(from left) Sapphira Cristal, Nathan Lane, "The Outsiders" on Broadway
(from left) Sapphira Cristál, Nathan Lane, “The Outsiders” on Broadway. Photos: Shutterstock, Matthew Murphy

Welcome to The Callboard, Queerty’s curtain-raising theater news, where we share the latest news from Broadway and beyond. From casting announcements and openings to viral moments with our favorite stars, here’s a front-row seat to all the drama happening onstage and off!

Everyone’s a winner

Sapphira Cristal
Sapphira Cristál. Photo provided.

Over at the Kit Kat Club at the August Wilson Theatre, Sally Bowles laments, “Everybody loves a winner, so nobody loved me” in the hit revival of Cabaret. But that’s not the case for [Spoiler Alert!] RuPaul’s Drag Race season 16 runner-up Sapphira Cristál. 

The Philadelphia drag legend kicks off a North American tour in Vancouver on July 11, with 24 more cities to follow. Expect “a magical musical comedy extravaganza!” says Sapphira. “It’s a funny, interactive, audience-driven show about my life, complete with songs off my upcoming album and humorous anecdotes of things I’ve experienced. I sing, perform, dance, and give you a guided glimpse into the crystal ball that is Sapphira Cristál!”

The classically trained opera singer is also teasing her upcoming debut album with a sneak peek at the lead single, “Enough.”

Can you feel the love tonight?

The Lion King movie poster
Photo: Shutterstock

The Lion King marks its 30th anniversary this spring with a screening and live performance at the Hollywood Bowl. Originally released in 1994, Julie Taymor famously adapted the animated film for the stage three years later, where it continues to play on Broadway, surpassing 10,000 performances. 

Famous faces will grace the stage to reprise their film and Broadway roles, including Nathan Lane (Timon), Jeremy Irons (Scar), and Billy Eichner, who voiced Timon in the 2019 remake. Jennifer Hudson is also joining the tribute. We can only hope for an encore from her season 3 American Idol performance — roar, Jennifer, roar! 

Broadway is wet for all the right reasons

The movie-to-musical machine continues to chug along. This Broadway season is no exception, but if you dig a bit deeper, you’ll realize that some of this year’s arrivals began as books. The Outsiders, S.E. Hinton’s coming-of-age novel about a group of boys on the wrong side of the tracks in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was first published in 1967. But it was Francis Ford Coppola’s 1983 film adaptation that made the young ones swoon.

With a cast led by a who’s who of 80s heartthrobs, including Patrick Swayze, Matt Dillon, Rob Lowe, Emilio Estevez, C. Thomas Howell, Ralph Macchio, and Tom Cruise, The Outsiders captured the endurance of families of choice, but the film score by Coppola’s father, Carmine, never quite captured the tone of the film’s inhabitants.

The Outsiders musical
“The Outsiders.” Photo by Matthew Murphy.

Enter the folk duo Jamestown Revival (Jonathan Clay and Zach Chance) and Justine Levine to score the new musical with a book by Levine and Adam Rapp (older brother to Queerty favorite Anthony Rapp) and breathe new life into an American classic.

The vibe often feels like a GreaseWest Side Story mash-up, a bit over-earnest, and too many storylines to invest beyond the central character of Ponyboy Curtis (an endearing Brody Grand) and brothers Darrel (Brent Comer) and Sodapop (Jason Schmidt). But the musical’s exhilarating choreography is some of the season’s best, thanks to real-life brothers Rick and Jeff Kuperman, who capture the Greasers’ fraternal bond.

In one of the musical’s most compelling scenes, the Greasers and the Socs (short for Socialites) come head to head in a rumble that would make Jerome Robbins’ breath gasp. Torrential rain showers upon the angsty youth as a switchblade delivers a fatal thrust, catapulting the story into new territory.

The Outsiders plays at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre. Open-ended run.

The Outsiders Broadway musical
The Greasers in “The Outsiders.” Photo by Matthew Murphy.

What to expect at the return of ‘Cats’

We were excited (terrified?) and intrigued (skeptical?) when we first heard that Cats was making a New York City comeback. Perhaps one of the most polarizing megamusicals of the 20th century, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s feline extravaganza was begging for another life. We’ve had a peek inside the room where the claws have come out, and let us tell you, expect fierceness.

Cats: The Jellicle Ball (we see a revival theme emerging — Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club — what’s next? Jersey Boys at Asbury Park?) reimagines those famous felines in the world of New York City ballroom culture. But what exactly does that mean? The show’s creators are dangling a cat wand to tease and tempt theatergoers. Here’s a first look at what to expect when the show opens at the newly opened PAC NYC this June.

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