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.
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!
August 23, 2010
We are not sure how long it took Stephen Sondheim’s friend John Logan to come up with his new HBO drama about a famous, gay, middle-aged Broadway composer who lives a self-destructive life full of booze and coke, and who then has a heart-attack.
Legendary Broadway composer Sondheim, who is gay and has admitted in the past to being a good drinker and taking coke in his early days, had a heart-attack at 49.
The drama is The Miraculous Year, HBO’s new Broadway-themed pilot about Terry Segal (played by Tony award-winner Norbert Leo Butz), who is juggling writing a challenging new show with his dysfunctional New York family.
HBO has recently insisted that similarities between Terry Segal and Sondheim are purely coincidental, with the broadcaster commenting that, “Terry Segal is a fictional character, not based on anyone”.
Needless-to-say Logan and the very private Sondheim aren’t getting on so well at the moment and that the script is undergoing some changes, including Segal suffering an aneurysm rather than a heart attack.
The project has attracted some big names, with recent Best Picture Oscar winner Kathryn Bigelow directing the pilot, and a cast that redefines STAR POWER, and includes Susan Sarandon in the recurring role of Patty Atwood, the director and choreographer of the play-within-the-show. Plus Patti LuPone will play Veronica, a Broadway star (she should be able to manage that!); Hope Davis (American Splendor) is Mandy Vance, Terry’s sister and a corporate lawyer; Frank Langella (Nixon in Frost/Nixon) is Alex Segal, Terry and Mandy’s father, and a world-class painter; and Elaine Cassidy (Harper’s Island) will play Brona McKinney, Terry’s assistant.
Plus British stars Eddie Redmayne (recent Tony award winner for Red) will play a performer in Terry’s show, and Linus Roache is Scott Vance, Mandy’s husband.
Production on the pilot began at the end of July in New York.
Hopefully we might know a bit more about the real Stephen Sondheim, who is currently celebrating his 80th year, from the Random House book he is working on, to be launched in October. Called Finishing the Hat, the book has an intriguing subtitle, “Collected Lyrics (1954-1981) with Attendant Comments, Principles, Heresies, Grudges, Whines and Anecdotes”, and will feature his lyrics alongside never-before-published songs. Its publicity promises “a rare personal look into his life as well as his remarkable productions”, and is to be “penetrating and surprising, poignant, funny and sometimes scathing”.
Bring it on, or others may tell your story for you.