APA Institute
Tradition, Innovation Starring on Broadway
Psychiatric News
Volume 41 Number 17 page 35-35

At the core of the Big Apple is its astounding array of theater offerings from comedies to drama, from classical to cutting edge, and from intimate to spectacular.

But what many visitors can't wait to sample is New york's unmatched contribution to theater around the world—the Broadway musical. Visitors to New york during the Institute on Psychiatric Services, which meets from october 5 to 8 at the Marriott Marquis, will be able to select from an eclectic mix of long-running blockbusters and newer shows that will probably not play in their hometowns for years.

Among the shows that have generated considerable buzz—and multiple Tony awards—in the last few years is "Avenue Q," a funny and often touching musical about accepting and embracing people's differences. The show is sung by a collection of puppet-like "monsters" and real-life actors, all of whom are in their 20s and live in a downscale Brooklyn apartment building where each is trying to find his or her purpose in life. The definitely for-adults-only show received Tony awards in 2004 for best musical, best score, and best book of a musical.

The clever and inventive comedy "The Drowsy Chaperone" opened earlier this year. It's actually a musical, a fantasized one, inside a musical. The male lead plays a recording of his favorite musical, the eponymous, old-fashioned one that opened in 1928 about an up-and-coming Broadway starlet who prefers marriage to stardom and the Machiavellian producer who plots to keep her nuptials from occurring. In best Broadway tradition, the old musical that the modern-day fan is listening to miraculously begins to unfold in his living room, which is of course our stage.

Great and not-so-great Hollywood films have also presented considerable fodder for hit musicals in recent years, probably because the audience is already familiar with them. Among the enduring ones that will likely still be playing in October are "Spamalot," based on "Monty Python and the Holy Grail"; "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels";" Hairspray"; and "The Lion King." Joining the roster this year was "The Color Purple," based on Steven Spielberg's 1985 film, which was in turn based on a story by Alice Walker.

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"A Chorus Line" will make its way to the Great White Way this fall.  Paul Kolnik

Many Broadway aficionados are eagerly anticipating the revival of one of Broadway's groundbreaking musicals, "A Chorus Line," scheduled to open on October 5. The show, in which more than a dozen dancers at an audition use song, and of course, dance, to reveal the pain and joy they have endured in their lives, held the record for the longest-running Broadway show until the era of blockbuster spectacles in the 1980s.

Also to be revived by fall is that musical war horse "Les Misérables."

"The Times They Are a-Changin'," a dance musical based on songs by Bob Dylan and choreographed by Twyla Tharp, begins previews on September 25, though its formal opening is October 26. Tharp had a major success a few years ago when she choreographed "Movin' out," a show based on songs by Billy Joel.

And by the way, that famous chandelier is still plummeting to the stage in" Phantom of the Opera," the producers of "Springtime for Hitler" are still hoping for a tax-dodging flop, it's still hard to be green in "Wicked," and mama mia, that collection of goodtimey ABBA songs just won't go away.

Tickets to all of the shows noted above can be ordered online at<www.ticketmaster.com/broadway/showlistings?tm_link=tm_bdwy_moreshowslink1>.

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"A Chorus Line" will make its way to the Great White Way this fall.  Paul Kolnik

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