5 Notable Musicals from 2016 to see in 2017

5 Notable Musicals from 2016 to see in 2017

Ana Villafane as Gloria Estefan in "On Your Feet!" (©Matthew Murphy)

I saw around 60 theatrical productions in 2016. I thought I would share some of my favorite memories of Broadway musicals that are still running so you’ll have a chance to see them too! 

“On Your Feet! The Musical” (Marquis Theatre): Based on the incredible true story of Emilio and Gloria Estefan, “On Your Feet!” was one of the most joyous times I’ve had at a Broadway show. While their story is heartbreaking at times, it is so inspiring to see how their family more than just bounced back from the accident that affected them all. I grew up listening to Gloria Estefan on the radio and dancing along to her greatest hits, so it was so much fun getting to see these up-tempo tunes come to life on stage. (Tickets)

“Waitress: A New Musical” (Brooks Atkinson Theatre): Based on the charming independent film written and directed by the late Adrienne Shelly, “Waitress” tells the story of small-town pie maker, Jenna, who carries her unwanted pregnancy from a loveless marriage to term as she falls for her married OB/GYN, Dr. Pomatter.  Jessie Mueller remains in the role of Jenna until March 26, 2017 (at press time, her replacement has yet to be announced) and is a delight opposite Drew Gehling as the doctor. Six-time Grammy Award nominee Sara Bareilles wrote the music and lyrics, giving me one of my new favorite showtunes of all time, “Bad Idea.” (Tickets)  

“Sunday in the Park with George” (New York City Center/Hudson Theatre): Okay, so I’m cheating a little bit here. I was at the opening night of the three-night only New York City Center production of this moving Stephen Sondheim/James Lupine musical starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Annaleigh Ashford, but it’s transferring to Broadway in February 2017, so it makes the list! This musical will be the first show at the new Hudson Theatre and will run for 10 weeks only. “Sunday in the Park with George” is one of my favorite musicals of all time and I am so excited for its return to Broadway with Gyllenhaal and Ashford in the lead roles. (Tickets

“Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812” (Imperial Theatre): A spectacle of spectacles. What I love most about “The Great Comet,” besides it being Josh Groban’s Broadway debut (he's Pierre...), is how this show happens all around you. The interior of the Imperial now has on-stage seating and walkways built into the orchestra and mezzanine levels so that performers make their way to pretty much every section of the theater. This eclectically-scored musical is based on a 70-plus page chunk of “War & Peace” and is one of the more exciting shows I’ve seen in a while. I can’t wait to see it again from a different point of view! (Tickets)

“Dear Evan Hansen” (Music Box Theatre): I’ve made no secret about how much I appreciate the cast and crew of this show. The powerful songs from Tony Award nominees Banj Pasek and Justin Paul continue to resonate weeks after and I can’t help but listen to “Waving Through a Window” on repeat. Ben Platt’s performance as Evan Hansen is one of the most emotionally vulnerable things I’ve ever witnessed on stage and I’m grateful for his commitment to this character and his story. This show is a real conversation-starter for people who feel lost, but the message that #youwillbefound is so hopeful. (Tickets)

From left, Mike Faist as Connor Murphy and Ben Platt as Evan Hansen in "Dear Evan Hansen" (©Matthew Murphy)

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