“What’s the buzz?,” the apostles ask in Jesus Christ Superstar, and the theatre buzz just didn’t stop during the 2015-2016 season.
Then there was the story of the cast album, one of the best selling in years, the first Broadway cast album to top the rap charts.
Then there was the seemingly endless cascade of awards, the appearances on talk shows, the celebrities in the audience, the #Ham4Ham concerts, the presidential visits, the precedent-setting agreement to share the profits with the cast, the inspiring story of the alternate surviving cancer, the internet parodies of the opening number, the publication of the libretto, the planning of an all-star mixtape, the saving of the design of the $10 bill simply because Alexander Hamilton’s picture was on it and the record 16 Tony Award nominations.
The biggest star was Nick Silvestri, a college student from Seaford, Long Island who took it into his head to climb onto the stage of the Booth Theatre and plug his cell phone charger into a socket on the set of Hand to God.
Takei, the stoic onetime Mr. Sulu of the Star Trek franchise, revealed a new side of himself in recent years, coming out as a gay, starting a witty political blog that repeatedly attacked presidential candidate Donald Trump and telling the world the terrible story of how he and his Japanese-American family were forced into American internment camps during World War II. He doubled down on the surprise when he announced his desire to see his family’s story on stage, and as a musical.
Fans of Pacino didn’t care what the critics had to say, and turned out in such numbers that the production ended in the black, one of only a handful of shows to do so by the end of the season.
Ambassador Group Expands Beachhead. The London-based Ambassador Theatre Group showed its determination to become a player in the highly exclusive club of New York theatre-owners, first by buying the Foxwoods Theatre on West 42nd Street and restoring its original nam:, the Lyric.
The project has gotten most of the official permissions it sought and appears definitely to be moving ahead. Also planned for a major renovation, Broadway’s smallest theatre, the Helen Hayes on West 44th Street, which was purchased by the Off-Broadway Second Stage Theatre as a Broadway foothold, much as Manhattan Theatre Club did with the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, and Roundabout has done with the American Airlines, Studio 54 and Sondheim Theatres.