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New Broadway season has something for everyone

Thursday - 8/29/2013, 7:28am  ET

FILE - This Jan. 13, 2013 file photo shows Daniel Craig, left, and his wife Rachel Weisz at the 70th Annual Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills, Calif. Craig and Weisz will star in the play "Betrayal," in October. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)

MARK KENNEDY
AP Drama Writer

NEW YORK (AP) -- There's Denzel Washington and Billy Crystal, plenty of Shakespeare and a nice dash of Harold Pinter. There's even a musical of the boxing classic "Rocky" and the much anticipated return of Neil Patrick Harris and "Les Mis." This upcoming season on Broadway seems to have something for everyone.

STARS, STARS, STARS

Broadway once again will be the destination for A-list celebs, including Denzel Washington, Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz, Zachary Quinto, Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom, Diahann Carroll, Mary-Louise Parker, Patrick Stewart, Zach Braff, Billy Crystal, Ethan Hawke, Fantasia Barrino and "Iron Man 3" star Rebecca Hall. Theater buffs will welcome back Cherry Jones, Idina Menzel, Condola Rashad and the British star Mark Rylance.

MULTIPLE CHARACTERS

Mark Rylance will star in two startlingly different roles: as the love-struck noblewoman Olivia in "Twelfth Night" and as the ruthless and conniving title monarch in "Richard III." And Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Billy Crudup and Shuler Hensley will all tackle multiple roles in "No Man's Land" and "Waiting for Godot." But the most characters this season will be performed by Jefferson Mays, who will play a whopping eight roles in "A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder."

PINTEREST

Fans of the late Nobel laureate Harold Pinter will be seeing double this season. His play "Betrayal" arrives in October with real-life married stars Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz, and a month later a revival of his "No Man's Land" will play in repertoire with "Waiting for Godot," starring Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart. It's the first time since 1976 that two Pinter plays are simultaneously on Broadway.

THE BARD

Just two? One playwright will have a staggering four works on Broadway this season -- William Shakespeare. First comes "Romeo and Juliet" with Orlando Bloom and Condola Rashad in September, then "Twelfth Night" and "Richard III" with Mark Rylance in November, and then a new "Macbeth" with Ethan Hawke, less than six months after Alan Cumming offered his own one-man version. Oh, and Julie Taymor will direct "A Midsummer Night's Dream" off-Broadway and Elizabeth Olsen will be Juliet in her own off-Broadway production.

SINGERS TO STAGE

Musicals built around legendary female singers and songwriters are coming thick and fast, starting with Mary Bridget Davies starring in "A Night With Janis Joplin" and "Beautiful: The Carole King Musical" starring Jessie Mueller. Off-Broadway this fall will be Dee Dee Bridgewater as Billie Holiday in "Lady Day" and down the road will be "American Idol" contestant Crystal Bowersox in "Always ... Patsy Cline." Look for more: Diane Warren's prodigious songbook has been optioned for a musical.

REVIVE, REVIVE

The second revival of Lorraine Hansberry's "A Raisin in the Sun" (with Denzel Washington and Diahann Carroll) and the sixth revival of Tennessee Williams' "The Glass Menagerie" (with Cherry Jones and Zachary Quinto) are coming to Broadway. The Roundabout Theatre Company will offer the first revival of "Machinal" (starring Rebecca Hall) since it made its debut 85 years ago and also the first revival of Terence Rattigan's "The Winslow Boy." The Roundabout is also reviving two celebrated stage works about marriages in crisis -- Tom Stoppard's "The Real Thing" and Donald Margulies' "Dinner With Friends."

NEW AND NEWISH

The creators of the Pulitzer Prize-winning "Next to Normal" have returned with the new musical "If/Then" starring Idina Menzel, due on Broadway this spring after a debut in Washington, D.C. Singer Fantasia Barrino and actor Dule Hill team up in "After Midnight," which appeared off-Broadway last year. Woody Allen has adapted his film "Bullets Over Broadway" into a world premiere musical starring Zach Braff, while Mary-Louise Parker will star in the world premiere of "Snow Geese," a new play by Sharr White.

"YO, ADRIAN!"

One of the more intriguing offerings will be a musical based on Sylvester Stallone's 1976 film "Rocky." It features a score by "Ragtime" veterans Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens, and a story by Thomas Meehan, who wrote "The Producers" and "Hairspray." The director is Alex Timbers, who directed Broadway's "The Pee-wee Herman Show" and directed and wrote the book for "Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson." The "Rocky" musical was a hit in Germany and will throw its hat into the Broadway ring in the spring.

GENDER-BENDING

One of the most likable, bankable Broadway stars -- Neil Patrick Harris -- will star in an extremely unconventional Broadway show -- "Hedwig and the Angry Inch." Harris goes from the family friendly "Smurfs 2" and the hit TV show "How I Met Your Mother" to a German male transsexual rock singer in a tale of obsession, glam rock, a botched sex-change operation and a quest for identity. The kids may have to stay home for this one.

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