This Week on Stage: Dragons, Alan Cumming's one-man 'Macbeth,' and 'The Exorcist' in L.A.

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Image Credit: Michael Lamont

There are few new shows opening on Broadway this summer, which means that the action shifts to other locales. For instance: the Nevada desert, where EW’s Annie Barrett reported on Dancing With the Stars: Live in Las Vegas, a fringe- and sequin-filled spectacle hosted by a gawping and handsy Carson Cressley. Among the week’s other big debuts:

The Exorcist A new (non-musical) stage version of the horror classic, adapted by John Pielmeier (Agnes of God) and directed by John Doyle, premiered at L.A.’s Geffen Playhouse. The heavyweight cast includes Richard Chamberlain as head exorcist Father Merrin and Brooke Shields as the mother of a girl possessed by a malevolent force (pictured above). But EW’s Josh Rottenberg writes: “This stripped-down, cerebral take on the story of a demonically possessed young girl is more interested in stimulating ruminations about the nature of evil and the meaning of faith than inducing anyone to scream, faint, or fumble for a barf bag.” EW grade: C
How to Train Your Dragon Stage Spectacular DreamWorks Animation’s 2010 cartoon hit about a young Viking named Hiccup and the dragons his clan seeks to vanquish has begun a six-month, multi-city tour in arenas across North America. Jeff Labrecque was impressed by the stagecraft, particularly the 3,200-pound animatronic dragons. Still, he writes, “Cirque du Soleil fans might appreciate all the bells and whistles — break dancing, shadow puppetry, loud blasts of controlled fire — but some scenes feel like a limp parody of a Scandinavia-set Winter Olympics opening ceremony.” EW grade: B
Macbeth Tony-winning Scottish actor Alan Cumming (The GoodWife) takes a daring approach to Shakespeare’s tragedy, playing a patient in an asylum who acts out all the parts in the play — from prissy King Duncan to seductive Lady Macbeth to the three witches — in a production at NYC’s Lincoln Center Festival. “Unless you already know who’s who, you might find yourself checking out during this high-concept presentation,” warns Melissa Rose Bernardo, though she offers high praise for Cumming’s “ambidextrous” performance. EW grade: B+

Related:
Broadway box office report: Without Ricky Martin, do cry for ‘Evita’
Sigourney Weaver, David Hyde Pierce will return to the stage this fall
EW’s Stage Hub

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