Alan Cumming in ‘Daddy,’ Annette Bening in ‘All My Sons,” and what to see on Broadway

Front L-R: Alan Cumming, Ronald Peet, Charlayne Woodard; Back L-R: Onyie Nwachukwu, Denise Manning, Carrie Compere in Daddy, at The Pershing Square Signature Center, photo by Matt Saunders

The massive Stonewall 50 celebration in June is not the only reason to get to the city this year.

Spring is traditionally a big season for New York theater openings. Shows hope to catch a nomination for Tony Awards before the April deadline.

This 2019 season has some big shows coming NYC’s Broadway and off-Broadway stages, with big names and big productions.

Here are some of the enticing productions…

Tootsie
Official opening April 23, Marquis Theater
Dustin Hoffman played the title character in the original Tootsie movie about a man (played by Dustin Hoffman) who dresses up as a woman to land work as an actor (actress). Tootsie—as a movie—was exceptionally endearing and often quite funny. Will the Broadway musical translate that same charm to the stage, with a musical score? Reviews of the pre-Broadway run in Chicago were good, so apparently, the answer might likely be “yes.”

Beetlejuice
Opens April 25, Winter Garden Theater
The 1988 movie Beetlejuice, about a haunted house with some wacky demons inside, has hordes of fans who regard the dark comedy as some of director Tim Burton’s finest work, a mash-up of technicolor special effects and crude humor that only he could create. Michael Keaton, in the title role, seemed to forget everything he learned in his acting classes and turned out an absurd, over-the-top, and iconic performance that was so funny, people still dress up as Beetlejuice for Halloween 20+ years later.

Rounded out by delicious performances from majorly talented castmates, including Catherine O’Hara and Winona Ryder, the movie was magic. Like so many movies from the ’80s, it should not have worked, but it absolutely did. And now this Beetlejuice Broadway musical has come along, but sadly, Tim Burton isn’t directing it, and of course, Keaton and O’Hara and Ryder aren’t in the cast, either. The cast is a bunch of musical theater actors who have to sing their way through those scenes of witchcraft and zombies, mixed with Beetlejuice’s endless crude sexual innuendo. It’s either going to be the hit of the season, or it’s going to be absolutely terrible. The reviews from the pre-Broadway run in Washington, D.C. were not particularly kind.

Daddy

Running now through March 31, Pershing Square Signature Center
In the off-Broadway play Daddy (photo above), Alan Cumming stars as Andre, a rich art collector who develops a liking for the paintings by a young artist, Franklin, played by Ronald Peet. Andre also develops a liking for Franklin himself, who looks quite nice in a Speedo. Franklin’s mother gets involved, conflict ensues, and battles are lost and won around Andre’s Bel Air swimming pool, which is right there on the stage. Daddy is raking in great reviews, both for the script and the performances, and it has become a hot ticket in the city. Speaking of “hot,” like any good gay-themed play, Daddy carries the warning “this show contains nudity and graphic sexual content.” Good.

All My Sons
Opens April 22, American Airlines Theatre
Let’s start off with the most important detail here: Annette Bening leads the cast of this show. For those of you who aren’t still gasping out loud at that exciting bit of news, here’s the rest: All My Sons is one of Arthur Miller’s darkest plays, about a family’s malcontent as they try to heal the emotional wounds of World War II. Like the difference of saying “film” instead of “movie,” this production of All My Sons is theatre, not theater, with a cast filled with Tony Award winners who will make this show the toast of Broadway. Her Royal Highness Queen Bening will undoubtedly score another nomination as well. See this show, and revel in the exquisite tragedy.

 

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