As 2016 wraps up, the New York theater season is only at the halfway point, and spring 2017 (which for theater folks begins soon after New Years) is packed with enticing prospects on Broadway and off.
Early favorites to vie for best musical honors at the Tony Awards next June include Dear Evan Hansen and Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812. But a crop of promising new shows will join them in the spring to heat up the competition — chief among them is Groundhog Day, the new musical based on the Bill Murray screen comedy, from the superstar team behind Matilda. But there's also Come From Away, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Amelie, Anastasia and Bandstand.
While dramatic revivals are stacking up, assembling noteworthy casts, five American playwrights also are scheduled to make their Broadway debuts with new work. That includes Joshua Harmon's Significant Other, Lucas Hnath's A Doll's House, Part 2, Paula Vogel's Indecent, J.T. Rogers' Oslo and Lynn Nottage's Sweat.
Off-Broadway also will see new plays by gifted dramatists including Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Sarah Ruhl, Will Eno, Steven Levenson and Martina Majok.
Incoming musical revivals include the 1989 blockbuster Miss Saigon; Glenn Close returning to Sunset Boulevard, 22 years after winning a Tony for the role of faded screen star Norma Desmond; and Jake Gyllenhaal taking on the demanding dual lead role in Sunday in the Park With George, after scoring rave reviews this year in a concert staging of the Stephen Sondheim-James Lapine show.
That production and others seen in earlier stagings are excluded from the following highly selective sampling, which covers a dozen upcoming shows that whet the appetite for an exciting spring of theatergoing.