Featured image courtesy of Joan Marcus
As of late it seems like we’ve been constantly bombarded with news of Broadway musicals closing. Just this August, King Kong, Be More Chill, Pretty Woman, The Cher Show, and The Prom are all closing. This doesn’t even count the Broadway play What The Constitution Means To Me (also closing in August), the My Fair Lady revival (closed in early July), and long-running shows Beautiful: The Carole King Musical and Waitress (both of which will close within the next five months).
Basically, there’s a lot of theatres that are going to become vacant very soon. While a few of these theatres already have their next tenants lined up (King Kong‘s Broadway Theatre will become home to West Side Story this December and Waitress‘s Brooks Atkinson Theatre will welcome Six next February), there will be several empty Broadway venues in the coming months. The shows below are ones that I believe are overdue for their return to Broadway.
American Idiot (April 2010 – April 2011)
We’re now two and a half years into the Trump Administration and it seems like every day brings news that’s more terrifying and exhausting than the day before. As a result, I think now is the absolute perfect time for a revival of Green Day’s jukebox musical. While it was timely when it premiered nine years ago, I think it’s even more so in 2019 considering the corrupt way our nation treats people.
Dreamgirls (December 1981 – August 1985, June – November 1987, September 24, 2001)
I adore this musical. It was the very first one I ever fell in love with, thanks to the 2006 movie adaptation. Unfortunately, it closed its Tony-winning original Broadway production more than 30 years ago, and the only subsequent New York productions were a five month-long Broadway revival in 1987 and a one-night-only (pun unintended) 2001 Broadway concert just two weeks after 9/11. It’s about time that we bring the recent West End production to Broadway.
Funny Girl (March 1964 – July 1967)
Having closed in 1967, I simply don’t know why Funny Girl has avoided getting a Broadway revival. It had a West End revival in 2016 and even a subsequent UK Tour, so why has it has failed to return to America in any capacity whatsoever? It’s long past due that we bring this production back to the States. Several new generations of Broadway fans (younger baby boomers all the way through to Gen Z) have yet to be introduced to the original stage material. It hasn’t even gotten a national tour since 1996, and that closed after only a month. Come on.
Hairspray (August 2002 – July 2009)
After Dreamgirls, the next musical I fell in love with (also courtesy of its movie adaptation) was Hairspray. I’ll confidently go on the record and say that its 2007 movie is one of the best movies ever made, not just one of the best movie musicals ever made. Its themes of acceptance in the face of bigotry, confidence, and body positivity aren’t represented as often as they should in the media, and rarely does it happen all within the same musical. In 2019 rage-filled America that seems to hate anyone who looks or behaves differently, bringing this back to Broadway would incredibly meaningful to so many marginalized people.
In The Heights (March 2008 – January 2011)
With Hamilton as popular as it is, the In The Heights movie coming out next June, and the perpetual hatred that right-wing Americans (including our president) have for immigrants, I don’t think there could be a better time for Lin Manuel-Miranda’s In The Heights to make a Broadway comeback. The story it tells about Hispanic-American immigrants is one of the most significant ones Broadway could possibly tell in this country at this moment, along with some of the other shows on this list. In addition, I would hope that it would bring further attention to the crisis at the border and perhaps cause people to reconsider their stances on immigrants – the people that represent the best of what this country should stand for.
Next to Normal (April 2008 – January 2011)
In the age of media that (often unhealthily) discusses mental health with such creations as the Netflix original series 13 Reasons Why and Broadway hit Dear Evan Hansen, I am beyond baffled that Next to Normal hasn’t made a return Broadway engagement or even a national tour. While it would’ve been especially perfect to have a revival in 2019 for its 10th anniversary, I can only pray that Broadway producers have something in the works. While I’ve gone out of my way to see several community productions of Next to Normal, I would do just about anything to see a professional production of this monumental Pulitzer Prize-winning musical.
The Wiz (January 1975 – January 1979, May – June 1984)
Once again, here’s a show that hasn’t been revived in more than 30 years. Now that Wicked (another interpretation of The Wizard of Oz) is making millions every week and has standby Brittney Johnson starring as the first black Glinda in the show’s history, I really want to see The Wiz to make a comeback. It had a resurgence a few years ago as one of NBC’s annual live musicals, but it’s beyond overdue for a long-running Broadway revival. After all, its singular revival only ran for a mere 13 performances after previews. There’s no doubt in my mind that this musical deserves more than that.
What other musicals deserve Broadway revivals? Comment below!