The 2012-2013 Broadway season is positively brimming with musicals featuring characters under the age of 18, so today we will take a special anticipatory look at the many kid-themed properties that have already begun to flood the Great White Way.
With a young audience across the country now being raised on AMERICAN IDOL, SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE?, GLEE, THE X FACTOR, SMASH and other performance-based TV shows, to say nothing of the recent resurgence of movie musicals kicked off by MOULIN ROUGE and CHICAGO at the start of the new century and continuing on with HAIRSPRAY, DREAMGIRLS, SWEENEY TODD and other notable entries since, there is undoubtedly an ever-escalating interest in the performing arts among the youth of America - and it is spreading around the world, day by day - and that has unquestionably played a significant role and has been a contributing factor in regards to the themes and target audiences for the astounding abundance of announced and soon-to-be-arriving new plays and musicals in not only the 2012-2013 Broadway season, but far beyond. The kid-themed shows that have already announced openings for the current season surely run the gamut insofar as how, who and what makes them unique in the ways they utilize young performers portraying a range of rich and rewarding roles: from the pert teenagers of the already-opened hip-hop/pop-infused Tom Kitt/Amanda Green/Lin-Manuel Miranda cheerleading-themed screen-to-stage adaptation of BRING IT ON!, at the older end of the spectrum; to the just-confirmed return engagement of the fluffy and enjoyable Matthew Sklar/Chad Beguelin-penned musical comedy ELF; to the similarly holiday-themed brand new tuner with a score by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul based on the 1980s comedy film classic A CHRISTMAS STORY setting its eyes on Broadway, too; all the way up to London import based on a best-selling Roald Dahl novel that has set the stage aflame overseas, MATILDA, opening in the Spring; and, that's to say nothing of the highly anticipated James Lapine-directed revival of the seminal Charles Strouse/Martin Charnin orphan-oriented smash, ANNIE. Plus, will CINDERELLA make her way to the Broadway Ball come Tony Awards time, too? Given the fact that the leading lady is assumedly no older than any of the BRING IT ON! kids, she certainly fits the bill for our clip consideration today as much as they do. In much the same way, if the well-reviewed new Jerry Lewis-directed production of the Marvin Hamlisch/Rupert Holmes THE NUTTY PROFESSOR comes in by the spring, that would be yet another family-friendly, if not especially young-child-oriented musical featuring high school-age performers to add to this generally quite impressive list of revivals and adaptations soon to grace the stage further still.
Indeed, it seems as though all of 2012-2013 will actually be Kid’s Night On Broadway based on these seven titles! So, now, let’s take a closer look at each…
Prelude: When Children Rule The World
With a list as genre-spanning as this one, perhaps the best way to kick off the festivities would be with a clip from a show that is unfortunately not coming to Broadway anytime soon, although it was announced to do just that way back in 1996 - an all-too-apropos barn-burner (pun intended) from the Andrew Lloyd Webber/Jim Steinman children-centric musical WHISTLE DOWN THE WIND, “When Children Rule The World”. Of special historical note is the fact that this infectious tune was enacted at the 1998 Olympic Games - an official theme of the ceremonies, no less - performed by the specially-formed children’s chorus The Red Hill Kids. Click here for a peek at the original version in the 1996 Hal Prince production of the show (which was subsequently mounted by Gale Edwards with more success two years later in the UK). Subsequently, the song has been popularized by iconic stage and screen entertainer Donny Osmond. Listen to the song as it exists on the Original West End Cast Recording below.
Now, on to the shows of the 2012-2013 season!
Befitting the ABCs so elementary to education - just as Miss Trunchbull - we shall proceed in alphabetical order. And: sit up straight!
A CHRISTMAS STORY
Light-up lamps shaped like fishnet-wrapped legs, once-wet tongues glued to icy flagpoles, the sheer terror of holiday shopping - all these tried and true tropes of childhood are copiously explored in Benj Pasek and Justin Paul’s screen-to-stage adaptation of the modern holiday comedy classic film A CHRISTMAS STORY in its new stage exploration.
View BroadwayWorld TV’s performance highlight reel from the recent tryout tour of A CHRISTMAS STORY to sample the jingles, bells and whistles of the heartwarming new musical.
If you haven’t had the pleasure of viewing the original 1983 film upon which the forthcoming Broadway musical is based, you can check out the tongue-in-cheek trailer below.
Experience A CHRISTMAS STORY lead John Bolton performing a memorable musical number from the hummable new score earlier this summer at Broadway In Bryant Park.
Lastly, enjoy the cast of kids from the show in a fun ensemble performance from A CHRISTMAS STORY: THE MUSICAL from Broadway In Bryant Park.
Ostensibly all about Little Orphan Annie, but, due to its quite ingenious construction and style illustrating Herbert Hoover, Depression-era America and depicting it as a subtly metaphorical (and, in some cases, actual) substitute for then-modern Nixon-era political chicanery, the rich excesses of the age and those suffering down below, the new revival of ANNIE is perhaps the most anticipated musical of the 2012-2013 season - revival, new musical or otherwise. Especially with a Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning director like James Lapine at the helm - without even mentioning two-time Tony Award-winner and recent InDepth InterView participant Katie Finneran as Miss Hannigan - the sun surely will come out for us come 2013.
Here is the original 1977 Broadway cast of ANNIE performing on that year’s Tony Awards with a roof-raising medley of hits - “Tomorrow”, “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without A Smile”, “Easy Street” and more! Enjoy Andrea McArdle, Dorothy Loudon, Reid Shelton and the rest.
Check out the trailer for the middling 1980s John Huston film adaptation of ANNIE starring Albert Finney and Aileen Quinn.
Next, revisit Rob Marshall’s much more lively Disney production from nearly twenty years later, starring Alicia Morton as Annie, Victor Garber as Daddy Warbucks and a cast of Broadway’s best including Audra McDonald, Kristin Chenoweth, Alan Cumming and many more.
ANNIE revival director James Lapine and choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler discuss the upcoming shiny new production in this promo package below.
Rodgers & Hammerstein fans have waited more than fifty years for the stage iteration of their beloved Hans Christian Anderson TV musical CINDERELLA, originally starring Julie Andrews in 1957, to reach the Great White Way. Well, wait no more - 2013 looks like it will be the year! Furthermore, sensational new rising star Laura Osnes is essaying the lead role, so we could be in for the tour-de-force of the season insofar as acting regards go, as well. Revisit my InDepth InterView with Laura Osnes for more on the new adaptation - and all about the new book and the additional classic songs it features - here.
Julie Andrews made television history by appearing in over 100 million homes the night of CINDERELLA’s premiere in 1957 - the biggest hit of all-time in nighttime TV to that point. Enjoy the complete telecast spellbinding Rodgers & Hammerstein gem below.
The original 1957 TV production of CINDERELLA was such a resounding hit that CBS mounted a brand new production starring Lesley Ann Warren eight years later with similar ratings success and audience adulation. Watch it in full below.
CINDERELLA returned to TV screens across the globe once again in 1997, this time in an updated, slightly modernized take featuring Brandy and Whitney Houston. It was a smash! Watch it in full below.
Lastly, grab a gander of Cinderella herself in this stunning performance preview by Laura Osnes and fellow InDepth InterView participant Cheyenne Jackson from the forthcoming PBS special FROM DUST TO DREAMS with "Tonight" from WEST SIDE STORY.
Based on legendary novelist Roald Dahl’s coming-of-age classic of the same name, the critically hosanna-ed Royal Shakespeare Company’s book-to-stage adaptation tells the endearing and colorful tale of a girl up against the cruel adult world and traces how she navigates her way to happiness along with her classmates in (some would say) crime - and the life-long friends she makes along the way in following her essential self to fulfillment.
First up, here is BroadwayWorld TV’s First Look at the West End's biggest hit, MATILDA.
Next, check out super-special once-in-a-lifetime performance by the four actresses who portray the eponymous lead in MATILDA at the Olivier Awards earlier this year - Eleanor Worthington-Cox, Cleo Demetriou, Kerry Ingram and Sophia Kiely - where the show swept many major categories, including Best Musical.
Now, sample the huge showstopper aimed at the evil headmistress hell-bent on exacting revenge on poor Matilda and her mates, the explosive and electric “Revolting Children”.
Additionally, here is the trailer for MATILDA, coming to Broadway in early 2013, featuring the creative team and celebrity fans discussing the show, as well as performance clips and even more.
Lastly, here is this weekend's brand new BroadwayWorld TV Exclusive World Premiere of the new TV commercial for MATILDA on Broadway. Are you ready to get whisked away?
Telling an unusual tale of the travels of an orphan boy raised in the North Pole and transplanted to New York City in search of his biological dad, ELF: THE MUSICAL is a spirited story full of laughs and catchy tunes that has lit up the holiday season in special engagements twice before this third return that was just confirmed earlier this week to be occurring just in time for Christmas. Also, be sure to review my recent InDepth InterView with ELF star Beth Leavel in which we discuss her enormous enthusiasm in performing the family-friendly, audience-adoring hit musical onstage - a role she will be reprising - here.
See BroadwayWorld TV’s exclusive clip collection of performance clips from ELF: THE MUSICAL by clicking below.
Witness charismatic ELF lead Sebastian Arcelus sing the impressive “World’s Greatest Dad” from the earworm-filled score in this special Barnes & Noble-set performance capture.
View the trailer for the source material for the new musical - the original 2003 film, ELF.
Enjoy the eye-grabbing trailer for the original 2010 engagement of ELF on Broadway below.
Teenagers & Up
In addition to A CHRISTMAS STORY, ANNIE, CINDERELLA, ELF and MATILDA, the teenage cheerleading troupes of BRING IT ON! certainly deserve a shout-out or two on this countdown, so check out these clips from the show below.
Here is a look at the out-of-town tryout of BRING IT ON! THE MUSICAL on the West Coast from late last year, courtesy of BroadwayWorld TV.
Next, enjoy this visually appealing trailer for the new musical.
Finally, here is one more teen-centric athletic troupe that may be making its way to Broadway, at least if the screen-to-stage transfer of THE NUTTY PROFESSOR, directed by original star and creator Jerry Lewis, makes it in before the Tony Awards cut-off, on full display in this BWW TV clip montage from the out-of-town tryout that played in Nashville earlier this summer.
As a super-special bonus, enjoy this apt coda to today's clip countdown: Paul Lynde leads "Kids" from the classic Charles Strouse/Lee Adams musical comedy BYE BYE BIRDIE, as represented in the hit 1963 film version, starring Dick Van Dyke (who joins Lynde here).
So, which Broadway-bound kid-centric musical are you looking most forward to taking the whole family along with you to in 2012 and 2013? Since BRING IT ON! is already on Broadway, you can check that one off of the list if you have done your homework and seen it already, but we still will have to wait a few more months for the arrivals of ELF and A CHRISTMAS STORY, right in time for the holidays, as well as MATILDA, ANNIE and CINDERELLA in 2013 - and THE NUTTY PROFESSOR, as well, of course, if it actually manages to make it in as some speculate it shall! Time will ultimately tell, but, whatever your age, stage and station in life, this season is shaping up to be overflowing with youth, vitality and promise thus far almost entirely unfulfilled. Yet, what promise they all possess! And, the same could be said for the faces of those in the audience, as well. Whether you happen to be 8 or 18 or 88 or 108, this season has it all - from A to Z.