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Tag: This Week on Stage (31-40 of 175)

This Week on Stage: 'Cinderella' and Holland Taylor seek a perfect fit on Broadway

It was a busy week on and off Broadway. Disney’s Mary Poppins played its final (2,619th!) performance on Sunday. Elizabeth Olsen announced she’ll play Juliet in the Classic Stage Company’s Off Broadway revival of Romeo and Juliet this fall. And Shia LaBeouf, who abruptly exited an upcoming Broadway production of Orphans, resumed his bizarro Twitter feud with former costar Alec Baldwin after the 30 Rock star told Vulture that LaBeouf is in no “position to be giving interpretations of what the theater is and what the theater isn’t.” Meow. Here’s a roundup of some of the biggest openings of the past week, both on the Great White Way and beyond (click links for our full reviews).

CinderellaThe Rodgers & Hammerstein musical features a mostly “so-so” score and a heroine played by Laura Osnes (pictured above with Santino Fontana) as “likable but devoid of edge,” writes Jessica Shaw. The show’s biggest plus: “how-the-heck-do-they-do-that visual tricks that transform Cinderella from rags into red-carpet-ready riches before our eyes.” EW grade: B

Ann: Two and a Half Men star Holland Taylor undergoes a remarkable head-to-toe transformation in her one-woman show about the late Texas pol Ann Richards. “She may be a workmanlike playwright,” I conclude, “but as a performer she commands the stage with authority as big as Texas itself.” EW grade: B+ READ FULL STORY

This Week on Stage: Jesse Eisenberg and Edie Falco open Off Broadway

In a rare treat for Off Broadway audiences, the incomparable Vanessa Redgrave is playing a Polish septuagenarian opposite Jesse Eisenberg in Eisenberg’s own play The Revisionist. I can’t imagine the last time the Oscar- and Tony-award-winning actress has played in a venue as small as the 179-seat Cherry Lane Theatre. But The Revisionist isn’t the only starry premiere on the boards this week; here’s a roundup of notable openings (click links for the full review).

The Revisionist Vanessa Redgrave displays “a well-wrought accent and hard-earned professional brio” in Jesse Eisenberg’s new drama about a young American writer visiting a distant Polish cousin, I write. But Eisenberg, who also stars, “ends his play far too abruptly, with a surprise decision that feels forced and implausible.” EW grade: B

The Madrid Edie Falco, as a kindergarten teacher who abandons her job as well as her family without so much as a note of explanation, “instantly elevates what could be just another wayward-character drama into something that feels moored in a great performance,” writes Tanner Stransky. EW grade: B– READ FULL STORY

This Week on Stage: Scarlett Johansson opens on Broadway in 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof'

Stars continue to reign on the Great White Way. The latest returnee is Tony-winner Scarlett Johansson in a new revival of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof that’s generated a lot of ink for the liberties that the production almost took with Tennessee Williams’ classic. Meanwhile, producers announced an October opening for a musical based on the 2003 Tim Burton movie Big Fish. And the final curtain will fall this weekend on three (more) Broadway productions: Glengarry Glen RossGolden Boy, and Peter and the Starcatcherthough Peter will move to Off Broadway’s New World Stages this spring. Here’s a roundup of four big new arrivals from the last week (click the links to read our full reviews).

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof  Scarlett Johansson brings a “fierce fighting spirit” to Maggie the Cat in director Rob Ashford’s “languorous” revival of the Tennessee Williams classic, I write. “Like Brick, who gulps liquor until he hears ‘that little click in my head that makes me peaceful,’ this production tosses back many an intoxicating individual moment without ever quite clicking.” EW grade: B

Picnic  William Inge’s 1953 drama about a handsome drifter (Captain America‘s Sebastian Stan) who woos a small-town gal (Taken‘s Maggie Grace) gets a “swell” revival, writes Adam Markovitz. “It’s simply trying — and occasionally managing — to recapture the thrill of molten hormones, the heat of an endless summer day, and the dizzying rush of a first love that could happen anywhere, anytime.” EW grade: B+

Water by the Spoonful  Keith Staskiewicz had high praise for Quiara Alegría Hudes’ “humane and lively” new play, which won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and follows three members of a Puerto Rican family seeking to make connections (both online and in person). EW grade: A–

The Other Place  Laurie Metcalf, the Steppenwolf veteran best known for her Emmy-winning run on Roseanne, gives a “mesmerizing” performance as a medical researcher who becomes convinced she has a brain tumor. In Sharr White’s new drama, I write, the actress “radiates a brusque intelligence and mordant wit with occasional flashes of raw and childlike vulnerability.” EW grade: A–

Follow Thom on Twitter: @ThomGeier

Read more:
Broadway star Brandon Victor Dixon talks portraying Motown founder Barry Gordy
‘Big Fish’ musical swimming to Broadway this fall
EW’s Stage hub

Another Great Performance of 2012: Ari Graynor in Broadway's 'The Performers'

The issue of Entertainment Weekly currently on stands features 2012 Best and Worst of the yeareverything from our favorite movies and TV shows to best albums and books. Also featured within those pages are our Great Performances of the year, lauding stunning outings from the likes of Jessica Lange in American Horror Story: Asylum to Sally Field in Lincoln. But there’s one Great Performance from 2012 that we weren’t able to fit in the pages of the magazine — that of Ari Graynor in this year’s beguilingly funny Broadway play, The Performers, which sadly only lasted about a month on the Great White Way.

Regardless of the show’s short life, Graynor — an EW favorite from way back in 2008′s Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist — brought the laughs to the short, funny send-up of the porn industry. Her mile-a-minute porn star character Peeps — who, we’ll add, was pregnant — kept the laughs flowing amid a cast of other stars that included Henry Winkler, Cheyenne Jackson, and Alicia Silverstone. To honor her great performance in The Performers, EW recently caught up with Graynor to discuss how she nabbed the role, how she made it her own, and how — just how! — the show could have been pulled from Broadway so soon. Read on for a taste of Graynor’s charm.

So how did it come about that you got cast in The Performers on Broadway?
My involvement started a year ago. I did a reading of it while I was doing Relatively Speaking on Broadway last season, which was the Woody Allen play. I just immediately fell in love with [my character] Peeps. She is — of all of the fantastic, lovable people and characters I have played — my favorite. She was so special on the page and, through the work of the play, became even more. She just became an avenue for my soul. She was so fun and she was so vulnerable and openhearted and present and without a filter, and I just thought the comedy in the play was so hilarious, and especially with Peeps and [Cheyenne Jackson's character] Mandrew. It’s the best kind of comedy, where it comes from the highest emotional states possible. You’re saying really ridiculous things, but their emotional truths are deep and dark and as intense as any drama. That’s what allows it to be so fun and funny. The timing of it ended up working out really great.

READ FULL STORY

This Week on Stage: Porn stars, Dickens, and Kathie Lee Gifford invade Broadway

It was one busy week on the New York stage, with three Broadway openings and one rare day-after-premiere closing: No sooner did the producers of the starry porn-world comedy The Performers study the show’s mixed reviews than they decided to call it quits. (Guess they thought they’d lost their money shot.) Over at the Encores! series at New York City Center, Glee star Amber Riley jazzed up the Broadway-ready revue Cotton Club Parade. And Off Broadway saw at least a half dozen major new productions featuring stars like Ethan Hawke, Sigourney Weaver, David Hyde Pierce, and Boardwalk Empire‘s Gretchen Mol. READ FULL STORY

This Week on Stage: 'Annie' returns to Broadway

Two Sandys dominated the New York theater scene this week. One was the canine star of the beloved musical Annie, which opened Thursday night to generally mixed reviews (despite a near rave from EW’s Jessica Shaw). The other was the hurricane that disrupted numerous productions last week. The storm even became the unlikely scapegoat for the producers of the Al Pacino-led revival of Glengarry Glen Ross, which pushed back its opening date from Nov. 11 to Dec. 8 despite being in previews since Oct. 9 and canceling only a handful of performances due to Sandy. Here’s our take on recent openings:

Annie The rags-to-riches 1977 musical makes a welcome return to Broadway in a new production starring 11-year-old Lilla Crawford (pictured above, with rescue dog Sunny as Sandy). According to EW’s Jessica Shaw, “This Annie is a love letter to both the city and a musical that’s endured for 35 years.” EW grade: A–

Sorry Like his last two plays, Richard Nelson’s deliberately timely new Off Broadway drama opened on the day on which it’s set: In this case, Election Day 2012. As Melissa Rose Bernardo writes, “The lightning-in-a-bottle nature of the works — particularly Sorry, with its references to Hurricane Sandy and even the approaching nor’easter — imbues them with a thrilling immediacy.” EW grade: A–

Bad Jews Off Broadway regular Tracee Chimoo is “terrific,” Lisa Schwarzbaum writes, in up-and-coming playwright Joshua Harmon’s “lively little comedy of hostility and intrafamily kvetching.” EW grade: B

The Heiress I had nothing but praise for “s crisp, first-rate production,” starring about a wealthy 19th-century physician (David Strathairn) whose plain-Jane daughter (Jessica Chastain) is suddenly wooed by a penniless charmer played by Downton Abbey‘s Dan Stevens. EW grade: A

Follow Thom on Twitter: @ThomGeier

Read more:
Diane Warren’s melodies head to Broadway
Poor Lady Edith: Outburst interrupts ‘Downton’ star’s play
EW’s Stage Hub

This Week on Stage: A new 'Cyrano,' Tom Hanks, and a 'Game of Thrones' Khaleesi

Winter is coming to Broadway. And so is Emilia Clarke, the Khaleesi from HBO’s Game of Thrones, who will play Holly Golightly in a new adaptation of Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Richard Greenberg (Take Me Out), opening this spring.

In addition, Tom Hanks confirmed that he’ll make his long-overdue Broadway debut this season as the late tabloid columnist Mike McAlary in Lucky Guy, a new play by Nora Ephron (who died of leukemia in June).

Also booked for the Great White Way this spring: Eric Coble’s new comedy The Velocity of Autumn, starring Estelle Parsons as an 80-year-old who locks herself into her Brooklyn brownstone with a pile of Molotov cocktails to resist her family’s attempt to move her into a nursing home. (The 84-year-old actress, now appearing in the musical Nice Work If You Can Get Is, has been a firecracker on stage for years — I can’t wait to see her armed with the real thing.)

Of course, the biggest star heading to the stage may be a certain classic primate with sights on Melbourne’s Regent Theatre in June: This week, producers announced plans for a very large-scale King Kong musical, with a book by Craig Lucas (Light in the Piazza) and a rock score featuring tunes from Sarah McLachlan, Justice, Massive Attack’s Robert del Naja, and the Avalanches’ Guy Garvey. After the jump, check out EW’s take on the week’s biggest new openings in New York and Los Angeles. READ FULL STORY

Australian 'King Kong' musical will roar to the stage in 2013

“Seasons of Ape-Human Love”? “Seventy-Six Fighter Planes”? “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going (to Climb Down the Empire State Building)”? These made-up songs will not appear in a new musical based on the classic 1933 film King Kong — but the show itself is very much real. According to a press release, Kong is set to premiere in June 2013 at Melbourne’s Regent Theatre.

The musical’s book was written by Tony Award nominee Craig Lucas, who also penned the script for The Light in the Piazza. Its score is studded with both refurbished Depression-era tunes and original material by contemporary artists including Sarah McLachlan, Justice, Massive Attack’s Robert del Naja, and The Avalanches’ Guy Garvey. Producer Marius deVries will oversee Kong‘s music; he’s being credited as the show’s “composer and arranger.”

READ FULL STORY

This Week on Stage: Paul Rudd and Michael Shannon in 'Grace'

The theater season has just begun, but it’s already claimed its first Broadway casualty. Producers scuttled plans for a musical version of the Daphne du Maurier novel Rebecca, which was to open this fall, but failed to secure all of its $12 million budget amid reports of phantom investors, sabotage, and fateful producer inexperience. Not all of the drama was backstage, however, with several high-profile productions making their debuts with (mostly) mixed critical response:

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This Week on Stage: Amy Adams in 'Into the Woods,' Mike Tyson chomps into Broadway

Despite reports that the first few preview performances of Into the Woods in Central Park were far from happily ever after, the Stephen Sondheim revival opened this week to generally mixed reviews (including a rave from EW’s Lisa Schwarzbaum for stars Amy Adams and Donna Murphy). It’s not the only fairytale story in the theater world this week: The musical version of the Will Ferrell movie Elf will return to Broadway after a one-year hiatus, and producers announced plans to bring Rodger and Hammerstein’s Cinderella (which the famed songwriting team wrote for television in 1957) to Broadway this spring. Tony-nominated Grease and Bonnie & Clyde star Laura Osnes will star as the glass-slippered heroine in a new production with an updated book by Douglas Carter Beane (The Little Dog Laughed).

Broadway also found an unlikely new star in the form of a boxer whom even caustic New York Post theater columnist Michael Riedel might not want to mess with. In its first week on Broadway, Mike Tyson’s one-man show Undisputed Truth earned nearly $625,000, an impressive 78 percent of the potential gross at the Longacre Theatre. (It even outgrossed long-running hits like Chicago, War Horse, and Rock of Ages.) Personally, I can’t wait for him to return to the stage. Perhaps the Public could build a revival of Julius Caesar around him. “Friends, Romans, Holyfields, lend me your ears…” READ FULL STORY

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