On May 12 of this year, Norm Lewis became the first-ever African-American actor to take on the lead role of The Phantom of the Opera on (ahem) the Great White Way. (Robert Guillaume became the first-ever actor to do it regionally in 1990.)
Tag: Andrew Lloyd Webber (1-5 of 5)
With an entire musical based on the work of Tupac Shakur running on Broadway, it’s clear that the theatrical world has finally embraced hip-hop—and the trend is starting to spread outside of New York. A new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats opening in December on London’s West End plans to add a new twist to the 33-year-old musical: “curious cat” Rum Tum Tugger will now be rapping his parts.
Tugger has always been the musical’s edgiest character—Webber admits that Mick Jagger was an influence on his development—so giving him a hip-hop makeover makes some sense. According to the composer, Cats‘s source material—T.S. Eliot’s poetry collection Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats—actually inspired the change: “I’ve come to the conclusion,” Webber told the AP, “that … maybe Eliot was the inventor of rap.” That may come as a surprise to the Last Poets, Blowfly, or any of the dozens of other artists and musicians who’ve previously been credited with the form’s conception.
Webber and the show’s producers haven’t let out any more information about Rum Tum Tugger’s reboot—but we do have an exclusive peek at his new, hip-hop-friendly look: READ FULL STORY
If you were a fan of Jack Black’s 2003 comedy School of Rock, in which he taught a classroom of young kids all about music in order to compete in a battle of the bands competition, you’re in luck. Because if Andrew Lloyd Webber has anything to say about it, School of Rock could be coming to a stage near you.
Having just completed his latest project about Stephen Ward, Webber told CBC Radio that he’s “very excited about” the fact that he just gained the rights to “that movie School of Rock.”
Webber described his next project as “a musical about kids playing the guitar” and explained that he might be interested in expanding on the music portion of the film: “There may be songs for me in it, but it’s obviously got songs in it as it stands.”
Can you imagine anyone but Jack Black bringing the role to Broadway?
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In a rare feat for a non-musical on Broadway, Mike Nichols’ acclaimed revival of Death of a Salesman grossed just over $1 million last week, according to figures released by the Broadway League. The hit show, starring Philip Seymour Hoffman as Willy Loman and Andrew Garfield as his wayward son, Biff, set a new record for the 1,036-seat Barrymore Theatre. What’s even more remarkable is that Salesman scored at the box office despite playing only seven performances (most Broadway shows are mounted eight times per week). The production isn’t exactly a dime a dozen, to quote one of Biff’s lines: It’s been boosted by an A-list cast, stellar reviews, multiple Tony nominations, and a strictly limited engagement that’s let producers charge a premium for tickets. Last week’s average ticket price was a whopping $140.68, which enabled the show to earn 107 percent of the theater’s potential gross. That’s good news for the show’s investors, who announced May 16 that they’d already recouped their $3.1 million commitment to the show.
Though last week’s Broadway box office was led by perennial hits like Wicked and The Lion King, a handful of newcomers have joined the club of weekly $1 million grossers: The new Ricky Martin-starring revival of Evita grossed slightly more than $1.5 million for the week ending April 15, just shy of The Book of Mormon’s personal-best $1.6 million haul, while Newsies pulled in a little over $1 million. Disney’s star-free musical is faring far, far better than the 1992 movie that inspired it — and seems certain to extend well past its official limited run, which goes through August.
Two shows that fell slightly short of the $1 million club are worth noting: Sister Act grossed $951,357 last week, nearly $350,000 more than it was earning before former TV star Raven-Symoné took over three weeks ago as showgirl-turned-nun Deloris van Cartier. The Matthew Broderick-led Gershwin musical Nice Work If You Can Get It is still in previews and collected $891,064 last week.
Two more new musical productions are faring decently this spring though neither can claim blockbuster status. The season’s other Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice revival, a star-free production of Jesus Christ Superstar, earned $836,258, about 62 percent of its potential gross. And audiences seem to be falling slowly for the indie-style musical Once, which took in $715,396 (nearly 74 percent its potential) despite playing at the more modestly sized Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre. Meanwhile, the Audra McDonald-topped Porgy and Bess ($615,553) and the smaller-scaled Godspell ($364,992) are both hauling in just under half what they could be earning.
Among non-musicals, the biggest draws remain two star-studded revivals: Death of a Salesman, which earned $856,960 (nearly 98 percent of its potential gross) and Gore Vidal’s The Best Man, which took in $836,204. But other new dramas appear to be struggling: Seminar, now starring Jeff Goldblum, grossed $192,234, less than half its earnings during Alan Rickman’s final week in the Theresa Rebeck comedy two weeks ago. Venus in Fur ($280,799) and Other Desert Cities ($275,015) both collected roughly 40 percent of their potential grosses; the former is now playing to half-full houses and will really need some love from the Tony nominations committee next month to survive through the summer.
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