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'Rocky' joins list of musicals based on famous movies. Good idea?

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You know what Broadway isn’t missing? Another musical based on a movie.

But it seems, asked for or not, the Great White Way will be getting yet another show based originally on a hit movie. Over the weekend, news broke that plans were in the works to adapt Rocky, based on the 1976 Sylvester Stallone-starring boxer classic. The cast hasn’t been announced, but the show had a well-received world premiere last fall in Germany (hopefully containing a dance at some point in the show to “Eye of the Tiger”). Some may remain skeptical, but the creative team, particularly director Alex Timbers (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Peter and the Starcatcher), is promising and known for bringing an offbeat sensibility to the material (Exhibit A: this preview video from Jackson). READ FULL STORY

Broadway box office: 'Matilda' joins 'Motown' and 'Lucky Guy' as a new hit

Matilda has emerged as a Dahled-up hit of the new Broadway season. In its first full week since its April 11 opening, the rapturously reviewed musical earned $1.13 million for the week ending April 21, according to figures from the Broadway League. That’s a 51 percent increase in ticket sales from the previous week, and represents nearly 89 percent of the potential gross from the Shubert Theatre.

Matilda is one of four brand-new shows that joined this week’s Million Dollar Club of high earners on the Great White Way. The Tom Hanks-topped drama Lucky Guy raked in $1.41 million, fully 124 percent of its potential earnings due to premium-priced ticket sales; Motown the Musical pulled down $1.15 million, 81 percent of its maximum; and the Cyndi Lauper musical Kinky Boots kicked up $1.06 million, about 73 percent of its potential high.

Rounding out this week’s Million Dollar Club are four long-running mainstays: The Lion King ($1.84 million); Wicked ($1.81 million); The Book of Mormon ($1.67 million); and Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark ($1.06 million).

Five more shows are slated to open this week, including a high-profile (and high-flying) revival of the musical Pippin, which last week earned $683,911 (a strong 74 percent of its potential gross).  And there are early indications of box office staying power for Bette Midler’s one-woman play I’ll Eat You Last, which broke a new record last week for the relatively small Booth Theatre with $686,031 in sales. What’s even more impressive is that the Divine Miss M is playing just seven performances a week (most Broadway shows do eight).

Some other star-driven nonmusical newbies — including The Nance with Nathan Lane, Orphans with Alec Baldwin, Macbeth with Alan Cumming, and The Trip to Bountiful with Cicely Tyson and Cuba Gooding Jr. — have yet to spark much box office heat. Each show may have to hope for a strong critical embrace (several have only just opened or will be debuting in coming days) and the even stronger embrace of the Tony nominating committee (which announces its picks on April 30).

Follow Thom on Twitter: @ThomGeier

Read More on EW.com:
This Week on Stage: Alec Baldwin, Nathan Lane, The Rascals, and a slew of new openings
See Opening Night Video for The Nance
Listen to three tracks from Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812
EW Stage hub

This Week on Stage: Alec Baldwin, Nathan Lane, The Rascals and a slew of new openings

The theater season is in full-swing glory right now, and EW has covered no less than nine (!) shows since last week. Broadway is saying one permanent good night (RIP Breakfast at Tiffany’s), and hellos to stage stalwarts as varied as Alec Baldwin, Nathan Lane, Bobby Cannavale and Constantine Maroulis. And Motown legend Berry Gordy throws his hat into the ring too. So, who’s most worth your hard-earned bucks? (Click on the links below to read the full reviews):

The Assembled Parties  Richard Greenberg (already on the boards this season with Tiffany’s) unveils a new play about two Christmases in a tense Upper West Side family’s history. Tanner Stransky called the play “as close to bullet-proof as they come on the Great White Way these days”, highlighting “a first-rate cast [including Judith Light and Jessica Hecht] that feels as familiar and complicated as any real-life clan”. EW grade: A– READ FULL STORY

Broadway comes out for Nathan Lane on opening-night of 'The Nance' -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

Nathan Lane fans, rejoice! The two-time Tony winner plays Chauncey Miles, a gay burlesque star of the 1930s living an underground life and contemplating romance with a much-younger admirer (Jonny Orsini) in Douglas Carter Beane’s new play The Nance. The show premiered on Monday at the Lyceum Theatre on Broadway, and EW’s exclusive video clip from opening night includes appearances by some notable first-nighters (Jesse Tyler Ferguson! Victor Garber! Cynthia Nixon!) and hints at what you can expect from the show. (Dig that great turntable set!)

Click on the link below to watch the video: READ FULL STORY

Amanda Seyfried on 'Mean Girls' musical: 'I desperately want to be Regina'

When we heard the rumors around a Mean Girls musical, we immediately started casting the parts. But one thing we didn’t account for was the idea that Amanda Seyfried might not want to reprise her role as Karen.

After all, what about Karen would make Seyfried not want to play her? She’s pretty. She doesn’t have to think, like, ever. She gets to wear pink on Wednesdays. She has ESPN, and her boobs can predict the weather. Or rather, her boobs can tell you about the current weather conditions. So why would Seyfried want to walk away from the character who first put her on our radar? The temptation of the dark side, perhaps? READ FULL STORY

Listen to three tracks from the upcoming musical 'Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812' -- EXCLUSIVE

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Brush up your Tolstoy! The conventional practice of dinner-and-a-show is getting a shake-up in NYC’s downtown meatpacking district this season with the revamp of the electropop musical Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812. A small-venue hit last year, the production is now creating an immersive supper theater (think Sleep No More) exclusively for this event. The new 6,000 square foot club Kazino is slated to open May 1st as a full-on Russian supper club (your $125 show ticket entitles you to a full Russian dinner), and will be open for drinks, food and live entertainment from opening to closing.

Tickets for Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 are now on sale at on the show’s official website. The performance schedule will be as follows: Tuesday at 7pm, Wednesday through Friday at 8pm, Saturday at noon and 8pm, and Sunday at noon and 7pm. The show will run until September 1st.

EW has three exclusive tracks to get you in the mood to get your goulash on (all written and composed by Dave Malloy). READ FULL STORY

'Kinky Boots' stars Billy Porter and Stark Sands: Broadway's new dynamic duo

With a score by Cyndi Lauper and a book crafted by Harvey Fierstein, Kinky Boots seemed designed in a lab to be a Broadway smash. And in fact, it has lived up to that billing: Last week, it topped over $1 million in receipts, joining some rare company on the current theater landscape.

The music is exceptional, but a healthy portion of the show’s success has rested on the shoulders of the two leads, whose performance prowess and on-stage chemistry have made them into Broadway’s best new duo.

“The director said, ‘I’d like you to be in this musical, and Cyndi Lauper is writing the music and Harvey Fierstein is writing the book.’ You don’t really think twice about that. You hear those names, and you say yes,” Stark Sands, who plays shoe factory owner Charlie Price, told EW. “I didn’t really even look at the script. When I heard who was involved, I knew it would be good.”

Sands has been able to carry the show alongside Billy Porter, who plays the brash, idealistic drag queen Lola. Over the course of the show, the two of them recognize a strength in one another, best expressed in a centerpiece duet that bares both characters’ complicated relationships with their dads.

“I love them all, but the centerpiece for me is ‘I’m Not My Father’s Son,’” Porter told EW. “Lola at the beginning of the show masquerades as what I was pigeonholed to be. Then all of a sudden it completely drops in. It’s interesting to sense the audience go, ‘Oh, wait a minute, Lola’s not just a clown. Lola is a human being, and now we’re all required to experience her as a human being.’ ‘I’m Not My Father’s Son’ is the pinnacle of that, and it allows me to express that side of the character and also that side of myself.”

And though Kinky Boots took its time in development, “I’m Not My Father’s Son” benefitted from some good old fashioned theater magic.  READ FULL STORY

Pulitzer Prize for drama awarded to 'Disgraced,' starring 'Daily Show' correspondent Aasif Mandvi

This year’s Pulitzer Prize winner for drama, announced Monday along with other winners for the highly prestigious writing awards, is the play Disgraced, which opened at Chicago’s American Theater Company in January 2012.

The Pulitzer for drama honors “a distinguished play by an American author, preferably in original in its source and dealing with American life.” Disgraced, which centers on a dinner party gone wrong, moved to New York’s Lincoln Center Theater after its initial run in Chicago. Set to have its London premiere next month, the American production starred Indian-American actor Aasif Mandvi (The Daily Show) as Amir Kapoor, a successful Pakistani-American lawyer who is rapidly moving up the corporate ladder while distancing himself from his cultural roots. 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

Andrew Lloyd Webber planning to develop 'School of Rock' musical

If you were a fan of Jack Black’s 2003 comedy School of Rock, in which he taught a classroom of young kids all about music in order to compete in a battle of the bands competition, you’re in luck. Because if Andrew Lloyd Webber has anything to say about it, School of Rock could be coming to a stage near you.

Having just completed his latest project about Stephen Ward, Webber told CBC Radio that he’s “very excited about” the fact that he just gained the rights to “that movie School of Rock.”

Webber described his next project as “a musical about kids playing the guitar” and explained that he might be interested in expanding on the music portion of the film: “There may be songs for me in it, but it’s obviously got songs in it as it stands.”

Can you imagine anyone but Jack Black bringing the role to Broadway?

Read more:
This Week On Stage: Tom Hanks and Cyndi Lauper take on Broadway
Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz to star in Broadway revival of ‘Betrayal’
Jake Gyllenhaal, America Ferrera, Vanessa Redgrave among Lucille Lortel Award nominees

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