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The 5 Musicals You Should Watch Out for in 2018

Whether you’re a dyed-in-the-wool theatre kid or have never seen a Broadway show, you’re in luck in New York City. NYC is the global epicenter for this distinctly American art form, and has so much happening at any given time that there’s bound to be something for everybody. While the word “Broadway” conjures up images of bright lights, sequins, and jazz hands, there’s also a whole lot more to it, especially in the last few years (look no further than Hamilton, the steeped-in-hip-hop-American-history hit).

In any given Broadway season, there will be a slew of brassy revivals, pairing seasoned stars with favorite works (Hello, Dolly! currently stars ageless diva Bernadette Peters), as well as new works and adaptations (Mean Girls is now a musical, with music written by Tina Fey’s composer husband Jeff Richmond), and innovative new pieces (In Transit, an original a cappella work written for the stage).

Here are five hot musicals of all varieties that might tickle your fancy this year:

Frozen

St. James Theatre, currently running

In case you’d finally gotten award-winning composers Bobby Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez’s 2014 score out of your head, Disney’s newest live theatrical experience features your favorites along with a bunch of new tunes.

What’s especially exciting about this production is the pairing of newly-minted stars Caissie Levy (Les Miserables) and Patti Murin (Lysistrata Jones) as Elsa and Anna. It’ll be hard to get a ticket for this week, but with an open-ended run, you won’t run out of time to see this.

One Thousand Nights and One Day

Prospect Theater Company, April 4-29

Prospect is well-known for its commitment to producing new musicals, and this year is no exception. One Thousand Nights and One Day features an ensemble of eight vocalists, and combines the traditional story of Scheherazade with a modern love story between a Jewish man and Palestinian woman.

The heavily-female production team features music by Marisa Michelson, composer of Prospect’s acclaimed Tamar of the River. If you’re after something fresh and authentic, get tickets for this limited run!

Me and My Girl

New York City Center, May 9-13

This delightful 1937 Broadway hit features book revisions by the masterful Stephen Fry. It’s a happy romp about a Cockney who discovers he’s an earl, and it’s getting a limited run featuring contemporary Broadway mainstays like Christian Borle (Something Rotten!) and Laura Michelle Kelly (Finding Neverland). A treat for the traditional and not-so-traditional Broadway enthusiast.

The Beast in the Jungle

Vineyard Theatre, May 4-June 10

This innovative and much-anticipated production pairs legendary composer John Kander (Cabaret, Chicago) with legendary director/choreographer Susan Stroman, as well as accomplished international dancers, fusing modern dance and ballet with a dark and epic love story.

Beetlejuice

October 2018, National Theatre in D.C.; Broadway opening TBD

It’s become common to see film properties adapted into musicals this past decade; they don’t all work, but they don’t all have Eddie Perfect at the helm.

An Australian Renaissance man about to make quite an impact on American audiences (he’s also revising the score for autumn’s King Kong), Perfect is a pianist, composer, actor, singer, and theatre artist, whose wit and exuberance make him the perfect guy for this job.

While the Broadway opening date of Beetlejuice is TBD, this one tries out in Washington D.C. in October of 2018, which makes a New Year opening in NYC likely. In the meantime, D.C. is just a weekend train ride away!

Which musicals are you most excited to catch this season? Let us know in the comments below! Learn more about Musical Theatre by studying with Broadway professionals at the New York Film Academy.

LET IT GO: Who will play Elsa on Broadway?

Disney has announced that Frozen will be coming to Broadway sometime in the near future, creating quite a buzz. While Idina Menzel can obviously command a stage, she may be too old to pull off Elsa live, which leaves one big question: Who will play Elsa? Here are a few suggestions of actresses that would be capable of pulling off the iconic role.

LEIGH ANN LARKIN

Leigh Ann hasn’t been seen on Broadway since 2011, and it’s time to get her back. Best known for her portrayal of June in Gypsy with Patti LuPone, she is a tiny girl with a huge voice. She’s more than capable of pulling off difficult music, and handled “The Miller’s Son” in A Little Night Music perfectly. She still looks young enough to play the princess, and even has Elsa’s blonde hair.

MACKENZIE MAUZY

MacKenzie may not be well known yet, but she will be blowing up after her time as Rapunzel in the Into the Woods movie. She has only technically been on Broadway in the cast of A Tale of Two Cities and in a brief time as standby for the role of Natalie in Next to Normal. Regardless of her lack of Broadway credits, Mauzy has a huge voice with an incredible range. She has spent most of her time on television, but may have the perfect look for Elsa with the added bonus of being a Disney name after the release of Into the Woods.

LAURA BELL BUNDY

Laura has been in many of the biggest Broadway musicals, most notably starring as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde. Bell Bundy also spent some time in Wicked as standby for both Kristin Chenoweth and Jennifer Laura Thompson in the role of Glinda. While she has taken a break from Broadway for more roles in television and a career in country music, her talent would be welcomed back with open arms. Elle Woods gave her material of similar difficulty, and she was able to handle carrying the show on her shoulders.

ANNELIESE VAN DER POL

Anneliese may not be a familiar name, but most of the millennial generation would know her better as Chelsea Daniels in Disney’s That’s So Raven. She is no stranger to Disney musicals, and took on the role of Belle in the closing cast of Beauty and the Beast. Her connection to Disney is almost as strong as her incredible voice, more than capable of handling the music in Frozen with ease. She has taken her time away from Broadway doing projects she is passionate about, but her talent deserves to be seen again by a larger audience. She has just the right amount of attitude to pull off the icy queen.

PHILLIPA SOO

Arguably the most unknown actress on this list, Phillipa is a newcomer to the New York theatre scene. She is most well known for her role as Natasha in the hit off-Broadway show Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812. The actress was a hit with all of the major New York critics, and praised for her ability to give such a raw and emotional performance in the small venue created for the show. She is a graduate of Julliard’s school of Drama. At only 23 years old, Soo’s career is ready to take off, and Elsa may be the perfect role to bring her to a Broadway stage.

LEA MICHELE

The obvious choice in looks and talent to follow Idina Menzel, Lea Michele will be singing Let It Go in the opening episode of the next season of Glee. Idina even plays Lea’s mother on the show, and the two actresses have been compared countless times. Lea has been on Broadway here entire life, and has shown her talent in many successful shows. She has a name that is known by almost everyone in the younger generations, and would create even more of a draw to a show that can easily stand on name alone. If Lea is cast in the role, the real question is who could possibly stand up to her as Anna?

These six actresses are just a few of the possible options for the role. Who do you think would be best suited to carry the next Disney hit musical on their shoulders?

Screenwriters To Look Out For In 2014 And Beyond

Let’s just get this out of the way: screenwriting is no easy field to break into. Sure, one could argue that holds true for any role in film and TV, but a quick look through the top 100 grossing films over the past several years can make it seem that there is a relatively small pool of screenwriters who tend to get hired again and again to helm big studio films. Nonetheless, there are countless aspiring screenwriters out there itching to get their foot in the door, as sites like The Black List house thousands of scripts itching to be optioned.

With that in mind, we decided to take a look at some of the screenwriters operating at both the independent and studio level who look poised to break through (or in some cases, already have).

Nic Pizzolatto

Nic Pizzolatto, sceenwriter of True Detective

To say that newcomer Pizzolatto’s meteoric rise is a tad unusual is probably the understatement of the decade. This former professor of comparative literature left academia in 2010 to pursue screenwriting with two books under his belt. A spec script for the FX series Justified led to him writing on the first season of AMC’s The Killing. However, his promising career went into total overdrive when he was able to sell HBO, Matthew McConaughey, and Woody Harrelson on the strength of the first two scripts of his nihilistic detective series, True Detective, which has already arguably become this year’s most buzzed about show. That said, expectations for the show’s second season, which will feature an entirely new cast and plot, are insanely high as viewers await with bated breath to reacquaint themselves with Pizzolatto’s philosophically probing style.

Jennifer Lee

Jennifer Lee, screenwriter of Frozen and Wreck-It Ralph

Another screenwriter who has taken an unusually accelerated path to success, this former art director was struck by the screenwriting bug and, after enrolling in film school and honing her skills, was asked by her friend Phil Johnston to take over writing duties on the charming and quirky Wreck-It Ralph. The film’s success led Disney to commission her to stay on and pen and co-direct the insta-classic Frozen. The film earned Lee an Oscar for Best Animated Feature at this year’s Academy Awards and has gone on to be the highest-grossing animated film of all time. Audiences will soon get to see her live action script writing chops in her screenplay The Round-Up, which is currently in development.

Shaka King

Shaka King, screenwriter and director of Newlyweeds

Having cut his teeth as a director and writer of several shorts, 2013 saw the emergence of King’s singular voice in the nuanced, warm, and challenging stoner romance film Newlyweeds. Born and based in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn, King does not shy away from the intricacies of race, love, and the city and how all three interact to create a portrayal of black culture that is seldom seen on screen. So far, King’s year is off to a solid start with him winning a $25,000 unrestricted grant as part of his Someone To Watch Film Independent Spirit award. While this writer anxiously awaits to see what King has up his sleeve next, in the meantime, do yourself a favor and check out Newlyweeds on Netflix.

Greta Gerwig

Greta Gerwig, screenwriter on Frances Ha

While many an internet tear was shed when it was announced that CBS did not pick up How I Met You Dad starring actress, screenwriter, and director Gerwig, this writer for one was quite excited at the prospect that Gerwig would have more time to apply her remarkable voice to future feature films. After all, having co-written 2013’s excellent Frances Ha, Gerwig was instrumental in helping to create the most enjoyable and memorable Noah Baumbach film in ages. Coming up in the mumblecore scene, Gerwig brought a novel tone to Baumbach’s film that was at once quirky and brutally honest. Although she will continue to delight in front of the camera, here’s hoping that Gerwig’s incisive pen stays active in the future.

Danny Strong

Danny Strong, screenwriter of Lee Daniels' The Butler

While readers of a certain disposition will most likely remember Strong’s work playing Jonathan Levinson on Buffy the Vampire Slayer amongst a host of other roles, Strong has found remarkable success as a screenwriter in recent years. His first film, the HBO feature Recount about the 2000 US presidential election, was voted number one on the 2007 Hollywood Black List and earned him a Writers Guild of America Award. Strong continued to prove his chops as a writer of political dramas with 2012’s Game Change for which he an Emmy award. However, Strong truly broke through when his script for Lee Daniels’ The Butler helped the film to earn the film over $100 million at the box office. Viewers will get the chance to see Strong working outside of the political genre as he was tapped to write the two-part Mockingjay, which will wrap up the massive Hunger Games series.

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Barbara Marshall

Screenwriter Barbara Marshall

Not to leave out sci-fi and horror films, Marshall has emerged as an exciting new talent in the genres, having first cut her teeth on the shows SGU Stargate Universe and Terra Nova. Marshall was inspired to chase her screenwriting ambitions after seeing the SyFy Channel’s reboot of Battlestar Galactica. In 2012, her Black List script Peste was optioned by IM Global and she has since been tapped to write the upcoming Lionsgate film The Exorcism Diaries. Despite her penchant for the macabre, the future looks mighty bright for this spooky scribe.