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The 2020 Theatre Productions We’re Most Excited For, From Manila to Broadway

Map out your year with these theatre productions opening in the new year—and the new decade

The theatre industry in the country has grown in the past decade. Local productions are no longer drowned by large, touring productions such as Phantom of the Opera—homegrown creative talents and theatre-making receive just as much hype as bigger shows like Cats and Wicked. For the new year and the new decade, we’ve rounded up 13+ productions we’re most excited to see and experience, both on the Manila stage and on Broadway, as well as currently running productions that are worth buying tickets to. 


Manila

Matilda


 

The original West End production of Matilda, the Musical is set to open at The Theatre at Solaire this March. The musical is based on Roald Dahl’s 1988 children’s novel of the same name, and follows the story of a young girl with telekinetic powers, unloved by her cruel parents but adored by her school teacher, Miss Honey. Matilda premiered on Broadway in April 2013, and Atlantis Theatrical had previously staged a production in November 2017, featuring Felicity Kyle Napuli, Uma Martin, and Esang de Torres. More details are yet to be announced.

The Band’s Visit



Atlantis Theatrical has always brought Broadway’s best to the local theatre scene, and 2020 will be no exception. Its season opener, The Band’s Visit, won the Tony Award for Best Musical in 2017, and it’s premiering in March this year. The Band’s Visit is based upon the 2007 film of the same name, and will star Menchu Lauchengo-Yulo in her return to the Atlantis stage. This heartwarming musical tells the story of an Egyptian police band that gets stranded in a small Israeli town, ending up in Bet Hatikva rather than Petah Tikvah. Nino Alejandro, Bibo Reyes, Reb Atadero, Maronne Cruz, Jill Peña, and Floyd Tena round out the cast. Tickets are available via Ticketworld. 


Stage Kiss




Repertory Philippines will be mounting a production of Sarah Ruhl’s Stage Kiss starring Missy Maramara and Tarek El Tayech—Stop Kiss Manila alums—opening on February 7 and running until March 1, 2020. Stage Kiss follows two ex-lovers who rekindle their romance after being cast as romantic leads in a 1930s melodrama, where their roles require them to share a kiss. Stage Kiss will be directed by Carlos Siguion-Reyna. Tickets are available via Ticketworld. 


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Carousel





After a revival on the Broadway stage in 2018, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel finds itself in Manila starring Gian Magdangal and Nikki Gil singing the gorgeous, sweeping score. Carousel tells the story of Julie Jordan and Billy Bigelow, two blue collar workers who fall in love. They get married and start a family, but Billy is forced to commit a crime out of desperation. Tickets are available via Ticketworld. 


Other upcoming shows: Oliver!, the musical adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic 1837 novel Oliver Twist; On Your Feet!, a musical featuring the songs and life of Emilio and Gloria Estefan; a rerun of Katsuri, Tanghalang Pilipino’s adaptation of John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men; Anna in the Tropics, a Pulitzer-winning play by Nilo Cruz, about Cuban immigrants working in a cigar factory in Florida; and Snow White and the Prince, a musical retelling of the classic children’s tale.


New York

Company



After a successful West End run directed by Marianne Elliott, Stephen Sondheim’s Company will be finding itself in the company of New York audiences in March this year. Starring Katrina Lenk and Patti Lupone, the gender-swapped production will feature the same songs (with revised lyrics) told and seen differently, as Bobby has become Bobbie, and the three girlfriends have become three beaus. This Company also features a same-sex couple, with Amy becoming Jamie. Tickets are available on todaytix.

 

West Side Story


Ivo van Hove’s revival of this Leonard Bernstein classic was a highly-anticipated production in the New York theatre scene. Currently in previews, West Side Story officially opens in February, and cuts down the show to just one act and deviates from the original and classic Jerome Robbins choreography. This staging has also taken out two iconic songs—“I Feel Pretty” and “Somewhere.” Tickets are available on Broadway.com.


Six



This pop, concert-style musical is a modern retelling of the stories of Henry VIII’s six wives—Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anna of Cleves, Katherine Howard, and Catherine Parr—and opens on March 12. The wives, called the Queens, take turns performing and singing, girl group-style. The fourth wall is broken, there’s a parody of Tinder, and there’s musical discussion of the wives’ traumas, brought about by their husband. Previews begin on February 13. 


Mrs. Doubtfire



Mrs. Doubtfire, a musical based on the movie of the same name, begins performances in March, with a book by John O’Farrell and Karey Kirkpatrick, and music and lyrics by Karey and Wayne Kirkpatrick, the same team behind Something Rotten!, in case you’re interested to know. Mrs. Doubtfire opens on April 5. 


Diana





Diana is a musical retelling of Diana Spencer’s life—Jenna De Wall and Roe Hartrampf star as Princess Diana and Prince Charles, respectively. The show opens on March 31, with previews beginning on the 2nd of that month. Diana is directed by Tony Award winner Christopher Ashley and written by Joe DePietro and David Bryan.


Caroline, or Change



Written by Tony Kushner and Jeanine Tesori, Caroline, or Change tells the story of an African-American maid in the 1960s. This revival stars Olivier Award-winning Sharon D. Clarke in her Broadway debut. Previews start on March 13 and opens on April 7. 


The Music Man




The Music Man, starring Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster, didn’t have the most glamorous of beginnings. Beetlejuice, the musical currently housed in the Winter Garden was forced to vacate the theatre to make way for the Meredith Willson classic. But in the fall, The Music Man will open, telling the timeless tale of Professor Harold Hill and Marian Paroo. 


Lempicka



Lempicka, with music by Matt Gould and a book by Carson Kreitzer, tells the life story of Tamara de Lempicka, a bisexual Polish painter. While there’s no official announcement of a Broadway transfer, Lempicka had its world premiere at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in 2018. This spring, it will be playing at La Jolla Playhouse and will (hopefully) premiere on Broadway this season. 


Currently-running productions worth seeing: Hadestown, an award-winning reimagining of the Orpheus and Persephone myths, with music by Anais Mitchell; Jagged Little Pill, a musical featuring songs by Alanis Morrisette; Tina, the Tina Turner Musical, a jukebox musical about Tina Turner; and To Kill A Mockingbird, Aaron Sorkin’s take on the Harper Lee classic. 


Lead photos from @companybway @atlantistheatrical @repertoryphilippines