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
Tag: This Week on Stage (31-40 of 181)
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
Here they are, the last gasp of shows for the 2012-2013 theater season as we approach T-Day (Tony Nomination Day on April 30). And on that note, some notable rulings have been announced: the four young tykes taking on the title role in Matilda will not be competing jointly for Best Actress in a Musical (they will instead receive a special “Tony Honor For Excellence”). And poor Kristine Nielsen (Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike) and all the men in Orphans have been added to the crowded slate of competitors for Leading Actor/Actress, which means about eight Tony-worthy performers will be vying for five spaces in each, already dubbing this year as Sophie’s Choices. Read the full eligibility details here.
This edition features return Broadway favorites like Pippin and The Trip to Bountiful and a particularly solo-show heavy week, with Bette Midler, Fiona Shaw and Brief Encounter’s Tristan Sturrock all holding court (and even Alan Cumming’s take on the Scottish Play falls into the pseudo category). And David Byrne and Fatboy Slim are getting their groove on downtown too. (Click on the links below to read the full reviews):
Here Lies Love On your feet, disco lovers! No, really. This new David Byrne-Fatboy Slim musical is a literal stand-up experience — wear comfortable shoes! — using the space inside the Public Theater as a full-on dance floor to tell a mirrorballed tale of controversial Philippines strongman Ferdinand Marcos and his wife, Imelda. Kyle Anderson declares the odd hybrid a smashing success: The show’s narrative center is so strong and its infectious melodic spirit so complete that it could easily work in a traditional theater setting (or in the round, on a street corner, or in your living room). The fact that you can sweat right along with the incredible cast is a happy-footed bonus.” EW grade: A READ FULL STORY
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
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
The Broadway theater season is heading for the home stretch, with more than a dozen shows slated to open before the late-April deadline for this year’s Tony Awards. This week, the curtain officially rose on two adaptations of big-screen dramas (click on the links below to read our full reviews):
Breakfast at Tiffany’s Emilia Clarke, the Khaleesi from HBO’s Game of Thrones, could have used some dragons in Richard Greenberg’s stage adaptation of the familiar tale, which I dub “a meandering misfire lacking the charm and oomph of either Capote’s 1958 novella or the 1961 movie.” While it’s hard to live up to the legacy of Audrey Hepburn’s signature role, “it’s telling that the supporting player who makes the strongest impression is Vito Vincent, who plays Holly’s adoptive feline companion, Cat.” EW grade: C–
Hands on a Hardbody This new musical, featuring a score by Phish frontman Trey Anastasio with Amanda Green, is based on an unlikely source: a 1997 documentary about people in Texas trying to win a Nissan truck by being the last person to keep their hand on it. But, as Clark Collis writes, “the pair’s excursions into country, blues, and a clutch of other genres rarely rise above the generic.” EW grade: B–
Follow Thom on Twitter: @ThomGeier
Phish frontman Trey Anastasio on his new Broadway show ‘Hands on a Hardbody’ — EXCLUSIVE VIDEO
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Listen to a song from new ‘Big Fish’ musical — EXCLUSIVE
EW Stage Hub
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).
Cinderella: The 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
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
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 Ross, Golden Boy, and Peter and the Starcatcher — though 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
The issue of Entertainment Weekly currently on stands features 2012 Best and Worst of the year — everything 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.
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