Broadway's 2015-16 Season: Revived Classics and Bold New Works

2:34 PM 12/8/2015

by Ashley Lee

Lupita Nyong'o, Bruce Willis, Keira Knightley, Mark Strong and Jennifer Hudson make their Broadway debuts alongside premieres by Steve Martin and Sara Bareilles, beloved revivals like 'Fiddler on the Roof' and innovative new shows like 'Hamilton.'

THR Lea Salonga Phillipa Soo THR_LeaSalonga-PhillipaSoo_171_FINAL - H 2015
Jai Lennard

THR Lea Salonga Phillipa Soo THR_LeaSalonga-PhillipaSoo_171_FINAL - H 2015

Broadway's 2015-16 is one for the books for its widespread broadening of boundaries. Thanks to Lin-Manuel Miranda's instant phenomenon, Hamilton, Gloria Estefan's bio-musical On Your Feet! and the George Takei-inspired show Allegiance, the productions at audiences' fingertips feature casts more racially diverse than ever before. And the Spring Awakening revival is performed simultaneously in American Sign Language and spoken English by a cast with both hearing and non-hearing actors, while Waitress is the first-ever Broadway musical with an all-female creative team.

Amid beloved revivals, West End imports and movie adaptations, the current season features the Broadway debuts of Hollywood boldfaces like Bruce Willis, Mark Strong, Lupita Nyong'o, Keira Knightley, Clive Owen, Jennifer Hudson and Forest Whitaker, as well as new creative work from Steve Martin, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Julian Fellowes and Radiohead's Thom Yorke.

See below for the full season's offerings. And see here for the best Broadway shows of this season, as picked by The Hollywood Reporter.

Pictured above: Phillipa Soo of Hamilton and Lea Salonga of Allegiance.

  • 'Shuffle Along, Or, The Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed'

    Audra McDonald stars as 1920s performer Lottie Gee in this backstage historical tribute written and directed by George C. Wolfe and choreographed by tap virtuoso Savion Glover. The new jazz musical traces the path to unexpected success and the creative legacy of the 1921 African-American revue Shuffle Along, which was conceived by Flournoy Miller and Aubrey Lyles and featured music by Eubie Blake and Noble Sissle, four celebrated vaudeville performers who had met at a 1920 NAACP benefit. In addition to six-time Tony winner McDonald, the show stars Brian Stokes Mitchell, Billy Porter, Brandon Victor Dixon and Joshua Henry.

    Previews: March 14
    Opening: April 28

    Read the review

  • 'Long Day's Journey Into Night'

    Jessica Lange returns to Broadway in a revival of the 1956 Eugene O'Neill drama, which follows the Tyrone family and their battle to unearth and conceal a lifetime of secrets, drawing heavily on the playwright's personal history. The production is directed by Jonathan Kent, with Ryan Murphy on the creative team. Lange will reprise her role as Mary Tyrone, for which she was nominated for an Olivier Award in London's West End in 2000. Gabriel Byrne will play James Tyrone Sr., with John Gallagher Jr. and Michael Shannon as his sons, Edmond and James Jr.

    Previews: March 31
    Opening: April 27
    Closing: June 26

    Read the review

  • 'Tuck Everlasting'

    Directed by Casey Nicholaw, the new musical based on the popular 1975 novel by Natalie Babbitt follows Winnie Foster as she discovers the magical secret of the Tuck family and embarks on an extraordinary adventure that will change her life forever. The production — about love, family and living life to the fullest — features a book by Claudia Shear, music by Chris Miller and lyrics by Nathan Tysen. It jumps to Broadway after debuting in early 2015 in a record-breaking engagement at Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre.

    Previews: March 31
    Opening: April 26

    Read the review

  • 'Fully Committed'

    Modern Family's Jesse Tyler Ferguson stars in Becky Mode's one-man comedy about a harried staffer manning the reservations phone line for a red-hot New York restaurant. Directed by Jason Moore, the show has Ferguson taking on more than 40 different characters and will be updated to reflect the city's ever-evolving foodie and restaurant culture. The central role is reservations clerk Sam, who juggles his own needs with those of demanding bosses, megalomaniacal chefs and a constant stream of socialites, celebrities and suits, all angling to score a table.

    Previews: April 2
    Opening: April 25
    Closing: July 24

    Read the review

  • 'Waitress'

    The musical adaptation of the 2007 film — which starred Keri Russell as a pregnant, unhappily married diner server in the deep South who makes extraordinary pies — hits Broadway with Tony winner Jessie Mueller. Directed by Diane Paulus, it features music and lyrics by Sara Bareilles and a book by Jessie Nelson. It is also the first-ever Broadway musical with an all-female creative team.

    Previews: March 25
    Opening: April 24

    Read the review

  • 'American Psycho'

    Benjamin Walker stars as Patrick Bateman, the yuppie serial killer who is obsessed with material things as he slashes his way through Manhattan, in the musical based on Bret Easton Ellis' novel (which was also the source material for the 2000 film starring Christian Bale). Directed by Rupert Goold, the new show features a book by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and music by Duncan Sheik. It jumps to Broadway after a sold-out run in London.

    Previews: March 24
    Opening: April 21

    Read the review

  • 'The Father'

    Three-time Tony winner Frank Langella returns to Broadway in this new play written by Florian Zeller and translated by Christopher Hampton. The dark comedy goes inside the failing mind of Andre, a retired dancer living with his adult daughter and her husband. Doug Hughes directs the limited engagement.

    Previews: March 22
    Opening: April 14
    Closing: June 12

    Read the review

  • 'The Crucible'

    Ivo van Hove stages a new production of Arthur Miller's The Crucible, which is set during the Salem witch trials in the 1690s and features an original score by Philip Glass. The revival stars Ben Whishaw as John Proctor, Sophie Okonedo as Elizabeth Proctor, Saoirse Ronan as Abigail Williams, and Ciaran Hinds as Deputy-Governor Danforth. Bill Camp, Jim Norton, Tavi Gevinson and Jason Butler Harner are also among the cast of the limited run.

    Previews: Feb. 29
    Opening: March 31
    Closing: July 17

    Read the review

  • 'Bright Star'

    Inspired by a true event, Steve Martin's new musical follows successful literary editor Alice Murphy and an ambitious young World War II soldier who returns home to the South. Their connection inspires Alice to confront her past, and they discover a stunning secret with the power to transform their lives. Directed by Walter Bobbie, the show features a bluegrass score written with Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Edie Brickell. It was developed and had its world premiere at The Old Globe in San Diego in 2014, and comes to Broadway following a tryout at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

    Previews: Feb. 25
    Opening: March 24

    Read the review

  • 'She Loves Me'

    In Scott Ellis' limited-engagement revival of the beloved musical, Laura Benanti and Zachary Levi star alongside Jane Krakowski as quarreling perfume-counter clerks unaware that they are each other's anonymous romantic pen pals. Written by Joe Masteroff with songs by composer Sheldon Harnick and lyricist Jerry Bock, the show is based on the Hungarian play Parfumerie, which also yielded the movies The Shop Around the Corner and You've Got Mail.

    Previews: Feb. 19
    Opening: March 17
    Closing: July 10

    Read the review

  • 'Blackbird'

    Jeff Daniels and director Joe Mantello return to a tense drama that drew acclaim for them off-Broadway in 2007, when they reteam on a Broadway production of David Harrower's Blackbird. Michelle Williams co-stars in the Scottish playwright's unsettling two-hander, which explores the shadowy recesses of guilt and innocence, love and obsession, abandonment and betrayal through the shifting emotional negotiations of Una and Ray when she tracks him down 15 years after they had an illicit sexual relationship during which she was underage.

    Previews: Feb. 5
    Opening: March 10
    Closing: June 12

    Read the review

  • 'Disaster!'

    The musical spoof of Hollywood's guiltiest pleasures of the 1970s — among them The Poseidon Adventure, The Towering Inferno, Earthquake, The Swarm and the Airport movies — is set on board a floating New York casino and discotheque, and features a collection of rock, pop and disco hits from the '70s, including "Hot Stuff," "I Am Woman," "Knock on Wood" and "Daybreak." The production marks the Broadway return of Tony winner Roger Bart, who stars alongside fellow New York stage veterans Kerry Butler, Kevin Chamberlin, Adam Pascal, Faith Prince and Rachel York. Also featured are co-writer Seth Rudetsky, Jennifer Simard, Max Crumm and newcomer Lacretta Nicole.

    Previews: Feb. 9
    Opening: March 8
    Closing: July 3

    Read the review

  • 'Eclipsed'

    After a sold-out run at The Public Theater, this new play by Walking Dead star Danai Gurira — following a group of women caught by rebels fighting the corrupt Liberian government in 2003 — jumps to the Golden Theatre for a limited engagement. Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o will reprise her role in the Broadway transfer of the survival story, directed by Liesl Tommy.

    Previews: Feb. 23
    Opening: March 6
    Closing: June 19

    Read the review

  • 'Hughie'

    Forest Whitaker makes his Broadway debut as a drunken small-time hustler revisiting his glory days in Michael Grandage’s revival of Eugene O’Neill’s drama. Written in 1942 and first produced in 1958, the hour-long one-act is essentially a monologue set in a rundown West Side midtown Manhattan hotel in summer 1928. The character played by Whitaker, Erie Smith, laments the death of the hotel night clerk Hughie, regaling his successor (Tony winner Frank Wood) with tales of their shared past.

    Previews: Feb. 5
    Opening: Feb. 25
    Closing: March 27

    Read the review

  • 'The Humans'

    After a hit off-Broadway run, the critically acclaimed domestic drama by busy rising-star playwright Stephen Karam — directed by Joe Mantello, and starring Cassie Beck, Reed Birney, Jayne Houdyshell, Lauren Klein, Arian Moayed and Sarah Steele — jumps to Broadway, produced by Scott Rudin. Set during a Thanksgiving gathering of a Pennsylvania family at the Lower Manhattan apartment of their youngest daughter, The Humans brings humor and compassion to its observation of the anxieties of contemporary middle-class Americans.

    Previews: Jan. 23
    Opening: Feb. 18

    Read the review

  • 'Our Mother's Brief Affair'

    Linda Lavin returns to the New York stage in Richard Greenberg's play, directed by Lynne Meadow. A work that challenges us to reconsider what we know about our parents, the show concerns the grown children of a dying matriarch, struggling to separate fact from fiction in their mother's shocking account of an extramarital relationship from the past whose impact might extend beyond the family.

    Previews: Dec. 28
    Opening: Jan. 20
    Closing: March 6

    Read the review

  • 'Noises Off'

    A recent Tony winner for Pippin, Andrea Martin leads the ensemble in the limited engagement of Michael Frayn's backstage farce, directed by Jeremy Herrin. The comedy, which premiered on Broadway in 1983 and nabbed a Tony nomination for best play, follows a director and his actors hours before the opening night of their play Nothing On, during which they forget their lines and shake up their love triangles. The cast also includes Campbell Scott, Tracee Chimo, Daniel Davis, Megan Hilty and Jeremy Shamos.

    Previews: Dec. 17
    Opening: Jan. 14
    Closing: March 13

    Read the review

  • 'Fiddler on the Roof'

    The beloved show returns with five-time Tony nominee Danny Burstein as Tevye, the Russian-Jewish father of five daughters, struggling to keep hold of his family and faith during a time of persecution. Set in the fictional Russian shtetl of Anatevka in 1905, on the eve of revolution, the oft-revived musical has a book by Joseph Stein based on stories by Sholem Aleichem, with music by Jerry Bock and lyrics by Sheldon Harnick. Bartlett Sher directs the latest revival, which also stars Jessica Hecht.

    Previews: Nov. 20
    Opening: Dec. 20

    Read the review

  • 'The Color Purple'

    British newcomer Cynthia Erivo, Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson and Orange is the New Black fan favorite Danielle Brooks — all three making their Broadway debuts — head the cast of John Doyle's pared-down reappraisal of the 2005 musical, based on Alice Walker's Pulitzer-winning epistolary novel about the hardscrabble lives of black women in rural Georgia in the early decades of the 20th century. As with the show's 2005 Broadway premiere (which ran for a little over two years), Oprah Winfrey is on board as a producer of the staging, which starred Erivo and was met by rave reviews in London. Watch Erivo and Hudson sing the title song.

    Previews: Nov. 9
    Opening: Dec. 10

    Read the review

  • 'School of Rock — The Musical'

    The new musical is based on the hit 2003 film starring Jack Black, which followed a failed rock star who poses as a substitute teacher at a prestigious prep school and attempts to form a band out of his class. Directed by Laurence Connor, the show starring Alex Brightman and Sierra Boggess features tunes from the movie, as well as new music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, with lyrics by Glenn Slater, plus a book by Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes. The show brings Lloyd Webber back to the Winter Garden Theatre, where his 1980s monster hit Cats ran for 18 years.

    Previews: Nov. 9
    Opening: Dec. 6

    Read the review

  • 'China Doll'

    Al Pacino and playwright David Mamet reunite on a new play, written for the actor and directed by Pam MacKinnon. Mamet describes the two-hander at the Schoenfeld Theatre as "a play about a wealthy man, his young fiancé, and an airplane. The man has just bought a new plane as a wedding present for the girl. He intends to go into semiretirement, and enjoy himself. He's in the process of leaving his office, and is giving last-minute instructions to his young assistant [Christopher Denham]. He takes one last phone call." The playwright adds that his new work "is better than oral sex," but critics disagreed. The limited run's opening was delayed two weeks to find-tune the material and staging, after generating unfavorable buzz during previews.

    Previews: Oct. 21
    Opening: Dec. 4
    Closing: Jan. 31
  • 'Misery'

    Bruce Willis makes his Broadway debut in William Goldman's adaptation of Stephen King's suspense novel (from which Goldman also penned the screenplay for the 1990 Rob Reiner film). Willis plays the housebound romance novelist Paul Sheldon, who becomes a prisoner of his unhinged "Number One Fan" Annie Wilkes after she rescues him from a car accident and learns that he plans to kill off her favorite fictional character. Directed by Will Frears, the limited run of the new play also stars Laurie Metcalf as Annie, the role that won Kathy Bates an Oscar in the screen version.

    Previews: Oct. 22
    Opening: Nov. 15
    Closing: Feb. 14

    Read the review

  • 'A View From the Bridge'

    Mark Strong makes his Broadway debut by reprising the iconic role that won him an Olivier Award in London in this revival of the classic Arthur Miller drama, produced by Scott Rudin. In Belgian avant-garde director Ivo van Hove’s acclaimed staging, Strong plays Eddie Carbone, a Brooklyn longshoreman whose intense affection for his niece breaks moral and family codes. The limited engagement, which also features Russell Tovey, runs through Feb. 21 at the Lyceum Theatre.

    Previews: Oct. 21
    Opening: Nov. 12
    Closing: Feb. 21

    Read the review

  • 'Allegiance'

    George Takei is featured in this personal new musical, based on his real-life childhood, which tells the story of a family’s love, loss and heroism during World War II, when Japanese-Americans were relocated and interned in camps by order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. With a book by Marc Acito and music and lyrics by Jay Kuo, the Stafford Arima-directed production — also marking the Broadway return of Tony winner Lea Salonga after an eight-year absence — jumps to Broadway after making its world premiere in a record-breaking 2012 engagement at San Diego's Old Globe, but announced its 2016 closure after struggling to build audiences.

    Previews: Oct. 6
    Opening: Nov. 8
    Closing: Feb. 14

    Read the review

  • 'On Your Feet!'

    The new bio-musical is based on the life and music of the seven-time Grammy-winning Latin pop sensation Gloria Estefan and her husband, musician-producer-entrepreneur Emilio Estefan. Directed by Jerry Mitchell, the show stars Ana Villafane and Josh Segarra as the couple as they journey from Cuba to Miami and superstardom, generating a string of hits. It features memorable tracks like "Conga," "1-2-3," "Music of My Heart" and "Rhythm Is Gonna Get You."

    Previews: Oct. 5
    Opening: Nov. 5

    Read the review

  • 'King Charles III'

    Mike Bartlett's provocative contemplation of a shift in the monarchy jumps to Broadway after hit runs in the U.K. (plus the Olivier for best new play). Billed as a "future history play," the Rupert Goold-directed show is a Shakespearean homage written largely in blank verse, which begins with the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II and follows the anxious, long-delayed ascension to the throne of Prince Charles. Balancing drama with a witty strain of humor, it reflects on the uncertain role of monarchy in the 21st century and the unwritten rules of democracy, and stars Tim Pigott-Smith in the title role.

    Previews: Oct. 10
    Opening: Nov. 1
    Closing: Jan. 31

    Read the review

  • 'Therese Raquin'

    Keira Knightley — alongside Judith Light, Matt Ryan and Gabriel Ebert — stars in Helen Edmundson’s adaptation of the French classic, by Emile Zola. Directed by Evan Cabnet in a limited engagement, the play follows a bored woman trapped in a loveless marriage to her sickly, egocentric cousin. Her life is irrevocably changed when she enters into a torrid affair with a friend of her husband’s, which compels them to commit a violent crime that will prove as damaging to the perpetrators as it is to its victim. The 19th-century novel about adultery, madness and guilt caused a scandal when it was first published.

    Previews: Oct. 1
    Opening: Oct. 29
    Closing: Jan. 3

    Read the review

  • 'Sylvia'

    Annaleigh Ashford, a 2015 Tony winner for her role in You Can’t Take It With You and a regular on Showtime’s Masters of Sex, stars with Matthew Broderick, Julie White and Robert Sella in this revival of A.R. Gurney's 1995 play about midlife crisis and a life-altering dog. Daniel Sullivan directs the comedy revival.

    Previews: Oct. 2
    Opening: Oct. 27
    Closing: Jan. 3

    Read the review

  • 'Dames at Sea'

    The first Broadway production of the long-running 1968 musical hit celebrates the vintage movie-musical, with a book and lyrics by George Haimsohn and Robin Miller, and music by Jim Wise. Directed by Randy Skinner, the 1930s-set show follows starry-eyed Ruby as she steps off the bus from Utah and into a Broadway show just hours before learning that the theater is to be demolished. With the help of some friendly sailors, Ruby and her fellow cast hatch a plan to perform the show on a naval battleship. After nine weeks of struggling at the box office, the production set a closing date of Jan. 3.

    Previews: Sep. 24
    Opening: Oct. 22
    Closing: Jan. 3

    Read the review

  • 'The Gin Game'

    James Earl Jones and Cicely Tyson reunite onstage after nearly 50 years, thanks to Leonard Foglia's revival of D.L. Coburn’s Pulitzer-winning play. In the limited engagement, the veteran actors play Weller Martin and Fonsia Dorsey, who meet on the porch of their nursing home and strike up a friendship over a game of gin rummy. Though they bond over stories of their younger lives, Weller gets frustrated with Fonsia's winning streak, and conversations intensify as they expose each other’s failures, disappointments and insecurities.

    Previews: Sep. 23
    Opening: Oct. 14
    Closing: Jan. 10

    Read the review

  • 'Fool for Love'

    The first Broadway staging of the Sam Shepard-penned off-Broadway hit (directed on the screen by Robert Altman in 1985) stars Sam Rockwell and Tony winner Nina Arianda as a volatile pair of former romantic partners sifting through the rubble of their relationship in a motel on the edge of the Mojave Desert. Daniel Aukin directs the limited engagement.

    Previews: Sep. 15
    Opening: Oct. 8
    Closing: Dec. 13

    Read the review

  • 'Old Times'

    Clive Owen makes his Broadway debut in Harold Pinter's unsettling 1971 drama of murky reality and desire, staged for a limited run by Douglas Hodge. The play, also featuring Kelly Reilly and Eve Best and original music by Radiohead's Thom Yorke, revolves around a husband and wife preparing for the visit of her female roommate from 20 years earlier, whom the husband claims never to have met.

    Previews: Sep. 17
    Opening: Oct. 6
    Closing: Nov. 29

    Read the review

  • 'Spring Awakening'

    The rock musical by Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater returns to Broadway six years after its successful premiere run, thanks to an acclaimed staging by the L.A.-based Deaf West Theatre. Michael Arden directs the revival based on Frank Wedekind's 1891 German expressionist drama about adolescent unease, rebellion and sexuality. The limited engagement is performed simultaneously in American Sign Language and spoken English by a cast with both hearing and non-hearing actors.

    Previews: Sep. 8
    Opening: Sep. 27
    Closing: Jan. 24

    Read the review

  • 'Hamilton'

    Lin-Manuel Miranda's buzzy off-Broadway import follows the political and personal fortunes of Alexander Hamilton and his dealings with figures like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison as they forge an independent nation. Directed by Thomas Kail, it uses rap, hip-hop, R&B and pop balladry to translate late-18th-century American history into a vigorously contemporary, multi-cultural urban vernacular and also stars Phillipa Soo, Renee Elise Goldsberry and Jonathan Groff. After winning virtually every award for which it was eligible in its Public Theater debut, the game-changing musical is already a Tonys frontrunner, and its cast recording broke chart records in its debut.

    Previews: July 13
    Opening: Aug. 6

    Read the review

  • 'Amazing Grace'

    The new musical is based on the history behind the world’s most beloved hymn, following one man’s journey that led to become part of the abolitionist movement. Directed by Gabriel Barre, the show features music and lyrics by Christopher Smith, who co-wrote the book with Arthur Giron. Josh Young, a Tony nominee for the 2012 revival of Jesus Christ Superstar, heads the cast as the son of a British slave trader, torn between loyalty to his father and the more humanistic views of his childhood sweetheart. The box-office underperformer closed in October.

    Previews: June 25
    Opening: July 16
    Closing: Oct. 25

    Read the review

  • 'An Act of God'

    Joe Mantello directs the new comedy by 13-time Emmy winner David Javerbaum, a former head writer and executive producer on The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, and starring Jim Parsons as the Almighty. Flanked by two archangels (Christopher Fitzgerald and Tim Kazurinsky), he shares his insights on creation, mankind and an updated version of the Ten Commandments. The gates to heaven are open (to favorable reviews) through early August, as the show then jumps in 2016 to Los Angeles and San Francisco with Sean Hayes.

    Previews: May 7
    Opening: May 28
    Closing: Aug. 3

    Read the review