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