An article on Bloomberg.com yesterday painted a rather gloomy portrait of the summer Broadway scene: come August, some 19 of Broadway's 39 theaters will be dark. Yeah, that sounds pretty depressing. But on the very same day, Variety ran an article that had more of a glass-half-full tone to it, pointing out that many, if not all, of those theaters already have bookings for the fall.
Case in point: the upcoming revivals of A Little Night Music and Ragtime have tentatively found their respective Broadway homes. Night Music will likely play the Walter Kerr, soon to be vacated by Irena's Vow. And Ragtime will probably land at the Neil Simon, which has been lying fallow since Hairspray closed in January.
Of course, the productions as well as the theater bookings are subject to change. But I recently heard that a few of my Boston Conservatory students attended the open-call audition for Ragtime, so we at least know that show is in the active process of working out. One of the students even got a callback for Sarah. (Break a leg, Lori!)
Details about the Night Music revival are still sketchy. The New York Times reported a few weeks back that the show was likely to play a Jujamcyn theater (which the Walter Kerr is), but there hasn't been any specific info about dates or casting as yet. Reports about the Trevor Nunn-directed London production have been glowing, including a rave from my friend and fellow blogger Steve on Broadway.
Other musicals currently booked for next season include Memphis at the Shubert, Fela at the Eugene O'Neill, Finian's Rainbow at the St. James, and Spider Man at the Hilton. As for non-musicals, there's Superior Donuts at the Music Box, A Steady Rain (with...HELLO...Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig...woof and double woof) at the Schoenfeld, Brighton Beach Memoirs/Broadway Bound at the Nederlander, Race at the Barrymore. And all that doesn't even count the non-profit companies and their seasons.
Sure, there are likely to be some vacancies in the foreseeable future: the Circle in the Square, Lyceum, Belasco, and Cort theaters don't seem to have anything booked for next season as of yet. Then there's the Broadhurst, but that highly-desirable theater is never empty for very long. (UPDATE: My sources tell me the Broadhurst will likely house Jude Law in Hamlet. So there.) The Longacre will likely go dark again after the limited engagement of Burn the Floor. But given that we're in the middle of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, I'd say that's a pretty strong season we're looking at, and least in terms of the number of shows.