Which 2010s Shows Need a Revival in 2020s?
With the roaring twenties fast approaching, it's time to reflect on all the shows that made an impact on us over the last decade, and on what we would like to see on stage in the decade to come. The 2010s gave us some groundbreaking new shows - Hamilton, Hadestown, Waitress - incredible revivals - Oklahoma, The Color Purple, Pippin - and breakout stars - Ben Platt, Alex Brightman, Cynthia Erivo, just to name a few.
So many shows that graced the stage in the 2010s made a lasting impact on audiences. Let's take a look at what shows we'd like to see a revival of in the 2020s!
Women On The Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
Women on The Verge of a Nervous Breakdown is based on Pedro Almodóvar's acclaimed 1988 film. Set in Madrid in the 1980s, Women on the Verge takes place over 48 hours, and tells the messy, funny, and passionate story of an intertwining group of women, and their relationships with the men in their lives.
On paper, this show had everything going for it. Great source material, an amazing score by David Yazbek (Model Behavior is unquestionably one of the most original and hilarious musical theatre songs to come out of the 2010s) and an all-star cast: Patti LuPone, Laura Benanti, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Danny Burstein, Sherie Rene Scott, Justin Guarini, Nikka Graff Lanzarone, De'Adre Aziza and Mary Beth Peil. It seemed almost impossible that this show would not become wildly successful. And yet, despite its recipe for success, Women on the Verge suffered from poor reviews and closed only months after its opening in October of 2010.
There was so much potential to be had in a show like Women on the Verge, and it deserves another shot at success. This is a musical that follows women's stories, which is something that we need to be continually pushing more of and celebrating in the 2020s. Not only does this musical make women the focal point, but it also provides a fantastic opportunity to showcase the talent of Spanish, Latinx and Hispanic actors. There are so many elements of this show that should be celebrated, and it has a ton of potential to thrive on stage if taken on by the right cast and creative team.
Venus in Fur
Venus in Fur came to Broadway in 2012, and gave us an amusing, erotic, engrossing examination of the power dynamics between director and actress, man and woman and of sex in general. Venus in Fur also gave us an explosive Tony-winning performance by Nina Arianda.
There are so many reasons why this is a play that would have a welcome spot back on stage in the 2020s. The topics that this show dissects will never not be relevant, but they have even more of a place to be examined in our culture and our art now than when it was originally on stage. Gender roles, sexuality, blurred lines, appropriate behavior between directors and actresses... This show places power in the hands of a woman onstage, and it would be a great opportunity to see what a female director would do with this material in the 2020s.
Romeo and Juliet was last revived on Broadway in 2013 and starred Orlando Bloom and Condola Rashad. Romeo and Juliet is almost unarguably the most famous love story of all time, and people will generally always want to see this show in any of the various forms that the story is told in.
Romeo and Juliet has played out on stage classically, in modern dress... it truly is the source material that keeps on giving. Because of that, the base of the story provides so much to build off of. There are endless opportunities for a creative team to come in and bring something interesting to a 2020s audience. Diversity in casting is something we need when it comes to the classic stories. A gender-bending production of Romeo and Juliet would be fantastic. What about making the leads two women? Or two men? It would be great to see a creative team take a classic show and use it to create more opportunities to share the stories of people who are not often enough represented on stage.
A Raisin in the Sun is one of the greatest plays ever written, and as long as a Broadway stage exists, this show will always have a place on it. A Raisin in the Sun is especially topical and eternally moving, and seeing it brought back on stage in the 20s is something I can't imagine anyone objecting to.
The last time this play was seen on Broadway was the 2014 revival starring Denzel Washington. This play provides an opportunity for an ensemble of actors to sink their teeth into incredible material, and can also provide an opportunity for a huge star to showcase their chops (Denzel Washington for instance, or Sean Combs in the 2004 revival). I think that going back and revisiting this material would be both interesting and timely.
Cabaret originally opened on Broadway in 1966, and was revived in 1987, 1998 and 2014. There are plenty of shows from an earlier time that do not hold up against the backdrop of a modern audience, but with the story following the rise of Nazism in the 1930s Germany, the themes and storylines explored in Cabaret remain especially relevant today.
The book, the music, and the actors who have played the lead roles have stood the test of time has some of the most recognizable in musical theatre history. The role of the Emcee could provide the chance for a theater legend to jump in and bring a sense of gravitas to the role, or could potentially be an opportunity for someone newer on the scene to give a career-making performance. Either way, this material would resonate in a particularly poignant way in the 2020s under the right direction.
A ridiculously impressive procession of leading men took on the title role in the first Broadway production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch in 2014: Neil Patrick Harris, Andrew Rannells, John Cameron Mitchell, Darren Criss, and Taye Diggs. Hedwig and the Angry Inch has a legion of passionate fans, a electricity to its music, and explores gender identity and sexuality in a way that isn't shown enough on stage.
Bringing this musical back for the 2020s would be a great opportunity to put genderqueer or transgender actors in the leading roles. Representation for the LGBTQ community is something that needs to be pushed forward on stage in the 2020s, and Hedwig and The Angry Inch provides the perfect material to do that.
Fun Home, the 2015 musical adapted from Alison Bechdel's 2006 graphic memoir of the same name, was the the first Broadway musical with a lesbian protagonist, and featured a book, lyrics and music by a female writing team, Lisa Kron Jeanine Tesori. The musical won five Tony awards, including the award for Best Musical, and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.
Any musical featuring a lesbian protagonist, female writing team, and female stars, in addition to having such a deep impact on both audience and critics alike needs to be celebrated, and is something that is certainly going to resonate with theater audiences for years to come. This show did not have everlasting run on Broadway despite its accolades, and when the 2020s come around, audiences will certainly be ready for this modern classic to be brought back to the Broadway stage.
The 2016 Broadway production of Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 was one of the most spectacular stagings of a musical the Great White Way has ever seen, winning the Tony for Best Scenic Design and Best Lighting Design in a Musical. The score merged Russian Folk music with EDM, Indie Rock, and Classical, and featured star cast members during its run, including Josh Groban and Ingrid Michaelson.
Unfortunately, this shining light of a show came to a controversial end, resulting in the show closing much earlier than anticipated. Bringing this show back in the 2020s with conscientious casting choices would not only please the show's passionate fans, but give this special musical another shot at the lifespan that it could have had.
Paula Vogel's 2017, Tony-winning play Indecent, tells the story of the controversy surrounding the 1923 Yiddish play The God of Vengeance. The play explores religion, sexuality, immigration, censorship, and antisemitism. Indecent played on Broadway for only a few months, but was incredibly well-received.
This play was on Broadway only a few years ago, so a revival would most likely be in higher demand later in the 2020s, but it sparked such passionate reactions from audiences that it would be great to bring it back to the stage to see how it could be explored even further. The themes and topics discussed in this play remain, and are likely to remain, extremely relevant. It's rare that show covers so much ground in just one play, but Indecent cuts no corners in its emotional journey.
Bringing this beautiful play back in the 2020s and seeing how the material relates to the attitudes of society at that time would be an interesting thing to explore.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is one of the most talked-about plays in recent theatre history for good reason. The 2014 production lasted for two years on Broadway, and garnered six Tony nominations, winning five. The play, praised for its fantastic script, acting, and set and lighting design, follows Christopher Boone, a young boy who has an autism spectrum condition, as he tries to solve the mystery of the death of his neighbor's dog.
This play remains incredibly popular, playing in the West End and across the UK and US on tour. Bringing it back in the 2020s feels like a natural choice as the demand for it on stage is consistently so high. This show represents a great opportunity to tell a story from the point o view of someone with an autism spectrum condition, and cast an actor with an autism spectrum condition, which is something we don't see enough of on stage. Bringing this show back would be an opportunity to push more representation forward.
Which show from the 2010s do you think should be revived in the next decade?