Top 10 Musicals/Plays to See on Broadway This Fall

By Ryan Kane 19/Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
The 2015/2016 Broadway season is underway with shows ranging from captivating new musicals to stunning revivals, incredible adaptations of classic movies and novels, and shows that break through barriers expanding our understanding of the theatrical experience. With dozens of great new productions, Emertainment Monthly Stage Section has decided on the Top 10 Musicals/Plays you have to see this Fall!

10. On Your Feet!

Ana Villafañe in the new musical On Your Feet! Photo Credit: On Your Feet Musical
Ana Villafañe in the new musical On Your Feet! Photo Credit: On Your Feet Musical
On Your Feet! is a new bio-musical following the story of seven-time Grammy Award-winning singer Gloria Estefan (Ana Villafañe) and her husband, nineteen-time Grammy Award-winning music producer Emilio Estefan (Josh Segarra), as they battle to break through the threshold of the commercial music industry making their voice and vision heard. Highlighting Estefans family struggles, her tragic spinal injury, and her high-pressure life as a Cuban American singer, On Your Feet! features some of the most popular songs of the last few decades including:1-2-3, Get on Your Feet, and Conga. On Your Feet! is directed by two-time Tony Award winner Jerry Mitchell (Kinky Boots) with an original book by Academy Award winner Alexander Dinelaris (Birdman). Performances begin November 5 at the Marquis Theatre, so get ready to conga your way over to buy tickets soon.

9. Fiddler on the Roof

The poster for the 2015 revival of Fiddler on the Roof. Photo Credit: Playbill.com
The poster for the 2015 Broadway revival of Fiddler on the Roof. Photo Credit: Playbill.com
From the same team that brought back the brilliant and wildly successful revivals of South Pacific and The King and I comes a new and authentic take on this critically acclaimed ten-time Tony Award-winning show, opening at the Broadway Theatre on December 20. Fiddler on the Roof tells the heartwarming story of a poor milkman, Tevye (Danny Burstein), who learns to deal with the struggle between faith and family in turn-of-the-century czarist Russia. In an attempt to maintain religious and cultural traditions in the face of Imperial oppression, Tevye must turn to pride, faith, and love for guidance. With stunning choreography from acclaimed Israeli artist, Hofesh Schecter, and an accomplished and majestic orchestra, this production should be on the radar to possibly grab another Tony or two this year.

8. Thérèse Raquin

Judith Light and Keira Knightley in Thérèse Raquin. Photo Credit: Jenny Anderson/BroadwayWorld.com
Judith Light and Keira Knightley in Thérèse Raquin. Photo Credit: Jenny Anderson/ BroadwayWorld.com
Unhappily married to her first cousin, Camille (Gabriel Ebert), by force, Thérèse (Keira Knightley) finds herself lonely and lost until she enters into a torrid and passionate affair with Camilles close friend, Laurent (Matt Ryan). Thérèse and Laurent embark on a violent path of lust and betrayal, eventually climaxing to a scene of deception and destruction that tears the duo apart. Adapted by Helen Edmundson from Émile Zolas 1873 play, Thérèse Raquin explores the four human temperaments, or personality types, and the tragic result of the interactions between them. You do not want to miss this piece of pure, dramatic brilliance opening at Studio 54 on October 9.

7. Allegiance

The cast of Allegiance. Photo Credit: Broadway.com
The cast of Allegiance. Photo Credit: Broadway.com
Inspired by the personal experiences of George Takei, who stars as Sam Kimura, Allegiance follows the extraordinary journey of the Kimura family in their struggle against the imprisonment of Japanese Americans in post-Pearl Harbor America. Young Sam (Telly Leung) and his sister Kei (Lea Salonga) strive to save their family using love, optimism, and an unimaginable level of heroism when faced with severe levels of discrimination in California during World War II. While Kei joins resistance groups to fight for their familys rights, Sam enlists in the army to prove their familys loyalty. Their opposing allegiances risk tearing Sam and Kei apart, but in this beautiful new musical, the power of love brings them together to overcome adversity. Opening on November 8 at the Longacre Theatre, this star-studded cast breathes life into an often disregarded side of American history.

6. The Color Purple

The 2015 revival poster for The Color Purple. Photo Credit: The Color Purple
The 2015 Broadway revival poster for The Color Purple. Photo Credit: The Color Purple
Starring Oscar, Golden Globe and Grammy winner Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls) as Shug Avery, prestigious London actress Cynthia Erivo as Celie, and Orange is the New Black star Danielle Brooks as Sofia, this revival of Alice Walkers 1983 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name opens at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre on December 10. The Color Purple explores the life of African American women in the southern United States in the 1930s, emphasizing their low social standing. Celie, the protagonist, suffers incredible abuse and bigotry from every corner of her life, leaving her searching for companionship and love wherever she can. The original 2005 production got rave reviews, garnering eleven Tony nominations yet only one win (Best Actress for LaChanze). This profoundly moving production, rich with an uplifting score mixing jazz, gospel, and ragtime tunes into a harmonious masterpiece, is surely in the running for Tony wins this time around.

5. Sylvia

Matthew Broderick, Julie White and Annaleigh Ashford on the Broadway poster for Sylvia. Photo Credit: Sylvia
Matthew Broderick, Julie White and Annaleigh Ashford on the Broadway poster for Sylvia. Photo Credit: Sylvia
Who wouldnt want to see Annaleigh Ashford play a dog on Broadway? In Sylvia, a new Broadway play, Greg (Matthew Broderick) finds a dog named Sylvia (Annaleigh Ashford) in Central Park and they form a very special bond. Throughout the show, Sylvia and Gregs wife Kate (Julie White) do whatever it takes to see the others defeat. In this uproarious comedy, that is to be unleashed on Broadway in the Cort Theatre on October 27, a man must decide between the love of his wife and a mans best friend. This is definitely a must-see for theatre lovers (and dog lovers!) Sylvia is sure to be one of the best comedies of the 2015/2016 Broadway season, and it is only scheduled for a sixteen week limited time engagement, so theres no time to pawsand wait to go see this show!

4. Dames at Sea

Lesli Margherita, Eloise Kropp and Mara Davi in the Broadway production of Dames at Sea. Photo Credit: Nathan Johnson/TheaterMania
Lesli Margherita, Eloise Kropp and Mara Davi in the Broadway production of Dames at Sea. Photo Credit: Nathan Johnson/TheaterMania
Dames at Sea has everything that a typical 1930s-style musical would have: dazzling dances with elaborate tap combinations, spectacular songs with witty tunes that will be stuck in your head long after the show, and beautiful dames that captivate the audience. There is love at first sight, an inexperienced country girl saving the show, and a diva whom inevitably gets hurt and cant perform. However, this flashy musical differs from 42nd Street and other musicals of the time because it is a parody making fun of the flashy movie musicals of the 30s. Mara Davi stars as the small town girl, Joan, who must put up with the diva, Mona (Lesli Margherita) and the rest of the antics. Opening on October 22 in the Helen Hayes Theatre, Dames at Sea is sure to sweep your glooms away.

3. Hamilton

The cast of Hamilton. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus/Broadway.com
The cast of Hamilton. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus/Broadway.com
This break out hit, which opened in early August, is soaring to the top of box office charts, falling into third highest grossing Broadway show of the week, behind The Lion King and Wicked. In addition to writing the music, lyrics and book, Lin-Manuel Miranda stars as the ambitious Alexander Hamilton who seeks to leave his mark on the newly founded nation of America. Hamilton is an astonishing new musical exploration of a bastard orphans journey to esteemed war hero, powerful head of the US Treasury, and Washingtons right-hand man. Inspired by the book Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow, Hamilton tells an intelligent story of American history with a modern hip-hop musical twist. Hamilton features unique color-blind casting, telling the story of old, dead white men but using actors of color, and that makes the story more immediate and more accessible to a contemporary audience(Miranda). Hamilton is a major contender for the 2016 Tony Awards, so get on over and see this major hit at the Richard Rodgers Theatre as soon as you can.

2. School of Rock

Alex Brightman and the cast of School of Rock the Musical. Photo Credit: Timmy Blupe
Alex Brightman and the cast of School of Rock the Musical. Photo Credit: Timmy Blupe
Based on the famous Paramount Pictures film starring Jack Black, School of Rock follows wannabe rock star Dewey Finn (Alex Brightman), who resorts to being a substitute teacher at a prestigious prep school to earn some extra cash. After discovering his students musical talents, Dewey abandons the boring curriculum and forms a band of fifth graders to compete in the upcoming Battle of the Bands. In addition to all the original songs from the movie, School of Rock also has fourteen new songs composed by the incredible Andrew Lloyd Webber. Featuring Sierra Boggess as uptight Principal Rosalie Mullins and a full cast of 9-15 year old kids who play their own instruments live on stage, School of Rock premieres, with previews starting on November 9, at the Winter Garden Theatre, and it is sure to rock out with some Tony Awards this spring.

 1. Spring Awakening

Austin McKenzie and the cast of Spring Awakening. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus/Broadway.com
Austin McKenzie and the cast of Spring Awakening. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus/Broadway.com
By far, the most exciting show coming to Broadway this fall is Deaf West Theatres production of Spring Awakening, a brilliant revival of the 2007 eight-time Tony Award-winning musical. Spring Awakening boldly depicts the struggles of young people navigating the confusing, thrilling, and mysterious time of their sexual awakening in the repressive culture of late nineteenth-century Germany, centering around intelligent young student, Melchior (Austin McKenzie) and his complicated relationship with Wendla (Sandra Mae Frank/Katie Boeck), a beautiful girl on the verge of womanhood, and his troubled friend Moritz (Daniel Durant/Alex Boniello). This already revolutionary musical rises to new levels of intensity and intimacy by incorporating sign language into their choreography and featuring several deaf and hearing-impaired actors in the cast. According to the Internet Broadway Database, there have been as few as four productions in Broadway history that have featured American Sign Language as a central part of their production, making this show an extremely powerful piece of theatre regularly accessible to the deaf community and giving opportunities to deaf actors. This soul stirring, explosive, and incredibly touching production of Spring Awakening is a must-see, opening September 27 and running for an extremely limited, strict engagement of nineteen weeks only, closing on January 24.     

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