Once upon a time, the Broadway theater was a seen as the apex of American popular culture, with the stage playing home to the urbane wit of playwrights such as George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart, as well as the poetic A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansbury, the first Black woman to have her work staged on Broadway. And most important is that great American art form native to Broadway, the big-budget elaborate musical, an elastic form that encompassed everything from the zany antics of the Marx Brothers, to the aw-shucks American populism of Meredith Willson’s The Music Man, to the sophisticated lyricism of Cole Porter.
But times change, and now with rising costs of putting on a show the Broadway stage must now lower itself to meet the standards set by an audience that arrives in jorts and flip-flops, with members that will pick fights with an American treasure like Patti Lupone or feel comfortable climbing onstage to try to plug their phone into a fake outlet onstage.
So get ready for Back to the Future: The Musical:
The musical is based on the 1985 time travel comedy cowritten and directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd. It was a huge hit and served as the basis for two hit sequels and a Saturday morning cartoon series.
According to an article the theatre blog What’sOnStage, the London production, which won an Olivier (the British equivalent to the Tonys) for Best New Play, will transfer its ongoing West End production in London to the Great White Way. The musical’s book (a theater term for a musical’s script that doesn’t include songs) was written by Bob Gale, who cowrote the original hit film.
It stars Roger Bart, who won a Tony for his work in the record-breaking Mel Brooks musical The Producers. The show’s music has been written by Alan Silvestri, who wrote the score for the original Back to the Future films, and Glen Ballard, best known for co-writing Alanis Morrisette’s Jagged Little Pill. In addition, it features songs from the original movie, like Huey Lewis and the News’ “Power of Love” and Chuck (cousin of Marvin) Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode.”
Back to the Future: The Musical will hit a Broadway theatre in 2023.