This Week on Stage: TV stars occupy NYC’s theater scene, 'Bonnie & Clyde' shoots and misses

bonnie-clyde-musical

Image Credit: Nathan Johnson

What do Alan Cumming, Josh Radnor, Michael Urie, and Jim Parsons have in common besides appearing on TV? They are all returning to the stage within the next year. The Good Wife’s Cumming (who earned a Tony in 1998 for playing Cabaret’s Master of Ceremonies) announced this week that he’s bringing his one-man Macbeth to the Lincoln Center Festival in July. How I Met Your Mother’s Radnor spoke out about his voice preparations for singing in next Monday’s She Loves Me benefit at the Roundabout. Ugly Betty’s Urie revealed that he’s stepping in to How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying at the end of January.  And The Big Bang Theory’s Parsons signed on to play the lead in next season’s Harvey revival.

They’re not the only TV stalwarts currently in the limelight: On Wednesday, South Park’s Trey Stone and Matt Parker earned a Grammy nomination for Best Musical Theater Album for The Book of Mormon (they’ll square off against Anything Goes and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying). The nomination comes only two days after the show’s producers announced that Book of Mormon had earned back its initial costs. Speaking of big investments, Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark turned one-year-old on Monday.

As for the week’s openings, our reviewers saw two very different productions. Critic Melissa Rose Bernardo had tea with actress Zoe Caldwell during the actress’ one-woman show Elective Affinities on the Upper East Side. (Literally, the 30 audience members have lady fingers in her character’s glitzy apartment while Caldwell delivers a monologue.) “Most of Elective Affinities’ appeal lies in its wonderfully intimate setting,” writes Bernardo, giving the show a B+. “There’s something undeniably thrilling about watching Caldwell from two, four, or even 10 feet away. She’s an absolute marvel.”

Stage editor Thom Geier saw the more standard Bonnie & Clyde, a new Broadway musical by Scarlet Pimpernel writer Frank Wildhorn. Geier criticizes Wildhorn for using the same slapdash formula for all his shows, which he describes as “take a familiar story, add a genial but not exactly memorable pop score, and then plant your actor/singers downstage to sing those numbers with very little thought to creating drama.” Giving the show a C, Geier sums the show up thusly: “Wildhorn’s Bonnie & Clyde aims for kiss-kiss bang-bang, but too often it’s just firing blanks.”

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