DIVA TALK: A Diva Fall Season Preview

By Andrew Gans
23 Aug 2013

Idina Menzel
 

One of the most exciting, star-filled casts of the season will bring the newest work by Pulitzer Prize and Tony winners Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey to life. Although If/Then doesn't arrive on Broadway until March 2014, the new musical will debut at Washington, DC's National Theatre Nov. 5-Dec. 8 with a cast that features two Tony-winning musical theatre actresses, Idina Menzel (Wicked, Rent) and LaChanze (The Color Purple, Once on This Island), as well as Anthony Rapp (Rent), James Snyder (Cry-Baby), Jerry Dixon (tick, tick…Boom!, Once on This Island), Jenn Colella (Chaplin, High Fidelity), Jason Tam (A Chorus Line, Lysistrata Jones) and Tamika Lawrence (Matilda). Michael Greif directs the musical about a woman on the cusp of 40 (Tony winner Menzel), who moves to New York City to start fresh. It marks the original Rent star's first return to Broadway since her Tony-winning run in Wicked, which celebrates its 10th anniversary on Broadway this fall.

There are also plenty of musical highlights Off-Broadway this fall, including Lady Day, which features Tony and multiple Grammy Award winner Dee Dee Bridgewater as the late, legendary jazz artist Billie Holiday (previews begin Sept. 19 at the Little Shubert Theatre); the world premiere of Fun Home, the new musical by Tony nominees Jeanine Tesori (music) and Lisa Kron (book and lyrics), which begins Sept. 30 at the Public Theater with a cast led by Tony Award winner Michael Cerveris and Tony nominee Judy Kuhn; John Kander and Greg Pierce's The Landing, starring Tony and Emmy winner David Hyde Pierce and Julia Murney, which will begin Oct. 3 at the Vineyard under the direction of Tony winner Walter Bobbie; and the eagerly awaited William Finn-James Lapine musical Little Miss Sunshine, based on the quirky film of the same name, which begins previews Oct. 15 at Second Stage. The cast of theatre favorites includes Will Chase, Stephanie J. Block, Josh Lamon, Rory O'Malley, David Rasche, Logan Rowland, Wesley Taylor and Hanna Rose Nordberg as Olive Hoover.

Diva lovers will no doubt be out in full force Nov. 7 when Olivier and two-time Tony winner Patti LuPone returns to Carnegie Hall with a special two-act version of Far Away Places, a travelogue of styles and stories that includes songs by Kurt Weill, Cole Porter and Edith Piaf. One suspects (and hopes) that LuPone will also revisit tunes from several of her own theatrical triumphs. The famed hall will also feature five evenings with the New York Pops, three of which are of special interest to diva fans: Sing, Sing, Swing (Nov. 1, featuring Tony nominee Montego Glover and clarinetist Dave Bennett), Under the Mistletoe with Ashley Brown (Dec. 19-20, featuring Broadway's original Mary Poppins, Ashley Brown) and A Broadway Love Story (March 21, 2014, featuring Marin Mazzie and Jason Danieley); Steven Reineke is the music director and conductor for all three events.

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