Thankful For Broadway

Giving thanks for classic traditions, revivals, and new stars on the New York Stage.

The Colour Purple July 2013

After the mischief of Halloween falls away with the remaining leaves of October ushering in the month of November, the city of New York prepares itself for the coming holiday season. As with most things, Manhattan does not disappoint when it comes to holiday offerings as a festive spirit descends upon the city. Not only a beloved tradition, many consider the world famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade to be the official start to the holiday season. In the month of November Americans gather with friends and family to give thanks for the abundance of the year past. With an exciting fall season in full swing, theatre lovers have much to be thankful this year. This month’s highlighted productions include revivals of cherished musical classics, highly anticipated stage debuts and thrilling new productions. Fiddler on the Roof, School of Rock, The Color Purple, and King Charles III are all shows to be grateful for this season.

Speaking to the hearts of millions of people across generations with productions worldwide, Fiddler on the Roof is a bonafide classic from Broadway’s golden age. In addition to its inspirational story of family and resilience, the show’s score including “Tradition,” “If I Were A Rich Man,” “Matchmaker, Matchmaker,” and “Sunrise, Sunset” continues to endear itself to audiences with an uplifting spirit. Fiddler on the Roof is the story of the Russian-Jewish milkman Tevye and his five daughters as he tries to maintain his religion and traditions in the face of changing times and persecution in a small Russian village. Tony Award winning director Bartlett Sher (South Pacific, The King and I) brings a fresh and authentic take to the musical with this production starring Jessica Hecht and Broadway favorite Danny Burstein as Tevye. In the spirit of the show’s opening number, this revival is one tradition to give thanks for this season. (Broadway Theatre, 1681 Broadway)

Fans of rock and roll, comedy and high energy theatre need look no further than the new musical School of Rock opening this fall at the Winter Garden Theatre. Produced by theatre legend Andrew Lloyd Weber, this show follows the same plot of the hit film made famous by Jack Black. Looking to pick up a few extra bucks, deadbeat and down and out rocker Dewey Finn pretends to be a substitute teacher at a prim and proper prep school where, he decides to throw out the curriculum and teach what he knows best: rock and roll. In the creation of a student led rock band, zany high-jinks ensue, ultimately leading to a life lesson teaching the transformative power of music. With a rocking score featuring hits from the movie as well as new music from Andrew Lloyd Weber, School of Rock is something to be grateful for this November. (Winter Garden Theatre, 1634 Broadway)

Academy Award winner and music superstar Jennifer Hudson makes her highly anticipated Broadway debut in the revival of The Color Purple, transferring from London’s Menier Chocolate Factory where it received rave reviews. Inspired by the classic novel by Alice Walker and the acclaimed film, The Color Purple is a beautiful story of the resounding power of faith, family and love. The musical follows heroine Celie across decades in the South as she navigates an abusive relationship, love, and the search for her long lost sister. Hudson plays the sultry singer Shug Avery, who helps to open Celie’s heart. Orange is the New Black star Danielle Brooks plays the spirited Sophia. John Doyle, known for his revolutionary stagings of Company and Sweeney Todd, directs this intimate production which highlights the powerful Pulitzer Prize winning story. With a score abundant with ragtime, jazz, blues, and gospel, The Color Purple is sure to fill audience’s hearts with gratitude and hope. (Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, 242 W. 45th St.)

Representing the plays this November is the provocative new drama King Charles III, fresh off its smash run in London’s West End. An Olivier Award winner for Best New Play, this piece by Mike Bartlett imagines Prince Charles’ ascension to the throne following the death of Queen Elizabeth II. With Camilla at his side and Harry, William and Kate looking on from the wings, Prince Charles takes the throne only to grapple with how to reign and carry the weight of power standing in the shadow of the late Queen. This hit with audiences and critics alike is ultimately an examination of the humanity of those who wear the crown, British democracy, and the moral compass of one of the world’s most famous royal families. Tim Pigott-Smith reprises his performance in the title role in this insightful new play. (Music Box Theatre, 239 W. 45th St.)

(Photo Credit: Nobby Clark)