August 22, 2011
A round-up of this month’s Broadway theatre news including new productions of Funny Girl, Godspell and Death of a Salesman, and featuring stars including Hunter Parrish, Andrew Garfield, Lauren Ambrose and Darren Criss.
The Spring Awakening and Weeds star Hunter Parrish is set to play Jesus in a new Broadway production of Godspell this autumn. The show is scheduled to open at the Circle in the Square Theater on 7 November.
The British star of the new Spiderman movie, Andrew Garfield, is set to join the Broadway cast of a new production of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman. The revival, opening in March, will be directed by Mike Nichols and co-star Philip Seymour Hoffman and Linda Emond.
CATCH ME IF YOU CAN – LITERALLY!
Big Broadway musical Catch Me If You Can, based on Steven Spielberg’s hit film, is to close at the Neil Simon Theatre in New York. The show, which will have played 170 performances, hasn’t caught on with the public and will close on 4 September. The musical was nominated for four Tonys but only won one – Norbert Leo Butz winning a Best Actor gong. Starring Broadway hunk Aaron Tveit, the show was put together by the Love Never Dies creative team of director Jack O’Brien and choreographer Jerry Mitchell… guess it ain’t their year.
Six Feet Under star Lauren Ambrose is set to play Fanny Brice in the new Broadway production of Funny Girl. Glee’s Lea Michele had been widely tipped to star in the revival of the show that made a star out of Barbra Streisand. Bartlett Sher, whose Tony award-winning production of South Pacific is currently playing at the Barbican Theatre, will direct the show.
It has been confirmed that Glee’s Darren Criss will take over from Daniel Radcliffe as J. Pierrepont Finch in the Broadway production of How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre. The Glee star will take over on 3 January but only for an initial three week run.
June 17, 2011
Love Never Dies, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s multi-million pound sequel to The Phantom of the Opera, has announced its closure in the West End.
Rumours have circulated for some time that the show, which is produced by Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group and is housed in one of the company’s theatres, jointly owned with the Nederlanders, was losing a significant amount of money and would struggle to continue unless it saw a sharp rise in box-office receipts.
The National Theatre’s hit new show One Man, Two Guvnors starring Gavin and Stacey’s James Corden will move in to the venue from mid-November 2011.
It is unclear whether Love Never Dies will continue with its international roll-out, including a production in Toronto and a Broadway opening.
The show did open last month in Melbourne to fair reviews, with the Herald Sun giving the show four stars but saying that, “While Love Never Dies sets a visual design standard that will be difficult to surpass, it is disappointing that the narrative and music fail to reach the same lofty heights”. Australian National newspaper The Age said that, “An inspired, often ravishing production for sure, though of a sequel that doesn’t make a strong enough musical or narrative argument for its own existence.”
Lloyd Webber wanted to the show to be completely revisited for the Melbourne opening, recruiting New Zealand director Simon Phillips to work on the show. The hope was that a good production in Melbourne could act as the template for future international productions.
Love Never Dies got off to a decidedly shaky start in the UK, with creative differences between the director Jack O’Brien and Lord Lloyd Webber, prompting the composer to close the show for four days in November 2010 to allow friend and producer Bill Kenwright to make a number of changes.
It had been rumoured that the show would close again for two weeks in September 2011, when the current cast was to change, to incorporate some of the changes made by Simon Phillips from the Melbourne production.
In May, Baz Bamigboye reported in the Daily Mail that Really Useful Group were struggling with £4 million loses from the show despite significant cost cutting.
Other shows that had been thought to be lining up for the Adelphi included a Robert Lindsay-led revival of Camelot directed by David Leveaux.
- Show: Love Never Dies
- Theatre: Adelphi Theatre
- Date closing: 27 August 2011
- Stars: Ramin Karimloo, Celia Graham, David Thaxton
- Composer: Andrew Lloyd Webber
- Director: Jack O’Brien / Bill Kenwright
March 9, 2011
Previews begin this week for major new Broadway musical Catch Me If You Can at the Neil Simon Theatre (opens 10 April), based on the Stephen Spielberg movie and the true story that inspired it.
The show is led by rising new Broadway star Aaron Tveit (Next to Normal, Wicked) as con-man Frank Abagnale, and also stars Kerry Butler and Norbert Leo Butz. Aaron is featured in this month’s issue of Vanity Fair and there is a real buzz about him. The musical comes from the Hairspray and Love Never Dies creative team of Jack O’Brien (director) and Jerry Mitchell (Choreography), with a book by Terence McNally (The Full Monty), and score by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman.
March 8, 2011
Our USA round-up of what’s hot on Broadway and beyond, including Daniel Radcliffe in How To Succeed…, transfers of Priscilla and Sister Act, Elaine Paige in Follies and much more.
Catch Me If You Can
Previews begin this week for major new Broadway musical Catch Me If You Can at the Neil Simon Theatre (opens 10 April), based on the Stephen Spielberg movie and the true story that inspired it. The show is led by rising new Broadway star Aaron Tveit (Next to Normal, Wicked) as con-man Frank Abagnale, and also stars Kerry Butler and Norbert Leo Butz. Aaron is featured in this month’s issue of Vanity Fair and there is a real buzz about him. The musical comes from the Hairspray and Love Never Dies creative team of Jack O’Brien (director) and Jerry Mitchell (Choreography), with a book by Terence McNally (The Full Monty), and score by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman.
Spider-Man: Julie out?
The New York Times is reporting that Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark director Julie ‘The Lion King’ Taymor may have to fall on her sword and depart the production if she doesn’t seek help. Apparently the producers of the troubled, multi-million dollar show would like her to work with an expanded creative team to try and bring work on the production to a close – or she may have to leave the show. Other current decisions being made on the show include to what extent the script and music should be overhauled. The five-times rearranged opening night of 15 March now seems almost certain to be… rearranged!
London to Broadway: Priscilla, Sister Act, War Horse, Jerusalem
Four big West End shows are opening on Broadway in the coming weeks. Priscilla Queen of the Desert is currently in previews at the Palace Theatre on Broadway (and the Palace Theatre, London!), starring Will Swenson as Tick. Swenson appeared in the recent Broadway and London productions of Hair, and is joined in Priscilla by Tony Sheldon, who revisits the role of Bernadette after wowing audiences in Australia and London, and Nick Adams (La Cage Aux Folles) as Adam.
Over at the Broadway Theatre previews start on 24 March for Sister Act, which wings its way to America following a decent run at the London Palladium. The star of the London show, Patina Miller, will reprise her role as nightclub singer Deloris Van Cartier, joined by Victoria Clark (The Light in the Piazza) as Mother Superior.
Also transferring to Broadway, the National Theatre’s production of War Horse will start previews at the Lincoln Center in New York from 15 March, and the Royal Court’s smash-hit production of Jez Butterworth’s play Jerusalem will play the Music Box theatre from 2 April. The play will feature its Olivier Award-winning London star Mark Rylance, who is sure become a major Tony Awards contender for his tour de force performance as Johnny ‘Rooster’ Byron.
Daniel Radcliffe in How To Succeed in Business…
Life after Harry Potter is going to be particularly glamorous for Daniel Radcliffe as he is currently starring in How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre (now in previews, opens 27 March). The show has hit the press recently over rumours that Warner Bros. are furious with the show’s producers for not letting Radcliffe out of performances to promote the final Harry Potter film later in the year.
Elaine Paige in Follies
Not long to go until the Eric Schaeffer revival of Sondheim’s Follies at the Kennedy Center in Washington (7 May – 19 June) starring Bernadette Peters as Sally, Jan Maxwell as Phyllis, Danny Burstein as Buddy, Ron Raines as Benjamin Stone – and our very own Elaine Paige as Carlotta. The casting of Paige caught many off guard (she’s TOO YOUNG you cry!) and it will be interesting to see if Paige turns up in Trevor Nunn’s mooted revival of the show at the Theatre Royal Haymarket later this year.
Hot tip: Gavin Creel in Prometheus Bound
Whilst Hair alumni Will Swenson is camping it up in Priscilla, fellow co-worker Gavin Creel, who also starred with Swenson in the London transfer of Hair, is currently wowing audiences in Prometheus Bound at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Mass. Rumour mills are buzzing over whether the show might transfer to Broadway. Written by Tony and Grammy Award-winning playwright and lyricist Steven Sater, who scored a huge hit with Spring Awakening on Broadway and less so in London, and with music composed by Grammy Award-winning System of a Down lead singer Serj Tankian, the show is inspired by Aeschylus’s Ancient Greek tragedy.
Stars on Broadway
There’s no shortage of stars turning up on Broadway over the next few weeks, with Frances McDormand having just opened in Good People at the Manhattan Theatre Club, Brian Cox, Chris Noth, Jason Patric and Kiefer Sutherland starring in That Championship Season at the Bernard Jacobs Theatre, Billy Crudup in Arcadia at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre (opens 17 March), Robin Williams in Bengal Tiger In The Baghdad Zoo at the Richard Rodgers Theatre from 11 March, Chris Rock in Motherf**Ker With The Hat at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre from 15 March, Kathleen Turner in High at the Booth Theatre from 25 March, Edie Falco, Ben Stiller and Jennifer Jason Leigh in The House of Blue Leaves at the Walter Kerr Theatre from 25 April, and Tyne Daly and Sierra Boggess in Master Class at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre from 24 May. Phew!
February 18, 2011
Movies are a fickle business.
Hugh Grant was the man most recently tipped to play Henry Higgins in the big screen remake of My Fair Lady, alongside Cary Mulligan as Eliza, despite producer Cameron Mackintosh pushing for Colin Firth.
One small movie and a few awards later, and The King’s Speech star Firth is now all lined up to take over where Rex Harrison left off.
Movies of hit plays and musicals are the thing of the moment, with Daniel Radcliffe in The Woman in Black, Spielberg filming War Horse, Will Smith working on a new film of Annie and Wicked set for a movie version.
- Movie: My Fair Lady
- Casting: Cary Mulligan, Colin Firth
- Producer: Sony, Cameron Mackintosh, Duncan Kenworthy
- Date of release: 2012?
- Screenplay: Emma Thompson
- Director: TBC
Source: Daily Mail (18/02/11)
February 17, 2011
Following the news that Sierra Boggess, currently playing Christine in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Love Never Dies at the Adelphi Theatre, will leave the role on 5 March to head to Broadway, more rumours are circulating over the cast changes for the show.
Celia Graham is widely tipped to replace Boggess on 7 March, following roles including Christine in Phantom and Sierra’s current understudy in Love Never Dies.
Also, David Thaxton is rumoured to be replacing Joseph Millson as Raoul. Thaxton was a hit in Passion at the Donmar Warehouse last year alongside Elena Roger, earning an Olivier Award nod for best actor in a new musical in the recent nominations.
Summer Strallen, who plays Meg in the show, will also be leaving to take on a stage adaptation of classic movie musical Top Hat, joining Tom Chambers to recreate the on-screen roles made famous by Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire.
- Show: Love Never Dies
- Theatre: Adelphi Theatre
- Casting: Celia Graham, David Thaxton
- Producer: Really Useful Group
- Date of new cast: 7 March?
- Director: Jack O’Brien
October 8, 2009
Today in London Andrew Lloyd Webber launched his new Phantom sequel Love Never Dies.
The brand new musical will star current London Phantom Ramin Karimloo and American actress Sierra Boggess as Christine.
At a launch event at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London, current home of The Phantom of the Opera, Andrew Lloyd Webber revealed how he struggled for years to find a suitable plot for the sequel. Despite working with novelist Frederick Forsythe on a follow-up story set in Manhattan, it was discussions with Ben Elton (We Will Rock You) that sparked the new plot for the show by suggesting that the sequel should follow the story’s original characters.
This long-awaited new show will have its world premiere at the Adelphi Theatre in London on Tuesday 9 March 2010 followed by a New York opening on 11 November and Australian debut in 2011.
The new musical is set 10 years after the first, and sees the Phantom move from the Paris Opera House to haunt the fairgrounds of Coney Island near New York, billed in its hay day as one of the great wonders of the world.
The original musical has been seen by over 100 million people worldwide and is billed by Lloyd Webber’s company the Really Useful Group as the single most successful entertainment entity in history.
At the launch event in London a full orchestra played the new show’s dramatic opening waltz set against a film that highlighted the significance of Coney Island at the time. Ramin Karimloo also sang a number from the show. The Iranian-Canadian actor became the West End’s youngest ever Phantom when he took on the role at Her Majesty’s theatre in 2007, aged 29.
Sierra Boggess, who was present at the launch but did not sing, was the original lead role in The Little Mermaid on Broadway and has played Christine in the Las Vegas production of Phantom.
The original cast album will be released on 11 March, a day after the world premiere in London.
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s music features lyrics by Glenn Slater, who penned the lyrics for current West End hit Sister Act, and will be choreographed by Jerry Mitchell (Hairspray, Legally Blonde) and directed by Jack O’Brien (Hairspray).
March 27, 2009
Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s new sequel to The Phantom of the Opera – “Love Never Dies” – will have its world premiere in London, as reported today by Baz Bamigboye in the Daily Mail.
It was initially believed that the new blockbusting musical would open simultaneously in New York, London and Shanghai, but it now appears that managing the logistics of this has proved too complex. However, the show will still break new ground in opening productions around the world in quick succession – starting with London and then following with Toronto, Shanghai and then Broadway.
In London, the show will play at the Adelphi Theatre, owned by Lloyd-Webber’s Really Useful Group, in late October or early November.
Lloyd-Webber also revealed to Baz that, as predicted by previous rumours, Ramin Karimloo and Sierra Boggess will launch the show in the two main leads.
Variety recently reported that the show would open in Toronto at the Canon Theater, where the original Phantom launched in Canada in 1989, although Lloyd-Webber has now confirmed that it will open after London at the Royal Alexandra Theatre in Toronto and then go to Broadway.
The show’s music is written by Lloyd Webber with a book by Ben Elton, who has more than proved his musical credentials with We Will Rock You, which continues to pack them in and celebrates the start of its 8th year in London from the end of April.
The book is based on an original idea by best selling author Frederick Forsyth, and is set in Coney Island in 1907.
Ramin Karimloo (pictured) is currently appearing as the Phantom in the West End and will continue in the role in the new production. The actor was born in Iran and brought up in Canada.
A notice placed on the Actors’ Equity Association website says of the plot that, “the mysterious “Maestro” who runs the theatre at Coney Island announces a one-off concert by legendary Parisian soprano Christine Daaé. Her arrival in New York with husband Raoul, Victome de Chagny and son Gustave, and their subsequent meeting with the “Maestro,” bring the cataclysmic events of 10 years earlier at the Paris Opera crashing back into all their lives.”
Director Jack O’Brien and choreographer Jerry Mitchell – the dream team from the Hairspray musical – will stage the show.
O’Brien said to Baz that Lloyd-Webber was enormously passionate about the project: “‘It is like the last flowering of a great era of lyric romanticism – the theatre doesn’t seem to have that any more.”
It is unclear whether Jospeh, currently playing at the Adelphi Theatre starring Gareth Gates, will extend its run until Love Never Dies Opens.
Original article published 20 March 2009