Is it just me or are revivals of shows on Broadway, getting better and better these days? With the early praise of Once on this Island and the soon-to-open productions of Carousel and My Fair Lady, revivals are becoming the must-see productions nowadays. Here are 10 more I'd love to see come back sooner than later.
Story: Mame Dennis's eccentric, bohemian lifestyle is interrupted when her late brother's son is entrusted to her care. But rather than adopt to any societal standards about child rearing, money-making and romance - Mame does everything with her own dramatic flair.
Reasoning: Okay, hear me out on this one. While the 1983 first revival was an utter failure (41 performances, despite starring Angela Lansbury), Broadway audiences are suckers for special anniversary-esque productions and 2016 marked Mame's 50th Anniversary. While I'm the furthest thing from a fan of Jerry Herman, I can't deny the popularity of this piece and how much it would be likely welcomed back.
Lost in Yonkers
Story: This memory play is set in a Yonkers in 1942. Bella is 35-years-old, mentally challenged and living at home with her mother, stern Grandma Kurnitz. As the play opens, ne'r do-well son Eddie deposits his two young sons on the old lady's doorstep. He is financially strapped and taking to the road as a salesman. The boys are left to contend with Grandma, with Bella and her secret romance, and with Louie, her brother, a small-time hoodlum in a strange new world called Yonkers.
Reasoning: Arguably Neil Simon's best and most complete work, this Pulitzer Prize winner surprisingly hasn't been back on Broadway since it premiered in 1991. Given its popularity in regional, educational and community theatres, it would generate plenty of interest.
Once Upon a Mattress
Story: Princess Winnifred arrives at Prince Dauntless the Drab's castle hoping for the hand of the prince. His mother, Queen Agravain, insists that her son can only marry a princess of true blood (one who can feel a pea that is underneath a pile of mattresses). Winifred passes the test, unable to sleep all night from discomfort and they live happily ever after.
Reasoning: It's been over 20 years since the last time this fan favorite has been on Broadway. A much-praised Off-Broadway production ran last year with Jackie Hoffman in the lead role. With the bevy of young emerging stars, you could easily fill this one to make it a popular ticket for next season.
The Night of the Iguana
Story: Deep in the sultry coastal jungle of 1940’s Mexico, a dilapidated hotel houses despair, desire, and redemption in this haunting and deeply moving play by one of America’s greatest playwrights. T. Lawrence Shannon, a defrocked priest with a tormented spirit, searches for sanctuary from his personal demons. Maxine, a sensuous, earthy widow, strives to satisfy her appetite for companionship; Charlotte, a lustful young girl, looks for escape; Hannah, a penniless artist of heartbreaking dignity and courage, tries to save Shannon, as Nonno, the world’s oldest living poet, struggles to complete his final work. They join together in this engrossing story of dying dreams, frustrated sexuality, and lost-souls shaped and changed by the turgid, tropical heat that surrounds them.
Reasoning: Because Broadway is better with a Tennessee Williams piece running on it. But more than that, it's been a while since we last saw this get the Broadway treatment. The 1996 cast starred William Petersen, Marsha Mason, and Cherry Jones.
Story: Guinevere, King Arthur's lovely wife, encourages him to establish the Knights of the Round Table. As the Knights grow in fame, Lancelot Du Lac becomes the most celebrated of all of them, and rumors begin to circulate about his affair with Guinevere. Can Camelot be the idealistic place of Arthur's dreams?
Reasoning: Up until last year, I would've never been high on a Camelot reunion, but I was able to see a great production which showed me that a re-imagined version could really work.
Story: This American classic explores alternatives that might spring from the demented terrain of the California landscape. Sons of a desert dwelling alcoholic and a suburban wanderer clash over a film script. Austin, the achiever, is working on a script he has sold to producer Sal Kimmer when Lee, a demented petty thief, drops in. He pitches his own idea for a movie to Kimmer, who then wants Austin to junk his bleak, modern love story and write Lee's trashy Western tale.
Reasoning: Although it might be impossible to top the cast of the previous production(Phillip Seymour Hoffman, John C. Reilly), it's time for this Sam Shepard classic to make its way back to Broadway.
Beauty & the Beast
Story: The classic story tells of Belle, a young woman in a provincial town, and the Beast, who is really a young prince trapped under the spell of an enchantress. If the Beast can learn to love and be loved, the curse will end and he will be transformed to his former self. But time is running out. If the Beast does not learn his lesson soon, he and his household will be doomed for all eternity.
Reasoning: Because Disney could use the money. But seriously, even though it's only been 10 years since the production closed on Broadway, audience love for the piece has never dwindled. The recent film grossed over $1.2 billion worldwide and became the 10th-highest-grossing film of all time. While there is no shortage of Disney properties on Broadway, especially with the addition of Frozen in the next couple of months, I have a feeling a Beauty & the Beast revival would do quite well in the near future.
Story: On the eve of her twenty-fifth birthday, Catherine, a troubled young woman, has spent years caring for her brilliant but unstable father, a famous mathematician. Now, following his death, she must deal with her own volatile emotions; the arrival of her estranged sister, Claire; and the attentions of Hal, a former student of her father's who hopes to find valuable work in the 103 notebooks that her father left behind. Over the long weekend that follows, a burgeoning romance and the discovery of a mysterious notebook draw Catherine into the most difficult problem of all: How much of her father's madness—or genius—will she inherit?
Reasoning: It's a great play, much better than the awful film version. With the right cast, this could be quite the revival.
Kiss of the Spider Woman
Story: Valetin, a revolutionary, and Molina, a homosexual, are cellmates in a Latin American prison, where Molina's fantasies about the actress Aurora are their only relief.
Reasoning: Call me crazy but I think a revival in 2018, with the right cast, could not only sell, but also be a Tony Award darling. The music is fantastic and allows its cast to really make it a performance. Certainly one of the better and most under- performed Kander & Ebb pieces.
Crimes of the Heart
Story: At the core of the tragic comedy are the three Magrath sisters, Meg, Babe, and Lenny, who reunite at Old Granddaddy's home in Hazlehurst, Mississippi after Babe shoots her abusive husband. The trio was raised in a dysfunctional family with a penchant for ugly predicaments. Each has endured her share of hardship and misery. Past resentments bubble to the surface as the sisters are forced to deal with assorted relatives and past relationships while coping with Babe's latest incident. Each sister is forced to face the consequences of the "crimes of the heart" she has committed.
Reasoning: It might be hard to believe that this beloved and very often performed piece, hasn't been seen on a Broadway stage since it closed in 1981. While an off-Broadway production ran in 2008, this Pulitzer Prize winner could be a hit with the right cast and venue.
What do you think of our choices? Any you think we missed?