Broadway at The Public Theatre in winter 2015, before quickly transitioning to The Great White Way due to incredible demand. The musical follows his life as he navigates war, romantic scandal, and the perils of a career in politics before changing the role of the newly founded United States in the global economy. Following the Tony Award winning success of Miranda’s In the Heights and featuring an electrifying score, Hamilton weaves together the story of an immigrant who rose to power from being an orphan to the right hand man of President Washington. An instant classic, Hamilton is a true story of the States, starring Miranda in the lead role as Hamilton with music, lyrics, and book written by the 36-year old prodigy as well.
Motown the Musical (Nederlander Theatre, 208 W. 41st St.)
Following a sold-out run in the West End, a smashing National Tour, and a previous stint on Broadway, Motown the Musical dances back onto the New York stage this summer with previews beginning July 12. Featuring the soundtrack of America, Motown tells the story behind some of music’s greatest artists including Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, and The Temptations. With hits such as “Dancing in the Streets,” “My Girl,” “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” and “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” the show follows music impresario Barry Gordy from his humble career beginnings as a boxer to becoming a bonafide entertainment industry mogul who helped shape the sound of not only a generation, but also an entire country. With thrilling dance numbers, beloved hits, and a backstory filled with showbiz drama, Motown the Musical is not only a uniquely American story but also a genuine crowd-pleaser.