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Ewan McGregor to make Broadway debut in Tom Stoppard's 'The Real Thing' in 2014

Well, at least you know what you might be doing next Halloween. Movie star, erstwhile Jedi, and generally hunky Scottish actor Ewan McGregor is set to make his Broadway debut next year in a new production of Tom Stoppard’s Tony-winning play The Real Thing.

McGregor will play Henry, a not-so-happily married playwright whose real-life romantic woes mirror his play — about a marriage teetering on collapse — which happens to star his actress wife. This is the second Broadway revival of Stoppard’s 1984 play, which won Tony Awards for its stars Jeremy Irons, Glenn Close, and Christine Baranski.

The Roundabout Theatre Company mounting (helmed by red-hot rising director Sam Gold, the great mind behind the Public Theater’s acclaimed Fun Home) will hit the American Airlines Theatre for a limited engagement next October. Previews begin on Oct. 2, 2014, with opening night on Oct. 30 and a scheduled end date on Jan. 4, 2015.
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Preview the red-hot moves in jazzy new Broadway musical ‘After Midnight’ -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

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Broadway is getting a necessary dose of sexy, snazzy and jazzy rhythm with After Midnight, a quite literally toe-tapping new musical set in Harlem’s Golden Age of jazz.

Psych‘s Dulé Hill oversees the proceedings in the glamorous new revue, which is a pumped-up production of Encores!’ summer hit Cotton Club Parade. The big draw, though, is that the musical will feature a rotating guest roster of all-star musicians, kicking off with Grammy-winner Fantasia (as in Barrino) followed by k.d. lang, Toni Braxton, Babyface, and more. While the music alone is worth the ticket price, the show is bolstered by riveting, jazz-fueled choreography from Broadway golden boy Warren Carlyle.

Below, take a peek at how Carlyle and company brought the moves of Harlem’s legendary nightclubs to the Broadway stage in After Midnight. The show opens on November 3, 2013 at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre.
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This Week on Stage: John Grisham, Mary-Louise Parker and David Hyde Pierce take NYC

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News finally arrived that the upcoming Broadway revival of Les Misérables has its principal cast intact — with Iran-born musical-theater hunk Ramin Karimloo in his first Broadway role as the bread-stealing Valjean, Tony-nominee Will Swenson (Hair) as staunch Javert, Ghost‘s Caissie Levy dreaming a dream of time gone by as tragic heroine Fantine, and Book of Mormon Tony victor Nikki M. James as lovelorn Eponine. Will they duplicate the successes (or in Russell Crowe’s case, non-successes) of their film counterparts, this time without the fish-eye lenses? The spring will tell, but if you live up North and are dying of curiosity, Mr. Karimloo is currently playing the role in Toronto before they bring him home (hee-hee) to NYC.

Also, six new shows pushed through an already crowded fall theater season, including several debuts: playwright Sharr White (The Other Place) takes on Chekhov, sort of, with Mary-Louise Parker returning to the stage for the first time in four years, David Hyde Pierce appears in a piece by his nephew Greg and Curtains composer John Kander, and mega-author John Grisham finds one of his books adapted to the Great White Way for the first time. How did they fare? (Click on the links below for the full reviews.)
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'Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812' cast album -- EXCLUSIVE FIRST LISTEN

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You’ve heard pop, and you’ve heard opera, and maybe you’ve heard a chapter or two of War and Peace, but it’s probably safe to say that you’ve never heard anything that combines the three like the smash off-Broadway musical Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812.

Billed as an electro-pop opera, Dave Malloy’s stunning musical (based on a most scandalous portion of Tolstoy’s jumbo Russian saga) has been the talk of the city since it burst onto the scene last fall at Ars Nova. Since then, it played an acclaimed run in New York’s meatpacking district before recently moving uptown to the theater district on Sept. 27 for a limited 14-week run.

Anyone who’s seen the blazingly original musical — which takes place in a custom-built supper club and includes a menu of Russian snacks in the ticket price — knows that the show’s greatest charm (and there’s a lot of it) lies with the vibrant score, and EW has your first listen to the brand-new cast recording.

Below, take a listen to the 27-track cast album from Ghostlight Records, available for digital release Tuesday and in stores (with two discs!) on Dec. 10. A digital highlights edition is also up for grabs on Tuesday.
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Yogi Berra on Broadway?! Peter Scolari to star in 'The Bronx Bombers'

You can observe a lot by watching, Yogi Berra once said. Now New York Yankees fans can watch the malaprop-spouting legend on a Broadway stage. The Bronx Bombers, which opened this month at Off Broadway’s Primary Stages, will transfer to the Circle in the Square, with previews starting Jan. 10, 2014 before an official opening on Feb. 6.

Peter Scolari, who played opposite his Bosom Buddies costar Tom Hanks in Nora Ephron’s Lucky Guy last spring, will play the now 88-year-old player-turned manager. He’ll be joined by his real-life wife, Tracy Shayne (Chicago), as Berra’s wife, Carmen. They replace Richard Topol and Wendy Makkena, who are leading the Primary Stages production. (Topol himself is a last-minute sub for Sopranos star Joe Pantoliano.)

The Bronx Bombers is the latest sports-themed stage play conceived by producers Fran Kirmser and Tony Ponturo, this time joined by the New York Yankees and Major League Baseball as “special producing partners.” Kirmser and Ponturo’s previous ESPN-friendly ventures haven’t exactly been grand slams at the box office: 2010′s Lombardi ran for eight months and earned a Tony nomination for Judith Light as the wife of the famed football coach, while 2011′s Magic/Bird closed a month after its premiere. (Seems they took to heart Berra’s advice, “It ain’t over till it’s over.”) Playwright Eric Simonson, who scripted all three shows, will make his Broadway directing debut on The Bronx Bombers.

Aside from Scolari and Shayne, the rest of the cast are holdovers from the current Off Broadway production, including Francois Battiste (Reggie Jackson), Chris Henry Coffey (Joe DiMaggio), Bill Dawes (Mickey Mantle), Christopher Jackson (Derek Jeter), Keith Nobbs (Billy Martin), John Wernke (Lou Gehrig), and C.J. Wilson (Babe Ruth).

This Week on Stage: Romeo, 'The Seagull,' and 'Wait Until Dark' in L.A.

More Bard, more Chekhov, and some choice revivals pepper this week’s lineup of new plays on the boards, with some notable stars getting their feet wet in classics (Alison Pill, Elizabeth Olsen, Alessandro Nivola, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio), and expect more of the same this spring: Toni Collette, Michael C. Hall, and Oscar winner Marisa Tomei will join recent Best Actor Tony recipient (and acclaimed scribe) Tracy Letts in a new play by Will Eno on Broadway. Moreover, buzz has restarted that James Franco may finally make his long-awaited Main Stem debut in a revival of Of Mice and Men (or is he just trying to get even more attention?). And the stars will keep on comin’ — check back next week for reviews of new plays featuring Mary-Louise Parker and David Hyde Pierce (click on the links below to read the newest full reviews):

The Model Apartment  After an Off Broadway debut 20 years ago, Donald Margulies’ (Time Stands Still) unsettling play about Holocaust survivors weathering a temporary apartment and family dysfunction has long been considered one of the playwright’s most challenging works. Did Melissa Rose Bernardo find it worth reviving? A resounding yes: “It’s almost certainly the only Holocaust comedy you’ve ever seen…how Margulies conceived this nightmarish dream world I’ll never know. But I do know it’s one I’m not likely to forget.” EW grade: A-

Romeo & Juliet  Martha Marcy May Marlene star Elizabeth Olsen stars alongside T.R. Knight and Daphne Rubin-Vega in a modern-dress take on the tragedy about star-crossed lovers (the second of two this fall season, after Orlando Bloom’s critically drubbed Broadway take). Senior editor Thom Geier found this one considerably less than a rose by any other name, dubbing it “sadly amateurish… [Tea] Alagic’s production makes [little] sense…the cast seems to have been left to its own devices to create their characters and block their scenes.” EW grade: D+

The Seagull  Trudie Styler (known to most of us as Sting’s longtime spouse and producer extraordinaire) hits the stage as Anton Chekhov’s actress Arkadina (dubbed Isobel here) in an Irish-set downtown revival of the oft-produced country drama. Does this Seagull have wings? Stephan Lee claims Styler “shines” but adds that “director Max Stafford-Clark doesn’t stray too far from the original spirit of this classic, but his production is unlikely to win new fans.” EW grade: B

Wait Until Dark The Newsroom’s Alison Pill takes a stab (pun intended) at a role created memorably by Audrey Hepburn in Jeffrey Hatcher’s adaptation of the spooker about a blind woman terrorized by con men. Lindsey Bahr insists the tense thriller still has a kick. “[The production] reminds CGI-infected audiences that a few shadows, a shiny knife, and compelling characters can still go a long way to create suspense… the famous showdown does not disappoint.” EW grade: A–

The Winslow Boy  Roundabout Theatre Company revives Terrence Rattigan’s 1946 English drama about a family’s efforts to clear their son’s good name from a crime, starring Roger Rees, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, and Alessandro Nivola. Thom Geier had mixed feelings about the production: “Director Lindsay Posner, who previously staged the show at London’s Old Vic, brings a crisp precision to the proceedings. But there’s only so much you can do with the material, which feels like an over-long and decidedly twee Masterpiece Theatre drama.” EW grade: B-

'An American in Paris' musical eyes Broadway

A stage musical based on the film An American in Paris with music by George and Ira Gershwin is aiming for Broadway in 2015 after a stop in — where else? — Paris next December.

Producers said Thursday the new work will be directed and choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon and have a story by Craig Lucas. Bob Crowley has been tapped to make the sets and costumes. The story centers on a romantic tangle in post-war Paris.

The score includes the songs “I Got Rhythm,” “S’Wonderful,” “But Not for Me,” “Stairway to Paradise,” “Our Love Is Here to Stay,” and “They Can’t Take That Away.” It will follow on the heels of other recent Gershwin stage hits, Nice Work If You Can Get It and The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess.

The 1951 film An American in Paris starred Gene Kelly and was inspired by a 1928 orchestral composition by the Gershwins.

'The Lion King' on track to become Broadway's first $1 billion blockbuster

Hakuna Matata indeed! Although Disney’s behemoth Broadway musical The Lion King has shown no signs of wavering since its debut in 1997, the smash hit is about to conquer a musical theater milestone, becoming the first Broadway musical to top $1 billion in cumulative grosses.

EW has confirmed that the colorful crowd pleaser — based on Disney’s beloved 1994 animated feature — will hit 10 figures after the week of performances ending Oct. 20. Coincidentally, the spectacular box office feat (the first of any Broadway show) comes almost exactly 16 years to the day since The Lion King roared onto Broadway with its first preview performance on Oct. 15, 1997. READ FULL STORY

Neil Patrick Harris tweets fabulous first poster for 'Hedwig and the Angry Inch' -- PHOTO

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As Tim Gunn would say, that’s a lot of look.

Neil Patrick Harris has just debuted the first poster for his upcoming Broadway return, in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, on Twitter, and the result is a bold, sparkle-heavy attention-grabber for the beloved show, this time directed by Michael Mayer (Spring Awakening) with a book by original writer/movie star John Cameron Mitchell.

“Hedwig News! The first ad image was just released, and I get to debut it! Tickets go on sale soon… ” Harris tweeted alongside the image. The show centers on fictitious rock-band fronter Hedwig Robinson (Harris) bringing her glam rock and roll tale to New York to tell a story about life, love, and the botched operation that left her with that “angry inch.”

“I am simultaneously ecstatic and terrified to be stepping into Hedwig’s heels,” Harris, who was last seen on Broadway in the New York Philharmonic’s concert version of Stephen Sondheim’s Company, previously said in a release. “It is truly a once-in-a-lifetime role and I can’t wait to begin the journey.”

The award-winning cult show, which originally premiered in 1998, will officially open with Harris on April 22, 2014, with previews beginning March 29.

Broadway box office: Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz break records with 'Betrayal'

Daniel Craig has a license to kill at the Broadway box office. Teaming the James Bond star with his real-life wife, Rachel Weisz, turns out to have been a very good idea for the producers of the Harold Pinter revival Betrayal. Though the show doesn’t open until Oct. 27, the Mike Nichols-directed drama has broken records at the Barrymore Theatre for its first two weeks of previews. For the week ending Oct. 13, it took in $1.11 million for seven performances, according to figures from the Broadway League. That tops the weekly earnings of the Philip Seymour Hoffman-topped revival of Death of a Salesman last year.

Broadway’s other big hit this fall is another starry revival. The Glass Menagerie, starring Zachary Quinto, has steadily increased its box office since opening late last month to rave reviews. Last week, it pulled in $724,363, a remarkable 91 percent of the potential gross for the modestly sized Booth Theatre. But seldom was there a tale of more woe than the box office for Romeo and Juliet. The new production starring Orlando Bloom and Condola Rashad earned $470,744 last week, or roughly 38 percent of its potential earnings.

Surprisingly, the nonmusical revivals Betrayal and Menagerie are both outperforming most of the season’s new tuners. Sales for the megabudget Big Fish leapt 33 percent from the previous week to $856,110, or 62 percent of its possible gross. A Night With Janis Joplin, which opened last Thursday, earned $353,070, or 57 percent of its potential take. First Date hooked up with $448,331, a mere 52 percent of its potential, while Soul Doctor, which closed Sunday, pulled in a paltry $128,256 — that’s just 18 percent of what the venue could have earned.

In addition to Betrayal, the other seven-figure earners last week were the usual suspects: The Lion King ($1.88 million), Wicked ($1.87 million), The Book of Mormon ($1.84 million), Kinky Boots ($1.81 million), Motown: The Musical ($1.49 million), Matilda ($1.43 million), and The Phantom of the Opera ($1.02 million).

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