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Tag: This Week on Stage (21-30 of 179)

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-

This Week on Stage: 'Big Fish' makes a splash, the return of Janis Joplin

A nice small cornucopia of new shows this week, including the long-awaited musical arrival of Susan Stroman’s take on Tim Burton, Tony Danza takes on New Joi-sey, Julius Caesar gets an estrogen makeover, and Janis Joplin takes another little piece of our hearts now baby! (Click on the links below to read the full reviews):

Big Fish  Daniel Wallace’s acclaimed book (which turned into Burton’s 2003 weepie) becomes an all singin’, all dancin’ mega-musical starring two-time Tony winner Norbert Leo Butz. Did senior editor Thom Geier think it swam? “Big Fish finds theatrically inventive ways to reel audiences into its central love story”, he says, adding much praise for its energetic leading man, “with his stocky build, short stature, and thinning hair, Butz is an unlikely leading man, but he has the loose-limbed energy and charisma of a young Dick Van Dyke”. EW grade: B+

Honeymoon in Vegas  Tony Danza returns to the stage in this musical comedy as a shady gambler who has fallen head over heels with a woman, and Chaplin‘s Rob McClure as the young man determined not to let him take said gal from him. Did it live up to the well-liked 1992 film version with Nicolas Cage and Sarah Jessica Parker? Thom Geier certainly thought so: “director Gary Griffin’s guffaw-out-loud production, playing through Oct. 27 at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, N.J., boasts an old-school showmanship and shtick-happy comic sensibility that recall the Sin City of the Brat Pack era.” EW grade: B+

Julius Caesar  Actress Harriet Walter and director Phyllida Lloyd (Mary Stuart) reunite for a female-centric take on the murderous Bard creation set in a women’s prison (that, sadly, has no traces of Pornstache or Officer Bennett). “As with many high-concept Shakespeare productions, Lloyd can stretch her gimmick to the breaking point”, says Thom Geier, but praises the audacity of the production overall, adding that  “this is a bracing approach to a familiar story”. EW grade: B+

A Night With Janis Joplin  After the long-running Off-Broadway hit Love, Janis several years ago, the unstoppable Janis Joplin returns in theatrical form, this time on Broadway with a full-length tale in her honor, belted out by the very game Mary Bridget Davies. Senior writer Melissa Maerz praised Ms Davies saying she’s “a genuine powerhouse” but takes issue with the the lack of detail in the production. “The raw ache in Davies’ phenomenal voice suggests that Joplin didn’t go out happily…but with such a shocking lack of context about Joplin’s life, [the show] feels like Davies is fronting an amazing tribute band, not a musical.” EW grade: C

This Week on Stage: Alcide makes some new fans, 'Kinky Boots' recoups

More shows a-comin’ in what looks to be a busy fall, but it’s a summer Tony winner that’s still packing ‘em in. Kinky Boots, which scored Best Musical, Best Score (for Cyndi Lauper), and Best Actor in a Musical (Billy Porter), among other trophies, recouped its running costs in what’s been a staggering seven months for Broadway (even The Book of Mormon took longer, though Kinky has a few hundred more seats per show to sell, in all fairness). The Glass Menagerie, boasting ecstatic reviews (including ours) has extended seven extra weeks to play through February 2014, Taxi stars Danny DeVito and Judd Hirsch take on Neil Simon in L.A., and the season’s love affair with Tennessee Williams continues in New Haven this time, with resident True Blood hottie Joe Manganiello (Alcide, to HBO fans) taking on brutish, bruised Stanley Kowalski: (click on the links below to read the full reviews):

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This Week on Stage: Zachary Quinto and Cherry Jones slay critics, Walter White as LBJ

If you had anything to do with John Tiffany’s new revival of Tennessee Williams’ classic memory play The Glass Menagerie, chances are you had an extremely good week, as the production received raves by NY critics, signaling a must-see to the theaterati. (And make sure you get tickets soon, as it closes Jan. 5.) Actually, Tennessee Williams seemed to inform much of this past week; joining Menagerie is an unearthed work by William Inge that explicitly references another Williams play (they were famously pals), and look sharp for an upcoming review of True Blood star Joe Manganiello in a revival of A Streetcar Named Desire, playing up in New Haven, CT. And yes, he does appear shirtless, but don’t even think of snapping a photo of him during the show! And a little-known TV star named Bryan Cranston (you know, from that small show Breaking Bad) takes on Lyndon Johnson in a new play with designs on Broadway (click on the links below for the full reviews): 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

This Week on Stage: Tony season ends, Jenna Fischer makes her stage debut

The 2012-2013 theater season came to a close this past week with this year’s Tony Awards — up 20 percent in the TV ratings over last year — as Neil Patrick Harris proved an unstoppable host. (Seriously, you need to watch that opening number again.). In other news, the much-utilized TKTS discount booths, present in Manhattan and Brooklyn and a great assist for all those on a budget, turns 40 this month! (Click here to see the various incarnations of the booth over the past four decades.) Neil LaBute’s latest premiered (and the drama wasn’t all on stage, it seems), with The Office’s Jenna Fischer making her stage debut opposite Josh Hamilton in the author’s follow-up to his Tony-nominated 2009 play Reasons to Be Pretty. (Click on the links below for the full reviews):

3 Kinds of Exile  At age 75, playwright John Guare shows no signs of slowing down, and he even acts in his newest, a triptych centering on Eastern European émigrés in the 20th century. Is Guare still in his prime? EW’s Thom Geier says “despite some verbal stumbles, Guare proves a natural onstage performer, delivering the ultimate cocktail-party show-stopper” but that the final segment “is a kind of manic tedium that undercuts the touching portraits that come before it.” EW grade: B

Reasons to Be Happy  Neil LaBute revisits the foursome made famous in his 2009 Reasons to be Pretty, this time with a fully new cast and a new set of events. Did it make reviewer Melissa Rose Bernardo happy? She states, “Happy stands on its own, of course; so if you didn’t see Pretty, don’t worry — LaBute gives us all the necessary background. I just wish he’d given us a credible female character or two as well.” EW grade: B

Venice  Othello meets In the Heights meets dystopic terror in this new musical at the Public, starring The Visitor’s Haaz Sleiman and Next to Normal’s Jennifer Damiano. Should you rise up and buy a ticket? “What should be a taut, efficiently told story gets undone by some head-scratching stylistic and structural choices”, says Kyle Anderson, “there are a lot of inspired ideas and killer traditional music theater numbers…but you have to dig pretty deep beneath Venice‘s stylistic overkill to truly savor them. EW grade: B-

 

Read more:
EW Stage Hub
Broadway’s ‘Ann,’ starring Holland Taylor, closing early
On-the-scene at 2013 Tony Awards: Cyndi Lauper talks about big winner ‘Kinky Boots’

This Week On Stage: It's Tony weekend!

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It’s finally here — Broadway’s version of the Super Bowl — and EW’s own Melissa Rose Bernardo and Thom Geier have already firmed up who they think are going to win the big trophies at the Tonys on Sunday evening. It’s one of the most unpredictable years on record, so that, plus fourth time host Neil Patrick Harris (click here for our recent interview with Harris) and the promise of a boatload of show performances should make for one good time. (See below on how you can join us for the Tonys live).

In the land of Off Broadway, however, there are still quite a few new openings this week, including a quite-pregnant and lovely-as-ever Kelli O’Hara returning to the stage for the first time since her Tony-nommed performance in Nice Work If You Can Get It and Glee’s Jane Lynch takes on the Great White Way  for the very first time (click on the links below for the full reviews): READ FULL STORY

This Week On Stage: Sigourney and Co. extend, Billy Crystal Back to Broadway

Three weeks until the Tony Awards, and the Broadway extensions (i.e. bids for prospective votes) are in full swing. The Trip to Bountiful has announced an extension to Sept. 1, and Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike has announced it will extend several more weeks to July 28 (as star Sigourney Weaver amusingly pointed out: “the audience’s response is so enthusiastic—and, also, we need the money.”). Billy Crystal warmed the hearts of many by announcing that he will be reviving his Tony-winning solo effort 700 Sundays for a holiday run later this year. And though it’s May, there’s no slowdown for new Off-Broadway offerings, among them a comic take on the Constitution by a former SNL-er and the long-awaited return of one of last season’s most acclaimed new musicals. Click on the links below to read the full reviews: READ FULL STORY

This Week on Stage: Alec Baldwin fizzles and fumes, Christine Baranski returns to her roots

The Tony noms are out, and the closing casualties are beginning. The Constantine Maroulis/Deborah Cox-starring Jekyll & Hyde seized its final moment on Sunday, and the nommed, Alec Baldwin-led play Orphans will close on May 19 after mere weeks on the boards. (A displeased Mr. Baldwin had something to say about that this week).

But there’s still plenty of product vying for your bucks, including a slew of new Off-Broadway productions this week, from topics ranging from classical ballet to avant-garde romance to Walt Disney. Plus, The Good Wife’s Christine Baranski and a group of spirited hoofers revive On Your Toes (where you can get a rare chance to see the dance benchmark “Slaughter on Tenth Avenue” in its full glory). Click on the links below to read the full reviews: READ FULL STORY

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