Not everything is rosy after the bruising shutdown. Disney musical “Frozen” is not returning, nor is the Rudin-backed 2020 revival of “West Side Story.” The two-part Harry Potter play is being condensed into one and there has been no word on pre-pandemic
plans for revivals of classic plays “Death of a Salesman” and “Our Town.”
The Broadway League has said it will not release official box office returns for the next few months, and ticket sales for some previously in-demand shows, including “Wicked” and “To Kill a Mockingbird,” have been slow so far, according to ticketing websites.
However, seven new plays have been announced for this fall, all by Black writers. Some are being financed by first-time Broadway investors, including co-founder of television network BET, Sheila Johnson, who is putting money behind the play “Thoughts of a Colored Man.” Johnson and celebrity chef Carla Hall are also investing in a new musical called “Grace” about Black culinary history.
Actor Blair Underwood and former basketball player Renee Montgomery are investing in the stage play “Pass Over”, a modern twist on “Waiting for Godot.”
“There is various new money that is coming into Broadway, and that money is extraordinarily helpful and it is also diverse money, which is also very interesting and new,” said Brian Moreland, producer of “Thoughts of a Colored Man,” opening in October.
Davenport says risk will always be part of Broadway’s DNA.
“Some of the most successful and most exciting pieces of work, including ‘Hamilton,’ ‘Fun Home,’ ‘Spring Awakening,’ ‘Hadestown,’ ‘Dear Evan Hansen,’ have all been shows that, if you look at them on paper you’d go like, ‘Would anyone see that?’,” he said.
“We’ve seen some really bold, exciting choices this coming year, and that’s what producers are doing. They’re saying ‘I love this piece, I love the message of this. I’m doing it, pandemic be damned, because it deserves to be on Broadway’,” Davenport said.