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Domesticated Review: Political Sex Scandal at Lincoln Center and the Plight of the Male Zombie Worm

Jeff Goldblum and Laurie Metcalf in political sex scandal Domesticated

Jeff Goldblum and Laurie Metcalf in political sex scandal Domesticated

“Domesticated,” Bruce Norris’s comedy about the aftermath of a political sex scandal, stars Jeff Goldblum as the politician and  Laurie Metcalfe as his wife, but the clue to assessing this play is the casting of Mary Beth Peil as the philandering politician’s mother  — the exact same role she plays in The Good Wife, a television series that began as the aftermath of a political sex scandal, but has moved on to more complex and interesting issues.

“Domesticated” sticks to sex. It is apparently Norris’s attempt to offer what he sees as the kind of inconvenient truths about our attitudes towards sex as he did about our attitudes towards race in Clybourne Park, his clever riff and update on the classic Lorraine Hansberry play “A Raisin in the Sun,” which won for Norris both a Tony and a Pulitzer Prize (neither of which, rather irksomely, Lorraine Hansberry ever won.)  “Domesticated” offers us nothing all that new, interesting or complex about the battle of the sexes, but it presents it in the gift-wrapping of some first-rate performers.

Goldblum is Bill Purvis, whom we first see at the now obligatory and iconic press conference, flashbulbs popping, his wife Judy (Metcalfe) by his side, as he resigns from his (unspecified) office.

In a slight twist on the usual scandal, the 23-year-old hooker with whom he had a dalliance is now in a coma. Her mother and the assistant district attorney accuse Bill of pushing her; he contends that, while holding a sex toy/paddle, she fell and hit her head on a chair.

Domesticated5Bill is surrounded by women – as is Goldblum. The 11-member cast includes only one other man, Robin De Jesus, playing a transsexual who, like nearly everybody else, confronts Bill over his insensitivity to women. Bill is a besieged man – if not Besieged Man – and he is nearly silent and seemingly guilt-ridden the entire first act. In the second act, though, he rarely shuts up, and we quickly learn that he is not, in fact, repentant at all. He’s never bought into monogamy. He recalls his wedding: “I’m standing at the altar in some rented tuxedo thinking, what am I, a salmon? I’m supposed to mate once and then die?”

The reference to another species echoes the only occasionally successful conceit threaded throughout “Domesticated.” His youngest daughter Cassidy (Misha Seo) only speaks when she is presenting a school report, complete with (G-rated) slides and videos, about the unusual mating habits of various of earth’s species, from hyenas to pheasants to zombie worms. The zombie worm, Cassidy tells us in a monotone, lives deep in the sea; the microscopic males of the species inhabit the body of the much larger female; in the future, Cassidy, tells us, the male zombie worms “will certainly disappear altogether.”

Domesticated4Norris makes his point early and often,  as he fills up the two acts and two hours of “Domesticated.”  In a running joke, Judy increasingly discovers just what a lout Bill has been, and the full extent of her naivete (”You married a gynecologist,” her best friend tells her. “A gynecologist who went into politics. Didn’t that tell you something?”) Bill and Judy’s teenage daughter Casey (Emily Meade) becomes even more snarky and impossible after the scandal than she was beforehand. Judy writes a book, appears on an Oprah-like talk show. Bill is unsuccessful in his attempt to return to his old job. Judy and Bill have an explicit argument over their sex lives. The legal case advances with a dud of a twist. All of this Anna D. Shapiro directs smoothly enough in-the-round at the Mitzi Newhouse. (Perhaps the arena seating was an attempt to make the conflict feel more like a battle or a sport?) The director makes the most of Norris’ one-liners and his knack for creating playable scenes where characters speak at one another without listening to one another.   Goldblum and Metcalf in particular handle the comic and the serious scenes with the impressive dexterity we have come to expect from both.

In his rat-a-tat dialogue and his proud effort at being politically incorrect, Bruce Norris can feel like Mamet with a sense of humor.  But as with the later Mamet, many in the audience will wonder what it all amounts to.

Domesticated

Mitzi Newhouse Theater, Lincoln Center

By Bruce Norris; directed by Anna D. Shapiro; sets by Todd Rosenthal; costumes by Jennifer von Mayrhauser; lighting by James F. Ingalls; sound by John Gromada.

Cast: Vanessa Aspillaga (Pilar), Mia Barron (Bobbie), Robin De Jesus (Bar Patron), Jeff Goldblum (Bill), Lizbeth Mackay (Jackie), Emily Meade (Casey), Laurie Metcalf (Judy), Mary Beth Peil (Shrink), Karen Pittman (A.D.A.), Aleque Reid (Becky) and Misha Seo (Cassidy).

Running time: two hours and 15 minutes, including a 15-minute intermission.

Domesticated is set to run though January 5.

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Bombshells: Bette Midler Back on Broadway, Mary Poppins Popped, Fiona Shaw Meets Aladdin

Bette Midler, Sebastian Stan in Picnic, Laurie Metcalf in The Other Place, Ashley Brown of Mary Poppins

Broadway Week, clockwise from top left: Bette Midler, Sebastian Stan in Picnic, Laurie Metcalf in The Other Place, Ashley Brown of Mary Poppins

Bette Midler’s return to Broadway after three decades is one of three new Broadway shows announced this week, a week in which only one show announced its closing, even though it’s January, and two actually opened. The normal post-holiday doldrums seem to have finished. We are looking ahead:

How come you’re leaving Newsies for Motown the Musical?Ephraim Sykes: ‏‪Just time to move on.

How come you’re leaving Newsies for Motown the Musical?
Ephraim Sykes: ‏‪Just time to move on to new thingshave vanished.

Broadway Theater Guide Spring  2013

Off-Broadway Guide Spring 2013

Guide to New York’s Winter Theater Festivals 2013

Tickets on sale now for:

 Broadway Week, 2 tickets for the price of one, Jan 22-Feb 7

Off-Broadway Week, 2 tickets for the price of one to 30+ shows, Jan 28-Feb 10.

This week in theater:

January 7, 2013

Bette Midler returns to Broadway for first time in 30 years in John Logan’s I’ll Eat You Last: A Chat with Sue Mengers. (Sue Mengers was Hollywood talent agent who died in 2011) Opens April 24

Smash: Katherine McPhee playing  Broadway performer Karen Cartwright in the fake musical about Marilyn Monroe "Bombshell," which now has a real cast album.

Bombshell, the Marilyn Monroe Broadway musical in Smash, now has an actual cast album. (Broadway next?)

SuttonFosterinBunheadsSutton Foster, whom the world knows for her starring role on the TV series Bunheads, but we know for Anything Goes, Thoroughly Modern Millie,  Drowsy Chaperone, etc etc,  is taking questions on Twitter. Among her answers: Her dream role would be the Baker’s Wife in Into The Woods; the male role she would want to play would be the lead of “Sweeney Todd.” Her favorite

Show:Sweeney Todd

Diva: Patti LuPone.

Co-star:Gavin Creel/Joel Grey.

Songs: In Your Eyes, Making Pies

8

It’s official: Mary Poppins is closing on Broadway March 3, after 2619 performances, more than 6 years and 4 million viewers.

AladdinDisneyIt makes way for Aladdin

A revamped Aladdin is not the only Disney property heading for a Broadway stage, according to Michael Riedel. “In the pipeline” Hunchback of Notre Dame

FionaShawFiona Shaw in “The Testament of Mary” (Jesus’ mother) by Colm Toibin, on Broadway’s Walter Kerr Mar 26-June 16. Opens April 22

Rachel Hadley ‏‪@RachHadley: My wish list grows!

Theater Twitter Jeopardy from ‪Peter Marks (@petermarksdrama): Bette Midler, Fiona Shaw, Barry Manilow,Mike Tyson and Holland Taylor. Question?

David Sheward ‏‪@DavidSheward2  What stars are doing solo shows on Broadway this season?

The Laramie Project Cycle (original 2000 production plus Laramie 10 years later) by Tectonic Theater company at the Brooklyn Academy of Music  Feb 12-24

Archeologists have found remains of 2,000-year-old Roman theater in rural UK, seating 12,000! (How come THEY didn’t need mikes?)

R.E.S.P.E.C.T. FOR THEATER AUDIENCES

What theater can learn from baseball: RESPECT for audience, says Samuel French in Howlround.

Hear, hear! He may be just an undergraduate directing major, but with a name like Samuel French, you should listen

samuel-frenchSamuel French, Inc.@MrSamuelFrench I second that statement! And did you know he’s also published by me?

Jonathan Mandell: The biggest breach of etiquette in theater these days is all these theater snobs putting down other people for breach of etiquette

To paraphrase Charles Schultz, theater snobs say: I love the theater.It’s theatergoers I can’t stand.

Ellen Burns (@StageElf) Assuming you’re not referring to people who want folks to not talk, eat & use cell phones during a show as “snobs,” right?

Jonathan Mandell: I am. Not because of their preference for order, but because of their unrestrained hostility & lack of understanding.

Ellen Burns: Hmmm~we’ll have to agree to disagree on this one~being quiet & allowing others to enjoy a show is just basic politeness

Jonathan Mandell: It’s also basic politeness not to start loud, angry fights with people because they’re talking.

I attended an autism-friendly performance, where some members could not keep quiet. Should they be banned from theater?

Ellen Burns: Absolutely not.

Jonathan Mandell: We need more creative solutions like that, not righteousness and hostility. The theater community should be inclusive.

Elliot returns home to Philadelphia to reconnect with his Puerto Rican family after his time spent serving in Iraq. Upon arriving, he finds his family in flux and his career prospects limited. When an online support group begins to overshadow his aspirati

My review of Water By The Spoonful

When Quiara Alegría Hudes’ “Water By The Spoonful” won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama last year, the standard response I heard was: What? Who?

“Water By The Spoonful” turns out to be a thoughtful, inventive, occasionally funny, at times moving story about addiction — about forgetting the unforgettable and forgiving the unforgivable in order to move on. It also explores the new ways we relate to one another – meaning, online – and the search for connection.  There are enough vivid characters, fine writing, and startling moments – including the story that explains the title — to make the production at Second Stage worthwhile theatergoing, even if not entirely satisfying.

Full review

9

Cinderella

first photograph of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella

Cotton Club Parade, the musical revue of jazz standards created for City Center’s  Encores! series, plans a Bway run in the fall

Manilow on Broadway  will still begin on January 18, and open January 24, but it’s closing’s been extended two weeks, to February 23

Oh no: 50 Shades of Grey is now a musical!. Luckily it’s a parody by the the theater company Baby Wants Candy,  Gramercy Theater, Jan 11-12

Playwright Adam Rapp is making his Broadway debut as a performer in Clifford Odets’ The Big Knife

Good news: Actor unemployment rate declined in 2012. Bad news: still at 28.5 percent, among highest of any group.

Theater for the New City will ceremonially burn its mortgage in ceremony with performances celebrating becoming debt-free. Saturday, January 26 5-7 pm

Arts leadership longevity: Lynne Meadows has been the artistic director of MTC (the Manhattan Theatre Club) for 40 years; Todd Haimes of Roundabout for 22 years; Andre Bishop at Lincoln Center Theater for 21 years.   Good or bad? ‪ 

In contrast: Newly hired Mark Packer is the fourth executive director in South Orange Performing Arts Center’s six-year history

10

KUSHNEROscar nominations complete list – Lincoln leads with 12, including best adapted screenplay by Tony Kushner (“Angels in America”) and eight for Les Miserables

Mat Johnson (‪@mat_johnson) Shocked my daughter didn’t get Oscar nod for “I Can’t Wear A Coat Over My Halloween Costume, It’ll Ruin My Life.”

Rory O’Malley is leaving The Book of Mormon on January 27: “Time to pass the torch…or sparkly pink vest”

Water By The Spoonful extends two weeks through February 10.

WHO’S COOL?

I believe theater artists aren’t cool, and shouldn’t pretend they are” Taylor Mac speaking at the symposium launching this years Under the Radar Festival.

Jason Zinoman ‏‪@zinoman Yes, only theater critics should pretend

Jonathan Mandell: I think there are some cool theater artists. Benjamin Walker.

Joe Thomas ‏‪@JoeThomasNYC‬ 
‪ 

 Lin-Manuel Miranda is.

Advice on investing in theater by theater lawyer Ben Feldman quoting producer client

Investors in the original 1956 Broadway musical My Fair Lady have seen returns of almost 8,000 percent (Problem is most are dead). On the other hand, eighty percent of Broadway shows lose money.

Redefining success: Theater artists’ paths to success are a deep unoriginal rut, says Polly Carl, that we should no longer travel down

LaurieMetcalfinTheOtherPlace

My review of The Other Place; Laurie Metcalf’s Awesome Transformation

Unlike “Wit” or “A Beautiful Mind” or “Proof” or “Next to Normal” or “Rabbit Hole” or several other such works to which it can be compared, “The Other Place” does not seem as rooted in a carefully-observed and painstakingly wrought depiction of illness or breakdown or grief. The playwright seems more engaged in creating a cat and mouse game with the audience, something with a slight whiff of “Deathtrap.” There is pleasure in this, but it is thinner on second viewing. Indeed, this puzzle might have come off as cold and almost unseemly given the subject matter were it not for Laurie Metcalf’s performance, which locates an emotional truth that is difficult to discern in the script.

Full review of The Other Place

11

Songwriters of the Golden Age. You can spot George Gershwin in this illustration by Al Hirschfeld. Can you identify Harold Arlen?

Songwriters of the Golden Age. You can spot George Gershwin in this illustration by Al Hirschfeld. Can you identify Harold Arlen?

Answer in my review of The Wonderful Wizard of Song: The Music of Harold Arlen 

Cameron Mackintosh reportedly in talks with “an American producer” to bring his big 1992 flop Moby Dick to Bway “in next 2 years”

Ugly Betty star America Ferrara now in ugly play “Bethany” about bankrupt woman, in Women’s Theater Project’s new home at City Center, running until February 17

BarrioABCbyHudes“Hit The Wall” ,new play about Stonewall Riots (birth of gay rights movement), at Barrow Street Theater opens Mar 10

Former New York Times drama critic Frank Rich (1980-1993) is producing a documentary for HBO on Stephen Sondheim.

Lucky Guy is unlucky, says Michael Riedel in the New York Post, despite Tom Hanks. Star fatigue + ugly poster= relatively low advance sales

Playwright Quiara Alegria Hudes is also the author of a children’s book “Welcome to My Neighborhood:A Barrio ABC

” A is for Abuela/And abandoned car

..B is for the bottles that are smashed like falling stars

Y is for yams and yuca planted by my cousin Cuca./Z Street’s loud with zooming cars (They speed right through the crosswalk bars)

12

RussellHarvardfromTribesRussell Harvard of Tribes. Only one week left to see this amazing show in NYC

13

Stan as Hal and Grace as Made dancing in Picnic

Stan as Hal and Grace as Made dancing in Picnic

My review of Picnic

Are all single women to be pitied? Would an undisciplined drifter in the 1950’s have a torso with a sculpted six-pack? Did William Inge’s “Picnic” really deserve the Pulitzer Prize for Drama over all other plays and musicals that debuted in 1953, including Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot” and Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible”?

These are fair questions to ask while sitting through the third Broadway production of Inge’s play, now opening at the American Airlines Theater.  There is no disguising how dated and relatively slight the playwright’s script, nor anachronistic some of director Sam Gold’s choices.  But there is also no denying the power of a good cast – and this is a good cast, full of reliably stellar veterans and exciting newcomers — to fashion out of “Picnic” an enjoyable outing.

 

Full picnic review

 

The Other Place Broadway Review: Laurie Metcalf’s Awesome Transformation

LaurieMetcalfinTheOtherPlace5It has been less than two years since I saw The Other Place Off-Broadway, yet what I remembered of it was just the spellbinding performance by Laurie Metcalf (still best-known as Roseanne’s sister on the TV series) portraying a scientific student of dementia who has some mental problems of her own.   I was surprised to realize that I had forgotten the details of playwright Sharr White’s twists and revelations – even the Rosebud moment at the end.

Rather than assuming that I, too, am deteriorating, I prefer to see my memory as a reliable guide to what matters in this play that has now transferred to Broadway.

“The Other Place” at MTC’s Samuel Friedman Theater is in the hands of most of the same master craftsmen who put it together downtown at MCC – in addition to the playwright, these include director Joe Mantello and a crackerjack design team. The transfer to the larger theater doesn’t suffer, I think, from the loss of the more intimate environment. But on second viewing, it is only Metcalf’s performance that offers an unfailing thrill.

The Other PlaceSamuel J. Friedman TheatreShe plays Juliana Smithton, a scientist turned pharmaceutical businesswoman who we first see sitting on stage in a business suit looking at her smart phone as we are taking our seats. When she begins to speak directly to us, she explains in a brisk, no-nonsense way how “the first glimmer of it” came when she was lecturing on the island of St. Thomas about a new medicine that offered the possibility of a cure for what is apparently some form of dementia.  She noticed that the only other woman in this roomful of doctors was a young woman in a yellow bikini. The woman’s presence so disturbs and distracts her, she tells us, that she cannot go on with her lecture, and is rushed back home, convinced that she has brain cancer.  Her husband Ian (Daniel Stern) happens to be a prominent oncologist, however, and is convinced she doesn’t, urging her to go for tests.  In the first half of the eighty-minute play, we piece together from what she tells us, and from scenes that interrupt her monologue, that she is divorcing Ian for having had affairs, and is estranged from her daughter Laurel (Zoe Perry) for having eloped with Juliana’s research assistant (John Schiappa).

At almost exactly the midpoint of the play, we finally fully realize that Juliana is an unreliable narrator, and that virtually nothing we’ve learned is true.

It would be unfair to explain more specifically, since much of the script’s appeal turns on the artful and disorienting way that White plays with our perceptions, and reveals the layers of truth.

Unlike “Wit” or “A Beautiful Mind” or “Proof” or “Next to Normal” or “Rabbit Hole” or several other such works to which it can be compared, “The Other Place” does not seem as rooted in a carefully-observed and painstakingly wrought depiction of illness or breakdown or grief. The playwright seems more engaged in creating a cat and mouse game with the audience, something with a slight whiff of “Deathtrap.” There is pleasure in this, but it is thinner on second viewing. Indeed, this puzzle might have come off as cold and almost unseemly given the subject matter were it not for Metcalf’s performance, which locates an emotional truth that is difficult to discern in the script.

I should say emotional truths. Metcalf, on the stage the entire play, holds our attention and our sympathy as she depicts a woman transformed, embodying an awesome range of attitudes and affect – smart, authoritative, sarcastic, cutting, angry, insistent, despairing, helpless.

The production in both subtle and obvious ways underscores her performance – she goes from wearing professional killer heels to going barefoot; the set is a tangle of dull gray picture frames that seems a representative of the inside of her brain, laced with lighting that bursts at times into a display that could symbolize her neurons misfiring.

Laurie Metcalf and daughter Zoe Perry

Her supporting cast helps as well. Two of the three other cast members are new for the Broadway production. Daniel Stern (remember him as one of the vaudevillian villains in “Home Alone”?) is nearly unrecognizable as Ian, Juliana’s husband, and quite good in his exasperation and frustration with his wife.

The Other PlaceSamuel J. Friedman TheatreThe actress playing all the female parts, including that of Juliana’s daughter, is now Metcalf’s actual daughter Zoe Perry.

Their scene together near the end of the play at the family’s Cape Cod home – the literal “other place” of the title – allows Perry to go through in microcosm something similar to the kind of extraordinary yet credible range of reactions that has turned our perception of her mother from a sitcom supporting playing into one of the country’s most formidable stage actors.

 The Other Place

Samuel J. Friedman Theater

261 West 47th Street

By Sharr White

Directed by Joe Mantello; sets by Eugene Lee and Edward Pierce; costumes by David Zinn; lighting by Justin Townsend; music and sound by Fitz Patton; video and projections by William Cusick

Cast: Laurie Metcalf (Juliana), Daniel Stern (Ian), Zoe Perry (the Woman) and John Schiappa (the Man).

Running time: 80 minutes with no intermission

Ticket prices: $67.00 – $120.00

May be inappropriate for 12 and under.

The Other Place is scheduled to run through February 24, 2013

Broadway Theater Guide Spring 2013

BroadwaySpring2013Final
Check out What’s on Broadway Theater Guide for latest info on all current Broadway shows listed alphabetically, and to buy tickets.

The Tony Award nominations have been made, Tony fallout so far has resulted in the announcement of three shows closing prematurely. Here is a look at the Spring 2013 Broadway season, now completed, arranged chronologically by opening date, with links to my reviews.

 JANUARY OPENINGS

TheOtherPlaceLogoJan 10: The Other Place -SAMUEL J. FRIEDMAN THEATRE

First Preview: December 11

Closed: February 24, 2013

Written by Sharr White

Director: Joe Mantello

Cast: Laurie Metcalf, Daniel Stern, Zoe Perry, John Schiappa

Laurie Metcalf, still best-known for playing Roseanne’s sister on the TV series, gives an outstanding performance as Juliana , a scientist turned pharmaceutical businesswoman who, we first learn, is divorcing her husband for having had an affair, and is estranged from her daughter for having eloped with Juliana’s research assistant. But we then learn she has a disease, and that nothing is as it seems.

My review of The Other Place when it ran Off-Broadway.

Manhattan Theatre Club’s The Other Place website

 

Jan 13: Picnic – AMERICAN AIRLINES THEATRE
PicniclogoFirst Preview: December 14, 2012
Closed: February 24
Written by William Inge
Director: Sam Gold
Cast: Reed Birney, Maggie Grace, Elizabeth Marvel, Sebastian Stan, Mare Winningham, Ellen Burstyn

Sam Gold (Seminar, Look Back in Anger) directs this revival of William Inge’s play about the longings and pairings of women of various ages when a sexy stranger comes to a small Midwestern town over the Labor Day holiday. The 1953 play won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and was made into a film in 1955 starring William Holden, Cliff Robertson and Kim Novak.

Roundabout Theater’s Picnic website

My review of Picnic

 

Jan 17: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof -RICHARD RODGERS THEATER

catonahottinrooflogoFirst Preview: December 18, 2012

Closed

Written by Tennessee Williams

Director: Rob Ashford

Cast: Benjamin Walker, Debra Monk, Ciaran Hinds, Scarlett Johansson

Scarlett Johansson (last seen on Broadway three years ago in “A View From the Bridge,” her Broadway debut) plays Maggie to the Brick of Benjamin Walker (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson) in this sixth Broadway production of Tennessee Williams’ “Cat,” best-known still for the movie starring Paul Newman and Elizabeth Taylor.

My review of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

 

Twitter; @CatonBroadway

Jan 24: Manilow on Broadway -ST. JAMES THEATER

manilowlogoClosed

Crooner Barry Manilow comes home to Broadway after two decades with 17  concert performances that includes many of his 25 consecutive Top 40 hits.

Twitter: @barrymanilow

MARCH OPENINGS

March 3: Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella -BROADWAY THEATER
cinderellalogoFirst Preview: January 25, 2013
Written by Oscar Hammerstein II (lyrics and original book), Richard Rodgers (music), Douglas Carter Beane (new book)
Director: Mark Brokaw
Cast: Laura Osnes, Santino Fontana, Harriet Harris, Victoria Clark, Peter Bartlett, Ann Harada, Marla Mindelle, Greg Hildreth
A reworking the Cinderella story, the musical began life as a television special in 1957 starring Julie Andrews, but has been worked over by Douglas Carter Beane (Xanadu, Lysistrata Jones). Songs include “In My Own Little Corner,” “Impossible/It’s Possible” and “Ten Minutes Ago”

My review of Cinderella

 

Twitter: @CinderellaBway

Mar 07: Ann – VIVIAN BEAUMONT THEATER

annFirst Preview: February 18, 2013

Written by Holland Taylor

Director: Benjamin Endsley Klein

Cast: Holland Taylor

A solo show written and performed by Holland Taylor about Texas Governor Ann Richards

My review of Ann

Twitter: @AnnRichardsPlay

vanyalogo2March 14: Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike – GOLDEN THEATER

    • First Preview: March 5, 2013
    • Opening: March 14, 2013
    • Written by Christopher Durang
    • Director: Nicholas Martin
    • Cast: Sigourney Weaver, Kristine Nielsen, David Hyde Pierce, Shalita Grant, Billy Magnussen and Genevieve Angelson
    • This spoof of and homage to Chekhov is a transfer from Off-Broadway.
    • My review of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike on Broadway

Mar 20: Truman Capote’s Breakfast At Tiffany’s – CORT THEATER

  • breakfastattiffanyslogoFirst Preview: March 4, 2013Written by Truman CapoteDirector: Sean MathiasCast: Emilia Clarke, Cory Michael Smith, George WendtEmilia Clarke (“Game of Thrones”) plays Holly Golightly, a character etched into popular consciousness by Audrey Hepburn in the 1961 film. A previous adaptation in 1966 with a book by Edward Albee is notorious as one of the biggest flops ever on Broadway; the musical had four previews before producer David Merrick shut it down before its opening. This time around, the adaptation is a play, not a musical, adapted by Richard Greenberg (Take Me Out).
  • My review of Breakfast At Tiffany’sTwitter: @TiffanysonBwayBreakfast at Tiffany’s will close Sunday, April 21.

Mar 21: Hands on a Hardbody -BROOKS ATKINSON THEATE

  • handshardbodyFirst Preview: February 23, 2013
  • Written by Trey Anastasio (music), Amanda Green (music and lyrics), Doug Wright (book)
  • Director: Neil Pepe
  • Cast: Keith Carradine, Hunter Foster, Mary Gordon Murray, Allison Case, Jay Armstrong Johnson, David Larsen

This large-cast musical would win hands down in the category of least likely-sounding show with the greatest buzz. It is based on a 1998 documentary, which followed 24 people in an odd contest at a Nissan dealership in Longview, Texas: Whoever can stand upright the longest with his or her hand on the truck will win a “Hard Body” pickup truck.

The music is composed by Trey Anastasio of Phish

 Closed April 14

My review of Hands on A Hardbody

Twitter: @HardbodyMusical

APRIL OPENINGS

luckyguylogo2Apr 01: Lucky Guy – BROADHURST THEATER

First Preview: March 1, 2013

Closing: May 26, 2013

Written by Nora Ephron

Director: George C. Wolfe

Cast: Tom Hanks, Peter Scolari, Richard Masur, Christopher McDonald

Tom Hanks debuts on Broadway in the late Nora Ephron’s play about the late New York tabloid columnist Mike McAlary, best-known for breaking the story of the police brutalization of Abner Louima. McAlary was the subject of a previous play called “The Wood.” This one will surely be better, but that’s not necessarily saying much.

My review of Lucky Guy

Twitter: @LuckyGuyPlay

Apr 04: Kinky Boots – AL HIRSCHFELD THEATER

  • kinkybootslogoFirst Preview: March 5, 2013
  • Written by Cyndi Lauper (music) and Harvey Fierstein (book)
  • Director: Jerry Mitchell
  • Cast: Stark Sands, Billy Porter
  • Based on the 2005 British film of the same title that was itself inspired by a true story, the musical tells the story of an old-fashioned shoe manufacturer who revives his company and saves the jobs of his employees by starting to make quality footwear specifically for drag queens.

My review of Kinky Boots

Twitter: @KinkybootsBway

 

Apr 11: Matilda – SHUBERT THEATER

  • matildalogoFirst Preview: March 4, 2013
  • Opening: April 11, 2013
  • Written by Dennis Kelly (book), Tim Minchin (music and lyrics)
  • Director: Matthew Warchus
  • Cast: Sophia Gennusa, Oona Laurence, Bailey Ryon, Milly Shapiro, Bertie Carvel, Lesli Margherita, Gabriel Ebert, Lauren Ward

Based on the beloved children’s book by Roald Dahl, this musical tells the tale of a young girl cartoonishly neglected by her horrid parents who is not only gifted with genius but also telekinetic powers. This is a huge hit in London.

My review of Matilda

Twitter: @MatildaBroadway

Apr 14: Motown The Musical -LUNT-FONTANNE THEATER

motownlogoFirst Preview: March 11, 2013

Written by Berry Gordy (book)

Director: Charles Randolph-Wright

Cast: Brandon Victor Dixon, Valisia Lekae etc.

Motown is a new musical based on the life of music mogul Berry Gordy, who launched the careers of Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye. It’s a story we’ve seen before – e.g. Dreamgirls. The difference here is that Gordy himself is writing about himself. If that doesn’t sound so promising, I’m keeping an open mind, given the access to the complete Motown catalogue and a cast that includes Brandon Victor Dixon (The Scottsboro Boys), Saycon Sengbloh (Fela, Hair) Ephraim Sykes (Rent, Newsies)

My review of Motown The Musical

Twitter: @MotownMusical

nancelogoApr 15: The Nance – LYCEUM THEATER

  • First Preview: March 21, 2013
  • Written by Douglas Carter Beane
  • Director: Jack O’Brien
  • Cast: Nathan Lane

In this Lincoln Center Theater production, Douglas Carter Beane tells the story  of Chauncey Miles (Nathan Lane), a headline “nance” burlesque performer, who has a “messy off-stage life” in the underground gay (as in homosexual) world of the 1930’s.

My review of The Nance

bigknifelogo2April 16: The Big Knife –  AMERICAN AIRLINES THEATER

  • First Preview: March 22, 2013
  • Closing: June 2, 2013
  • Written by Clifford Odets
  • Director: Doug Hughes
  • Cast: Bobby Cannavale

The Odets reappraisal continues with this first Broadway revival of his 1949 play about a movie star with a secret, and the studio that covered it up, and now has him “over a barrel.”

My review of The Big Knife

assembledpartieslogoApr 17: The Assembled Parties -SAMUEL J. FRIEDMAN THEATRE

  • First Preview: March 19, 2013
  • Written by Richard Greenberg
  • Director: Lynne Meadow
  • Cast: Judith Light, Jessica Hecht, Jeremy Shamos, Mark Blum, Sam Robards

Richard Greenberg’s second contribution to the Spring 2013 Broadway season  takes place during a holiday dinner at the Manhattan home of the Bascov sisters, played by Judith Light and Jessica Hecht, one of whom is a former movie star

My review of The Assembled Parties.

jekyllhydelogoApril 18: Jekyll and Hyde – MARQUIS THEATER

      • First Preview: April 5, 2013
      • Closing: June 30, 2013; Early closing May 12
      • Written by Frank Wildhorn (music), Leslie Bricusse (book and lyrics),
      • Director: Jeff Calhoun
      • Cast: Constantine Maroulis, Deborah Cox, Teal Wicks
      • American Idol” finalist Constantine Maroulis stars in the dual role of Dr. Henry Jekyll and Edward Hyde in this revival of a musical that opened in 1997.
    • My review of Jekyll and Hyde

orphanslogoApr 18 Orphans  GERALD SCHOENFELD THEATER

        • First Preview: March 19, 2013
        • Opening: April 7, 2013
        • Written by Lyle Kessler
        • Director: Daniel Sullivan
        • Cast: Alec Baldwin, Ben Foster
        • Early Closing May 19

Shia LaBeouf left due to “creative differences” replaced by Ben Foster, one of two orphaned brothers living in a decrepit North Philadelphia row house, who kidnaps a rich older man, Alec Baldwin

My review of Orphans

 

Twitter: @OrphansonBway

rascalslogoApril 18: The Rascals: Once Upon a Dream – RICHARD RODGERS

Concert by the 1960’s rock group, through May 5th. Written and directed by Steven Van Zandt

First preview: April 15

macbethlogoApril 21: Macbeth – ETHEL BARRYMORE THEATER

  • First Preview: April 7, 2013
  • Directors: John Tiffany and Andrew Goldberg

Alan Cumming stars in a one-man interpretation of Shakespeare’s tragedy, which was presented at Lincoln Center.

My review of Macbeth

testamentmarylogoApril 22: The Testament of Mary – WALTER KERR THEATER

First preview: March 26

Closing: June 16 Early closing May 5

Written by Colm Toibin

Director: Deborah Warner

Cast: Fiona Shaw

This solo show adapted from Colm Toibin’s novella has Mary, mother of Jesus, tells her side of the story of her son’s perplexing life. The celebrated actor Fiona Shaw was last on Broadway in Medea in 2002-2003, last in New York in 2011 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in  John Gabriel Borkman.

My review of The Testament of Mary

triptobountifullogoApril 23: The Trip To Bountiful – STEPHEN SONDHEIM THEATER

  • First Preview: March 31, 2013
  • Closing: July 7, 2013
  • Written by Horton Foote
  • Director: Michael Wilson
  • Cast: Cicely Tyson, Cuba Gooding Jr., Vanessa Williams, Condola Rasha

Horton Foote’s touching play focuses on Carrie Watts, an elderly woman who dreams of returning to her small hometown of Bountiful, TX one last time, against the wishes of her overprotective son and domineering daughter-in-law. This production marks Cicely Tyson’s eighth role on Broadway — and the first one in 30 years.

My review of The Trip to Bountiful

illeatyoulastlogoApril 24: I’ll Eat You Last: A Chat With Sue Mengers-BOOTH THEATER

First preview: April 5

Written by John Logan (Red)

Director: Joe Mantello

Cast: Bette Midler

This solo show marks Bette Midler’s return to the Broadway stage after 30 years to play the Hollywood agent

My review of I’ll Eat You Last

pippinlogo2April 25: Pippin – MUSIC BOX THEATER

First Preview: March 23

Written by: Composer Stephen Schwartz and Roger O. Hirson

Director: Diane Paulus

Diane Paulus, artistic director of the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge best-known for her Broadway productions of “Hair” and “The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess” brings to Broadway her production of this 40-year-old musical by Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Godspell), a coming-of-age story about the son of the first Holy Roman Emperor.

My review of Pippin:Turning a dud into a Broadway circus