Curtains Up, Curtains Down: The Upcoming Months to Bring Changes to Broadway￼￼
As the slow winter season comes to a close, theater-goers are both mourning the loss of beloved shows while also preparing for new, star-studded shows arriving on Broadway.
In 2022, perhaps the most tragic closing was Dear Evan Hansen, which had been running for six years. The show toured around the country that year as well, even coming to the Providence Performing Arts Center (PPAC).
In only the last few weeks, however, fans have seen the closings of favorite shows, such as A Strange Loop (Jan. 15), Into the Woods (Jan. 8), and The Music Man (Jan. 15).
Beetlejuice, the musical based on the 1988 movie by the same name, has also closed (Jan. 8) after a four-year run with nearly 700 performances. However, this is not the first time the musical has made a trip to the “Netherworld;” it has undergone many changes since its 2019 opening. In March of 2020, it closed at the Winter Garden Theater along with the rest of Broadway. While fans thought the show was gone for good, it reopened with most of the original cast at the Marriott Marquis Theater at the beginning of last year. Now, it is on a national tour, and will be at PPAC in late April.
Another Broadway staple that is set to close is Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera. The show came to New York from London in 1988 and has been there ever since, racking up around 14,000 performances. It is now the longest running Broadway show of all time. Though the closing was pushed later, its run will end in April of this year.
On a brighter note, theater lovers have much to celebrate. This past week, the show Moulin Rouge has been the highlight of Broadway, since Aaron Tveit returned to his lead role as Christian. He is taking over for Derek Klena from now until April. TikTok and Instagram have been overtaken by audience members posting videos of his famous opt-up on the last note of “El Tango de Roxanne.”
In other news, the revival of Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd is set to start previews in February. It has been on and off of Broadway since 1979, going on tours and having a movie adaptation made in 2007. The 2023 cast is full of stars, and is sure to amaze. The title role will be played by famous singer Josh Groban, and Tony award winner Annaleigh Ashford will be Mrs. Lovett. Other notable cast members are Jordan Fisher (Disney and Netflix star) and Stranger Things’ Gaten Matarazzo.
Although several popular shows are coming to an end, there will be many opportunities for fans to see both new shows and revivals of classics. As the busy spring season approaches, we can hope that Broadway will bring exciting offerings to replace fan favorites.
The Angel of Music Sings No More
Phantom of the Opera Leaves Broadway After its 35-year Run
“Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again”, will truly be more than a tearful moving ballad in the coming months as The Phantom of the Opera leaves Broadway after its 35-year run. Arguably, few productions barely come close to the divine nature of The Phantom of the Opera or can claim they have shaped the atmosphere of Broadway and New York City since the 1980s. Unfortunately, the Broadway production revealed the date for its closing act to be February 18th, 2023, after disclosing to the public that audience numbers have not been matching the seats they expected to fill after reopening with the rest of Broadway after the COVID-19 pandemic. However, The Phantom of the Opera is not the only large-scale show leaving Broadway this coming 2023 winter with, Beetlejuice, Dear Evan Hansen, and Into the Woods all following Phantom’s lead.
The opera has beguiled fans with its opulent orchestra numbers and stunning stage designs. It is impossible to forget the first time you witness the overture’s crescendo transforming the decrepit chandelier back in time to the golden age of the French opera. Additionally, there remains to be a three-decade-old tradition of many viewers of the drama, overlooking the murderous tendencies of the Phantom and ultimately rooting for him to woo Christine Daaé, rather than Raoul, who despite being a well-balanced match for the elegant singer, is usually seen as a duller character. I guess toxic tendencies for relationship choices do not skip generations.
Needless to say, I am unwell with the arrival of this news. It’s odd for an eight-year-old to fall so deeply in love with a Broadway show, it’s even weirder that this eight-year-old saw this in Las Vegas. Alas, I was past the “Point of No Return.” However, I have some good news for those who were not mentally prepared for this announcement. Although it does not exhibit the same exuberance, The Phantom of the Opera movie starring Gerald Butler and Shameless lead Emmy Rossum the movie satisfies the musical lover with its extravagant costume design and unique portrayal of the Phantom portrayed by Butler. The movie dives further into the world of the French theater and builds new set designs that simply cannot be displayed on Broadway’s stage. Though it may not have the transformative directing newer productions have exhibited over the world, the 2004 film will forever be one of the most unique Broadway production adaptations.
Be that as it may, there is no doubt in my mind that this is not the last we have seen of the infamous Phantom! Although the North America tour dates have yet to be revealed, I would imagine they will not be long after the Broadway production’s closing. And if that is not enough to lift your spirits, Cats, another Andrew Lloyd Webber show, left Broadway in the year 2000, only to return to the New York City stage in 2016. If Cats can return to Broadway, any show can. During this intermission, we must “Learn to be lonely. Life can be lived, life can be loved alone.”
Dear Providence College
Dear Providence College,
Today is Going to be a Good Day, and Here’s Why…
Grace Whitman ’22
Trigger Warning: This article contains mention of suicide.
Broadway is back, and the Providence Performing Arts Center is up and running with a long list of hit musicals slated to run at the venue this year.
PC students recently had the opportunity to see one of these shows for themselves. On Wednesday, April 6, the Board of Programmers scheduled a trip to PPAC, located in downtown Providence, for a performance of the six-time Tony award-winning musical Dear Evan Hansen.
The show follows Evan Hansen, a high schooler with severe anxiety, and his journey of self-discovery and self-acceptance after his classmate Connor Murphy commits suicide. The show does a great job of sharing how social media affects young adults’ mental health, an issue that has become increasingly dire since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The national tour of Dear Evan Hansen boasts a cast with impressive resumes. Stephen Christopher Anthony, who plays the titular character, has had a long career on Broadway. He started out as a cast member of the Book of Mormon in New York, performing in the ensemble and as the understudy for Elder McKinley. In 2018, he became the understudy for Evan Hansen. He soon took over the role full-time on the Dear Evan Hansen national tour. Moreover, Stephanie La Rochelle, who plays Zoe Murphy in the show, appeared in the original Canadian production before joining this tour.
In addition to the actors, the show’s set contributes to the magic of Dear Evan Hansen. At the PPAC performance, hanging projection screens of scrolling social media feeds illuminated a bare stage with few set pieces. With much of the show consisting of characters speaking to one another online, this setup made the actors look like holograms coming out of cell phones, creating an uncanny, innovative effect.
For those who were not able to make it to PPAC for Dear Evan Hansen but are yearning to enjoy live theatre after the pandemic, the Lincoln Center Theater production of My Fair Lady will be at PPAC from May 11 to May 15. This will be the last show at the theater before the end of PC’s spring semester. However, for those who live in the Providence area or are willing to make the trip, more exciting shows are coming to PPAC later in the year: Jersey Boys on June 2 and 3, Mean Girls from Oct. 4 to Oct. 9, and Les Misérables from Nov. 15 to Nov. 20. Additionally, some shows have already been announced for the spring of 2023, including Jagged Little Pill, Hadestown, and Beetlejuice.
BOP regularly provides discounted PPAC tickets to PC students. Aside from the Dear Evan Hansen trip, they have sponsored outings to shows like Aladdin and The Phantom of the Opera. Notably, however, PPAC also provides student rush tickets. These tickets are available at the Box Office window two hours prior to curtain time and are 50 percent off the regular price with a student ID. Either way, there are sure to be many opportunities for PC students to enjoy live theatre in the near future.