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Tag: John Grisham (1-6 of 6)

This Week on Stage: Fantasia in the Jazz Age, Neil Patrick Harris serves up magic

November is shaping up to be the busiest in recent memory, but the hustle and bustle is costing Broadway a few shows. John Grisham’s A Time to Kill became A Time to Close with an end date of Nov. 17, and the Zachary Levi-Krysta Rodriguez musical rom-com First Date will have its last date on Jan. 5. With as-yet-unannounced premiere dates for shows like Tracy Letts’ Killer Joe (making a spring Broadway bow), Will Eno’s The Realistic Joneses (starring Michael C. Hall, Toni Collette, Marisa Tomei and…Letts — busy guy!) and Terrence McNally’s Mothers and Sons with Tyne Daly, it seems there are more productions than theaters to hold them. Stay tuned for which ones make the cut. Meanwhile, there have been a bevy of new openings, including Fantasia’s return to Broadway, Ed Harris and real-life spouse Amy Madigan in a new Beth Henley drama, a new play by Pulitzer winner Bruce Norris, Neil Patrick Harris directing a new magic show, and Julie Taymor’s major comeback (click on the links below for full reviews):

After Midnight  The Cotton Club era gets a jazzy jolt with this new Broadway revue already being called the sleeper hit of the season. Did senior editor Thom Geier share the enthusiasm? Ab-scat-lutely! “There are showstoppers aplenty in the ebullient new musical revue..After Midnight is a show that’s as light on its feet as its very talented ensemble.” EW grade: A-

The Black Suits Call it School of Rock with an age upgrade; Joe Iconis’ take on a high school rock band opened in L.A., but EW.com’s Laura Hertzfeld felt they could use a little more practice: “The Black Suits never gets deep enough into the roots of suburban angst to make you feel like these guys really have something to rage about — nor does it come up with light, frothy pop numbers that urge you to bop along.” EW grade: C+

Disaster!  Off Broadway gets invaded by killer bees, tidal waves, and disco-era hits in Seth Rudetsky and Jack Plotnick’s wacky take on disaster movies. The show doesn’t hit any icebergs on the way to hilarity. As I write in my review, “It’s the perfect antidote to those lamenting the lack of Forbidden Broadway in their urban lives…scrappy but irresistible.” EW grade: B+

Domesticated  Jeff Goldblum and Laurie Metcalf star in Bruce Norris’ dark comedy about a disgraced politico and his put-upon wife weathering a Spitzer/Wiener/Good Wife-like scandal. Thom Geier had mixed feelings on this follow-up to the author’s Clybourne Park: “[Norris] strives to make a larger point about modern gender relations and the utility (and possibility) of male monogamy. But despite Anna D. Shapiro’s crisp, well-paced direction, Domesticated is better on caustic humor and verbal one-upmanship than real insight or character development.” EW grade: B

How to Make Friends and Then Kill Them  Actress Halley Feiffer takes a hand at playwriting in a new work at Off Broadway’s Rattlestick Theatre, but Stephan Lee firmly believed she may want to hone her craft a little more. “How to Make Friends and Then Kill Them opens with three girls shrieking at the top of their lungs, and over the next 90 minutes, they never really stop.” EW grade: C

The Jacksonian  Staff writer Keith Staskiewicz took a look at the NYC premiere of Beth Henley’s eerie Southern drama about a motel barkeep (Bill Pullman) corralling his oddball patrons (including multiple Oscar nominee Ed Harris). “Robert Falls’ eerie direction has more than a hint of David Lynch…here’s a healthy vein of black humor running throughout which turns Henley’s Southern Gothic soap opera into an even more surreal experience.” EW grade: B+

La Soiree  The naughty burlesque revue — already a hit in Europe — settles in downtown NYC to make the city blush. Marc Snetiker was among those wooed by the circus-like, raunchy fun. “There is an abundance of charm oozing from the cast, who each exude a gleeful passion for their talent (be it sexy, silly, or downright strange). If traditional circus isn’t your thing, you’re in luck.” EW grade: A-

A Midsummer Night’s Dream  Visual stylist Julie Taymor trades Spidey for fairies with an opulent new version of the Shakespeare comedy, the inaugural production at Theatre for a New Audience’s new Polonsky Shakespeare Center in Brooklyn. Thom Geier found himself much enchanted by Taymor’s reborn ingenuity: “There’s a magnificent muchness of her approach to the Bard’s most durable of comedies, as she tosses in everything from pillow fights to a grass-upholstered reclining chair to achieve her vision. But remarkably, this Midsummer never tips over into a too-muchness.” EW grade: A-

Nothing to Hide  It’s no secret that beloved star Neil Patrick Harris likes magic, but he’s fan of his peers too, and decided to helm a new 70-minute variety show featuring upstart showmen Derek DelGaudio and Helder Guimarães. Did Hillary Busis surrender to the sleight of hands? “[The performers are] clever, surprising, and altogether incredible, in both the literal and figurative senses.” EW grade: A-


'First Date,' 'A Time to Kill' slated to close on Broadway

Two new Broadway productions announced plans to end their runs. The short-lived stage adaptation of the John Grisham novel A Time to Kill announced that it will close Nov. 17; your last chance to make a date with the Zachary Levi musical comedy First Date will be Jan. 5.

Courtroom drama A Time to Kill opened Oct. 20, but unlike the popular 1996 movie adaptation starring Sandra Bullock and Matthew McConaughey, the play failed to connect with audiences. EW’s Thom Geier gave the play a C+, noting: “There isn’t much subtlety in A Time to Kill — Lindsay Jones’ overly intrusive underscore cues up at every dramatic moment — but it manages to convey a mostly satisfying sense of justice being served.” Before it plays its final night, author Grisham will host a performance of the show on Nov. 14, producers also announced Wednesday.

First Date, starring Zachary Levi (Chuck) in his Broadway debut and Krysta Rodriguez (Smash), opened to lukewarm reviews back in July (EW’s Geier also gave it a C+) and by the end of its run will have played 34 previews and 174 regular performances at the Longacre Theatre. Levi is currently starring on the big screen in Thor: The Dark World.

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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'A Time to Kill': John Grisham novel comes to Broadway -- EXCLUSIVE

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The new Broadway show A Time to Kill asks a provocative question about a very hot button issue: “Is there ever a time to kill?”

The torn-from-the-headlines feel of this timeless question makes it a perfect fit for a new play about to hit the Broadway stage. A Time to Kill is a courtroom drama that grapples with race, innocence, and the media. It’s also the first of John Grisham’s popular novels to ever be adapted for Broadway. In the exclusive EW video preview below, the cast and producers discuss the challenges of taking on controversial topics, as well as their excitement for the work.

Adapted by Rupert Holmes, A Time to Kill tells the story of a Southern community torn in half by an unspeakable crime. As the horrific news hits the public, small town America becomes the center of a media storm that has lives hanging in the balance.

Starring Sebastian Arcelus (House of Cards), Ashley Williams (How I Met Your Mother) and Tom Skerritt, A Time to Kill will premiere on Broadway Sept. 28. Check out an exclusive video preview below: READ FULL STORY

This Week on Stage: Cirque du Soleil takes on Michael Jackson, plus new fall shows

Summer has officially taken hold, but all eyes seem to be on fall and spring, with nearly all of the 40 Broadway houses having scooped up shows to call their own if they don’t already have a tenant. This fall, we will see the arrival of a new Janis Joplin musical, A Night With Janis Joplin, which has been making the rounds nationally and finally setting up camp for a long run. Ethan Hawke is returning to Lincoln Center for his take on Macbeth, John Grisham gets his first Broadway salute with a Main Stem mounting of his legal thriller A Time to Kill, and look for the starry likes of Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz, Mark Rylance, Orlando Bloom, Mary-Louise Parker, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Cherry Jones and Zachary Quinto in already-announced shows, which will make for a busy season. And this spring will feature the musical debuts of both Woody Allen’s Bullets Over Broadway (which is to star Zach Braff) and The Bridges of Madison County (reuniting Kelli O’Hara and Steven Pasquale after their recent coupling in the musical adaptation of Far From Heaven). READ FULL STORY

John Grisham-based 'A Time to Kill' to play Broadway this fall

“Yes, they deserved to die and I hope they burn in hell!” OK, so it might not be Samuel L. Jackson bellowing this famous line to the rafters of the Golden Theatre this fall. (Or could it? Mr. Jackson did tread the boards just a few years ago, actually.) But whomever is cast in the Broadway adaptation of John Grisham’s hot-blooded legal thriller, expect some fireworks.

Coming off an acclaimed run at Washington, D.C.’s Arena Stage in 2011, A Time to Kill will feature a script by Rupert Holmes (who knows a thing or two about mysteries as the author of The Mystery of Edwin Drood musical) and direction by Ethan McSweeny (Gore Vidal’s The Best Man). And given that this is the film that boosted the career of a young Matthew McConaughey and gave Sandra Bullock one of her juicier dramatic roles, there’s no shortage of hot-property roles to be had. This is the first time a work of Grisham’s has ever been adapted for the stage.
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