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Student Blog: Another Opening of Another April Show

For those who have not been able to witness these new productions yet, here is a quick recap of Broadway’s April 2022 openings.

Student Blog: Another Opening of Another April Show

As the temperatures rise, the flowers bloom, and the days grow longer, we look forward to several exciting events that come with the beginning of Spring. In the case of the theatre community, theatre practitioners and fans are thrilled with the vast array of shows that are beginning their run on Broadway. Both theatre enthusiasts and critics alike flock to the new shows, hoping to view an exciting production they will always remember. In turn, the actors, crew and creatives involved with these shows work tirelessly to open a production that will engage audiences and give themselves a sense of accomplishment. Although no shows opened during the Spring of 2021 due to the pandemic, April has already demonstrated that Broadway is back again with the opening of ten new productions! For those who have not been able to witness these productions yet, here is a quick recap of Broadway's April 2022 openings.

For fans of musicals, April was a sensational month with three new musicals and a revival of a musical gracing the Broadway stage. At the beginning of April, Paradise Square began its run, conveying the story of patrons of an 1863 saloon in the Five Points slum of Lower Manhattan. With a large, talented cast that includes Joaquina Kalukango and Chilina Kennedy, and energetic choreography, Paradise Square explores what it means to be American as a Black woman, an Irish-Catholic, a Black minister, a newly arrived Irish immigrant, a struggling songwriter, and an anti-abolitionist grapple with the tumultuous Civil War within the confines of the saloon. On April 11, a stage adaptation of The Little Prince, based on the book of the same name, opened. Featuring aerial acrobatics, video mapping technology, and unique staging, the production portrays the abstract tale of a prince who visits various planets and addresses themes of friendship, love and loss along the way. Despite its recent opening, the production is closing early on May 8, so make sure to see it soon. Another new musical that opened this past Sunday was the highly anticipated first revival of Funny Girl, the 1964 musical that catapulted Barbara Streisand to fame. Led by an all-star cast that includes Beanie Feldstein, Ramin Karimloo, Jared Grimes, and Jane Lynch, audiences have appreciated this lavish revival that displays the rise of American comedianne and singer Fanny Brice's fame with its soaring score of classic tunes, such as "Don't Rain on My Parade" and "People." Later this past week, Billy Crystal returned to Broadway in Mr. Saturday Night. This new musical is based on the 1992 film of the same name, which portrays a stand-up comedian's attempt to regain fame and a relationship with his estranged family. In addition to Billy Crystal, audiences and critics have enjoyed seeing Broadway stars Randy Graff and Shoshana Bean return to Broadway with Jason Robert Brown's latest score.

Along with the four musicals opening this month, six revivals of Broadway plays returned to the stage. Early in April, the revival of the comedy-drama by Richard Greenberg, Take Me Out, opened at the Helen Hayes Theater. The play centers around the events that follow the coming out of a gay baseball player. This critics' pick is sure to satisfy audiences, especially with a cast led by Jesse Williams, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and Patrick J. Adams. On April 14, David Mamet's famous play, American Buffalo, opened, starring Laurence Fishburne, Sam Rockwell, and Darren Criss. This production takes place in the round with audiences sitting on all four sides of the stage, watching the plight of a junk shop owner who schemes to retrieve a valuable coin he sold for less than its true worth. The following week, Paula Vogel's Pulitzer-winning play, How I Learned to Drive opened, introducing a new audience to the powerful story of a woman coming to terms with the abusive relationship she endured with her Uncle, one that heavily impacted the trajectory of her life. Starring Mary-Louise Parker and David Morse, this is another must-see play. Opening the next night, April 20th, was Ntozake Shange's revolutionary play, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow is Enuf. Shange's joyous play, directed and choreographed by Camille Brown, uses poetry, song, and movement to tell the stories of seven women of color. This past Tuesday, Thornton Wilder's 1943 Pulitzer-winning play, The Skin of Our Teeth, opened at the Vivian Beaumont Theater. In this postmodern avant-garde play, helmed by Lileana Blain-Cruz, audiences experience the enduring human spirit of a family that lives through an Ice Age, a biblical flood and a war. Finally, last night, Shakespeare's world-famous tragedy, Macbeth, returned to Broadway with U.K. film stars Daniel Craig as Macbeth and Ruth Negga as Lady Macbeth. In this minimalistic production directed by Sam Gold, audiences experience the famous tale of a Scottish general whose ambition overwhelms him when he receives a prophecy from three witches who foretell that he will become king of Scotland.

Despite the difficult events of the past two years, it is wonderful to see so many new Broadway shows, several of which were supposed to open in 2020, finally grace the New York stage. These productions, with their talented casts, crews and creative teams, have worked diligently to overcome seemingly insurmountable odds, mounting a new production during a pandemic. The ten aforementioned successful openings this month provide hope that this Spring Broadway will continue to demonstrate theatre's ability to thrive during any era, bringing joy and an escape to excited audiences at last.

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From This Author - Student Blogger: Emily Pugh