Home » NYC mayoral candidates talk favorite Broadway shows: ‘Hamilton’ tops the list

NYC mayoral candidates talk favorite Broadway shows: ‘Hamilton’ tops the list

Even after the coronavirus curtain crept up ever so slightly on Broadway, with glimmers of performance returning to Midtown this month, New York City’s next mayor will likely preside over much of the relaunch of the world’s most celebrated theater district.

Industry insiders hope that major productions might make it back onto The Great White Way sometime in the late summer or early fall, and the return is expected to be staggered as demand grows and the health crisis subsides. In what amounted to an initial teaser, a small crowd took in an abbreviated pop-up performance at the St. James Theatre in early April.

Although New York’s COVID infection rates have dropped, vaccine hesitancy and variants are still a concern meaning it’s difficult to envision what exactly post-pandemic Broadway will look like. But that hasn’t stopped mayoral candidates from making the Theater District — which long powered Midtown’s economy — a central component of their recovery plans.

The Daily News asked leading Democratic mayoral candidates to take a moment to look back and talk about their favorite Broadway shows pre-pandemic.

The field’s top choice? “Hamilton,” of course.

Candidate Scott Stringer, the city’s comptroller, pointed straight to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s ultra-popular musical as his personal favorite. He has proposed authorizing a stimulus purchase of 250,000 Broadway tickets that would be handed out to essential workers and students.

“We cannot truly reinvigorate our City’s economy without a revival of the heart of New York: our arts and culture,” he said in a statement.

Andrew Yang, who sits atop polls in a crowded Democratic primary that’s expected to determine the next mayor, also cited “Hamilton” when queried at a performance space blocks from Broadway this month.

New York City mayoral candidate Andrew Yang

“The first thing that pops to mind for me is ‘Hamilton,’” Yang said, before getting a bit more creative. “My favorite show for years when I was a child was ‘Phantom of the Opera,’ because it was the first show I saw in the late ‘80s, and it made quite an impression on me.”

Yang, the onetime Democratic presidential candidate, added that he liked the magical hit “Wicked,” which arrived on Broadway in 2003, and has a “soft spot for ‘Fiddler on the Roof,’” which has been oft-revived over the years. He admitted that “Book of Mormon” didn’t quite do it for him.

“I thought ‘Book of Mormon’ was a little bit overrated,” Yang said, referring to the decade-old Broadway musical about a religious mission to Uganda. “I mean, I laughed. But I was made to think it was going to be the greatest thing ever.”

New York City Comptroller and mayoral candidate Scott M. Stringer

Dianne Morales, a former nonprofit executive, also listed “Hamilton” as her favorite, having seen the musical five times and bonded with her daughter over it, according to her campaign. She and her daughter dabble with a duet of “The Schuyler Sisters,” a song in the show, the campaign said.

Other contenders looked beyond the 2015 smash about the founding father. Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, put on the spot in the Bronx, said his pick was clear.

“It has to be the ‘Lion King,’” Adams said. “I’ve never gotten enough of enjoying it.”

Brooklyn Borough President and New York City mayoral candidate Eric Adams

The mayoral hopeful noted that he uses visits from relatives as an excuse to drop back into the long-running Disney musical.

Some candidates looked back further in selecting a choice.

Maya Wiley’s favorite Broadway show, according to the lawyer’s campaign, is the musical “The Color Purple,” which tells a 20th-century coming-of-age tale about Black women in Georgia. A revival of the show closed on Broadway in 2017.

Kathryn Garcia, the former sanitation commissioner, threw her support to “Les Miserables,” her campaign said. The anthem-packed musical about French rebels has generated two revivals on The Great White Way after the original Broadway production closed in 2003.

New York City mayoral candidate Maya Wiley

Ray McGuire, a former Citigroup executive, picked a pair of past plays, according to his campaign: the original 1980s Broadway production of August Wilson’s “Fences” starring James Earl Jones, and the 2008 show “Thurgood” featuring Laurence Fishburne as trailblazing Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.

And Shaun Donovan, who served as President Barack Obama’s budget director, said he has a soft spot for “Oliver!” That musical, based on the Charles Dickens character Oliver Twist, hasn’t appeared on The Great White Way in decades.

“Quite some time ago, I had the opportunity to appear in my high school’s production of the musical ‘Oliver!,’ and the show has since been my favorite,” Donovan, 55, said in a statement, adding, “the arts more broadly have helped to heal our city time and time again in the wake of tragedy.”

On the heels of a painful year, the lifting of Broadway’s curtain figures to provide a balm for some. And while the candidates offered a menu of favorites, it’s a safe bet that for many theater lovers, when The Great White Way reopens, any show will do.

Source (Ny Daily news)

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