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Tag: This Week on Stage (1-10 of 178)

This Week on Stage: New York, New York – a helluva 'Town'

The randy sailors of On the Town are back in the Big Apple, and taking up permanent residence at the newly-renamed Lyric Theatre (where the beleaguered Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark was the previous tenant), with lots of dancing boys and girls courtesy of Smash‘s acclaimed choreographer Joshua Bergasse (keep your eyes peeled to EW.com for a future feature on him, by the way). In other news, “Big” Al Pacino is coming back to Broadway next fall in a brand-new play written expressly for him by master wordsmith David Mamet, about a billionaire taking a fateful phone call before semi-retirement. And Emma Stone is getting ready to take over for Michelle Williams as Sally Bowles in Cabaret (EW jumped on that as well this week). And EW staff is busy as ever covering the fall openings, with six new productions this week, including a new musical based on Davy Rothbart’s famous series of found notes and letters, and new plays with live hot tubs and full meals; no expense-spared entertainment! (Click on the links below for full reviews.)

On the Town  The classic boys-on-a-day-pass from the Navy musical gets a large-scale revival with expert hoofers Tony Yazbeck, Megan Fairchild and Clyde Alves (with the comic stylings of Jackie Hoffman). Did senior editor Thom Geier have a helluva time? He calls it “spirited and surprisingly frank…But the biggest laughs of the evening go to Broadway veteran Hoffman, who serves up a rare culinary treat in her gut-busting recurring role as the heroine’s delusional vocal instructor: She’s a kosher ham.” EW grade: B+

While I Yet Live  Last year, Billy Porter won the musical best actor Tony for Kinky Boots so what was net on the horizon for him? Playwright, of course! He tells a semi-autobiographical tale of growing up black, gay and religious in a troubled family. Melissa Rose Bernardo praises its leading lady, Law & Order star S. Epatha Merkerson, dubbing her physical performance “astonishing”, but indicates the play has some issues: “Porter’s intentions may be beyond reproach; the fault is merely in his execution.” EW grade: C+ READ FULL STORY

This Week on Stage: Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick, and Rupert Grint tear up the town

Two buzzy new plays opened on Broadway this week. It’s Only a Play, a Terrence McNally comedy reuniting Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick, is proving to be anything but an only at the box office. It’s averaging 1.2 million bucks per week and 101 percent attendance. The madcap sendup of Broadway roasts a lot of boldface names; one of its biggest targets — New York Times critic Ben Brantley — had a surprisingly good sense of humor about the depiction of himself. Also opening this week is the stateside premiere of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, based on Mark Haddon’s best-selling 2003 novel. (Note: If you see the show, don’t head too quickly for the exit post-curtain call, trust me.) In other news, after falling slowly (ba-dum-bum) for some months now in ticket sales, the Tony-winning musical Once is throwing in the towel on Jan. 4 after a nearly two-year run.  Andrew Rannells winds down his run in Hedwig and the Angry Inch this weekend to make way for Dexter star Michael C. Hall in his first musical role on Broadway in over 10 years. Here are EW’s reviews of this week’s new Broadway plays (click on the links below for full reviews): READ FULL STORY

This Week on Stage: 'Sex With Strangers' with Anna Gunn, Dee Snider's puppet Bard

Anna Gunn could very well win her second consecutive Emmy for Breaking Bad in about three weeks on the West Coast—but right now, she’s laying down some East Coast roots in Sex With Strangers, a new drama directed by David Schwimmer. The role is only the actress’s second major New York City stage part (she was in the supporting cast of The Rehearsal opposite Frances Conroy and Roger Rees back on Broadway in 1996), but the reviews for her and costar Billy Magnussen (soon to be seen in the long-awaited film of James Lapine/Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods; by the way, have you seen that spiffy trailer yet?), like the one we’ll provide you below, indicate she’ll get more love from theatergoers than Skyler White ever did as a character.

In other news, 2014 marks a banner year in which both Woody Allen and Mia Farrow scored Broadway shows. His self-penned Bullets Over Broadway will sleep with the fishes on Aug. 24, while Farrow begins a stint in A.R. Gurney’s Love Letters on Sept. 13, her first Broadway appearance since 1980’s Romantic Comedy. And no, I’m not counting her voice work in the megabomb Stephen Sondheim (him again!) play Getting Away With Murder. Letters will feature a rotating cast that will also include Brian Dennehy, Carol Burnett, Alan Alda, Anjelica Huston, Martin Sheen and Game of Thrones‘ Diana Rigg, so it’s kind of a choose-your-own-veteran actor-adventure. And speaking of adventures, this week offered a cornucopia of new ones Off Broadway, including a bloody puppet bacchanal presented by the frontman for Twisted Sister, a new play from a scribe of Girls and Looking on HBO, and the sterling return of one of NYC’s most-emerged playwrights.

Click on the links below for full reviews: READ FULL STORY

This Week on Stage: Kenneth Branagh's NYC debut and Tony weekend!

The weekend of the Tonys has finally arrived, and EW will be your shepherd through the entire night, with reports from the red carpet and Radio City Music Hall, and senior editor Thom Geier and myself hosting a live blog of the entire ceremony, beginning at 8 p.m. ET when it airs on CBS. Host Hugh Jackman must already have his eyes on a prize for next season when he returns for Jerusalem playwright Jez Butterworth’s three-person drama The River, and other starry productions are slowly finding homes for next season. Glenn Close, John Lithgow, and Martha Plimpton will star in Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance this fall at the Golden, James Earl Jones returns to Broadway in You Can’t Take it With You at the Longacre, and Bradley Cooper’s long-awaited return to Broadway in The Elephant Man is solid, with he and costars Patricia Clarkson and Alessandro Nivola assuming the Booth Theatre, a relatively intimate house, and perfect for B. Coop oglers as he will be largely unclothed for a large portion of the play. In other news, Blue star Julia Stiles returns to NYC in an Off-Broadway in a new work Off Broadway called Phoenix (her first production since tackling David Mamet’s Oleanna in 2009).

But never fear, EW’s Thom Geier is still checking out the latest productions amidst the Tony tornado; this week’s offerings include Kenneth Branagh (above) in his first-ever NYC stage appearance, Boardwalk Empire and Man of Steel star Michael Shannon tearing up Eugene Ionesco in Brooklyn, and veteran English actor Jim Dale (the voice behind the Harry Potter audiobooks) in a bioplay about his considerable theater career (click on the links below for full reviews): READ FULL STORY

This Week on Stage: Hugh Jackman's back!

It seems Hugh Jackman can’t get Broadway out of his system. After the May 23 opening of the supersized Marvel opus X-Men: Days of Future Past, he will preside over the 2014 Tony Awards on CBS June 8 (where we can possibly see a taste of the song-and-dance man of The Boy From Oz and Oklahoma!), and it was just announced that he will return to the NYC stage this fall in a brand-new play by acclaimed playwright Jez Butterworth (Jerusalem) called The River, set in a remote rural cabin and featuring only three actors. And despite the fact that Jackman could likely sell out Radio City Music Hall (the site of the current Tonys), the play will take shape on the 776-seat thrust stage of Circle in the Square, where the back row is still only mere feet away from the performers. And even better news: there will be $35 seats reserved for each performance so that the premium-seat gobblers do not claim all the glory (much like what was done with the smash-hit Shakespeare revivals with Mark Rylance this past season to ensure a broader audience). The River begins previews on Oct. 31, and will open on Nov. 16.

And on the complete opposite size spectrum, the mammoth Lyric Theatre (formerly the Foxwoods, where Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark swung through controversy for several seasons), will host a revival of the beloved musical On the Town (come to think of it, wouldn’t Jackman make an amazing Gabey in this?), which begins previews Sept. 20 for a scheduled opening on Oct. 16. And if you’re not in the New York City area but need some theater fixes this fall, you’re in luck: PBS will broadcast the live NY Philharmonic concert version of Sweeney Todd starring Oscar-winner Emma Thompson on Sept. 26, and the network will also present the filmed production of The Nance from last year. Nathan Lane (delighting us on The Good Wife this season), who earned a Tony nomination and starred in the period comedy about the vaudeville era, gave one of his greatest performances to date. One will not want to miss his tour-de-force work in it; The Nance is slated to air sometime in the fall. And EW continues covering the new weekly openings, including Off Broadway favorite Forbidden Broadway, back to skewer all the past year’s new Great White Way contenders (click on the links below for full reviews): READ FULL STORY

This Week on Stage: The Nine-Show Supersized Edition!

With the Drama Desk nominations newly-minted, and Tony nominations being announced on Tuesday, we are in full-swing for year-end theater awards mania. And EW’s writers have been busy as bees getting out the last gasp of reviews from the 2013-2014 season, with no less than nine shows opening in the past week. Some themes are definitely emerging. We got men in ladies’ attire (Neil Patrick Harris in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, above, and Casa Valentina), men’s exposed buttocks (Alan Cumming in Cabaret, Nick Offerman in Annapurna), and sassy leading women who won’t take no for an answer (Estelle Parsons in The Velocity of Autumn, Sutton Foster in Violet). A little something for everyone! (Click on the links below for full reviews) READ FULL STORY

This Week on Stage: James Franco dishes, Audra McDonald dazzles (again)

Lesson learned this week on Broadway: if he does not like what you wrote about him, James Franco will call you “a little bitch”. Franco, who made his Broadway debut this week in Of Mice and Men opposite Bridesmaids charmer Chris O’Dowd, took on the New York Times’ Ben Brantley on Instagram, making it the 453rd silly thing he’s done this year. (Or is it incredibly shrewd and constant self-promotion? One cannot be sure.) In more benevolent news, a bevy of much-loved stage, film, and TV triple threats returned to their roots, including Audra McDonald (channeling the haunted spirit of Billie Holiday, and amazingly so at that), Tony Shalhoub (a nominee last year for Golden Boy and could be again this year), Annette Bening (owning the stage as early 1900s performer Ruth Draper), and the now-film-retired Steven Soderbergh, making a dent Off-Broadway with a new play by frequent collaborator Scott Z. Burns, starring Carrie‘s Chloë Grace Moretz.

(Click on the links below for full reviews)

READ FULL STORY

This Week on Stage: Denzel and Menzel add some Broadway star power

King Kong ain’t got s–t on superstar Denzel Washington (at least, not until the beast’s new musical declares a firm date next season), as the movie megastar touched down on Broadway for the first time since his Tony-winning turn in August Wilson’s Fences in 2010. And like that heralded revival, he once again got raves from most outlets. Also receiving raves this week was Wicked star Idina Menzel, who dazzles in If/Then, the new tuner by the Next to Normal team of Brian Yorkey and Tom Kitt. And though the young fans who adore her voice in Frozen may, well, freeze at the prospect of their favorite snow queen Elsa singing a song called “What the F–k?”, her Tony buzz and emotion-rich work has assured her status in the Broadway diva pantheon. (And speaking of Frozen, EW posted video of Smash alum Jeremy Jordan nailing Menzel’s signature Disney tune “Let It Go.” Seriously, check it out.)  READ FULL STORY

This Week on Stage: The return of 'Les Miserables'

As you can tell from above, Prisoner 24601 still has the physical prowess to make us swoon (much like Hugh Jackman’s Oscar-nominated turn as Jean Valjean in the 2012 film), but Iranian/Canadian star Ramin Karimloo’s long-awaited Broadway debut as Valjean proved to be worth the wait. Coming off stellar reviews (and proving a threat to claim the Best Actor in a Musical Tony), with the revival already a smash hit, it seems that everything old is new again, as audiences cannot get enough barricades and French resistance (this time sans turntable, and all the better for it). Tyne Daly also made a welcome Main Stem return since the 2011 revival of Master Class where she was a Master Callas (Maria, that is), and EW teased new some new, starry Broadway premieres with the likes of Audra McDonald, and the much-decorated cast of The Realistic Joneses, as well as a early listen of the CD for the musical Beautiful, the Carole King opus with the uncanny and impressive Jessie Mueller. EW reviewed the aforementioned shows and a few others as we head into the nitty-gritty of the theater season, with no less than 12 Broadway openings to come in the next series of weeks (click on the links below for full reviews): READ FULL STORY

This Week on Stage: 'Aladdin' flies onto the Great White Way

Disney can show you the world. Shining. Shimmering. Splendid. And given the mid-show standing ovation for “Friend Like Me” at every performance of Broadway’s Aladdin and the oohs and aahs of the young children who witness the literal magic carpet ride the show depicts, it’s safe to assume that Disney has its latest long-runner. (Now whether it can ever unseat The Lion King as the fourth longest-running show ever is another question.) In other news this week, Chris Pine and Lauren Ambrose will be taking on Sam Shepard’s lovers-in-squabble drama Fool for Love for three weeks in Williamstown, Mass. this summer, Daniel Radcliffe spoke to EW about his return to the NYC stage as the lead in Martin McDonagh’s The Cripple of Inishmaan, Norm Lewis will become the first African-American to star as Broadway’s  Phantom of the Opera, beginning May 12 (opposite his Little Mermaid costar Sierra Boggess), and Tony winner Nina Arianda makes a long-awaited return to the stage (Off Broadway this time) in a new period play (click on the links below for reviews of this and other new productions of the week below). READ FULL STORY

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