Broadway Brings the Fall Season

It almost seems late in the game for megastar Cher to get her own name up on a Broadway marquee, but better late than never. Granted, the 72-year-old Cherilyn Sarkisian won’t be performing a la Bruce Springsteen (in fact, three different actresses will play her at different stages of her life), but her story will be told by the creators of Avenue Q and Jersey Boys in The Cher Show, opening Dec. 3 at the Neil Simon Theater.

Related Content
Miller, Monroe & Kazan at Bay Street Theater

A superstar from a prior century will also get her due, courtesy of playwright Theresa Rebeck and actress Janet McTeer. They’re teaming on the new drama, Bernhardt/Hamlet, which looks at international stage icon Sarah Bernhardt, already in her fifties, making the gutsy decision to play the Prince of Denmark. Moritz von Stuelpnagel (ah, that name!), who staged the wild farce Hand to God, directs at the American Airlines Theater.

Moving to a lower stratum of society, Richard Bean, of One Man, Two Guvnors renown, has penned a zany new comedy about a billiards champion who gets mixed up with gangsters. Manhattan Theater Club opens The Nap at its Samuel J. Friedman Theater on Sept. 27.

On a hot streak for his Oscar-winning Manchester by the Sea screenplay and last season’s lauded Lobby Hero, Kenneth Lonergan returns to Broadway with a revival of his Pulitzer-nominated 1999 drama, The Waverly Gallery, opening Oct. 25 at the John Golden Theater. Lucas Hedges, who notched his own Oscar nomination as the troubled teen in Manchester, stars alongside Michael Cera and 86-year-old Elaine May, who plays a feisty, left-wing grandmother battling Alzheimer’s.

Although Broadway’s fall season isn’t exactly brimming with new musicals—or at least shows with new music—hopes are high for The Prom, a nutty tuner from the creators of Aladdin and The Drowsy Chaperone. When the show tried out in Atlanta in 2016, local critic Collin Kelley wrote that despite its “creaky plot,” The Prom is lovable for “its big heart and its great dancing and catchy music and lyrics.” New Yorkers can see for themselves when it opens at the Cort Theater Nov. 15.

Locals already saw Torch Song, Harvey Fierstein’s somewhat revised reworking of his landmark gay play, Torch Song Trilogy, when it ran at off-Broadway’s Second Stage last year. The comedy-drama—which still comprises three stages in the life, loves and mama drama of a drag queen—moves uptown to the Second Stage Theater Nov. 1. Moving with it are stars Michael Urie and Lost in Yonkers Tony winner Mercedes Ruehl.   

Speaking of Tony statuettes, Cherry Jones already has two of them (for Doubt and The Heiress), with Broadway beckoning once more. She’ll co-star with Daniel Radcliffe and Bobby Cannavale in Lifespan of a Fact, a drama about the perils of journalistic diligence that opens Oct. 18 at Studio 54. Scandal star Kerry Washington also returns to Broadway, Nov. 4, in the racially charged American Son where she plays a worried mother asking for police assistance.

Finally, we can’t leave Broadway’s fall season without acknowledging the (actual) 800-pound gorilla in the room. The long-awaited, epic-sized King Kong climbs into the Broadway Theater Nov. 8. It’s easy to be skeptical about this behemoth of a production that has eyed Broadway since 2008—and wound up opening first in Australia—but book writer Jack Thorne’s last project was a little show called Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, so his chimp could very well be a champ.