On The Scene: THE NOTEBOOK Is Here On Broadway


Joy Woods and Ryan Vasquez | Photo: Liz Lauren

Kobi Kassal
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February 14, 2024 1:10 PM

Love is in the air this Valentine’s Day, and I think it’s because the world’s most popular romantic comedy is now on Broadway eight times a week down at the Schoenfeld Theatre here in New York City. Theatrely was on the scene at its first preview this past weekend to get all the inside scoop on the new musical. 

Directed by Michael Greif and Schele Williams, The Notebook is based on Nicholas Sparks’ best selling novel that inspired the 2004 hit film—a truly timeless love story of Allie and Noah over the years with its ups and downs. With a book by Bekah Brunstetter, and music and lyrics by multi-platinum singer-songwriter Ingrid Michaelson, you are in good hands with this team. 

Greif and Williams are keeping fairly busy this Broadway season. Greif is also directing Day of Wine and Roses and the upcoming Hell’s Kitchen, while Schele will direct the upcoming revival of The Wiz. The two paired together have created a magical world of love down on the banks of the Carolinas. The wonderful Katie Spelman serves as choreographer. 

As audiences waited patiently to file into the Schoenfeld on Saturday night, there was a buzz of anticipation to see just what was in store for us. I happened to be standing next to one patron who remarked that every Saturday night she watches one of her favorite rom-coms and figured she should just see one live on stage instead. 

The Notebook is an astonishingly remarkable adaptation, and that is very much due to the incredible cast on stage. Maryann Plunkett and Dorian Harewood as Older Allie and Noah, Joy Woods and Ryan Vasquez as Middle Allie and Noah, and Jordan Tyson and John Cardoza as Younger Allie and Noah make up the sextet of actors who serve as our leads. Five of these six members of the company transferred to Broadway following their out of town tryout at Chicago Shakespeare Theater in fall of 2022—Harewood is taking over for John Beasley who sadly passed away last year.  

John Cardoza and Jordan Tyson | Photo: LIz Lauren

They are joined onstage by a lovely ensemble including Andréa Burns as Mother/Nurse Lori, Yassmin Alers, Alex Benoit, Chase Del Rey, Hillary Fisher, Jerome Harmann-Hardeman, Dorcas Leung, Happy McPartlin, Juliette Ojeda, Kim Onah, Carson Stewart, Charles E. Wallace and Charlie Webb.

First preview on Satruday night marked the Broadway debuts of Chase Del Rey, Hillary Fisher, Carson Stewart and Jordan Tyson. Swings Alex Benoit & Juliette Ojeda will also be making their debuts with The Notebook

I was surrounded by couples in the orchestra on Saturday night, including one who had both never seen a Broadway show before. I look forward to the audience that this production will bring to Broadway, and just how many tissues folks will be going through during the course of the run. I don’t think there will be a dry eye in the house at the Schoenfeld every night, they even sell branded tissue boxes at the merch stand! 

“This is our favorite film of all time so we just had to get the girls together to catch this show,” said Marie who travelled with four girlfriends from Hoboken to catch the first public performance of the new musical. “Ingrid Michaelson is one of my most listened to artists on Spotify so I know the music will be great, and I’m ready to cry for the next two and a half hours.”

An incredible cast, an incredible creative team, and one incredible story is the recipe for a successful show here on Broadway, and I think The Notebook has cracked that. It’s a very busy time with many new shows coming to the Great White Way over the next few months but I am positive audiences of all ages will find something to fall in love with The Notebook. Opening night is set for one month from today, March 14, and I look forward to revising this story, many, many times. 

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Kobi Kassal

Hailing from sunny South Florida, Kobi Kassal founded Theatrely (formerly Theatre Talk Boston) while attending Boston University. He is an avid theatre attender and can be found seeing a performance most nights of the week (in normal times!) He is interested in the cross section of theatre, popular culture, hospitality, and politics. He also loves a good bagel!

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