YOUR GUIDE: 2011 fall Broadway season

Bernadette Peters in 'Follies' — Photo courtesy of Joan Marcus

After a quiet summer that only saw openings from Manhattan Theater Club’s Master Class and the long-anticipated Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, the Rialto is ready to light up the lights with a slew of new plays and musicals.

Here’s your one-stop guide to all things Broadway. Be sure to check out our helpful hints on scoring cheap seats.

FOLLIES (in previews; opens Monday, Sept. 12; tickets on sale through Jan. 1)

The beloved musical from Stephen Sondheim and James Goldman transfers to the Great White Way after a successful run at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. Starring Broadway babies Bernadette Peters, Jan Maxwell, Danny Burstein and Ron Raines, expect this to be a tough ticket to purchase once reviews come in. Peters is apparently hooked on Sondheim. Her last major role was in the composer’s A Little Night Music. Maxwell is a New York stage goddess, someone who has never failed to thrill audiences.

Follies plays the Marquis Theatre on 46th Street, between Broadway and Eighth Avenue. Performances are Tuesday at 7 p.m.; Wednesday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.; Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m.; Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.; and Sunday at 3 p.m. Tickets range from $45-$125, with premium prices available. Student rush tickets are available for $37 on the day of the performance at the box office. Cash only. Two tickets per I.D. Click here for more information on Follies.

Hollywood Soapbox tip: This may be one of the few Broadway productions worth paying top dollar for a good orchestra seat. Seeing and hearing Peters sing in person is a theatrical rite of passage.

Frank Langella in 'Man and Boy' — Courtesy of Boneau Bryan Brown

MAN AND BOY (previews begin Friday, Sept. 9; opens Oct. 9; tickets on sale through Nov. 27)

This season, Roundabout Theatre Company will present a new production of Terence Rattigan’s Man and Boy, starring the inimitable Frank Langella. Much like Peters, catching Langella on a New York stage is a must. From A Man For All Seasons to Match to Dracula, the actor is a major Rialto draw and for good reason.

Man and Boy plays the American Airlines Theatre at 227 W. 42nd St., between 7th and 8th avenues. Performances are Tuesday-Saturday at 8 p.m., with 2 p.m. matinees on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. Tickets range from $67-$117. Hiptix for theatergoers aged 21-35 are available for every performance at the low price of $20 (typically Roundabout offers rear mezzanine seats to Hiptix members). Click here for more information on the program. Click here for more information on Man and Boy.

Hollywood Soapbox tip: If you plan on catching a few shows from Roundabout Theatre Company this season, consider purchasing one of the nonprofit’s subscription packages. You will be able to purchase tickets in advance and at a steep discount.

THE MOUNTAINTOP (previews begin Sept. 22; opens Oct. 13; tickets on sale through Jan. 15)

In one of the most anticipated productions of the fall, Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett will breathe life into Martin Luther King Jr.’s final hours in the Olivier-winning The Mountaintop. The two-hander, written by Katori Halll and directed by Kenny Leon, runs 90 minutes with no intermission, and much of the success of this one will rely on the strength of the performances.

The Mountaintop plays the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre at 242 W. 45th St., between Broadway and 8th Avenue. Performances are Tuesday at 7 p.m.; Wednesday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.; Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m.; Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.; and Sunday at 3 p.m. Tickets range from $76.50-$131.50, with premium tickets available up to $301.50. Click here for more information on The Mountaintop.

Hollywood Soapbox tip: The “Get More NYC” program offers two-for-one tickets during Broadway week, which runs Sept. 18-30. The Mountaintop is offering a select number of tickets from $39-$66.50. Click here for more information.

Steve Guttenberg, Marlo Thomas and Mark Linn-Baker star in 'Relatively Speaking' — Photo courtesy of Boneau Bryan Brown

RELATIVELY SPEAKING (previews begin Sept. 20; opens Oct. 20; tickets on sale through Jan. 15)

Woody Allen, Ethan Coen and Elaine May join forces to offer three one-act comedies to Broadway audiences. Coen’s previous theatrical efforts were staged by the Atlantic Theater Company, while Allen has been off the boards for some time. Film actor John Turturro directs the evening, which will feature performances by Steve Guttenberg, Lisa Emery, Marlo Thomas, Jason Kravits and Mark Linn-Baker

Relatively Speaking plays the Brooks Atkinson Theatre at 256 W. 47th St., between Broadway and 8th Avenue. Performances are Tuesday at 7 p.m. (8 p.m. in previews); Wednesday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.; Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m.; Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.; and Sunday at 3 p.m. Tickets range from $67-$127, with premium tickets available. Click here for more information on Relatively Speaking.

Hollywood Soapbox tip: Theatrical outings like this can either sing or fall flat. In Coen’s brief theatrical career, he knows both extremes. You’re bound to laugh; let’s see if these playwrights make us think.

CHINGLISH (previews begin Oct. 11; opens Oct. 27; tickets on sale through Feb. 20)

Following a sold-out run at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre, playwright David Harry Hwang’s Chinglish arrives on Broadway as one of several original plays willing to take a risk on the Rialto. The story doesn’t scream mega-hit, but neither did August: Osage County or Boeing Boeing. Chinglish tells the tale of an American businessman who tries to make inroads in China, but he soon finds that he’s getting lost in translation.

Chinglish plays the Longcare Theatre at 220 W. 48th St., between Broadway and 8th Avenue. Performances are Tuesday-Thursday at 7 p.m.; Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.; Wednesday and Saturday at 2 p.m.; and Sunday at 3 p.m. Tickets range from $31.50-$126.50, with premium tickets available up to $276.50. Click here for more information on Chinglish.

Hollywood Soapbox tip: Rear balcony seats for Chinglish only run $31.50 or $36.50. That’s a bargain, and the Longacre Theatre is fairly small.

OTHER DESERT CITIES (previews begin Oct. 12; opens Nov. 3; tickets on sale through Jan. 8)

Jon Robin Baitz’ stellar new play received glowing reviews earlier this year and went on to sell out every seat in its tiny off-Broadway venue. Lincoln Center Theater has smartly decided to bring the production to the Booth Theatre, and this should be a theatrical highlight of the season. The play is funny and intense, featuring several impressive performances. Although Linda Lavin and Elizabeth Marvel won’t join the team for the Broadway production, Stockard Channing, Stacy Keach and Thomas Sadoski welcome newcomers Rachel Griffiths (Six Feet Under) and Judith Light (Broadway’s Lombardi).

Other Desert Cities plays the Booth Theatre at 222 W. 45th St., between Broadway and 8th Avenue. Performances are Tuesday at 7 p.m.; Wednesday-Saturday at 8 p.m.; Wednesday and Saturday at 2 p.m.; and Sunday at 3 p.m. Tickets range from $61.50-$126.50. Click here for more information on Other Desert Cities.

Hollywood Soapbox tip: If you’re aged 21-35, take advantage of Lincoln Center Theater’s new Linc Tix program. Tickets are amazingly low: $30. Click here for more information.

GODSPELL (previews begin Oct. 13; opens Nov. 7; tickets on sale through Sept. 2, 2012)

Prepare ye for a revival that has taken years to get off the ground. Stephen Schwartz’ beloved musical, Godspell, comes back to Broadway in a major revival. It should be interesting to experience the classic show in the theater-in-the-round setting of Circle in the Square. Fans of the musical have been waiting a long time for this; the production was announced for a previous Broadway season, but was taken off the boards a few weeks before performances began.

Godspell plays the Circle in the Square at 1633 Broadway, between Broadway and 8th Avenue. Performances are Tuesday-Saturday at 8 p.m.; Saturday at 2:30 p.m.; and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. After opening, performances are Tuesday at 7 p.m.; Wednesday at 2 p.m.; Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m.; Saturday at 2:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.; and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $125-$155, with premium tickets available for $199. Click here for more information on Godspell.

Hollywood Soapbox tip: The Circle in the Square is an unusual theater. During a production, your seat can be great one second and then horrible the next. It all depends on how the show is staged. It’s probably better to get seats in the center middle section (that’s a safe bet).

Nina Arianda in 'Venus in Fur' — Photo courtesy of Joan Marcus

VENUS IN FUR (previews begin Oct. 13; opens Nov. 8; tickets on sale through Dec. 18)

Recent Tony nominee and critical darling Nina Arianda reprises the role that her put her on the map. In Venus in Fur, the young actress plays, you guessed it, a young actress. Truthfully, David Ives’ witty two-hander, which will also star Hugh Dancy, is a smart, sexy love letter to live performance. Arianda will likely commandeer the stage, much as she did at the Classic Stage Company, where Venus originated. This time, it’s a production of the Manhattan Theatre Club.

Venus in Fur plays the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre at 261 W. 47th St., between Broadway and 8th Avenue. Performances are Tuesday at 7 p.m.; Wednesday-Saturday at 8 p.m.; Saturday at 2 pm.; and Sunday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. After opening, performances run Tuesday at 7 p.m.; Wednesday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.; Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m.; Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.; and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $57-$116. Click here for more information on Venus in Fur.

Hollywood Soapbox tip: For patrons 30 years and under, check out Manhattan Theatre Club’s 30Under30 program. You get to purchase $30 tickets over the Internet, in person or by phone. No more hanging out in long rush lines. Click here for more information.

Kim Cattrall in 'Private Lives' — Photo courtesy of Nobby Clark

PRIVATE LIVES (previews begin Nov. 6; opens Nov. 17; tickets on sale through Feb. 5)

Paul Gross and Kim Cattrall (Sex and the City) will bring Noel Coward’s beloved comedy classic to the Music Box this fall. The production was a hit in London and looks to repeat it success on the Great White Way. It’ll take a gargantuan effort to erase memories of Alan Rickman and Lindsay Duncan’s Private Lives from a few years ago.

Private Lives plays the Music Box Theatre at 239 W. 45th St., between Broadway and 8th Avenue. Performances are Tuesday at 7 p.m.; Wednesday-Saturday at 8 p.m.; Wednesday and Saturday at 2 pm.; and Sunday at 3 p.m. Tickets are $46.50-$136.50, with premium prices up to $251.50. Click here for more information on Private Lives.

Hollywood Soapbox tip: The Music Box is a small theater with good sight-lines. You can go with the cheap seats if you’re looking for a bargain.

SEMINAR (previews begin Oct. 27; opens Nov. 20; tickets on sale through March 4)

Alan Rickman, who recently appeared at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in John Gabriel Borkman, will play a writing coach in Theresa Rebeck’s new play, Seminar. Note to seasoned theatergoers: “It” director Sam Gold is involved in the production, so this could be one of the finer plays on Broadway.

Seminar plays the Golden Theatre at 252 W. 45th St., between Broadway and 8th Avenue. Performances are Tuesday-Saturday at 8 p.m.; Wednesday and Saturday at 2 p.m.; and Sunday at 3 p.m. After opening, performances are Tuesday-Thursday at 7 p.m.; Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.; Wednesday and Saturday at 2 p.m.; and Sunday at 3 p.m. Tickets are $51.50-$136.50, with premium prices up to $199.50. Click here for more information on Seminar.

Hollywood Soapbox tip: Like the Music Box, the Golden is a small house. Cheap seats should be just fine.

Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin — Photo courtesy of Brigitte Lacombe

AN EVENING WITH PATTI LUPONE AND MANDY PATINKIN (previews begin Nov. 11; opens Nov. 21; tickets on sale through Jan. 13)

The title says it all. Expect grand voices and memories from Evita.

An Evening… plays the Barrymore Theatre at 243 W. 47th St., between Broadway and 8th Avenue. Performance and ticket information has not been released yet. Click here for more information on An Evening…

Hollywood Soapbox tip: This one is as safe a bet as you can get this season.

BONNIE AND CLYDE (previews begin Nov. 4; opens Dec. 1; tickets on sale through June 9)

There aren’t too many musicals premiering this fall, so Bonnie and Clyde looks to grab much of the attention. The classic tale stars Laura Osnes, Jeremy Jordan and Claybourne Elder.

Bonnie and Clyde plays the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre at 236 W. 45th St., between Broadway and 8th Avenue. Performances are Tuesday-Friday at 8 p.m.; Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.; and Sunday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. After opening, performances are Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.; Wednesday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; Thursday at 7:30 p.m.; Friday at 8 p.m.; Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.; and Sunday at 3 p.m. Tickets are $66.50-$136.50, with premium prices up to $226.50. Click here for more information on Bonnie and Clyde.

Hollywood Soapbox tip: Bonnie and Clyde features music by Frank Wildhorn, who has to make up for Wonderland, one of the theatrical victims of the spring season. Early word on Bonnie and Clyde is much better, so this may be a breakout hit.

Alicia Keys is a producer of 'Stick Fly' — Photo courtesy of Boneau Bryan Brown

STICK FLY (previews begin Nov. 18; opens Dec. 8; tickets on sale through Jan. 29)

Stick Fly, written by Lydia R. Diamond and directed by Kenny Leon, is another play looking to keep its head above the water in the crowded fall season. This one, presented by Alicia Keys, will likely leave an impression. It features performances by Dulé Hill, Mekhi Phifer, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Condola Rashad and Tracie Thoms. Family drama-comedies play well on the Rialto, so this offering could strike a chord with audiences.

Stick Fly plays the Cort Theatre at 138 W. 48th St., between 6th and 7th avenues. Performances are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m.; Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.; and Sunday at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. After opening, performances are Monday, Tuesday and Thursday at 7 p.m.; Friday at 8 p.m.; Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.; and Sunday at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.. Tickets are $35-$131.50, with premium prices up to $251.50. Click here for more information on Stick Fly.

Hollywood Soapbox tip: Stick Fly is offering a chance for audience members to win tickets to the star-studded opening night performance. Click here for more information.

ON A CLEAR DAY YOU CAN SEE FOREVER (previews begin Nov. 12; opens Dec. 11; tickets on sale through July 8)

The last time Harry Connick Jr. played Broadway it was for his sold-out concerts at the Neil Simon Theatre. Before that, it was for his sold-out performance in The Pajama Game. Do you see a rhythm here? If On a Clear Day You Can See Forever receives good reviews, tickets will likely fly.

On a Clear Day You Can See Forever plays the St. James Theatre at 246 W. 44th St., between Broadway and 8th Avenue. Performances are Tuesday-Friday at 8 p.m.; Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.; Sunday at 3 p.m. After opening, performances are Wednesday-Saturday at 8 p.m.; Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m.; and Sunday at 7 p.m. Tickets are $54-$157, with premium prices up to $302. Click here for more information on On a Clear Day You Can See Forever.

Hollywood Soapbox tip: Of any new show, this one has the promise of being a big, big hit. The fall season is oddly (or thankfully?) void of enormous musicals with uber-star power. This one has the chance to play for a long time.

The cast of 'Lysistrata Jones' - Photo courtesy of Carol Rosegg

LYSISTRATA JONES (previews begin Nov. 12; opens Dec. 14; tickets on sale through July 8)

From a basketball court to the lights of Broadway. Douglas Carter Beane and Lewis Finn’s new musical is a modern-day take on the Greek classic. For this interpretation, we follow the Athens University basketball team and the decision of the squad’s girlfriends to stop “giving it up.” Expect laughs.

Lysistrata Jones plays the Walter Kerr Theatre at 219 W. 48th St., between Broadway and 8th Avenue. Performances are Monday-Saturday at 8 p.m., and Wednesday and Saturday at 2 p.m. After opening, performances are Tuesday at 7 p.m.; Wednesday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.; Thursday at 7 p.m.; Friday at 8 p.m.; Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.; and Sunday at 3 p.m. Tickets are $97-$147, with premium prices up to $199. Click here for more information on Lysistrata Jones.

Hollywood Soapbox tip: Oddly, Telecharge.com is not selling tickets to the Kerr’s balcony. Audience members will miss out on a chance for cheap seats, but that may be a good thing. The Kerr’s balcony is notoriously known as the “Worst Balcony on Broadway.”

THE GERSHWINS’ PORGY AND BESS (previews begin Dec. 17; opens Jan. 12; tickets on sale through July 8)

Although Stephen Sondheim may not be in the audience (read more here), many theatergoers are excited to see Audra McDonald, David Alan Grier and Norm Lewis in this revamped classic.

The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess plays the Richard Rodgers Theatre at 226 W. 46th St., between Broadway and 8th Avenue. Performances are Tuesday-Saturday at 8 p.m.; Wednesday and Saturday at 2 p.m.; and Sunday at 3 p.m. (Tuesdays shift to 7 p.m. after opening). Tickets are $70-$145. Click here for more information on The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess.

Hollywood Soapbox tip: Do yourself a favor and check out the original source material. Then make your own decision whether the “updating” by director Diane Paulus and playwright Suzi-Lori Parks is warranted.

•••

What are you most excited for? Leave your comments below.

By John Soltes / Publisher / John@HollywoodSoapbox.com

John Soltes

John Soltes is an award-winning journalist. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Earth Island Journal, The Hollywood Reporter, New Jersey Monthly and at Time.com, among other publications.

E-mail him at john@hollywoodsoapbox.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *