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Culture Broadway's spring offers Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Jessica Lange
Culture Broadway's spring offers Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Jessica Lange

Broadway’s spring offers Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Jessica Lange

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NEW YORK (AP) — When the weather warms up on Broadway, the stars will come out. Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Jessica Lange and Audra McDonald are some of the celebrities slated for the stage this spring. Here’s a look at some of the highlights:


Jessica Lange will return to Broadway in a production of “Long Day’s Journey Into Night,” playing the same role she did 15 years ago in London, where she received an Olivier Award nomination for her performance as the morphine-addicted mother. (Opens April 19)


Nine years after Jeff Daniels starred in the play “Blackbird” off-Broadway, the “Dumb & Dumber” star will get another crack opposite Michelle Williams. David Harrower’s unsettling play centers on an older man, a much younger woman and what happens when they meet 15 years after their brief relationship has ended. (Opens March 10)


“Modern Family” star Jesse Tyler Ferguson will play 40 different roles in Becky Mode’s 1999 solo comedy, “Fully Committed.” Ferguson will portray an aspiring actor and haggard reservations clerk at a snooty, upscale New York City restaurant who must switch from character to character as he plays his boss, colleagues and pompous patrons scrambling to get a table. (Opens April 25)


Some of Broadway’s best will join Audra McDonald in a look at the making of 1920s musical “Shuffle Along,” including Brian Stokes Mitchell, Billy Porter, Brandon Victor Dixon and Joshua Henry. Between them, they have eight Tony Awards. It will be directed by George C. Wolfe, who has a pair of Tonys. It also has the longest title on Broadway: “Shuffle Along, Or, The Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed.” (Opens April 21)


Comedy god Steve Martin and Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Edie Brickell have made two albums together and now they’re stepping up to Broadway, providing songs and the story for “Bright Star,” a love story set against the American South after World War II. (Opens March 24)


“Waitress,” a musical adapted from a 2007 film starring Keri Russell, has songs by Sara Bareilles, direction by Diane Paulus, a story by Jessie Nelson and choreography by Lorin Latarro — the first time in Broadway history that the four top creative spots in a show have been filled by four women. It already has a hit in the achingly beautiful “She Used to be Mine.” (Opens April 24)


Stephen Karam’s highly regarded play “The Humans” about a fractious family’s Thanksgiving get-together comes directly from a celebrated off-Broadway run with its cast intact: Cassie Beck, Reed Birney, Jayne Houdyshell, Lauren Klein, Arian Moayed and Sarah Steele. (Opens Feb. 18)


Laura Benanti, a Broadway favorite who won a Tony in the revival of “Gypsy,” is coming back in the comedy “She Loves Me” with “Chuck” star Zachary Levi. Benanti has seen her profile rise of late thanks to TV appearances on “Nurse Jackie,” ”Nashville,” ”The Good Wife,” ”Go On” and NBC’s live version of “The Sound of Music.” (Opens March 3)


Oscar-winner Forest Whitaker makes his Broadway debut as a drunken, small-time hustler in a revival of Eugene O’Neill’s “Hughie.” Other actors who have played the role on Broadway include Jason Robards in 1964, Ben Gazzara in 1975 and Al Pacino in 1996. (Opens Feb. 25)


“Tuck Everlasting,” based on the popular 1975 children’s book of the same title by Natalie Babbitt, will open on Broadway in April under the direction and choreography of Casey Nicholaw. It’s the tale of a young girl who befriends a unique family that has gained eternal life. (Opens April 17)


Fresh off the debut of “Misery,” another show that originally started as a book, which also later became a movie, will now arrive as a stage vehicle: “American Psycho” by Bret Easton Ellis that became a film starring Christian Bale. This time it’s a musical with songs by Duncan Sheik and Benjamin Walker in the title role. (Opens April 20)


Cirque du Soleil takes its first steps onto Broadway with a show for the first time specifically designed for the Great White Way. A 38-member company will tell a story about a love triangle with some eye-popping acrobatics. (Opens May 25)


Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong’o (“Twelve Years a Slave”) makes her Broadway debut in a drama by playwright and actress Danai Gurira, best known for playing a zombie killer on “The Walking Dead.” The play takes place in a Liberian army camp where four women are held as sexual captives. (Opens March 6)


Seth Rudetsky stars in “Disaster!” — his musical that spoofs such 1970s movies as “Earthquake,” ”The Poseidon Adventure” and “The Swarm.” The rest of the cast includes Tony-winners Roger Bart and Faith Prince and Tony-nominees Kerry Butler, Kevin Chamberlin and Adam Pascal. (Opens March 8)


“Motown the Musical,” which tells the story of how Motown Records rose and fell and then rose again, is returning to Broadway after 18 months away. The tale begins and ends in 1983 — Motown’s 25th anniversary — and travels back in time to show how Berry Gordy helped start the careers of Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye and many more. (Opens in July)


Dutch director Ivo van Hove, who made a stunning Broadway debut earlier this season with a radical reinterpretation of Arthur Miller’s “A View from the Bridge,” returns with another Miller play, “The Crucible.” The cast includes Ben Whislaw, Sophie Okonedo, Ciaran Hinds and Saoirse Ronan. (Opens April 7)


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