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Tag: Off Broadway (11-20 of 39)

'Spring Awakening': Lea Michele, Jonathan Groff, and original cast reunite -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

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It’s been seven whole years since the off-Broadway premiere of Spring Awakening, the youth-oriented musical that became a Tony-winning Broadway musical hit and introduced the world to such breakout stars as Lea Michele (Glee), Jonathan Groff (Frozen), and John Gallagher Jr. (The Newsroom).

Now, the Atlantic Theatre Company has reassembled the entire original cast to launch a new social-media campaign, ATC Uncovered, which aims to connect fans to the inner-workings of the off-Broadway company. In addition to the the exclusive video below, in which Michele and Groff recall the first performances of Spring Awakening in ATC’s tiny 199-seat theater, the program will include a live-stream Facebook Q&A event with the cast on Dec. 10 at 8 p.m. ET, hosted by original castmate Brian Charles Johnson.

“This is where our love blossomed,” Michele and Groff say of the reunion, captured in this exclusive video clip. It’s really an amazing thing to watch these twentysomethings rekindle their friendship. Watch below, and prepare to have your “Totally F—ed” memories come flooding back!
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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-


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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This Week on Stage: Romeo, 'The Seagull,' and 'Wait Until Dark' in L.A.

More Bard, more Chekhov, and some choice revivals pepper this week’s lineup of new plays on the boards, with some notable stars getting their feet wet in classics (Alison Pill, Elizabeth Olsen, Alessandro Nivola, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio), and expect more of the same this spring: Toni Collette, Michael C. Hall, and Oscar winner Marisa Tomei will join recent Best Actor Tony recipient (and acclaimed scribe) Tracy Letts in a new play by Will Eno on Broadway. Moreover, buzz has restarted that James Franco may finally make his long-awaited Main Stem debut in a revival of Of Mice and Men (or is he just trying to get even more attention?). And the stars will keep on comin’ — check back next week for reviews of new plays featuring Mary-Louise Parker and David Hyde Pierce (click on the links below to read the newest full reviews):

The Model Apartment  After an Off Broadway debut 20 years ago, Donald Margulies’ (Time Stands Still) unsettling play about Holocaust survivors weathering a temporary apartment and family dysfunction has long been considered one of the playwright’s most challenging works. Did Melissa Rose Bernardo find it worth reviving? A resounding yes: “It’s almost certainly the only Holocaust comedy you’ve ever seen…how Margulies conceived this nightmarish dream world I’ll never know. But I do know it’s one I’m not likely to forget.” EW grade: A-

Romeo & Juliet  Martha Marcy May Marlene star Elizabeth Olsen stars alongside T.R. Knight and Daphne Rubin-Vega in a modern-dress take on the tragedy about star-crossed lovers (the second of two this fall season, after Orlando Bloom’s critically drubbed Broadway take). Senior editor Thom Geier found this one considerably less than a rose by any other name, dubbing it “sadly amateurish… [Tea] Alagic’s production makes [little] sense…the cast seems to have been left to its own devices to create their characters and block their scenes.” EW grade: D+

The Seagull  Trudie Styler (known to most of us as Sting’s longtime spouse and producer extraordinaire) hits the stage as Anton Chekhov’s actress Arkadina (dubbed Isobel here) in an Irish-set downtown revival of the oft-produced country drama. Does this Seagull have wings? Stephan Lee claims Styler “shines” but adds that “director Max Stafford-Clark doesn’t stray too far from the original spirit of this classic, but his production is unlikely to win new fans.” EW grade: B

Wait Until Dark The Newsroom’s Alison Pill takes a stab (pun intended) at a role created memorably by Audrey Hepburn in Jeffrey Hatcher’s adaptation of the spooker about a blind woman terrorized by con men. Lindsey Bahr insists the tense thriller still has a kick. “[The production] reminds CGI-infected audiences that a few shadows, a shiny knife, and compelling characters can still go a long way to create suspense… the famous showdown does not disappoint.” EW grade: A–

The Winslow Boy  Roundabout Theatre Company revives Terrence Rattigan’s 1946 English drama about a family’s efforts to clear their son’s good name from a crime, starring Roger Rees, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, and Alessandro Nivola. Thom Geier had mixed feelings about the production: “Director Lindsay Posner, who previously staged the show at London’s Old Vic, brings a crisp precision to the proceedings. But there’s only so much you can do with the material, which feels like an over-long and decidedly twee Masterpiece Theatre drama.” EW grade: B-

'Pretty Little Liars' star Keegan Allen talks his NYC stage debut in 'Small Engine Repair'

Sure, you can find Pretty Little Liars‘ Toby, the show’s second most questionable fella, running around Rosewood, but starting this month, the same can’t be said for Toby’s portrayer, Keegan Allen. Rather, Allen, 26, is spending his days on a stage just out of Rosewood’s reach.

Allen is starring in the off-Broadway play Small Engine Repair. Put on by MCC Theater, Small Engine Repair is a comic thriller about three old high-school pals who regularly meet up at an off-the-beaten-path repair shop. What they do, we’re not sure. But we do know that when 19-year-old Chad (Allen) shows up, things start happening, and social media plays a big part in all the goings on.

The play, which is written by John Pollono, already found success at L.A.’s Rogue Machine Theatre, even winning a Los Angeles Drama Critics Award for playwriting. And now it has made its way to New York. Small Engine Repair is directed by Jo Bonney and stars, along with Allen, James Badge Dale (Iron Man 3), James Ransone (The Wire), and the playwright himself, John Pollono. Previews begin Oct. 30 at the Lucille Lortel Theater, with opening night set for Nov. 20.

We caught up with Allen to talk about the play, his acting choices, and that James Franco movie:

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What is Small Engine Repair about? How did you get involved?
KEEGAN ALLEN: Small Engine Repair is a psychological thriller that is also a comedy. It has a huge amount of twists and turns. When I look at material that I want to do, I look at it as would I want to see this? Would I want to be an audience member that would want to not only purchase the ticket but walk away from it with something. And John [Pollono] hits on all cylinders with this, not only with the comedy but also with the very interesting look at our generation and social media, [and the] huge lack of empathy now because of texting … Twitter or Facebook or anything, Four Square, all of these technical aspects that remove us from human contact. And he touches on this and kind of brings two generations colliding together, so it was great. I play a 19-year-old privileged jock, would be the best way to describe it in a very vague way so as to not give anything away, amongst these middle-aged men. It’s a really challenging role. READ FULL STORY

Sarah Jessica Parker's new stage role: Get a behind-the-scenes look -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

It’s amazing to discover that Sarah Jessica Parker hasn’t appeared on the New York stage in 12 years (!), which was right in the midst of her celebrated turn as Carrie Bradshaw in HBO’s Sex and the City.

Meanwhile, uptown…(hee hee), it is quite a big deal that NYC has her back, starring in a brand-new play called The Commons of Pensacola, written by none other than actress Amanda Peet (The Good Wife) — making her stage debut as a playwright — with a tale of a woman (Parker) reconnecting with her her mother, who has been forced out of living a luxurious lifestyle. And given that the latter role is played by Blythe Danner (who, it is mentioned, was Parker’s co-star in A.R. Gurney’s delightful comedy Sylvia nearly 20 years ago), this looks to be one of the hot shows to catch this fall. And it’s already a monster hit off-Broadway, with nary a performance under their belt and a several-week extension (seats are only on sale through Jan. 26, so you might want to act fast). Judging by the clip below, there appears to be no shortage of chemistry between these ladies.

The Commons of Pensacola begins previews at Manhattan Theatre Club’s Stage I in NYC on Oct. 22, with an opening night scheduled for Nov. 21. The play will run through Jan. 26; for tickets and additional info, you can visit MTC’s website.
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'Pretty Little Liars' star Keegan Allen to make NYC stage debut in 'Small Engine Repair' -- EXCLUSIVE

Pretty Little Liars star Keegan Allen will make his professional stage debut this fall in MCC Theater‘s Off Broadway production of  Small Engine Repair. And it sounds like he hasn’t left the intrigue of Rosewood behind. Allen will play a privileged college jock who turns up at an out-of-the-way repair shop and sets off an explosion of resentment among the three former high school buddies who regularly meet there under shady circumstances. The buddies will be played by James Badge Dale (World War Z, The Lone Ranger, Iron Man 3), James Ransone (The Wire, Treme), and actor-playwright John Pollono, who wrote the script. (Dale replaces The Walking Dead‘s Jon Bernthal, who had previously been announced for the play but had to bow out due to scheduling issues.) READ FULL STORY

This Week on Stage: 'Matilda' casts her spell on Broadway

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This week marks the arrival of the biggest Brit hit musical since a little boy named Billy Elliot pirouetted his way across the pond, but the Off Broadway offerings in this round-up are also not to be ignored. As we prep for a tidal wave of openings in the next three weeks (with 12 Broadway titles alone to come!), check out what our staff has to say about these: (click on the links below to read the full reviews):

Matilda: Four very lucky little girls share the title role in this bold reimagining of the classic Roald Dahl novel which broke records sweeping Britain’s Olivier Awards last year. Did it survive the ride across the ocean with kudos intact? Thom Geier says yes and dubs it as enticing as a bedtime story, “you want to shout, ”Again!” and demand that the cast start over from the very beginning so you might catch everything that you missed”. He adds, “ [the show] captures the wonder and innocence of childhood, but also the frustrations that face kids confronting the bitter unfairness of the adult world”. EW grade: A– READ FULL STORY

Jeremy Jordan and Jonathan Groff sing gender-bending cover of 'Let Me Be Your Star' -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

It’s Smash as you’ve never seen it before.

What if Broadway vets Jeremy Jordan (Newsies) and Jonathan Groff (Spring Awakening) had been vying to play Marilyn Monroe on the first season of the Broadway-set NBC drama instead of Katharine McPhee and Megan Hilty? Well, alternate-universe shippers can rejoice! On Monday, Jordan and Groff belted out a gender-bent version of the show’s signature ballad, “Let Me Be Your Star,” at a benefit for the Off Broadway’s MCC Theater (whose current production, Really Really, stars Girls‘ Zosia Mamet and Parenthood‘s Matt Lauria).

This year’s “Miscast” fund-raiser featured a bunch of theater-friendly celebs performing tunes originally written for performers of decidedly different ages, genders, or ethnicities. Tony-winner Jane Krakowski tackled the title song from the Latino-centric musical In the Heights, while her former 30 Rock castmate Cheyenne Jackson paired with Jordan to play Side Show‘s conjoined twins Daisy and Violet on “Who Will Love Me As I Am.” But nothing can top Jordan and Groff’s wiggy take on “Let Me Be Your Star.”

Check out the clip below. READ FULL STORY

See the cast of Off Broadway's 'The Last Five Years' perform the song 'Shiksa Goddess' -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

So you can’t wait for Jeremy Jordan (Smash) and Anna Kendrick (Pitch Perfect) to star in the just-announced Richard LaGravenese-directed big-screen musical The Last Five Years? Well, this month Off Broadway’s Second Stage is staging a revival of composer Jason Robert Brown’s 2002 chamber musical, which follows an aspiring writer and a struggling actress through the ups and downs of twentysomething love in New York City. Brown’s show has garnered a cult following since it premiered a decade ago, thanks in part to its ingenious structure: His story unfolds chronologically from their first meeting, while hers is told backwards from the dissolution of their marriage.

And if you really, really can’t wait to see something of The Last Five Years, here’s an exclusive clip of Adam Kantor (Ezra from The Good Wife) belting the heck out of the number “Shiksa Goddess” in rehearsals. You’ll also catch a glimpse of costar Betsy Wolfe (most recently of Broadway’s The Mystery of Edwin Drood) and Brown himself. He’s directing the Second Stage revival, which starts performances March 7 for an April 2 opening.

Follow Thom on Twitter: @ThomGeier

Read more:
This Week on Stage: Jesse Eisenberg and Edie Falco open Off Broadway
Meet the four young stars of Broadway’s ‘Matilda the Musical’ — EXCLUSIVE VIDEO
Shia LaBeouf reveals ‘creative differences’ with Alec Baldwin after exiting Broadway show
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