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Tom Hanks Acts Out His Entire Film Career in 8 Minutes

SleeplessinSeattleWith the help of Tony-winner James Corden and lots of backdrops, Tom Hanks acts out the movies in which he has starred over the last three decades, from Splash (1984) to Saving Mr. Banks (2013). An auspicious debut for The Late Late Show with James Corden.

 

 

 

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Are Denzel Washington and Orlando Bloom too old on Broadway?

Denzel Washington is playing Walter Lee Younger in "Raisin in the Sun" at age 58; Sidney Poitier was 34. Orlando Bloom is playing Romeo at age 36. Leonard Whiting was 18.

Denzel Washington is playing Walter Lee Younger in “Raisin in the Sun” at age 58; Sidney Poitier was 34.
Orlando Bloom is playing Romeo at age 36. Leonard Whiting was 18.

Denzel Washington has confirmed that he will play the frustrated son Walter Lee Younger in “A Raisin in the Sun” next year on Broadway. “We start previews in March.” When Sidney Poitier played the character, that actor was in his early 30s (as was Sean Combs.)  Washington is 58.

Orlando Bloom, at 36, is making his Broadway debut next month in “Romeo and Juliet.” While Shakespeare never mentions Romeo’s age, Juliet is explicitly 13 years old in the play. In Franco Zeffirelli’s film of “Romeo and Juliet,” Leonard Whiting was 18.

Some greeted Denzel Washington’s announcement with jokes. (“They’ll have to change the character’s name to Walter Older.”)

Broadway is not alone.

MuchAdoaboutNothingJonesRedgraveVanessa Redgrave, 75, and James Earl Jones, 81, are slated to play the lovers Beatrice and Benedick in a production of  Much Ado about Nothing at the Old Vic directed Mark Rylance, (Derek Jacobi was considered old for the role when he won a Tony for playing Benedick on Broadway when he was 46.)

Does age matter?

As theater artist (and fellow Tweeter) Isaac Butler points out, “nearly every stage actor plays parts that they are either too old or too young for. This list is endless. Nearly every single play to feature a teenager has that part played by someone in their mid 20s, for example. Most every elderly characters are played by actors in their 60s.”

Specific examples:

Mary Martin as Peter Pan

Mary Martin as Peter Pan

Mary Martin played Peter Pan, an eternal boy, starting at age 42.

Celia Keenan-Bolger played a young girl in “Peter and the Starcatcher” at age 34.

Cathy Rigby is still playing Peter Pan at age 60.

Bernadette Peters (age 65) played the mother of a 12-year-old girl in A Little Night Music

Sarah Bernhardt played the role of Hamlet at age 56.

Ethel Merman reprised the young sharpshooter Annie Get Your Gun in her 50’s

Eileen Herlie was 11 years younger than Laurence Olivier when she played Gertrude to his Hamlet.

Nearly everybody in “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” is an adult playing a child; the same is true in “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown.” (although one of the actors plays a dog.)

Many found Phillip Seymour Hoffman too young for Willy Loman – although he was older than Lee J. Cobb was when he played the role.

Lucky Guy 1 Broadhurst Theater

Tom Hanks in Lucky Guy

Kerry Butler, who is 42,  has played a teenager in  Hairspray and Rock of Ages, and somebody in her 20s in “Catch Me If You Can.”

Angela Bassett, age 54, played a character in her 20s in “The Mountaintop,” where Samuel Jackson played Martin Luther King Jr., even though he is 25 years old than King was when he died.

Tom Hanks, 57, is 16 years older than Mike McAlary was when he died, and Hanks played him in “Lucky Guy” mostly in his 20’s and 30’s. “Didn’t hurt box office,” Howard Sherman observes.

Angela Bassett and Samuel Jackson in The Mountaintop

Angela Bassett and Samuel Jackson in The Mountaintop

Both Orlando Bloom and Denzel Washington have their defenders.

As Michael Kimmel points out “in the original source, Romeo is supposed to be around 20 and Juliet 18- Willy is generally considered to have lowered both. “

Besides, says Rebecca Bromels “no one wants to see a 13 year-old attempt the role of Juliet, do they?  Not an easy role to pull off.”

As for Denzel Washington as Walter Lee Younger: The character “is about the desperation and establishing manhood,” says Evita Castine  “or what people think it is – not how old he looks.”

In writing about Vanessa Redgrave and James Earl Jones’ forthcoming romp in “Much Ado About Nothing” (which would be an apt title for this post), Lyn Gardner concluded: “What great actors do is make you suspend your disbelief so completely that age becomes irrelevant.”

Thanks to the contributors not already mentioned: Tyler J. Martins, Jeff L. Walker, Patrick J. Maley, Phil Iannitti ,‏ Billy Flood, Beau Cybulski, Darius Smith, Piarsaigh MacCuagh,  Shawna Tucker Monson, Lauri Levenberg, Erica McLaughlin, Whitney Fetterhoff

Lucky Guy. Kinky Boots. Broadway Beasts

Tom Hanks in Lucky Guy, Billy Porter in Kinky Boots, Porridge the dog in Pippin.

Tom Hanks in Lucky Guy, Billy Porter in Kinky Boots, Porridge the dog in Pippin.

BroadwayOpeningsApril2013Lucky Guy and Kinky Boots opened on Broadway last week, Matilda is opening this week — one of a dozen Broadway shows still to open this month, to finish the Broadway Spring 2013 season, a season marked by an unusual number of non-human cast members. Below: a poll to choose your favorite Broadway beast.

Orlando Bloom and Rachel Weisz will both be making their Broadway debuts — Weisz in a cast that includes her husband Daniel Craig.

New York theater is not just Broadway — not even in April.  Nominees for Lucille Lortel Off-Broadway were announced. The League of Independent Theater (aka Off-Off Broadway) held its first-ever political candidate forums to address the issues facing some 50,000 independent theater artists in New York.

All that was good news. This was also a week of bad news, if you care about arts criticism.

The Week in New York Theater

April 1, 2013

orlando-bloom-romeoOrlando Bloom and Condola Rashad will star on Broadway in “Romeo and Juliet.” The production, which will also feature Jayne Houdyshell and Joe Morton, opens September 19 at Richard Rodgers. Bloom (“Lord of the Rings,” “Pirates of the Caribbean”) will be making his Broadway debut. Rashad, the daughter of Phylicia Rashad, made a splash in “Stick Fly” and is about to performer in “The Trip to Bountiful”

Sutton Foster and Jesse Tyler Ferguson will announce the nominees for the Tony Awards on April 30th at 8 am from the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center. 

Lucky Guy 1 Broadhurst Theater

My review of Lucky Guy

“Journalists aren’t nearly as interesting as they think they are,” David Eisenhower once said, a quote that Nora Ephron cited favorably in her final media column for Esquire in 1977. This was before Ephron became a movie director and screenwriter, and long before she wrote “Lucky Guy,” her play about the late tabloid columnist Mike McAlary. “Lucky Guy” is now opening at the Broadhurst starring Tom Hanks in his Broadway debut.

Ephron, whose play is being produced posthumously,  obviously changed her mind about journalists, for “Lucky Guy” depicts New York City newspaper columnists and editors who find each other fascinating.  Theatergoers are likely to find them less so.

That is why “Lucky Guy” is luckiest in having snagged Tom Hanks to return to the stage after an absence of decades.  He is certainly the reason why this script made it to Broadway. The production is also lucky to have George C. Wolfe directing, for he almost redeems what is otherwise a largely thin, plodding endeavor full of boozy sentimentality. He does this by injecting some clever stage business and a few well-orchestrated moments — and by having hired a first-rate cast.

Full review of Lucky Guy, including photo gallery

2

March 2013 Theater Quiz

March 2013 theater quiz — test how well you were paying attention.

Sample question: Who are Smith and Clarke?

  •  A new song-writing team
  •  The law firm representing Julie Taymor in her continuing lawsuit against the producers and composers of Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark
  •  The producing team trying to get new investors for Rebecca
  •  18th century New World explorers who are the subject of a forthcoming musical
  •  The stars of Breakfast At Tiffany’s

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof Richard Rodgers TheatreStars are no guarantee:  “Cat On A Hot Tin Roof” starring Scarlett Johansson did not recoup its $3.6 million capitalization during its 15-week run.

Astoria is a growing center for the arts

Duet between Bernadette Peters and Megan Hilty in Smash

3

Milo O’Shea, classic Irish-born character actor, veteran of 10 Broadway shows, has died at age 86. (Loved him in The Verdict)

RichardGreenbergplaywrightBreakfast At Tiffany’s, Assembled Parties, Far From Heaven…all by Richard Greenberg

— and all opening within a few weeks of one another in New York.

4

Roger-red-seats

Roger Ebert, 6/8/1942 – 4/4/2013

Film critic Roger Ebert has died at age 70. ‪@ebertchicago is no more. His last film review was five days ago. His last Tweet was yesterday. He died on the day after his 46th anniversary as a film critic! Here’s what he wrote yesterday.  The optimism makes you cry.

LucilleLortelplaynominees

Nominees for 2013 Lucille Lortel Awards for Off-Broadway

Giant, just nominated for a Lucille Lortel award, is getting a cast album in May

Kinky Boots 8

My review of Kinky Boots

Is it a shock to say that “Kinky Boots” just isn’t kinky enough?

It could have been. Harvey Fierstein wrote the book, he who began his career as a 300-pound teenage drag queen on the Lower East Side. Cyndi Lauper is making her Broadway songwriting debut, she who began as the girl with the tie-dye colored hair who just wants to have fun…..

The stage version delivers a couple of stand-out performances; a few touching moments; several catchy melodies presented with verve and panache in a diverse score of genuine pop tunes — one of which, “Sex Is In The Heel” is already a certified hit in the clubs — flavored by funk, disco and even a tango.

“Kinky Boots” is professionally put together, it’s entertaining…and it’s both safe and familiar.

Full review of Kinky Boots

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Rachel Weisz and Daniel CraigIt’s official: Daniel Craig will star with wife Rachel Weisz in Broadway revival of Harold Pinter’s Betrayal, at the Ethel Barrymore Barrymore opening November 3. Weisz (The Bourne Legacy, The Constant Gardener) will be making her Broadway debut.  Craig (best-known as James Bond) appeared on Broadway in 2009 in “A Steady Rain.”

Remember Rob McClure from Chaplin? He joins Tony Danza in Jason R Brown’s “Honeymoon in Vegas” at the Papermill Playhouse, aiming for Broadway

On American Songbook with Michael Feinstein on PBS, ‏Stephen Sondheim said his favorite composers are George Gershwin, Jerome Kern, and Harold Arlen.

A brief history of applause — Nobody is sure how applause began, or when — babies applaud; applause is mentioned in the Bible — but we all know where it wound up: In the theater.

Speaking Theater to Power

 

John Clancy, executive director of the League of Independent Theater, which conducted its first ever political candidate forums.

John Clancy

The League of Independent Theater held its first political candidate forums last month, and is planning to make endorsements in New York City political races. With some 50,000 independent theater artists in New York City, roughly 86 percent of them regular voters, the league’s executive director John Clancy says he is convinced that an organized voice can make a difference

Backstage is laying off its theater critic and eliminating all theater reviewing in the publication by the end of the month.

Howlround dedicated the week to essays on theater criticism.

Last words of Matilda author Roald Dahl. He was not afraid of dying: “It’s just that I will miss you all so much…Ow, fuck!”

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New, wonderful-sounding series from New York City Center: “Encores! Off-Center.”  Great musicals for $25

The Beasts of Broadway

Best Broadway Beast Poll

How to keep old shows feeling like new:

“Hands down, when you’re in a long-run show, the best thing that happens is there’s turnover in cast,” says Wicked stage manager Meredith Abel. “….those influxes of difference make everybody, like, step up.”

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All The Way by Robert Schenkkan , about LBJ,wins 2013 Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association Award for Best New Play produced outside of NY

The New York Shakespeare Exchange’s Sonnet Project, Shakespeare’s 154 sonnets filmed in NYC locations, kick-off party April 26 at  The Drama Bookshop. 

Closing today: Annie Baker’s The Flick, at Playwrights Horizons, which sparked complaint and controversy

Lucky Guy Review: Tom Hanks’ Broadway Favor to Nora Ephron

Tom Hanks in Lucky Guy on Broadway

In his Broadway debut, Tom Hanks plays tabloid journalist Mike McAlary in Nora Ephron’s “Lucky Guy” directed by George C. Wolfe

Buy tickets

“Journalists aren’t nearly as interesting as they think they are,” David Eisenhower once said, a quote that Nora Ephron cited favorably in her final media column for Esquire in 1977. This was before Ephron became a movie director and screenwriter, and long before she wrote “Lucky Guy,” her play about the late tabloid columnist Mike McAlary. “Lucky Guy” is now opening at the Broadhurst starring Tom Hanks in his Broadway debut.

Ephron, whose play is being produced posthumously,  obviously changed her mind about journalists, for “Lucky Guy” depicts New York City newspaper columnists and editors who find each other fascinating.  Theatergoers are likely to find them less so.

That is why “Lucky Guy” is luckiest in having snagged Tom Hanks to return to the stage after an absence of decades.  He is certainly the reason why this script made it to Broadway. The production is also lucky to have George C. Wolfe directing, for he almost redeems what is otherwise a largely thin, plodding endeavor full of boozy sentimentality. He does this by injecting some clever stage business and a few well-orchestrated moments — and by having hired a first-rate cast.

“Lucky Guy” is more or less a recitation of McAlary’s career, his biggest scoops and blunders as a journalist who worked as a reporter and then a columnist (eventually the highest-paid newspaper columnist in the country) for New York Newsday, the Daily News, and the New York Post – New York City’s tabloid newspapers – before he died from cancer in 1998 at age 41.

I worked on the staffs of both New York Newsday and the Daily News at around the same time – and even wrote freelance for the New York Post – and I knew or at least met many of the people who have been turned into real-named characters in “Lucky Guy.” I also had dinner once with Nora Ephron, who was herself a tabloid journalist long ago — a staff writer for the New York Post in her early twenties — but, as the daughter of famous Hollywood screenwriters, she was clearly destined for something else.  It would be hard even for strangers to remain unmoved by the brave way both the real-life McAlary and Ephron lived in the face of death (Read How My Mother Planned to Outwork Death, by Jacob Bernstein in the New York Times Magazine about Ephron, who died of cancer last June at age 71.)

Yet fond memories, admiration or sympathy do not necessarily translate into compelling drama. My past gives me no special insight into the world presented on the stage, but I do recognize in “Lucky Guy” the kind of  blinkered nostalgia and self-mythologizing that afflict journalists everywhere.

The play begins with a group of men singing in an Irish bar. These are the hard-drinking, chain-smoking, constantly-cussing colleagues of Mike McAlary, who form a syncopated, regular-guy Greek chorus for the next two hours. They narrate McAlary’s story, each of them supposedly bringing a distinct personality and individual take on the tale — debating McAlary’s controversial actions and disagreeing on his motives. But most of them are difficult to distinguish from one another, and their allegedly divergent viewpoints don’t sound all that different. “Lucky Guy” is no Rashomon.

When we first meet McAlary (Hanks), he too narrates his story for us, describing himself as “zealous, hard-working, true blue. Police reporter…All I ever wanted to be was a police reporter in New York City.” We learn that he was awed and envious of columnist Jimmy Breslin — and he sets out to be the next Jimmy Breslin. (Breslin himself is not presented as a character in “Lucky Guy,” as if it would be blasphemous to put into human form  such a journalism god.)

We follow McAlary’s career from his scoops at New York Newsday – he interviewed the boyfriend of a 19-year-old who was killed by a poisoned Tylenol pill; he exposed a major scandal of drug-dealing cops in the 77th police precinct – through his rise to columnist at the Daily News, his hiring away by the Post, the stories he got wrong (a rape he insisted was a hoax, based on mistaken information from police sources), his questionable wheeling-dealing, a serious car accident, his terminal illness. It is only within the last 15 minutes that we learn of his most famous scoop, the sexual torture by rogue police of the Haitian immigrant Abner Louima (portrayed in a single scene, at a hospital bedside, by Stephen Tyrone Williams), which McAlary got up from his own sick-bed to report, and which won him the Pulitzer Prize not long before he died..

(Click on any photograph below to see it enlarged in a slide show)

“Lucky Guy” is, remarkably, the second play I’ve reviewed about Mike McAlary. The first, “The Wood,” by Dan Klores, at Rattlestick in 2011, was downright inept. But the two plays share a few problems. As I wrote about “The Wood,” “Lucky Guy” pretends to present both a primer about journalism and a glimpse into the complexities of life in New York City in the hard-luck 1980’s, but it manages instead to relegate both to backdrops, turning the reporter getting the stories into the only important story. The main way the audience learns what it was like in New York City at that time is scenic designer David Rockwell’s curtain – an artful collage of graffiti, sayings like “Life is Crack,” and tabloid logos – as well as brief snippets of actual TV news reports and press conferences from the time projected onto various screens. Many of the stories are reduced to projected  headlines and brief remarks from a narrator or two.

There are some exchanges that begin to reach for something deeper. For example, McAlary and one of his editors John Cotter (the always excellent Peter Gerety), engage in a nearly philosophical debate about the nature of facts and storytelling: “You’re born, you die. Everything in between is subject to interpretation,” Cotter says. But “Lucky Guy” would have been a better play had these snippets of conversation been incorporated with more craft into the plot, rather than offered up in  what feels like mini talk-backs, staged as part of the show rather than after it.

“Lucky Guy” has a cast of 14, all of them (like the characters they are playing) no-nonsense pros. Two are women. Scattered throughout the play are scenes with McAlary’s wife Alice (Maura Tierney). Sometimes she argues with him for staying out late; sometimes she bucks up her man when he doubts himself. Deirdre Lovejoy portrays two characters, reporter Louise Imerman who competes in a man’s world by being more brusque and foul-mouthed than any of the men, and Debby Krenek, an editor who is shown as indecisive.

That a pioneering woman director like Ephron,  co-author with her sister of the female-centric play “Love, Loss and What I Wore,” would deliver such a retrograde view of women might be baffling if it were not clear that “Lucky Guy” is an attempt to re-create the legendary (i.e. anachronistic) camaraderie of tough-guy reporters.

Even if “Lucky Guy” were less problematic, its central pleasure would still surely be the chance to see Tom Hanks on stage, where he is even more charming than on film. Near the beginning of the play, an editor tells him to relax. “It’s New York City; who can relax?” he replies. He then points to a specific member of the audience, and looks right at her. “Are you relaxed?” It is one of several such playful moments. Hanks does not have a monopoly on these — there is a funny running gag about how much everybody smokes, and a reference to class conflict that involves the audience (I don’t want to give either of these away) — but Hanks’ persona seems to invite them.  Hanks is not just a charmer. It will come as no surprise to those who have seen him in such films as “Philadelphia,” “Apollo 13” and “Saving Private Ryan” that Hanks has some serious acting chops. When he walks across the stage using a walker (after McAlary’s car accident)  it is a moment that is both persuasive and somehow riveting.

Hanks’ most consistently entertaining partner in the show is the outstanding Courtney B. Vance, as Hap Hairston, an editor with whom McAlary often butted heads.  In a scene near the end of “Lucky Guy,” McAlary and Hairston, are in different hospitals, Hairston after open-heart surgery, McAlary in the first of the major operations for his cancer. McAlary calls Hairston, and suggests they both set their morphine pumps to the max. As they get high, their facial expressions are priceless.

“Journalism has lost its charm,” McAlary says, spaced out.

” It’s like my first wife,” Hairston groggily replies.

“How is it like your first wife?”

“I know I used to love her, but I can’t remember why.”

The scene is amusing; it’s almost touching. But even the appeal of Tom Hanks can only go so far in making palatable a show debuting in 2013 that has room for first-wife jokes.

Lucky Guy

at the Broadhurst
Written by Nora Ephron
Directed by George C. Wolfe, scenic design by David Rockwell, costume design by Toni-Leslie James, lighting design by Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer, sound design by Scott Lehrer, projection design by batwin + robin productions

Cast: Tom Hanks, Maura Tierney, Courtney B Vance, Christopher McDonald, Peter Gerety, Peter Scolari, Michael Gaston, Dustyn Gulledge, Deirdre Lovejoy, Danny Mastrogiorgio, Richard Masur, Stephen Tyrone Williams

Running time: Two hours and 5 minutes, including a 15 minute intermission

Ticket prices: $87.00 – $152.00 Buy tickets

Lucky Guy is scheduled to run through June 16, 2013

Hollywood Broadway Debuts: Shia LaBeouf Shooed From, Tom Hanks Lured To, Robert DeNiro Promised For, The Great White Way.

top to bottom: Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hanks, Robert DeNiro, Jane Lynch: Broadway DebutsIs Shia LaBeouf’s sudden departure from what would have been his Broadway debut a boost for Broadway in what would normally be a fallow February?  But this week actually has been fertile for theater folk – and, fittingly, considering this is Oscar week, much of it can be fit with Hollywood, such as the announcements that Les Miserables will return to Broadway, and the report that Robert DeNiro may be making his Broadway debut — as a director of a Broadway musical! Tom Hanks is talking about not just his Broadway debut, but his first stage role since 1981.

Also making her Broadway debut: Jane Lynch of Glee.

Speaking of TV: the auxiliary entertainment industry that has built up around Smash. And: What IS a dramaturg, and why are they always ridiculed on television?

The Week in New York Theater

Monday, February 18, 2013

New Memoirs

Rita Moreno,	Sachi Parker, Clive Davis

  1. Rita Moreno reveals that she was impregnated by Marlon Brando, who insisted she have an abortion. She also dated Elvis
  2. Sachi Parker, only child of Shirley MacLaine, writes in “Lucky Me” how Mom sabotaged her daughter’s acting career
  3. In The Soundtrack of My Life, Clive Davis writes he’s bisexual and currently living with a man. He details his efforts to get Whitney Houston off drugs.

Oddly, Clive Davis tells USA Today he plans to ask Anne Hathaway & Colin Firth to star in his planned 2014 Broadway revival of My Fair Lady

(Shouldn’t he tell the press AFTER he asks them?)

Sex in movies? Often great. Sex on Girls on HBO? Immersive. Sex on stage? Rarely works, says Chicago Tribune drama critic Chris Jones

Michael Urie (Ugly Betty, the canceled “Partners”) stars in Rattlestick Playwright’s Theater’s” Buyer and Cellar,” about a struggling actor who bonds with a Streisand-like superstar while cataloguing her collection. Opens April 3.

Tina Landau (‏‪@TinaLandau, director of “Old Hats” at the Signature Theater ): Directing in previews is a lot about making lists. I need lists. I love lists. Lists save me.

19

Yes, it’s happening; Les Misérables is returning to Broadway, its third run, set to open in March of 2014, producer Cameron Mackintosh announces

Boosted by ‪the Les Miz film, the Les Miz U.S. stage tour is doing $1 million a week. That’s what’ll be coming to Broadway

Should anybody from the ‪#LesMiz film do the Broadway version next year?

LesMizSamanthaBarksAaronTveitAndrew Marcinak (‏‪@Droid_boy): Hands down Samantha Barks and Aaron Tveit
Laura (@LauraBethD): Samantha Barks & Aaron Tveit!

Suzanne Du Charme (@SuzanneDuCharme): Hugh Jackman, Colm Wilkinson, some if the townspeople who already work in theatre
Kerri (what_a_dream) I say none of the leads in the Les Mis movie should be in the broadway production but the secondary cast should be

Andy Scott ‏‪@AndyDirects Perhaps Tom Hooper can also direct it so that there is nothing but religious symbols and water onstage

Jonathan Mandell (@NewYorkTheater) You forgot the giant noses

ShkBoom Records (@ShKBoom) Big news! We’re recording Pasek and Paul’s DOGFIGHT  with Lindsay Mendez and Derek Klena and the rest of the Second Stage Theater cast!

Adele Rufus Gaga

Which singer/songwriters do people most want to see writing for Broadway? Adele, Rufus Wainwright and Lady Gaga, according to the contest entries for tickets to “Kinky Boots,” Cyndi Lauper’s Broadway songwriting debut.

Ann window display

The window display at the Drama Book Shop for “Ann,” the solo show about the late Governor Ann Richards, starring Holland Taylor

(After first preview of “Ann”)

SMASH

SmashPataphysicalSciMemorable lines
Tom (Christian Borle): “Art without torture. I don’t think it’s possible”

Dan Mason ‏‪(@djdan1033): Very true. Ask most of us who watch the show every week.

Producer Eileen (Anjelica Huston): He’s a professional dramaturg.
Tom: A dramaturg, are you joking?
Librettist Julia (Debra Messing): Laughs.
Eileen: It’s a common practice these days.

Peter the dramaturg (Daniel Sunjata): Dramaturgs are like dentists;no one wants to see them but you’re glad you went once the pain wears off”

(Why do dramaturgs get so little respect?)

Julie Felise Dubiner ‏‪(@jfdubiner): Too many of us expect it instead of earning it.

What IS a dramaturg?

A dramaturg is a murderer in “Icarus,” the episode of “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit” in which everybody thinks Cynthia Nixon playing a Julie Taymor-like figure was the perpetrator.  A dramaturg is a handsome man who lives in a very expensive New York apartment but who hurts the now-scarfless Debra Messing’s feelings in “The Dramaturg,” the latest episode of “Smash….But what is a dramaturg on stage rather than on the small screen? Answer

Broadway Abridged Smash

Smash – theater bloggers weigh in, from Broadway Abridge’s condensed episode scripts to the Smash Reality Index

Will we have “Smash” to kick around any longer? Whatever else the backstage Broadway TV show has been, it’s been an inspiration for many in the theater community – creating what you could almost call a subsidiary entertainment industry

20

Shia LaBeouf, who was to make his Broadway debut, has departed “Orphans,” the production announces, “due to creative differences.” No more details at the moment.

The raved-about American Repertory Theater’s production of Glass Menagerie wit Cherry Jones, Zachary Quinto, and Celia Keenan-Bolger is in talks to open on Broadway.

Robert DeNiro plans to direct a Bway musical of Chazz Palminteri’s  A Bronx Tale. So claims ‪Showbiz411

Jane Lynch will replace Katie Finneran as Miss Hannigan in ‪”Annie” starting May 16

21

FREE concert March 28 with the casts of Chicago, Phantom of the Opera, Avenue Q and others to celebrate the landmarking status given to Town Hall.  Tickets distributed first come, first served starting at noon on March 25 at the box office

Shia LaBeouf replaced by Ben Foster in Orphans

Shia LaBeouf replaced by Ben Foster in Orphans

On Twitter, Shia LaBeouf (‪@thecampaignbook) publishes e-mails that imply that his “creative differences” were with Alec Baldwin

Ben Foster will replace Shia LaBeouf

The Rascals: Once Upon a Dream,new concert written by Steven Van Zandt (E-Street Band,Sopranos) Ap 15-May 5 Bway’s Richard Rodgers

Terrific project by ‏ the New York Philharmonic to put its 170 years of history online. Check out its archives 

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Shia LaBeouf Fired, NOT a feud with Alec Baldwin , says Michael Riedel in the New York Post

Last year’s Kennedy Center revue, “First You Dream,” renamed “Kander and Ebb’s Sing Happy,” is reportedly aiming for Broadway this Fall. Cast unclear.

It didn’t catch on on Broadway, but Kander & Ebb’s Scottsboro Boys will open at UK’s Young Vic,Susan Stroman director/choreographer again

Daughter of All That Jazz screenwriter recalls going to the Oscar ceremony without him. (He had died) 

Jeremy Jordan and Anna Kendrick to to star in film of Jason Brown’s musical about a frayed marriage, “The Last Five Years”

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I reach 10,000 Twitter followers — and how I built that following

Joyce Carol Oates  (@JoyceCarolOates): Twitter makes of loneliness something rich & unexpected.But you must choose your travel-companions with care.

Tina Packer in Women of Will (Shakespeare)

Tina Packer in Women of Will (Shakespeare)

My review of Women of Will

Consider Marina – saved by pirates, who then sell her into a brothel, “but she had such a healing spirit that she convinced every man not to have sex with her,” Tina Packer says to us, greatly amused, near the end of “Women of Will,” a fascinating if flawed work of theater about Shakespeare’s female characters, created and performed by a woman who has been studying them for decades – and is, incredibly, making her New York stage debut.

Full review of Women of Will

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Matt Cavenaugh made his Broadway debut in "Urban Cowboy" shortly after graduating college

Matt Cavenaugh made his Broadway debut in “Urban Cowboy” shortly after graduating college

New and Once-New Faces of Broadway ‪

Valisia LeKae is portraying Diana Ross this season in "Motown The Musical"

Valisia LeKae is portraying Diana Ross this season in “Motown The Musical”

The Times as usual features fresh faces of Broadway in its Spring preview. This year that includes performers in “The Nance,” “Pippin,”  “Motown The Musical,” “Kinky Boots” and  “The Flick”

But what has happened to the new faces of a decade ago. Good things, as it turns out. I catch up on actors Anthony Mackie and Matt Cavenaugh,  director Kenny Leon and playwright Kate Fodor.

TomHanksinBroadwaydebut

Tom Hanks talks about his Broadway debut in “Lucky Guy” which begins previews on March 1 and opens on April 1:

“I still feel sometimes that I’d like to be as good as so-and-so actor…I see some other actors’ work, and I think I’ll never get there. I wish I could.”

Tom Hanks was last on stage in 1981, and never on Broadway.

“I lived around the corner from Broadway, but I couldn’t even get arrested,” he recalled. “I didn’t know how to dance, I hadn’t taken a voice lesson, and I wasn’t feeling confident.”

He is starring as the late newspaper columnist Mike McAlary, in a play written by Nora Ephron, who died while she was writing it.
“We’re just resorting to imagining the headlines for bad reviews — ‘Lucky Guy, Unlucky Audience!’ ‘Yucky Guy!’ ”

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

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.

Scarlett Johansson Faces Broadway, Tom Hanks Face on Broadway: The Week in New York Theater

New York Theater Week January 14 to 20: Norbert Leo Butz, Anna Deavere Smith, Scarlett Johansson, Audra McDonald, Smash, Tom Hanks

New York Theater Week January 14 to 20: Norbert Leo Butz, Anna Deavere Smith, Scarlett Johansson, Audra McDonald, Smash, Tom Hanks

Scarlett Johansson made her sophomore debut on Broadway, a Broadway marquee is replaced with Tom Hanks’ face, and indie theater artist Taylor Mac lays out all that “I believe” about the theater for the visitors from The Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) at the Under the Radar Festival. Also: Theatre Row settles a lawsuit from the State Attorney General, Norbert Leo Butz comes back from the “Dead” in two different ways, Audra McDonald gets a new gig, and fans of Janis Joplin and Constantin Stanislavsky (or Konstantin Stanislavski) both have something to celebrate.

This week in New York theater:

January 14, 2013

Big Fish, a new musical based on the 2003 film,  is opening on Broadway’s Neil Simon Theater on October 6 directed by Susan Stroman a with cast of 27, including. Norbert Leo Butz, Kate Baldwin, Bobby Steggert

Broadway star Sean McDermott (Grease etc) has come up in the world. He’ll be Dr. Hannibal Lecter when Silence the Musical returns starting Jan 19

My apologies for doing this to you: first hour of 2-hour season 2 premiere episode of  Smash  

 Smashseason2

Settlement in Attorney General suit v. Theatre Row for discriminating against disabled in ticket purchasing 

Nella Vera ‏(@spinstripes): There have been lawsuits in other states as well. Theaters know they need to solve the ticketing issues and many are trying.

Jonathan Mandell: I don’t get why it’s such a struggle for theaters to comply with the law and be fully accessible.

Nella Vera: It is the expense most of the time. Retrofitting old theaters is hard…. I think most theaters are very aware and want to comply and spend a lot of time trying to find solutions.

15

Jason Alexander, Tovah Feldshuh in Richard Rodgers 1970 musical about Noah (of Ark fame), “Two By Two,” February 15-17 at York Theatre

Mel Brooks still working on Blazing Saddles as Broadway musical,thinks timing is right “now that Django Unchained has used the N word”

“Live from Lincoln Center” this season on PBS, with new host Audra McDonald:

AudraMcDonaldLivefromLincolnCenterThe songs of John Kander and Fred Ebb, with Marin Mazzie, Jason Danieley,Joel Grey and Chita Rivera, February 15

Kristin Chenoweth: The Dames of Broadway March 24

Josh Groban April 12

“Stephanie Blythe: We’ll Meet Again – The Songs of Kate Smith” April 19

Carousel April 26

Audra McDonald May 24.

Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway as Jean Valjean and Fantine in Les Miserables the movieThe commercial success of the Les Miz movie has sparked a debate over the worth of musical theater in general (unfairly, I think)…

David Sexton: How can anyone who loves music enjoy musicals? 

“The idea of people acting & then singing at the same time, & quite possibly dancing too, repels us.” 

Irene Patino ‏@Me_n_Mr_Guzman Ha! Who pissed in his Cheerios?

Haleh Roshan (@halehroshan)  Yikes. Don’t think that Sexton piece is a legitimate debate, it’s just a rant.

Jonathan Mandell Perhaps, but he’s not alone. I know people who feel the same way.

Lyn Gardner: Is it too easy to kick musical theatre?

 “West Side Story is as great as Romeo and Juliet, and My Fair Lady as good as Shaw’s Pygmalion…. Bad musical is harder to endure than a bad play, but that’s only because there’s so much more to get right, and can go wrong.”

16

Anne Hathaway will reportedly star in film Taming of the Shrew rewritten by Abi Morgan (Iron Lady) set in mid-20th century Italy

  GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) Media Award nominees Broadway/Off-Broadway: Bring It On; Cock; The Columnist; The Whale Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike

Nobody Loves Me, Itamar Moses’s musical comedy about a philosophy student on reality dating show, to open summer at Second Stage Theater.

 Ninety-seven percent of arts groups use social media,but many see a Dark Side: public criticizing more,demanding free art 

“Always give them the old fire, even when you feel like a squashed cake of ice” ~ Ethel Merman, born today in either 1908 or 1909

IBelieveByTaylorMac1Complete text of Taylor Mac’s I Believe

Excerpt:
I believe, as a theater artist, I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know.  Because I believe, as a theater artist, I’m not a teacher; I’m a reminder.  I’m just trying to remind you of things you’ve dismissed, forgotten, or buried.

I believe if NYC had no art and only Wall Street, nobody would want to live here.  And so I believe 10% of all Wall Street salaries should go to artists.

I believe my work and all “experimental work”, is commercial theater.  I believe the non-profit sector is and has been incredible but that it’s taught audiences that theater is something most people won’t want to see.

Monica Bauer ‏(@Monicadrama): Thanks, every playwright should start each day by reading Taylor’s manifesto out loud, like pledge of allegiance

All three of Quiara Alegria Hudes’ plays in Elliot Trilogy, including Pulitzer winner Water By The Spoonful, to be performed at Second Stages on January 27th only

bloodspurtTips on making your own stage blood (Hershey’s chocolate syrup + Kool Aid dark cherry works nicely) 

Django used hundreds of gallons of blood in ‘blood bags’ strapped to actors, set off by little explosives 


17

Stanislavskyat150Stanislavsky, who revolutionized modern acting, was born 150 years ago today. Without him, Brando would never have muttered

Robert Falls (@RobertFalls201): Hangin’ with my homie Stanislavsky at his 150th birthday party. I’m in Moscow with  a vodka in one hand and my iPhone in the other!

Tonight: John Lithgow stars in live broadcast of National Theatre’s “The Magistrate” in movie theaters throughout the U.S.

Five steps to get your (college-age) pals to stop hating theater. eg show videos from Joe’s Pub, or with cursing 

Flu has hit Broadway hard. At Newsies, “we can cough in character.” Others try home remedies/superstitions

Opening April 1,  Lucky Guy with Tom Hanks was supposed to run only through May 19. It’s been extended to June 16

ButzMemoryandMayhemNorbert Leo Butz has come back from the Dead(Accounts) to record his gig at 54 Below.Memory Mayhem is his first album: “I intended to be a recording artist & a classical actor”when Butz moved to NYC in 1996. But then “Rent” and Broadway and life intervened

South Park/Book of Mormon’s Parker & Stone setting up their own studio. Reportedly, their 1st project is ‘likely’ to be The Book of Mormon film

I don’t see how Book of Mormon film could work as well as the stage musical — unless the whole thing was a spoof of Les Miz film

Reach out to theatrical colleagues abroad and get grants of $5,000 or $10,000 from TCG.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof Richard Rodgers TheatreMy review of Cat on A Hot Tin Roof

“Cat On A Hat Tin Roof” with Scarlett Johansson and Benjamin Walker could not possibly be so dull, I said during the first intermission; I just must be tired….

Those people who know “Cat” only from the 1958 movie with Elizabeth Taylor and Paul Newman are at something of a disadvantage. The performances are so indelible – and so easily available from Netflix or the local library or the occasional showing on TV – that it is difficult to tolerate a production where the actors offer a different interpretation… much less when they seem less alive.
On the other hand, the screenplay by Richard Brooks and James Poe scrubbed Williams’ play clean of all references to homosexuality, wiping out a context that gives the story more clarity and greater force. Though not explicit by today’s standards, there is more in the text than I had remembered

Full review

18

Rich Little, once ubiquitous impressionist, now 74, hoping to bring his solo Vegas show, Jimmy Stewart & Friends, to Broadway.

Anna Deavere Smith, a theater artist I revere, has won the $300,000 Gish Prize. (Past winners: Bob Dylan, Arthur Miller,Robert Redford.)

19

Cole Porter’s Can-Can, 1953 Broadway musical that made Gwen Verdon a star, is reportedly aiming for Bway w/new book in 2014

Tony Kushner is “slowly starting” on a new play but his “film stuff” comes first (working w/Spielberg on another history film) For the Lincoln screenplay, Kushner wrote more than 1,000 pages, whittled to 150. ” I could work on Lincoln the rest of my life.”

Janis Joplin 70Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a night on the town

I’m counting on you Lord, please don’t let me down

Prove that you love me and buy the next round,
Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a night on the town ?

Janis Joplin would have turned 70 years old today.

Bring back “Love, Janis”, the downtown musical about the life and music of Janis Joplin!

Pasadena Playhouse ‏@PasPlayhouse  “One Night With Janis Joplin” will be at Pasadena Playhouse, 3/15 – 4/11.

They’ve listened to the criticism: Tom Hanks’ face is now on Lucky Guy marquee. Gone is the red lipstick

LuckyGuyMarqueeBeforeandAfter

20

Playwright Jason Greene gets inspired by visiting websites of theaters: Shelter, The Amoralists, Ugly Rhino, The Flea. I get hope by reading that other playwrights are getting produced

Jonathan Mandell: That might further irk a lesser human than you.

Jason Greene (@TheJasonGreene): I have my jealous moments.But when I see a show & get caught up in it, it kick starts my creative process.

Closing today: Glengarry Glen Ross, Lincoln Center Theater’s Golden Boy, Tribes.  Peter and the Starcatcher is closing on Broadway, but moving Off-Broadway to the New World Stage.

Tom Hanks Now on “Lucky Guy” Marquee

The producers of the new Broadway play “Lucky Guy” have listened to the criticism, and changed the marquee at the Broadhurst Theater, getting rid of the billboard (left) with the red squiggly graffiti that some likened to lipstick, and now prominently featuring a photograph of Tom Hanks — who is, after all, the biggest selling point of this play by the late Nora Ephron about the late newspaper columnist Mike McAlary. Performances are scheduled to begin March 1, with an opening date of April Fool’s Day.

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