This was a theater week of major losses for the stage community (RIP Mike Nichols) and some a bit smaller (the soon to be RIP Rock of Ages on Broadway, which announced a Jan. 18 closing), and the last onslaught of opening nights before the holiday season takes shape. And folks are already casting an eye toward the spring with rumors that the long-delayed Broadway arrival of The Visit starring Chita Rivera might succeed Rock of Ages, which leaves behind a highly desired theater (the Helen Hayes is Broadway’s smallest with only 597 seats). Meanwhile, there’s plenty of fish out there right now for theatergoers; literally, in the case of the week’s leader Hugh Jackman (pictured above) taking pride in gutting an actual fish onstage mere feet in front of you in his new Broadway play The River, which EW has checked out in addition to, among other dignified openings, the star-laden revival of one of Edward Albee’s best works, the glitzy revisal of the beloved 90s musical Side Show, and a super-bloody three-hour-plus Christopher Marlowe revenger (click on the links below for full reviews).
Tag: Celebs on Broadway (1-10 of 69)
This week marked the Broadway bows of actors Ewan McGregor and Maggie Gyllenhaal and one Gordon Sumner, but we all know him better as musician Sting (though, to be clear, this the composing debut of original music by Sting on Broadway; he actually appeared in a production of 3 Penny Opera on the boards 25 years ago). McGregor and Gyllenhaal are no strangers to the stage either, the former got raves for his smooth crooner in Guys and Dolls in the West End years back (why, oh why, didn’t we get that one too?), and Gyllenhaal has been quietly doing the classics downtown for some time now and brother Jake is getting in on the Broadway act too. Tyne Daly will also return to the Main Stem next spring after her triumphant, Tony-nommed turn in Terrence McNally’s Mothers and Sons this year with the David Hyde Pierce-directed musical comedy It Shoulda Been You, which will also feature ace songstress Sierra Boggess and, notably, Neil Patrick Harris’s better half David Burtka returning to Broadway after several years–and this is all in conjunction with both of them appearing on American Horror Story this season. Where, oh where, do these guys find the time? EW staffers also found some time to check out all of the new openings this week, which also include the first play by acclaimed novelist Walter Mosley and an eye-opening first part to Suzan Lori-Parks’ planned nine-part history opus (click on the links below for full reviews):
Father Comes Home From the Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3) Pultizer-winner Suzan Lori-Parks is no stranger to lofty projects (her 365 Plays/365 Days was exactly that), but her latest production at the Public Theater may be her most ambitious yet. And according to senor editor Thom Geier, it is most certainly one of her very best: “Parks’ stunning new drama is that rare work of art: one that bears the heavy burden of its subject matter—the peculiar institution of American slavery—but that carries it lightly.” EW grade: A
The Last Ship You can hear hits like “All This Time” and “When We Dance” in rocker Sting’s new musical about shipbuilders in a coastal British town fighting the winds of change both literally and figuratively, but most of the show’s tunes are completely original, entering him in the rockers-turned-composer canon that recently has included Bono and Cyndi Lauper. Senior writer Kyle Anderson says that “despite the relative lack of variety in the music and the hole-friendly narrative, there’s a lot to like about The Last Ship…but Sting’s score remains a burden, anchoring this Ship when it should be making bigger waves.” EW grade: B–
We were all hoping that the London production of Lillian Hellman’s The Children’s Hour would mark Keira Knightley’s Broadway debut (she got great reviews in 2011 starring opposite Mad Men‘s Elisabeth Moss), but we’ll take her however we can get her. Next fall, she will make her Broadway debut in Roundabout Theatre Company’s adaptation of the tragic novel Thérèse Raquin, continuing with Knightley’s affinity for period dramas. In other news, Big Brother standout Frankie J. Grande (the bro of another famous Grande, Ariana) will take on a supporting role in Rock of Ages for two months beginning Nov. 10 (not his first rodeo, though-he was famously in Mamma Mia! some years back) and the Shubert Organization, the titans who own most of the Broadway houses in NYC, announced a deal with super-producers Neil Meron and Craig Zadan to produce new content for the stage. Which, given their involvement with lofty projects like (ahem) The Oscars means more big stars to keep those attendances on the Great White Way sky high. It was also a very busy week for the folks at EW, with six new Broadway and Off Broadway openings: Josh Radnor and Gretchen Mol return to the stage after the wrap of their long-running TV shows, How I Met Your Mother and Boardwalk Empire (whose finale airs this weekend). A valued member of the Redgrave dynasty takes on a classic solo. And speaking of Mad Men, Vincent Kartheiser goes all accent-y to capture the spirit of the late, great Billy Wilder (click on the links below for full reviews).
Disgraced The 2013 Pulitzer Prize-winner for Drama by Ayad Akhtar finally receives a Broadway berth courtesy of Lincoln Center (which first produced it in their black-box Off Broadway space), with new actors Josh Radnor and Gretchen Mol joining actors Hari Dhillon and Karen Pittman from previous productions. Senior editor Thom Geier feels the work hasn’t lost any of his luster, stating that “we get an engaging snapshot of the challenge for upwardly mobile Muslim Americans in the post-9/11 age…Akhtar packs a lot into his scenes, in terms of both coincidence-heavy personal drama and talky disquisitions on religion and politics, but he usually manages to pull back from the edge of too-muchness.” EW grade: B+
The Belle of Amherst Nip/Tuck star Joely Richardson takes on one of the late Julie Harris’ most acclaimed roles, essaying Emily Dickinson, but did senior editor Adam Markovitz find her the Belle of the ball? “It’s easy to see why Richardson would be drawn to a revival…there’s nowhere to hide if it doesn’t work, no one to lean on if the energy flags. For Richardson, the gamble doesn’t quite pay off. During a recent performance, trudging through a few fumbled lines and what sounded like an ill-timed cold, the actress often gave the impression that she was marking out the play’s beats—laugh here, fall down crying there—without fully acting them.” EW grade: C READ FULL STORY
For its 50th anniversary, Roundabout Theatre Company has tapped a major star to lead the company’s first Broadway production of the 2015-2016 season.
Keira Knightley will make her Broadway debut in a newly commissioned adaptation of Therese Raquin, written by Helen Edmundson and directed by Evan Cabnet (The Performers). The play will begin previews on Oct. 1, 2015, in anticipation of an Oct. 29 opening. READ FULL STORY
Let’s give Emma Stone a warm willkommen to Broadway.
The 25-year-old actress will make her Broadway debut—finally—in just under a month, stepping into the silky stockings of club singer Sally Bowles in the hit Broadway revival of Cabaret. Prior to her first go-round at the Kit Kat Klub, EW has the first look at Stone’s seductive style in the flashy, Tony-winning role. READ FULL STORY
Two buzzy new plays opened on Broadway this week. It’s Only a Play, a Terrence McNally comedy reuniting Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick, is proving to be anything but an only at the box office. It’s averaging 1.2 million bucks per week and 101 percent attendance. The madcap sendup of Broadway roasts a lot of boldface names; one of its biggest targets — New York Times critic Ben Brantley — had a surprisingly good sense of humor about the depiction of himself. Also opening this week is the stateside premiere of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, based on Mark Haddon’s best-selling 2003 novel. (Note: If you see the show, don’t head too quickly for the exit post-curtain call, trust me.) In other news, after falling slowly (ba-dum-bum) for some months now in ticket sales, the Tony-winning musical Once is throwing in the towel on Jan. 4 after a nearly two-year run. Andrew Rannells winds down his run in Hedwig and the Angry Inch this weekend to make way for Dexter star Michael C. Hall in his first musical role on Broadway in over 10 years. Here are EW’s reviews of this week’s new Broadway plays (click on the links below for full reviews): READ FULL STORY
Broadway’s most exhilarating rock concert burst onto the boards earlier this year when Neil Patrick Harris stepped into the silky fishnets of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, earning a Tony for the role and ushering the East German rocker into the hands of a new generation of fans. After Harris departed the show in August, The Book of Mormon veteran Andrew Rannells was tapped to fill Hedwig’s high heels. To say his turn is electric, heartbreaking, and wholly different from Harris’ would still be underselling the performance.
With TV turns on Girls (as gay frenemy Elijah) and How I Met Your Mother and movie appearances in Bachelorette and The Intern, Rannells’ return to his theater roots is a thrill for fans and for the actor himself. EW paid a visit to Rannells’ dressing room backstage at the Belasco Theatre to quiz the Tony nominee about his Broadway return.
EW: I went running five days ago and my legs hurt, and I just had pad thai for lunch, and now I feel gross. Do my pitiful body woes make you laugh?
ANDREW RANNELLS: Oh, please. No! This is certainly unlike any show I’ve ever done before and has very unique challenges, but this is sort of what I was used to for so long, this schedule and this physicality. There’s something about it that feels really normal for me, to snap back into this eight-show-a-week thing.
Is the snap reminiscent of Mormon, or eight shows a week dancing in the chorus of Hairspray?
In terms of the pain… there are moments in The Book of Mormon. I remember doing “All American Prophet,” which is that song in the middle of the first act where I was just running all over the stage and there were a million words and nothing ever repeated. It was hard as hell to learn, and doing that and thinking please, Jesus, let me survive through this. If I don’t die in the middle of this number, it’ll be a good one. But the crazy thing about this show is that, really, the anticipation of it starting is the worst part. Because once you’re doing it and you’re in it, it’s fine, and it moves really quickly once it starts, but it’s that gearing up to do it—that’s stressful.
Do the nerves kick in when you get here for make-up?
Until the second I set foot on stage. READ FULL STORY
The sold-out London production of David Hare’s critically acclaimed Skylight will try its luck on Broadway with the same two stars who packed the house in the West End this summer.
Carey Mulligan and Bill Nighy will reprise their roles in Tony-winning director Stephen Daldry’s production of Skylight, opening April 2 at the John Golden Theatre. Previews for the 13-week limited engagement will begin on March 16, with a slated end date of June 14.
Mulligan plays Kyra Hollis, a schoolteacher who receives an unexpected visit from her former lover, recently widowed restaurateur Tom Sergeant (Nighy). On a cold London night, the two try to rekindle their romance, “only to find themselves locked in a dangerous battle of opposing ideologies and mutual desires.” Skylight also features Matthew Beard as Edward Sergeant.
The play boasts design by Bob Crowley, lighting by Natasha Katz, sound by Paul Arditti, and original music by Paul Englishby. Skylight is produced on Broadway by Scott Rudin and Robert Fox.
Hare’s play originally premiered at the National Theatre in London in 1995 before opening on Broadway in September 1996 at the Royale Theatre (now the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre). The original Broadway cast featured Michael Gambon as Tom, Lia Williams as Kyra, and Christian Camargo.
Skylight will not be the first bout on Broadway for either Mulligan or Nighy. She appeared in 2008’s The Seagull, and he starred in 2006’s The Vertical Hour.
Yes, it’s real, and it’s happening—Larry David’s hotly anticipated Broadway debut has officially set its dates.
David will make his acting and Broadway playwriting debut in Fish in the Dark, a new comedy directed by Anna D. Shapiro that starts previews February 2 at Broadway’s Cort Theatre. Opening night is scheduled for March 5.
David will star alongside theater veterans Jayne Houdyshell and Jerry Adler (The Sopranos), as well as Rosie Perez, Jonny Orsini (who made a splash in his Broadway debut in 2013’s The Nance) and Jake Cannavale, son of two-time Tony nominee Bobby Cannavale. Additional casting will be announced at a later date.
Fish in the Dark—described simply as “a comedy about a death in the family”—will be produced by Scott Rudin and feature scenic design by Todd Rosenthal, costumes by Ann Roth, and lighting by Brian MacDevitt.
It’s official: Emma Stone will make her Broadway debut in the current Roundabout Theatre Company revival of Cabaret.
The 25-year-old will replace Oscar nominee Michelle Williams, who made her debut in the role of showgirl Sally Bowles when the revival opened at Studio 54 in April. Stone will take over as Sally beginning Nov. 11 (Williams exits Nov. 9) and will play the role until Feb. 1, 2015.
Alan Cumming—who won a Tony Award for his portrayal of the show’s Emcee in the 1998 Broadway production, which serves as the basis of this revival—will extend his run through March 29, 2015, thus confirming that yet another actress may get to tread the Cabaret boards before the show’s run is through.
Stone was linked to the show in 2013 during Roundabout’s initial announcement, but film scheduling conflicts forced her to back out. Last week, word broke that she had entered negotiations to join the show when Williams vacates the iconic role.
Unrelated but completely related, Stone’s beau Andrew Garfield made his Broadway debut in 2012’s Death of a Salesman. Again, unrelated… but completely related.
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