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'Baby, It's Cold Outside': You choose the best version, in our Twelve Days of Christmas Classics -- POLL

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The Twelve Days of Christmas Classics starts today! Over the next two weeks, EW will put the best versions of the most-covered Christmas songs up to a daily vote to compile the ultimate holiday playlist. If your favorite singer isn’t in the list below, you better not pout: Each artist will only appear once throughout the next 12 days. Listen to our top six, vote for your favorite, and let us know why you made your pick in the comments below.

UPDATE: The polls are closed, and we have our winners! Listen to YOUR ultimate holiday playlist here.

To kick off our Twelve Days of Christmas Classics, we start with a song that wasn’t even a Christmas tune to begin with, but it’s come to fit snugly with the holiday’s wintry weather: “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” The catchy duet, with its suggestive-verging-on-coercive lyrics, was written in 1944 by musical-theater vet Frank Loesser (Guys and Dolls), who originally sang it with his wife at a housewarming party. He ended up selling it to MGM in 1948 for the movie Neptune’s Daughter, for which it earned an Oscar.

So which flirty version is your favorite? Check out our six options, in chronological order, and place your vote below:
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Broadway box office: Christmas comes early as 12 shows top $1 million

For Broadway producers, Thanksgiving brought some extra trimmings this year. According to figures from the Broadway League, a dozen Broadway shows topped $1 million at the box office for the week ending Nov. 25 — the first time that’s happened all year. Perennial musical hits led the list: Wicked ($2.3 million), The Lion King ($2.1 million), The Book of Mormon ($1.8 million), and Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark ($1.78 million). The fifth slot went to the just-opened revival Annie (pictured above), which took a stroll down Easy Street by selling $1.5 million in tickets, 105 percent of the show’s potential gross and a house record for the Palace Theatre. (Premium ticket charges spiked the average ticket price to $116, from $89 the week before.) READ FULL STORY

This Week on Stage: 'Elf' and 'A Christmas Story' kick up their leg lamps on Broadway

The best way to spread holiday cheer, Will Ferrell instructed us in the 2003 movie Elf, is singing loud for all to hear. And what better place to sing than on Broadway? Now the stage musical version of Elf is back on Broadway after a one-year hiatus. And it’s joined by a new stage version of the 1983 yuletide movie fave A Christmas Story (pictured above) — that naturally features a leg-lamp kickline and a tap-dancing fantasy number called “You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out.” Both shows opened this week for limited runs, and here are excerpts of our reviews (as well as those of other new productions):

A Christmas Story: The Musical EW’s Tanner Stransky writes that “the stage adaptation plays like a heart-tugging, best-of version of the movie, with a saccharine score by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul and a book by Joseph Robinette that desperately panders for laughs.” Still, he writes, “the musical’s pleasures are far and wide.” EW grade: B+

Elf The musical version of the 2003 Will Ferrell movie returns to Broadway two years after its debut with a new opening number and new leads, including Jordan Gelber as a “softer, more childlike” Buddy the elf. “Elf won’t change your life,” Tanner Stransky writes, “but it will brighten your holiday season a little bit.”  EW grade: B+ READ FULL STORY

'Seinfeld' star Wayne Knight will play Santa in musical 'Elf'

Image credit: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Wayne Knight, who played Jerry Seinfeld’s nemesis Newman on Seinfeld, will have some big, red pants to fill this November when he steps in as Santa in the Broadway musical Elf. The Exes star will assume the role originally played by George Wendt in the 2010 production based on Will Ferrell’s 2003 movie. Tony award winner Beth Leavel, Mark Jacoby, Valerie Wright, and Adam Heller will reprise their roles as Emily, Walter, Deb, and Mr. Greenway, respectively, and Casey Nicholaw returns to direct and choreograph.

The title character Buddy hasn’t been cast yet. May we suggest Michael Richards? If he could play a “Communist” mall Santa on Seinfeld, he can certainly pull off an elf. He may be too old for the role, but come on, we’re begg’n ya!

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This Week on Stage: Amy Adams in 'Into the Woods,' Mike Tyson chomps into Broadway

Despite reports that the first few preview performances of Into the Woods in Central Park were far from happily ever after, the Stephen Sondheim revival opened this week to generally mixed reviews (including a rave from EW’s Lisa Schwarzbaum for stars Amy Adams and Donna Murphy). It’s not the only fairytale story in the theater world this week: The musical version of the Will Ferrell movie Elf will return to Broadway after a one-year hiatus, and producers announced plans to bring Rodger and Hammerstein’s Cinderella (which the famed songwriting team wrote for television in 1957) to Broadway this spring. Tony-nominated Grease and Bonnie & Clyde star Laura Osnes will star as the glass-slippered heroine in a new production with an updated book by Douglas Carter Beane (The Little Dog Laughed).

Broadway also found an unlikely new star in the form of a boxer whom even caustic New York Post theater columnist Michael Riedel might not want to mess with. In its first week on Broadway, Mike Tyson’s one-man show Undisputed Truth earned nearly $625,000, an impressive 78 percent of the potential gross at the Longacre Theatre. (It even outgrossed long-running hits like Chicago, War Horse, and Rock of Ages.) Personally, I can’t wait for him to return to the stage. Perhaps the Public could build a revival of Julius Caesar around him. “Friends, Romans, Holyfields, lend me your ears…” READ FULL STORY

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