ShentonSTAGE Daily for MONDAY June 5

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Welcome to today’s edition of ShentonSTAGE Daily.

Yesterday marked the official passing of an era on Broadway. With the closing of BAD CINDERELLA there, after a very abbreviated run of just 77 performances (that followed 33 previews, making a total of just 100 times the show was seen in all), Andrew Lloyd Webber does not have a single title playing there for the first time since the 1979 opening of EVITA, nearly 45 years ago.

He’s still going strong in the West End, with the post-pandemic reduced version of Phantom recently joined by the revival of ASPECTS OF LOVE )(whose opening I wrote about here), and soon, the Lloyd Webber augmented stage adaptation of THE WIZARD OF OZ returning to the London Palladium, beginning performances on June 23 prior to an official opening on July 6).

We may still be smarting over the loss of Stephen Sondheim, the most influential figure in modern musicals of the last century, but we will soon be getting his last work HERE WE ARE (at the Shed in Hudson Yards) and a Broadway return, at last, for one of his biggest-ever flops there, MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG, both in September.

But musicals are in encouragingly rude health right now on both sides of the pond far beyond the now receding pool of ALW and Sondheim.

This week alone sees the return of Tim Minchin and Danny Rubin’s musicalisation of the Rubins-scripted GROUNDHOG DAY to open officially at the Old Vic on Thursday, which I wrote about in previews here, and the same night THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON returns to re-open officially at Southwark Playhouse: I saw the former no less than ten times during its original 2016/17 Old Vic and Broadway runs; and the latter twice when it was premiered in 2019 and already twice more this time in the last six days alone, with another visit booked for this Thursday afternoon too, before going on to the Old Vic in the evening.

Curiously, both GROUNDHOG DAY and BENJAMIN BUTTON are both concerned with warped definitions of time, with the lead character in the first finding his life on a repeat loop of re-living the same day again and again, Benjamin Button is born an old man and lives his life in reverse, growing ever younger decade after decade. (And on Broadway, KIMBERLY AKIMBO is about a young child living in an older woman’s body).

The West End also has the bold and funny OPERATION MINCEMEAT, which I’ve written about here recently following its opening at the Fortune Theatre.

Meanwhile Broadway sees the presentation this coming Sunday (June 11) of this year’s Tony Awards, whose nominees for Best musical include two original musicals — the aforementioned KIMBERLY AKIMBO (based on a play) and SHUCKED, plus a newly scored stage version of a film SOME LIKE IT HOT (previously musicalised as SUGAR!) and the Shakespearean pop jukebox show & JULIET constructed out of the back catalogue of Max Martin.

If new musicals are essential for the future of the genre, revivals also offer an important roadmap for where they have come from — and how they need to be reinvented to stay vital. OKLAHOMA! is now 70 years old —but as staged by Daniel Fish, is as fresh, moving and dynamic as HAMILTON. I’m revisiting it yet again tonight, for my fifth viewing.


My regularly updated feature on shows in London, selected regional theatres and on Broadway is here:   

See you here on Friday

I will be here with my usual Week in Review(s) column again this Friday, looking back over the reviews and news highlights of the previous seven days.  If you can’t wait that long, I may also be found on Twitter (for the moment) here: (though not as regularly on weekends)