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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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Tony Awards 2013: Who will win?

Despite a Broadway season that saw a 6-percent dip in attendance, theater fans still have cause for celebration at this Sunday’s Tony Awards. There’s a  contest heating up for Best Musical, pitting the “revolting” children of Matilda against the fabulous drag queens of Kinky Boots.

And there’s some real suspense in other major categories: Will two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks (above) add a Tony to his mantel for his Broadway debut in Lucky Guy? Will former Who’s the Boss star Judith Light win back-to-back Tonys in Best Featured Actress in a Play? EW critics Melissa Rose Bernardo and Thom Geier offer their predictions of who will be step-step-kicking to the podium at Radio City Music Hall this Sunday. (By the way, we’ll also be live-blogging the ceremony, hosted for the fourth time by the Energizer bunny of awards-show hosts, Neil Patrick Harris.) Disagree with our picks? Please let us know who you think will win — or should win — in the comments section.
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'Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike' and 'Matilda' take top honors at New York Drama Critics' Circle

Looks like the voodoo priestess/housekeeper Cassandra (Tony nominee Shalita Grant) in Christopher Durang’s Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike can look out for more than Hootie Pie! Vanya (recently anointed with six Tony nominations) has just claimed Best Play from the New York Drama Critics’ Circle (which includes EW critic Melissa Rose Bernardo). After four rounds of voting, the madcap comedy starring David Hyde Pierce and Sigourney Weaver emerged victorious, with Matilda the Musical taking home Best Musical. No award was given this year for Best Foreign Play.

Special citations included downtown NYC stalwart Soho Rep and uptown musical concert series New York City Center Encores!, plus award-winning scenic designer John Lee Beatty (Tony nommed this year for The Nance) also receiving special honors. To see a complete breakdown of votes by each critic, click here for the full list on the New York Drama Critics’ Circle website.

Read more:
Read the full list of 2013 Tony Nominations
2013 Tony Nominees: Who Got Snubbed?

EW Stage Hub

This Week on Stage: Porn stars, Dickens, and Kathie Lee Gifford invade Broadway

It was one busy week on the New York stage, with three Broadway openings and one rare day-after-premiere closing: No sooner did the producers of the starry porn-world comedy The Performers study the show’s mixed reviews than they decided to call it quits. (Guess they thought they’d lost their money shot.) Over at the Encores! series at New York City Center, Glee star Amber Riley jazzed up the Broadway-ready revue Cotton Club Parade. And Off Broadway saw at least a half dozen major new productions featuring stars like Ethan Hawke, Sigourney Weaver, David Hyde Pierce, and Boardwalk Empire‘s Gretchen Mol. READ FULL STORY

Fall Theater Preview: 10 Shows We're Dying to See

Let’s face it: There are a whole lot of new stage productions opening in New York City this fall. Some shows boast legendary veterans like Al Pacino (left) and Sigourney Weaver. Others promise young stars like Jessica Chastain and Jake Gyllenhaal. For still others, the title alone (a 50th anniversary revival of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, anyone?) may be the biggest draw. Here are the 10 that have us most eager to line up for tickets.

Annie
(Broadway) This tale of the world’s most optimistic orphan girl searching for a family is one of our greatest musicals. Its music is iconic (“It’s a Hard Knock Life,” “Tomorrow”), and the rags-to-riches story of its endearing protagonist (played by newcomer Lilla Crawford) has been warming hearts since it debuted in 1977 and won seven Tonys. In the hands of director James Lapine, who boasts three Tonys of his own, you can bet your bottom dollar it’ll be a hit. (Previews start Oct. 3; show opens Nov. 8)

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Sigourney Weaver and David Hyde Pierce will return to the stage this fall

Sigourney Weaver and David Hyde Pierce are bringing Chekhov characters to life in a new play by Christopher Durang that opens this fall.

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike takes inspiration from the Russian writer, but sets the plot and characters in modern-day Pennsylvania. Pierce and Kristine Nielsen will play Vanya and Sonia, step-siblings who have spent their lives caring for their sick parents while envying their sister Masha, a world-traveling movie star played by Weaver. Nicholas Martin will direct the production, which also stars Billy Magnussen, Shalita Grant, and Genevieve Angelson.

Weaver last worked with Durang when she starred in his 1996 Broadway play, Sex and Longing. She also earned a Tony Award nomination in 1985 for a supporting role in David Rabe’s Hurlyburly. Pierce won a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical in 2007 for his role in Curtains.

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