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Watch: Broadway #CarpoolKaroake with Lin-Manuel, Audra, Jesse, and Jane Krakowski

BroadwayKaroake

The full 11-minute video of Late Late Show and Tony Awards host James Corden driving through traffic leading his guests Lin-Manuel Miranda, Audra McDonald, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Jane Krakowski through tunes from Hamilton, Rent, Jersey Boys and  Les Misérables.

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Michael J McKean, as J Edgar, 30 years after Spinal Tap

McKean

On this, the 30th anniversary of This is Spinal Tap, I profile Michael McKean in New York Theatre Magazine. McKean is now playing the villainous J. Edgar Hoover in the Broadway play All The Way.

Ask Michael McKean’s fans for the highlights of his career, and they’ll likely say This is Spinal TapClue, and Saturday Night Live (S.N.L.). (“I’m the only person besides Dan Akroyd who’s been a staff member, a musical guest, and a guest host,” he said of S.N.L.)

But ask McKean himself about the highlights of his career, and he’ll start talking about Mr. Mooney, his high school drama coach, and the plays he performed as a student at North Shore High School on Long Island.

“Every one of those was a highlight: Ten Little IndiansLife with FatherJ.B.Inherit the Wind,The Glass Menagerie. I didn’t do much else in high school. I played a lot of guitar, and I was in a lot of plays…I wanted to be Bob Dylan if I couldn’t be George C. Scott.”

Still, 30 years to the day after the release of the “mockumentary” about an inept rock band, people still accost Michael J. McKean on the street with some of their favorite lines from the movie, i.s.

“It’s such a fine line between stupid and clever.”

Full interview here

Bryan Cranston as LBJ and Michael J. Mckean as J. Edgar Hoover in All The Way

Bryan Cranston as LBJ and Michael J. Mckean as J. Edgar Hoover in All The Way

Top 10 Stories in 2013 on NewYorkTheater.Me

Top10readstoriesinnewyorktheater2013 was, if nothing else, a year of lists. I’ve already put together a list of the most noteworthy (and weirdest) theater stories of 2013. Here is a list of the ten most-read articles from this blog this year.

 50 Best Plays of the Past 100 Years, According To Entertainment Weekly

How fitting that the number one read article on the list of top 10 was itself a list. The top 5 plays on this list:

1999 Broadway production of Death of a Salesman

1999 Broadway production of Death of a Salesman

1. Death of A Salesman (1949) by Arthur Miller

2. A Streetcar Named Desire (1947) by Tennessee Williams

3. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1962) by Edward Albee

4. Long Day’s Journey Into Night (1956) by Eugene O’Neill

5. Fences (1985) by August Wilson

2009 Broadway production of Guys and Dolls

2009 Broadway production of Guys and Dolls

The top 5 (of 10) musicals:

1. Guys and Dolls

2. Gypsy

3. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

4. Oklahoma!

5. West Side Story

Broadway 2013-2014 Season Guide

BroadwaylogosFall2013

I keep this guide updated. It currently has not just the shows that opened (and closed) on Broadway in the Fall 2013, but the (so far) 20 shows with specific opening dates in Spring 2014.

Slings And Arrows Returns! Smash, Move Aside

slingsarrows

I uncovered startling news for the many fans of “Slings and Arrows,” the cult Canadian TV series about a fictional theater suspiciously similar to the Stratford Festival: Co-creator Bob Martin told me (on Twitter) that they were thinking of reviving the series, creating a fourth season. “Slings may live again.” It’s been 18 months, and they still haven’t changed their mind — or done anything about it. And, although I’ve done several updates since, readers are still finding this original post and getting excited about it.

 Social Media On Stage: Theater Meets Twitter,Facebook,Youtube, Tumbler, Soundcloud…

Fatebook homepage.

Fatebook homepage.

I posted on my blog in the very beginning of 2013 this article that I wrote for American Theatre Magazine about the many theater artists who have been using social media in one way or another for their art. Some employ it in the process of creation. Others have used social media as a kind of adjunct to their art, or as a marketing tool. A relatively small but growing number of companies, however, have been incorporating Twitter or Facebook or YouTube—or a combination of all of these and more—directly into their live theatrical pieces.

Neil Patrick Harris as Hedwig, new poster

Something tells me the revival of Hedwig and the Angry Inch is going to be a very popular musical in 2014. It is scheduled to open on April 22 at the Belasco Theater.

NeilPatrickHarrisas Hedwig

The Worst Show of 2013

I took a poll with 13 choices, and the opportunity to write in a candidate. Many voted; the votes are still coming in. There were plenty of write-in votes.  But at this point, the winner (loser?) is clear.

JekyllandHyde6

Breakfast At Tiffany’s Broadway Review: Capote Without Audrey Hepburn Or Moon River

Although Breakfast at Tiffany’s got the third-largest number of votes on the Worst Broadway Show of 2013 poll, it also was the most-read of all my reviews in 2013 — and (sigh) the only in the top 10.

If you’re curious, my top 10 most-read theater reviews in 2013 were:

2. Cinderella* 3. The Other Place 4. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof 5. Lucky Guy 6. Picnic 7. Hit The Wall 8. A Midsummer Night’s Dream* 9. Matilda* 10. The Revisionist.

*still playing

Emilia Clarke with "Cat"

Emilia Clarke with “Cat” in Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Top 10 Lists of Top 10 Theater 2013

Critics top 10 2013

Another list makes the list — this a list of the top 10 lists from (actually) 13 New York theater critics, including me.  If you aggregate these lists, you get the top 10 shows above in order of popularity among critics. But it’s more fun to read each critic’s choices, and their reasoning.

Smash Season 2, Critics Reviews

Smashseason2

The TV series Smash didn’t get enough viewers to keep from being canceled a few months later, but this list of (mostly negative) reviews of its second season made it to my top 10 list of most-read posts in 2013.

Producer Scott Rudin Attacks Patrick Healy of the New York Times IN The Times

ScottRudinattacksPatrickHealy

This odd story, the tenth most-read in NewYorkTheater.me in 2013, shows there’s still room for spontaneity in the theater, or something.

Hollywood Movie to Broadway Musical 2013

BigFishfilmandmusical

Big Fish, the movie (top), with Alison Lohman and Ewan McGregor; the Broadway musical (bottom) with Norbert Leo Butz and Kate Baldwin

The director of “Amelie,”  Jean-Pierre Jeunet said he was “disgusted” by the plans to turn his film into a Broadway musical, selling his rights only because he wanted to give the money to a charity he supported.   “I hate Broadway. I think it is the very incarnation of tackiness,” he said in a radio interview (surely this sounded better in the original French.)

Hollywood feels differently.

The 2013-2014 Broadway theater season so far includes six shows – five of them musicals, one a play – that were movies. Here they are in the order of their planned openings on Broadway, with a summaries from the original films:

 Big Fish

(2003 film directed by Tim Burton)

Opening at Neil Simon Theater October 6, 2013.

A son tries to learn more about his dying father by reliving stories and myths he told about his life.

@BigFishBroadway

A Time To Kill

(1996 film directed by Joel Schumacher, based on a 1989 John Grisham legal thriller)

Opening  at John Golden Theater October 20, 2013. The only non-musical play in this season’s group of movie adaptations.

A young lawyer defends a black man accused of murdering two men who raped his 10-year-old daughter, sparking a rebirth of the KKK.

@ATimeToKillBway

The Bridges of Madison County

(1995 film directed by Clint Eastwood, based on a 1992 novel by Robert James Waller)

Opening at Gerald Schoenfeld February 27, 2014

Photographer Robert Kincaid wanders into the life of housewife Francesca Johnson, for four days in the 1960s.

@BridgesBroadway

Rocky

(a 1976 film directed by John G. Avildsen , written by and starring Sylvester Stallone)

Opening at Winter Garden March 13, 2014

A small-time boxer gets a supremely rare chance to fight the heavy-weight champion in a bout in which he strives to go the distance for his self-respect.

@RockyonBroadway

Aladdin

(a 1992 Disney animated musical film directed by Ron Clements and John Musker

Opening at New Amsterdam March 20, 2014

Aladdin, a street urchin, accidentally meets Princess Jasmine, who is in the city undercover. They love each other, but she can only marry a prince.

@Aladdin

Bullets Over Broadway

(a 1994 film directed and co-written by Woody Allen), Opening at St. James April 10, 2014

In 1920s New York, a struggling playwright is forced to cast a mobster’s talentless girlfriend in his latest drama in order to get it produced.

@BulletsOverBway

The Hollywood/Broadway relationship began with the beginning of film, but it was largely in one direction. The earliest Hollywood movie made into a Broadway musical  seems to be the 1942 film My Sister Eileen with Rosalind Russell, which became the 1953 Broadway musical ‘Wonderful Town”…with Rosalind Russell
Other examples:
The Apartment (1960) became Promises, Promises (1968, recently revived.)
All About Eve (1950) became Applause (1970), which was the first musical based on a movie to win the Tony for Best Musical.
42nd Street (1933) became the 1980 musical of the same name.
Woman of the Year (1942) became the 1981 musical of the same name.

But it is arguably only in the past 20 years, and especially in the past decade, that the dominant direction has been from Hollywood to Broadway. Many of the most popular shows currently on Broadway started as movies: Newsies, Once, Kinky Boots, and of course The Lion King.

In the past, Hollywood studios simply sold their rights to a film to a Broadway producer, who would do the heavy lifting. Now the studios themselves are getting into the act. Every major Hollywood studio is planning to make a Broadway show – mostly musicals, an occasional play – out of their movies. A sampling of the plans:

Fox: Mrs. Doubtfire, The Devil Wears Prada

Sony: Tootsie

Universal: Animal House, Back to the Future, The Sting

Warner Brothers: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (currently in London), Magic Mike

Stephen Sondheim Theater: Environmentally-Friendly Broadway

Stephen Sondheim TheatreArchitect Pam Campbell, who was in charge of the renovation of the Stephen Sondheim Theater, where The Trip to Bountiful is currently showing, takes us on a tour to point out the environmentally friendly or green aspects of the theater (which, in architect-speak, is LEED certified) —  walls, which look like metal, are made of recycled paper; 95 percent of the air is filtered; the building was the first in the city legally permitted to include waterless urinals.

More on Curbed

stephen sondheim theater interior

Cuba Gooding Jr. Gets His Face on Sardi’s — and Then Leaves Broadway

Cuba Gooding Jr. Gets His Face on Sardi's -- and Then Leaves Broadway

A day after Sardi’s restaurant unveiled the portrait of Cuba Gooding Jr., who made his Broadway debut in “The Trip To Bountiful,” the show announced he will give his final performance in it on August 27th “due to a change in schedule for an upcoming film project.”

New York Theater March 2013 Quiz

March 2013 Theater QuizHow well were you paying attention to what was happening in New York theater in March? Find out with these ten questions

The questions are all based on posts from this blog in March, 2013.

The Broadway Blizzard That Wasn’t. Smash 2. Richard III. Grammy:Once

Losing Nemo: The Times Square theater district on February 9, 2013, after the "blizzard"

Losing Nemo: The Times Square theater district on February 9, 2013, after the “blizzard”

New York City was lucky this time. The blizzard that the Weather Channel dubbed Nemo saved the worst of its ire for other regions, allowing all Broadway and most Off-Broadway shows to remain open. Whether or not the theaters were affected anyway because people stayed home will be clear within the next couple of days.

But there was plenty this week to keep the New York theater lover occupied — including news of the discovery of Richard III in a parking lot in England, and the debut of the second season of Smash.  Also below: American Idol’s Crystal Bowersox has big Broadway news; Broadway and big bucks; a Broadway show drops out; brilliant theater makers David Yazbek and Dave Malloy separately offer their manifestos on what’s wrong with New York theater.

The week in New York Theater

February 4, 2013:

Richard III Unburied

Richard III's skeletal remains

Richard III’s skeletal remains

Richard III’s remains found in Leichester parking lot. He really was a hunchback. Shakespeare wrote 100 years after the king’s death
Suzi Steffen ‏(@SuziSteffen):
“Where’d you leave the Mini Cooper, honey?”

“R-III.”

Katha Pollitt ‏@KathaPollitt
Richard III not a hunchback — he had scoliosis of the spine from about age 10

Jonathan Mandell: Pardon me Dr. Pollitt

Katha Pollitt: Medieval chiropractor, if you will.

‘Richard III’ actors react to discovery of king’s remains: “Shakespeare was a dramatist, not a historian”

Disinterred Richard (@RichardNumber3 You would not believe what I owe to get out of this car park

Jonathan Mandell: This was inevitable

Anne Margaret Daniel ‏(@venetianblonde) Yes it was

Disinterred Richard: The secret mischiefs that I set abroach I lay unto the grievous charge of others. Know what I’msayin?

Anne Margaret Daniel ‏
I do, dear. Welcome back to the light of day

Disinterred Richard: The voice isn’t bad but the hair has GOT to GO.

I love this: Drilling Company’s Shakespeare In The Parking Lot (longtime series on Lower East Side) will be presenting Richard III this summer.

Despite mixed reviews, The Heiress has recouped its $3 million capitalization (translation: made $). It closes February 9th.

Broadway and Bucks

CNBC presented a half-hour show, “Betting Big on Broadway,” about investing in theater.

Some highlights:
Producer of Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark: “I think we’re somewhere between idiots and true believers…and lucky.”

Jujamcyn Theaters run by Jordan Roth grosses $200 million a year. Roth gambled early on a show called The Book of Mormon

“The Lion King” has grossed $5.2 billion in 17 years. It’s toured 96 cities worldwide, seen by 55 million people
71% of Disney stage shows have made a profit. (industry average: 25%)

Disney shows Tarzan and Little Mermaids bombed: “I got it wrong,” says Disney theater honcho Thomas Schumacher.

The first three weeks of Newsies on stage outgrossed the entire run of the original movie.

Despite star draw, in the end, Grace recouped only 90% of its investment. Mixed reviews and Sandy didn’t help.

In 1949, it was more expensive to see a first-run movie in Times Square than a Broadway play. Movie: $2. Play: 85 cents.

(from documentary “Broadway, The Golden Age”)

Andy Mientus (@AndyMientus): Last night’s sleep before I’m on TV. What will tonight’s dreams hold?

5

SMASH

JenniferHudsonpicsSmash

Smash, Season 2 — Critic’s Reviews: They are mixed

San Francisco Chronicle: Smash is back and again ready to become the hit it deserves to be.

New York Times: “no good right from the start…Broadway is a vicious, thrilling, glamorous place. Smash…has been small, wan & polite.”

David YazbeckDavid Yazbek ‏@DavidYazbek: Wrong on all counts.

Jonathan Mandell: Wrong about Smash, or wrong about Broadway?

David Yazbek: Both

Jonathan Mandell: So which adjectives would you select for Broadway, and which for Smash?

David Yazbek: Broadway=90% shit. Smash=99% shit.

Considered assessment by esteemed theater artist and musician David Yazbek (The Fully Monty, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown)
David Yazbek: Understand that those percentages are basically in the range of all popular arts and media.

During the two-hour premiere of season 2, many people “live-Tweeted” about Smash –

brief example:

Jonathan Mandell: The villain of #Smash, Eileen’s ex-husband, is Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Michael Cristofer.

Dan Mason ‏@djdan1033: Awesome. Can they recruit him to start writing the scripts?

But this time around, the cast of Smash was Tweeting during the show as well.

6

Lucky Guy castTom Hanks will be making roughly $100 per minute in Lucky Guy on Broadway! (He is reportedly worth $300 million; his pictures average more than $100 million)

Tom Hanks last performed on stage in 1979, in NYC, in a production of Machiavelli’s The Mandrake, in Columbia Universty’s Casa Italiana

James Carter ‏@jdcarter

Can’t believe I didn’t know this. Peter Scolari is in LUCKY GUY with Tom Hanks? BOSOM BUDDIES ARE BACK!

Pippin MarqueeSmash season 2 premiere had only 4.47 million viewers — down SEVENTY-ONE % in viewers aged 18-49 from season 1 premiere. However, the Joe Iconis song in the show,” Broadway, Here I Come,” is on the Top 100 on iTunes.

Friends of ailing playwright Maria Irene Fornes help bring her closer to home 

The “Pippin” marquee at the Music Box is animated. How do people feel about this?

Natalie ‏@n2natalie
I hate the digital marquee with every fiber of my being.
Jeffrey Miele ‏@jffmiele

I don’t like them at all. Takes all the class away from Broadway. It isn’t Vegas.

Stephanie Warren ‏@warrens4

I love it. It was animated for Dead Accounts too. Gives you a chance to share more info & the movement grabs your attention

Samuel Wilson ‏@samuel_james_w

no matter what anyone thinks of it, its representative of where so much of Broadway is at… #ridiculous

7

Will Smith’s daughter Willow drops out of doing film remake of Annie: “Daddy, I have a better idea, how about I just be 12.’”

Script for “Motown” is “still in flux,” producer tells Michael Riedel of the New York Post. Original writer Berry Gordy Jr. himself now has two “consultants”

Jersey Boys” plays its 3,000th performance on Broadway tonight:

Oh what a night!

Doo dit doo dit dit doo dit doo dit dit

All “Book of Mormon” seats #31.43 — in London, first preview Feb 25 at Prince of Wales Theatre (20 pounds actually)

Edward Watt (the husbands in Scandalous) will play Superman in New York City Center’s Encores’ concert of Charles Strouse’s It’s A Bird ..It’s A Plane…It’s Superman  Mar 20-24

Given up on your Broadway dream, and too young to be a stage mother? You can audition your cat next week for a role in the forthcoming “Breakfast at Tiffany’s

League of Independent Theater to hold Meet The Candidates on arts issues March 12 at the Players Club

Blizzard warning in NYC for tomorrow through Saturday. Unclear yet how this will affect theatrical performances.

8

The "blizzard" in Times Square, February 8, 2013, at 9:30 p.m.

The “blizzard” in Times Square, February 8, 2013, at 9:30 p.m.

Broadway and the Blizzard of 2013

CandiceElyse ‏@CandiceElyse

There’s nothing more eerie yet magical than an empty Times Square

Bobby Lopez@lopezbobby): I guess Nemo is finally coming to Broadway (laughs weakly)

 

Did you know Daniel Craig is married to Rachel Weisz? Well,did you know they want to star on Broadway in Harold Pinter’s Betrayal?

Miles Lott ‏@mlottjr

Will they get Hugh Jackman to play the other guy?

9

FatherDuffySquareFeb9Satmorning

No Broadway shows were canceled. Some Off-Broadway and Broadway shows are offering snow deals.

“Pump Boys and Dinettes” was scheduled to open on Broadway April 8, but it has been “postponed indefinitely”

Closing tonight: The Heiress, with Jessica Chastain.

MarkofZorroNewVictoryMy reviews of the Spanish plays, “Fuenteovejuna” and “The Mark of Zorro.”  Zorro a Spanish play, you say? Well, in a way.

0bba454ff6033417848bff7ff41786dc“Always…Patsy Cline” on Broadway this summer? So says American Idol  runner-up  Crystal Bowersox to The Hollywood Reporter.  No firm dates or theater

Benny Berry (@TheBennyBerry) Wouldn’t she be better in “Always… Janice Joplin”?

Crystal Bowersox (@crystalbowersox); That aughta be next!!

The brilliant theater artist Dave Malloy (Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812) explains why he was completely silent for 90 minutes in a panel discussion on the future of theater: The many “crises of American theatre” are self-imposed and imaginary, based on a desire for more money.

10

Once beat out Newsies, Follies, The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, and Nice Work If You Can Find it to win the  Best Musical Theater Album Grammy

Broadway and Off-Broadway Snow Deals During Nemo

The line for discount tickets at TKTS in Times Square at 3 pm, February 9, 2013.

The line for discount tickets at TKTS in Times Square at 3 pm, February 9, 2013.

Some theaters are offering snow deals

Roundabout Theater: Picnic and the Mystery of Edwin Drood, as well as Tally’s Folly at the Roundabout’s Off-Broadway Laura Pels Theater, will cost only $20 if you show a Metro card at the box office.

The Classic Stage Company’s revival of Sondheim and Lapine’s “Passion” is offering last-minute tickets for $35.

Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark is offering two tickets for the price of one through Sunday night. Use Code: WEATHER

(As always, a limited number of rush tickets are offered each morning at the Foxwoods Box Office for $39 each. Tickets are limited to 2 per person, and are subject to availability.)

Annie: Check out our “Snowday” discount this weekend! Use code SAVE23. Prices: Sat/Sun evenings: $39/$59/$79

A reminder that Off-Broadway Week runs until tomorrow: Buy one ticket, get a second for free.

You should also check out what’s available at the TKTS ticket booth.

Tom Hanks and the rest of the cast of Lucky Guy

Tom Hanks and the rest of the cast of Lucky Guy

‘Lucky Guy’: From left to right: Christopher McDonald, Peter Scolari, Tom Hanks making his Broadway debut, Maura Tierney, Richard Masur, Courtney B. Vance and Peter Gerety.

The late Nora Ephron’s look at the late columnist Mike McAlary, “Lucky Guy” begins previews on March 1 and opens April 1 at the Broadhurst Theater.