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Star power fuels Broadway’s coming season

Michael Cerveris in “Fun Home.”


Michael Cerveris in “Fun Home.”

NEW YORK — The coming Broadway season has something for everyone — a musical by Sting, a magician-filled SUV, the incomparable Hugh Jackman, the equally regal Helen Mirren, a musical set in a funeral parlor, and not one, but two Gyllenhaals. Here’s a look at some highlights of the 2014-15 season:

Stars, stars, stars: You want A-listers? Broadway listened. Bradley Cooper, Michael Cera, Hugh Jackman, Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal, Ewan McGregor, Glenn Close, Gretchen Mol, Kristin Chenoweth, Helen Mirren, James Earl Jones, Matthew Broderick, Tavi Gevinson, Nathan Lane, Rose Byrne, Alan Alda, Brian Dennehy, Mia Farrow, Candice Bergen, Cynthia Nixon, Carol Burnett, Anjelica Huston, and Tony Danza.

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Revive, revive: It wouldn’t be a new Broadway season without some revivals: ‘‘Side Show’’ returns for a second time; Tom Stoppard’s ‘‘The Real Thing’’ for a third time in October; Edward Albee’s ‘‘A Delicate Balance’’ for a third time in the fall; ‘‘The Elephant Man’’ for a third time starting in November; and the screwball comedy ‘‘Noises Off’’ for a third time next winter.

Old school: Producers have dug deep into America’s past to pull out four classic tales: The play ‘‘You Can’t Take It With You,’’ by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart, which first debuted in 1936, comes back in September; the 1944 show ‘‘On the Town,’’ with music by Leonard Bernstein and book and lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, returns in October; ‘‘An American in Paris,’’ an adaptation of the 1951 Gene Kelly film, comes in spring; and another Comden-Green comedy, ‘‘On the Twentieth Century,’’ steams into town in February.

You had us at Hugh: Hugh Jackman is coming back this fall in ‘‘The River’’ by Jez Butterworth, but does it really matter what he’s doing? For the record, the play, the first since Butterworth’s ‘‘Jerusalem,’’ is about a trout fisherman in a remote cabin who is visited by two of the women in his life. It’s new and moody, but Jackman is box-office catnip.

Royalty rules: Helen Mirren will be playing Queen Elizabeth II this spring in ‘‘The Audience,’’ which imagines the private weekly meetings between the queen and 12 prime ministers, while Kelli O’Hara and Ken Watanabe will be romancing each other starting in March in the Richard Rodgers-Oscar Hammerstein II musical ‘‘The King and I.’’

Helen Mirren will star as Queen Elizabeth II in “The Audience.”


Helen Mirren will star as Queen Elizabeth II in “The Audience.”

A torch passes: Kenneth Lonergan’s play ‘‘This Is Our Youth’’ debuted off-Broadway in 1996, and over the years it has featured such high-profile actors as Mark Ruffalo, Josh Hamilton, Matt Damon, Colin Hanks, Chris Klein, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Anna Paquin. Now it’s time for Michael Cera, Kieran Culkin, and Tavi Gevinson, all three making their Broadway debuts.

We know you guys: Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick will be together again on Broadway in a revival of Terrence McNally’s ‘‘It’s Only a Play.’’ The duo last appeared together in ‘‘The Odd Couple’’ and before that in a little show called ‘‘The Producers.’’ In the updated version of ‘‘It’s Only a Play,’’ Broderick plays an anxious writer, and Lane is the stage-actor-turned-TV-star best friend.

Rabbit-free illusions: Seven magicians — including an anti-conjurer, a futurist, an escapologist, and an inventor — take the stage for ‘‘The Illusionists — Witness the Impossible.’’ They’re going to hang upside-down, pull gross things from their throats, and use swords in creative ways.

Inventive storytelling: Two shows promise sparks from challenging material: The London import ‘‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,’’ based on an adaptation of Mark Haddon’s best-selling novel about a teenager with Asperger’s syndrome who tries to find a dog’s killer, and ‘‘Fun Home,’’ a musical adapted from Alison Bechdel’s memoir about growing up in a funeral home with a closeted gay dad.

Peter Pan: There’s no reason to grow up this season: ‘‘Finding Neverland,’’ a Diane Paulus-directed musical currently being tuned up for Broadway at the American Repertory Theater, explores the Peter Pan book’s back story.

Two Gyllenhaals: Maggie Gyllenhaal will make her Broadway debut opposite Ewan McGregor in ‘‘The Real Thing,’’ starting in October, while her brother Jake will also make his Broadway bow in Nick Payne’s play ‘‘Constellations,’’ beginning in December.

Two by two by two. . . : Producers of A.R. Gurney’s romantic play ‘‘Love Letters’’ seem to have found a way to get you to see the show over and over: They’ve stacked it with changing pairs of stars. Brian Dennehy and Mia Farrow start out in September, then Carol Burnett and Dennehy, then Alan Alda and Candice Bergen, then Stacy Keach and Diana Rigg, and finally Anjelica Huston and Martin Sheen.

Party crasher: A polite dinner party spirals out of control in Ayad Akhtar’s ‘‘Disgraced,’’ which hits Broadway in September having already won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for drama. It will star Hari Dhillon, who played the Muslim-American lawyer at the heart of the play in London. Akhtar, the author of ‘‘American Dervish,’’ is one of theater’s most vibrant, exciting young writers.

Rocker in the house:
Sting, a 16-time Grammy Award winner, has written the music for ‘‘The Last Ship,’’ with a story by ‘‘Red’’ playwright John Logan and ‘‘Next to Normal’’ writer Brian Yorkey. The musical is inspired by Sting’s memories of growing up in northeast England.

Michael Esper in “The Last Ship,” a production bound for Broadway this season.


Michael Esper in “The Last Ship,” a production bound for Broadway this season.

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