Bernadette Peters and Lea Salonga Will Star in Stephen Sondheim's Old Friends on Broadway | Playbill

Broadway News Bernadette Peters and Lea Salonga Will Star in Stephen Sondheim's Old Friends on Broadway

Transferring from London's West End, the concert of the late theatrical legend's song catalogue is part of Manhattan Theatre Club's 2024-2025 season.

Bernadette Peters and Lea Salonga

Manhattan Theatre Club has announced the first productions in its 2024-2025 season, which includes a Broadway bow for the London concert Stephen Sondheim's Old Friends. Tony winners Bernadette Peters and Lea Salonga will reprise their performances from the concert's West End bow. Previews will begin March 25, 2025, at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre.

The show will also get a pre-Broadway run via Los Angeles' Center Theatre Group, with performances set for the Ahmanson Theatre.

As in the West End, the concert features the songs of Stephen Sondheim and is devised by producer Cameron Mackintosh. Matthew Bourne will be back to provide musical staging and direction, along with co-director Julia McKenzie. Stephen Mear will again choreograph.

The concert began as a one-night-only affair at London's Sondheim Theatre May 3, 2022, an evening that was filmed and later broadcast on BBC Two. The evening was brought back for a limited West End run at the Gielgud Theatre beginning October 3, 2023, with Peters making her official West End debut. A live album was released of the 2022 concert last year.

READ: Old Friends and Animal Adoption: Inside Bernadette Peters' London Adventure

Manhattan Theatre Club is joining CMI and Daryl Roth to present the tribute concert's Broadway bow.

Old Friends was Steve's idea, born during lockdown, when he suggested it was time (and we had plenty of it!) we put together a third revue of his work, to follow from the worldwide hit Side by Side By Sondheim in 1976 (my first!) and Putting It Together (which Julia McKenzie directed at the Manhattan Theatre Club starring Julie Andrews in 1993)," says Mackintosh in a statement. "Though we had started work, very sadly on Thanksgiving 2021 Steve moved on. So, a few weeks later over the Christmas holidays, I collated all our notes and, drawing on material from all the other shows Steve, Julia, and I had worked on over the years, completed ‘our farewell show.' In May 2022, we staged a star-studded Gala in London’s West End at the Sondheim Theatre (which I had rebuilt and renamed after him) to celebrate Steve’s work and raise funds for his new Foundation. ... It is a tremendous joy to now be bringing Old Friends to the Ahmanson in Los Angeles and to be back side by side with Lynne Meadow at the Manhattan Theatre Club in New York thanks to Daryl Roth’s support, with a terrific company headed again by my old friends Bernadette and Lea with many other stars to be announced shortly. Audiences are in for a joyous and unforgettable evening featuring some of the greatest songs ever written for the musical theatre in ‘a great big Broadway show’—just as Steve wanted."

Also newly announced for MTC's upcoming season is a Broadway premiere for Jonathan Spector's Eureka Day. Following a 2019 Off-Broadway premiere and 2022 London debut, MTC's production will be another new staging, directed by Anna D. Shapiro. Previews will begin November 25 at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre.

The play centers on a private elementary school in California that is forced to reconsider its liberal vaccine policy following an outbreak of the mumps. MTC's production is being produced by special arrangement with Sonia Friedman Productions (which co-presented the 2022 London run), Wagner Johnson Productions, and Seaview.

As for the company's Off-Broadway offerings, MTC will present a world premiere for Erika Sheffer's Vladimir at New York City Center - Stage I beginning September 24. Directed by Daniel Sullivan, the Moscow-set work follows an independent journalist—covering Putin's first term—who lands a potentially explosive story that could affect her career and life.

Further casting and creative team are to be announced for all three productions, along with more productions in MTC's 2024-2025 season. The company will close the Friedman Theatre on Broadway from July to October to facilitate updates to lighting, HVAC, fire, and security systems.

“I’m proud that this first part of MTC’s 2024-2025 season lineup celebrates our longstanding commitment to both presenting plays by new voices and welcoming back longtime treasured colleagues and artists on and Off-Broadway," says Artistic Director Lynne Meadow in a statement. "We’re thrilled to give playwrights Erika Sheffer and Jonathan Spector, actress Lea Salonga, and director Matthew Bourne their MTC debuts, and to welcome back to MTC actress Bernadette Peters, directors Anna Shapiro and Daniel Sullivan, producer Cameron Mackintosh, and the work of Stephen Sondheim.”


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