From Bad Cinderella to Life of Pi: the biggest Broadway shows of 2023

The year ahead on the Great White Way promises several high-profile revivals, an adaptation of Life of Pi and a Britney jukebox musical, among others

It took years and a few false starts, but Broadway is back – and in 2023, featuring several shows shaped or delayed by the pandemic. The year of theater ahead sees several high-profile West End transfers, a Britney Spears jukebox musical, a Pulitzer drama winner, a country musical and a certain nostalgic DeLorean. Here are 10 of the most anticipated shows of 2023:

Life of Pi

Every version of Life of Pi has drawn acclaim – the Booker prize-winning 2001 novel by Yann Martel became a young adult staple, the 2012 film version won Ang Lee a best director Oscar and the West End theatrical adaptation took home five Olivier awards, including best new play (and a first-ever joint acting award for the seven performers who play a Bengal tiger). The London stage version by the playwright Lolita Chakrabarti comes to Broadway in March after a two-month run at Harvard’s American Repertory Theater, and promises the same tale of resilience and unlikely companionship as the original: a young boy, Piscine “Pi” Patel, survives a shipwreck and is trapped on a life raft with a 450lb tiger. Or, as Chakrabati has said, “a story of survival which all of us can fundamentally relate to after the effects of the pandemic”.

Bad Cinderella

The latest show from Andrew Lloyd Webber, Bad Cinderella promises a tongue-in-cheek spin on the classic fairytale (and a slight “Bad” rebrand from the London version, which closed in June 2022). “I’m not your Cinderella – I’m your bad Cinderella,” says the star, Linedy Genao, in a cast announcement video modeled on the Real Housewives. The “real townspeople of Belleville” also include Prince Sebastian (Jordan Dobson), the stepmother (Carolee Carmello), the godmother (Christina Acosta Robinson), the stepsisters (Morgan Higgins and Sami Gayle), the queen (Grace McLean) and “the hunks”. In addition to music from Lloyd Webber, the show, which opens on 17 February at the Imperial Theatre, includes a book from the Promising Young Woman writer Emerald Fennell and lyrics by David Zippel.

Once Upon a One More Time

Another fairytale spin, this time through the discography of Britney Spears. Once Upon a One More Time, directed and choreographed by the husband and wife YouTube stars Keone and Mari Madrid (Beyond Babel, Karate Kid), will revise several classic princess stories – Snow White, Cinderella, the Little Mermaid and others – through such Spears classics as Toxic, Circus, Oops I Did It Again and Lucky, which producers have confirmed to be thoroughly licensed and approved. Spears is not otherwise involved, though she called the show, billed as a “musical adventure about claiming your own happily ever after”, a “dream come true” during her now-defunct conservatorship. “I’m so excited to have a musical with my songs, especially one that takes place in such a magical world filled with characters that I grew up on, who I love and adore,” she said in 2019 after attending a reading.

A Doll’s House

BESTPIX: Guillermo Del Toro Honored At The Museum Of Modern Art’s 15th Annual Film BenefitNEW YORK, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 08: Jessica Chastain attends The Museum of Modern Art’s 15th Annual Film Benefit honoring Guillermo Del Toro at The Museum of Modern Art on December 08, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images)
Jessica Chastain. Photograph: Theo Wargo/Getty Images

The pandemic curtailed plans to revive Henrik Ibsen’s classic play, which was intended to run in London in 2020, and has instead returned Jessica Chastain to Broadway for the first time since her 2012 debut in The Heiress. The Oscar-winning actor will play Nora Helmer, a struggling housewife seeking her own identity, for a limited 16-week engagement at the Hudson Theatre; previews begin on 13 February with opening night on 9 March. The new Broadway version, adapted and modernized by the Pulitzer prize finalist Amy Herzog and in the works for more than half a decade, will also star Succession’s Arian Moayed, the original Hamilton cast member Okieriete Onaodowan and Michael Patrick Thornton (Broadway’s Macbeth with Daniel Craig and Ruth Negga).

Fat Ham

A year after winning the Pulitzer prize for drama, James Ijames’s contemporary and humorous spin on Hamlet moves to Broadway after an acclaimed off-Broadway run. Set at a southern barbecue, Fat Ham casts the Shakespeare classic through a Black, queer lens, as a young, lonely gay man returns from college for an unwanted backyard celebration of his mom’s marriage to his uncle just a week after the murder of his father. It’s the first National Black Theater production to transfer to Broadway and only the third play from any Black theater to make the leap.

Back to the Future: The Musical

Roger Bart as Doc Brown & Olly Dobson as Marty McFly in Back to the Future the Musical, credit Sean Ebsworth Barnes
Roger Bart as Doc Brown & Olly Dobson as Marty McFly. Photograph: Sean Ebsworth Barnes

In yet another West End transfer, the 2022 Olivier winner for best new musical will bring 1980s time travel to Broadway in June. The adaptation of the beloved Robert Zemeckis film from 1985 by original co-writer Bob Gale “keeps the film’s best lines”, according to Guardian’s review, as well as Doc Brown’s famous DeLorean time-traveling car. Original film composer Alan Silvestri and longtime collaborator Glen Ballard have juiced up the story with 16 original songs.

Sweeney Todd

Attend the tale of Sweeney Todd, the demon barber of Fleet Street, returning to Broadway in late February starring Josh Groban and Annaleigh Ashford. One of the most anticipated revivals of the year, Stephen Sondheim’s dark tale of murderous revenge in 19th-century London boasts direction from Hamilton’s Thomas Kail as well as a supporting cast including Jordan Fisher (perhaps best known for Netflix’s To All the Boys franchise), Stranger Things’ Gaten Matarazzo and Tony-winner Ruthie Ann Miles (The King and I).


Phillipa Soo arrives at the 75th annual Tony Awards on Sunday, June 12, 2022, at Radio City Music Hall in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
Phillipa Soo. Photograph: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

Speaking of Hamilton and revivals, Phillipa Soo, AKA the original Eliza, will star as Guenevere in the revival of Camelot starting in March at the Vivian Beaumont Theater. The latest in a line of Golden Age musical revivals including My Fair Lady, The King and I and South Pacific, the newest version of Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe’s 1960 show includes substantial revision by Aaron Sorkin, who rewrote the book based on Lerner’s original. Accompanying Soo at the Round Table are Andrew Burnap as King Arthur and Jordan Donica as Lancelot.

Prima Facie

Killing Eve’s Jodie Comer makes her Broadway debut as a barrister losing faith in the legal system in Suzie Miller’s one-woman play, which will open for 10 weeks starting in April after an acclaimed run in London. Comer plays Tessa, a “thoroughbred” young lawyer from working-class origins forced to “confront the lines where the patriarchal power of the law, burden of proof and morals diverge” after an unexpected event.


Country music and corn-y jokes come to Broadway in Shucked, named after the process of stripping corn husks from the cob. The long-gestating show from the Nashville-based songwriters Brandy Clark and Shane McAnally boasts country music cred – Clark has written songs for Sheryl Crow and Reba McEntire, and McAnally produced Kacey Musgraves’s debut album. Robert Horn, who won a Tony in 2019 for the stage adaptation of Tootsie, has penned the book. The rural-humor-themed show, which begins performances in March, “finds laughs in a worrisome alliance between a hick and a huckster”, according to the New York Times.


Adrian Horton

The GuardianTramp

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