Friday, January 23, 2015

Casting, Transfers, and Rulings, Oh My!

It has been quite the week (or two) since I have kept myself up to date on this blog.  I would like to correct that error and put in all the news I haven't done in the recent few weeks.

Today, it was announced that Renne Fleming has new co-stars in her upcoming Broadway debut play.  As previously reported, Ms. Fleming will make her Broadway debut in a play called Living On Love, which was written by Joe DiPietro (he wrote the book for Memphis).  In the new production, Ms. Fleming will be joined onstage by Anna Chlumsky (My Girl, ), Blake Hammond, and Scott Robertson.  The play will begin previews in April and open on April 20th in a production directed by three time Tony winner Kathleen Marshall.

Next up on the block comes the news that Bradley Cooper will bring his performance in The Elephant Man to the West End this summer, with a run from May 8th through August 9th at London's Theatre Royal, Haymarket.  He will be joined in London by most of his Broadway co-stars.

In other The Elephant Man news, the producers of the current Broadway production have cancelled three performances due to star Bradley Cooper's Academy Awards schedule.  Since the actor is currently nominated for an Academy Award, the production will now close on February 21st.  The production had originally been scheduled to close on the 22nd, which is slated to be Oscar Sunday.

Switching gears to the musical side of theater, it has been announced that Alan Menken and Harvey Fierstein are turning the Robin Williams movie Mrs. Doubtfire into a stage musical.  According to representatives, the show is in its early stages of development and is aiming to be on Broadway some time in 2016.

Lastly, the Tony committee met last week for the second time this season.  They met to discuss eight shows: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Disgraced, The Last Ship, The Real Thing, The River, Side Show, The Elephant Man, and A Delicate Balance.

According to, the committee has given the option to expand several categories -- the ones for acting, directing, and choreography.  If there are seven eligible contenders in either of the directing categories (directing of a play or directing of a musical), there will be five nominees in the relevant category instead of four.  The same thing can be said of the choreography category -- if there are seven eligible candidates, there will be five nominees rather than four.  There is now also a potential for as many as seven nominees in each of the acting categories.  The committee's new ruling states that if there is a two- or three-way tie for the final slot of any given acting category, then all of the tied performers will be eligible for nomination.

As for the production-specific decisions, here is what the committee determined:

Alex Sharp will be considered eligible in the Leading Actor in a Play category for his performance in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

Finn Ross and Bunny Christie will be jointly eligible for their scenic design of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

Josh Radnor will be considered in the Featured Actor in a Play category for his performance in Disgraced.

Michael Esper and Rachel Tucker will be considered as lead actor and lead actress respectively for their performances in Sting's The Last Ship.

Cynthia Nixon and Josh Hamilton will be considered eligible as featured performers for their performances in The Real Thing.

Erin Davie and Emily Padgett will be considered separately as lead performers for their performances in Side Show.

Bob Balaban, Clare Higgins, and Martha Plimpton will all be considered as featured performers for A Delicate Balance.

Patricia Clarkson and Alessandro Nivola will be considered featured performers for their turns in The Elephant Man.

All other decisions were consistent with the opening night credits and the committee's usual handbook (performers billed above the title are considered as leads, performers billed below the title are considered as supporting/featured performers).

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Two Shows Aiming for The Great White Way

Two shows have announced intentions to land on Broadway in the next eighteen months or so.

The first is a revival of the musical She Loves Me.  This production will be produced by the Roundabout Theatre Company and plans to arrive on Broadway in the spring of 2016, starring Tony winner Laura Benanti and stage and screen star Josh Radnor of How I Met Your Mother.  The show will appear as part of the Roundabout's 50th anniversary season in a production directed by Scott Ellis, who directed the previous (and Tony-winning) Broadway revival of the show for the Roundabout in 1993.

In other news, producers of the off-Broadway hit Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812, which appeared in 2012 and 2013 off-Broadway, has announced that they are looking to take the show to Broadway.  The story follows part of the long novel War & Peace.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Honeymoon in Vegas Opens on Broadway

The musical adaptation of the 1992 movie Honeymoon in Vegas opened last night to some very strong reviews.  The show is the first new musical in a long time that The New York Times has called "a real-live, old-fashioned, deeply satisfying Broadway musical in a way few new musicals are anymore," a sentiment with which several other reviewers agree.  Strong notices went to Tony Danza in his supporting turn, as well as Rob McClure's leading performance.  The NY Times laments that it hopes that "[the show] doesn't disappear before it finds its audience."

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Constellations Arrives on Broadway

Who knew astrophysics could make for a good date night on Broadway?  Manhattan Theatre Club's production of Constellations, written by Nick Payne and directed by Michael Longhurst, opened on Tuesday night and has gotten several strong reviews.  Though the play is only 70 minutes long, and is about a beekeeper and an astrophysicist, it is apparently quite engaging and moving.  Jake Gyllenhaal and Ruth Wilson also received strong notices.  They will be moving up in my estimation come Tony season.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Thank Heaven For Broadway Shows

The revival of Gigi, the classic Paris-based musical by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe which, in turn, is based on the novel by Colette, has officially announced dates and a theater for the 2014-2015 season.  The show will begin previews at the Neil Simon Theatre on March 9th and open April 8th after the departure of Sting's The Last Ship.  This production has been circling Broadway for quite a while after announcing a run at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.  The production will feature a new book by Heidi Thomas, who will be making her Broadway debut with the show, and will be directed by Eric Schaeffer (Follies, Million Dollar Quartet, Putting It Together) and choreographed by Emmy-winner Joshua Bergasse (This season's On the Town, TV's Smash).  The production will star Vanessa Hudgens in the title role, as well as Corey Cott, Tony winner Victoria Clarke, and Tony nominees Dee Hoty and Howard McGillin.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Tony for Teachers

For my 1,000th post since starting this blog in 2010, I am happy to announce a new Tony Award category.  The Tony Awards and Carnegie Mellon University are teaming up to present, for the first time, the Excellence in Theatre Education Award.  Nominations are being accepted online now through March 31st for theater educators in K-12 institutions.  To be eligible, according to, "nominees must be current teachers at an accredited K-12 institution or recognized community theater organization anywhere in the United States.  He or she must be a teacher whose position is dedicated to and/or includes aspects of theater education."  Nominations may be submitted by anyone -- friends, relatives, students, neighbors, school administrators, etc.  The submissions will be judged by a panel comprising The American Theatre Wing, The Broadway League, Carnegie Mellon University, and leaders of the theater industry.  The panelists will select the finalists and the winner.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Idina Menzel and Jennifer Hudson News

The news just broke that If/Then, the vehicle that brought Idina Menzel back to Broadway for the first time in the 10 years after her Tony-winning run in Wicked, will be closing.  The show opened on March 30th, 2014, at the Richard Rodgers Theatre after beginning previews on March 5th of the same year.  The show will run through March 22nd, 2015, after29 previews and 430 regular performances.

Also, it has been confirmed that Jennifer Hudson will be coming to Broadway.  The Oscar and Grammy winner will be making her Main Stem debut in the revival of The Color Purple, which will be directed by Tony winning director John Doyle.  Hudson was initially speculated to be playing the lead role of Celie (a role which won a Tony for LaChanze and which was a memorable, Oscar nominated role for Whoopi Goldberg in the non-musical movie adaptation of the novel).  She is now confirmed to be playing Shug Avery.  No other casting has been announced.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Land of Lola Swapping

There's a lot going on in the Land of Lola at the Kinky Boots National Tour as well as the resident production on Broadway.  Tony-winner Billy Porter in the New York production recently extended his contract in the show through January 2016.  That being said, he will take a three month leave of absence from January 27th through April 26th.  He will be working on a concert act at Lincoln Center as well as his directing career.  He will also be stepping into the Kinky Boots national tour in August during the week that the tour is in Pittsburgh.  Kyle Taylor Parker, who plays Lola in the touring production, will take over the role of Lola on Broadway during all of Billy's Broadway absences.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Final Voyage for the Last Ship

Sting's maiden voyage as a Broadway composer has set its closing date.  The show, which opened on October 26th, 2014, to mixed-to-negative reviews, will close on January 24th, 2015.  By that point, the show will have played 29 previews and 105 regular performances.  When the tuner's ticket sales were light early in its run, Sting himself joined the cast with hopes of boosting ticket sales.  The trick seemed to be working, but it seems that it didn't work enough.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Emma Stone Extends Run

She came to the cabaret, and it looks like she's going to stay.  Emma Stone, who is making her Broadway debut performance in the current reproduction of the revival of Cabaret, has extended her time with the show.  The Golden Globe nominated actress (BirdmanEasy A, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Help) joined the show on November 11th as replacement for Golden Globe winner and Academy Award nominee Michelle Williams, and had been scheduled to play through February 1st.  Now, Ms. Stone will be with the production an additional two weeks through the 15th.  There is no word yet on who will replace her in the show, which will run through March 29th.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Pulitzer Prize Winner Posts Closing

The 2013 Pulitzer Prize winning play Disgraced, Ayad Akhtar's 2012 play about the hot-button politics behind Islamophobia in America, has posted its closing notice.  The play premiered in Chicago at the American Theater Company, where it played a 6 week run from January through March of 2012.  The play then played at Lincoln Center's off-Broadway space from Ocober to December of the same year.  The play then leaped across the pond and played in London's off-West End in the spring of 2014 and, on October 23rd, 2014, opened at Broadway's Lyceum Theatre on 45th Street.  The play has, until now, been one of two front runners (the other being The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time) for the Best Play Tony Award.  The show's stars are Hari Dhillon, Gretchen Mol, Karen Pittman, and Josh Radnor.  The Broadway production of the play will have its final performance on March 1st, 2015, and, by that time, will have played 27 previews and 149 regular performances.  A national tour, which will begin performances in November, has been announced.