For 10 years, Theater League has been bringing Broadway to the Granada by bringing some of the best touring shows based on recent Broadway musical successes straight to State Street, typically for a two-night run on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. This anniversary season kicks off with one of the most beloved Broadway revivals of the decade, Douglas Carter Beane’s adaptation of the Rodgers and Hammerstein show Cinderella. Although Carter Beane—the screenwriter responsible for To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar—is a playwright and veteran Broadway musical book doctor known for his wit and sophistication, this adaptation of Cinderella is less about the jive and more about the star power of the lead, a role that was originated for this production by Laura Osnes in 2013. It rolls into the Granada on November 27, so expect that your holidays will be filled with dreams of socially conscious princes and heels that don’t hurt, even when they are made of glass.
The anniversary season continues in January with The Sound of Music, another classic musical that’s been given a facelift by some 21st-century Broadway surgeons. Less dependent on the importation of new songs from other shows than Beane’s Cinderella (just two, and they are songs that were dropped from the film rather than pilfered from other R&H productions), The Sound of Music benefits from an unbreakable, unmistakable, don’t-even-think-about-changing-it storyline that director Jack O’Brien wisely respects. In fact, the scenes that will be unfamiliar to those who have memorized the film represent a return to the original musical script, rather than a new take on the material.
What is likely to come across as totally fresh and fun is the choreography by Danny Mefford, the up-and-coming talent who choreographed last season’s runaway hit Dear Evan Hansen. Mefford knows what he is doing with a teen audience. At the end of their duet, little Liesl and her beau Rolf share a hot onstage kiss.
The rest of the season brings us into more recent times with Evita February 19-20, Legally Blonde April 8-10, and the indestructible, ever-relevant RENT on June 11. You could, and probably should, get to New York City at least once a year in order to be trampled by tourists in Times Square before and after liquidating your savings to see the latest Broadway shows, but in between trips to the City, it’s good to know that in our little town you can slip into the red velvet seats at the Granada and share in the spirit of old and new Broadway musicals with spunky national touring casts and the cream of the crop of recent Broadway productions.
For the Theater League’s upcoming shows, see granadasb.org.