A Look at the Eight City Center Encores! Shows That Moved to Broadway
Tonight New York City Center’s Encores! kicks off its 25th birthday celebration with the original musical Hey, Look Me Over!, running at City Center through February 11.
In its 25 years, Encores! has become something of a breeding ground for Broadway. Each show is swarmed with a buzz and excitement from the theatrical community as if it might be Broadway’s next big thing. Below, we look at the eight Encores! productions that made the leap from City Center to Broadway.
The Best Revival Tony Award winner and Broadway’s second-longest-running musical ever, Chicago remains and the first and most successful transfer from Encores! to Broadway. That year, stars Bebe Neuwirth & James Naughton, choreographer and co-star Ann Reinking, and director Walter Bobbie all took home Tony Awards.
Wonderful Town (2003)
Kathleen Marshall won a Tony Award for her choreography of this Donna Murphy-led revival. The musical was nominated for Best Revival, Donna was nominated for Best Actress, and Jennifer Westfedlt (who replaced Encores! co-star Laura Benanti) received a Featured Actress nom.
The Apple Tree (2006)
Roundabout Theatre Company brought this Kristin Chenoweth vehicle to Broadway. The Tony-nominated revival replaced its Encores! male leads, Malcom Gets and Michael Cerveris, with Brian d’Arcy James and Marc Kudisch for the limited Broadway engagement.
On the Town (2014)
This one is a tough call because it took the longest path to B'way. Director John Rando first staged the musical at Encores! in 2008 with an entirely different company, save Tony nominee Tony Yazbeck as Gabey. Then he brought On the Town to Massachusetts’ Barrington Stage and then to Broadway, where it received Tony nominations for Yazbeck, Rando, Best Revival, and Joshua Bergasse's choreography.
The inaugural Encores! Summer Stars production moved to Broadway, and its three stars (Patti LuPone, Laura Benanti, & Boyd Gaines) all won Tony Awards for their incendiary performances.
Finian’s Rainbow (2009)
Directed and choreographed by Warren Carlyle, this Tony-nominated revival starred Kate Baldwin, Cheyenne Jackson, and Christopher Fitzgerald, with Baldwin and Fitzgerald receiving Tony noms for their performances.
Roundabout and Amy-Sherman Palladino brought this small off-Broadway musical gem to Broadway for the first time ever. Headliner Sutton Foster, co-star Joshua Henry, and director Leigh Silverman all received Tony nominations for their work.
Sunday in the Park with George (2017)
The latest Encores! transfer boasts no Tony noms or wins because the limited revival starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Annaleigh Ashford opted not to participate in the awards races. Rather the stunning production that opened Broadway’s new Hudson Theatre must remain in the hearts of those lucky enough to see it.