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Tag: This Week on Stage (41-50 of 178)

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.”

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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

This Week on Stage: 'Bring It On' waves its spirit stick on Broadway

A high-flying, basket-tossing new musical based on the 2000 teen cheerleader comedy Bring It On took an unusual (backward-somersaulting) path to its Broadway opening this week. Instead of launching a national tour after a splashy New York run, the energetic tuner (which is only loosely based on the Kirsten Dunst film, plot-wise) played in 13 cities starting last November before bowing on the Great White Way. In my B+ review, I noted the youthful cast and a score, by Tom Kitt (Next to Normal) and Lin-Manuel Miranda (In the Heights), with lyrics by Miranda and Amanda Green (High Fidelity), that actually “sounds like it was composed in this century.”

Also on Broadway, it’s the final curtain this weekend for three shows: Fela!, a short-run musical revival that has been doing anemic box office; Harvey, the comedy revival ending its limited summer run so star Jim Parsons can return to L.A. to shoot The Big Bang Theory; and Memphis, the 2010 Tony-winning musical that is expected to recoup its $12 million investment this weekend after 30 previews and 1,166 performances over the course of nearly three years. (At that rate, imagine how long it might take Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark to break even.) READ FULL STORY

'The Producers' plays the Hollywood Bowl: An on-the-scene report

Mel Brooks’ The Producers is typically a thoroughly New York affair, due to the fact that it’s a slapsticky, backstage musical about a pair of corrupt Broadway producers determined to make the biggest flop in the history of the Great White Way. But last night’s production of the musical at the Hollywood Bowl came off — as you might expect, in such a thoroughly historic Los Angeles location — as a very Tinseltown take on the show.

And it wasn’t only because Hollywood stars like Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Dane Cook, and Rebecca Romijn were starring in the show, but rather because of the scene happening in the crowd as the sun set. Under the stars, tons of other stars were out and about. Brooks himself (looking spry at 86 years old!) ambled in with a security guard just minutes before the show started. The legend was followed by Eric Stonestreet, who plays Ferguson’s on-screen partner on Modern Family. Minutes later, Romijn’s husband Jerry O’Connell could be seen finding his seat in the amphitheater, which can hold about 17,000 folks when full. Who knows what other Hollywood stars or legends were in the crowd, but there were likely dozens of other bold-faced names there.

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This Week on Stage: Dragons, Alan Cumming's one-man 'Macbeth,' and 'The Exorcist' in L.A.

There are few new shows opening on Broadway this summer, which means that the action shifts to other locales. For instance: the Nevada desert, where EW’s Annie Barrett reported on Dancing With the Stars: Live in Las Vegas, a fringe- and sequin-filled spectacle hosted by a gawping and handsy Carson Cressley. Among the week’s other big debuts:

The Exorcist A new (non-musical) stage version of the horror classic, adapted by John Pielmeier (Agnes of God) and directed by John Doyle, premiered at L.A.’s Geffen Playhouse. The heavyweight cast includes Richard Chamberlain as head exorcist Father Merrin and Brooke Shields as the mother of a girl possessed by a malevolent force (pictured above). But EW’s Josh Rottenberg writes: “This stripped-down, cerebral take on the story of a demonically possessed young girl is more interested in stimulating ruminations about the nature of evil and the meaning of faith than inducing anyone to scream, faint, or fumble for a barf bag.” EW grade: C
How to Train Your Dragon Stage Spectacular DreamWorks Animation’s 2010 cartoon hit about a young Viking named Hiccup and the dragons his clan seeks to vanquish has begun a six-month, multi-city tour in arenas across North America. Jeff Labrecque was impressed by the stagecraft, particularly the 3,200-pound animatronic dragons. Still, he writes, “Cirque du Soleil fans might appreciate all the bells and whistles — break dancing, shadow puppetry, loud blasts of controlled fire — but some scenes feel like a limp parody of a Scandinavia-set Winter Olympics opening ceremony.” EW grade: B
Macbeth Tony-winning Scottish actor Alan Cumming (The GoodWife) takes a daring approach to Shakespeare’s tragedy, playing a patient in an asylum who acts out all the parts in the play — from prissy King Duncan to seductive Lady Macbeth to the three witches — in a production at NYC’s Lincoln Center Festival. “Unless you already know who’s who, you might find yourself checking out during this high-concept presentation,” warns Melissa Rose Bernardo, though she offers high praise for Cumming’s “ambidextrous” performance. EW grade: B+

Related:
Broadway box office report: Without Ricky Martin, do cry for ‘Evita’
Sigourney Weaver, David Hyde Pierce will return to the stage this fall
EW’s Stage Hub

Alec Baldwin returning to Broadway in 'Orphans'

Alec Baldwin has already lined up his first post-30 Rock gig: The actor will star in the Broadway debut of Orphans, directed by Daniel Sullivan and produced by Frederick Zollo and Robert Cole.

“I have dreamed, for a long time, of doing this play with this director,” Baldwin said in a statement that was put out with the announcement. “It’s an honor to work with Dan Sullivan in Lyle Kessler’s Orphans.”

The play features three characters. At the center of it all are two orphaned brothers who live in a run-down row house in North Philadelphia. There’s Treat, the eldest, who supports his damaged younger brother Phillip by stealing. The house turns into a prison for Phillip, who appears to be simple-minded. On one particular occasion, Treat kidnaps a rich, older man, Harold — this is the role Baldwin has been cast in — who, as it’s revealed, has his own motives and becomes a father figure for the boys. The roles of Treat and Phillip have not yet been cast.

An exact location for the play has yet to be set, but Orphans will be staged at one of the Shubert theaters in New York City. Orphans first premiered in 1983 at The Matrix Theatre in Los Angeles, before heading off for a Steppenwolfe Theatre engagement in Chicago in 1985 and a successful runs in off-Broadway in New York and in London. A film version was made in 1987.

Baldwin’s last hit the New York stage in 2006, when he starred in the Roundabout Theatre Company’s Off Broadway production of Joe Orton’s Entertaining Mr. Sloane. More recently, he appeared on stage in the 2010 Guild Hall production of Peter Shaffer’s Equus, directed by Tony Walton, in East Hampton, N.Y.

The upcoming seventh season of 30 Rock will be the NBC comedy’s last and, although Baldwin has a tradition of wavering before returning for each season, he will appear in the series’ final 13 episodes, including a one-hour season finale. 30 Rock will likely wrap its shooting for the season before Orphans debuts.

Tanner on Twitter: @EWTanStransky

Read more:
Alec Baldwin says he’s staying on ’30 Rock’…and that the show is ending next season
NBC Chief: ’30 Rock’ WILL end next season
Alec Baldwin renews ’30 Rock’ deal

This Week on Stage: 'Godspell,' 'Priscilla' depart

It’s closing time for a host of Broadway favorites, some of which had long planned their exits and others of which will reluctantly face the music (well, not anymore). Venus in Fur, Other Desert Cities and Don’t Dress for Dinner welcomed their closings this past Sunday (June 17), while Priscilla Queen of the DesertGodspell and Million Dollar Quartet will depart their theatres on Sunday, June 24. Barring business improvement, Jesus Christ Superstar will stop rocking on July 1 (alongside Linda Lavin’s The Lyons), while producers of Sister Act announced that Raven-Symoné and her cadre of nuns will finally hang up their habits on August 26.

But you know what they say: when the ghost of Ethel Merman closes a dud, she opens a winner (or something like that). New casts are forming for the upcoming Broadway season, which will include another revival of Glengarry Glen Ross starring Al Pacino and Bobby Canavale; The Other Place, a medical-marital drama led by Laurie Metcalf; and, though it only plays for six days this summer, Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth, the one-man show from boxing’s most infamous individual.

Unless you’re too busy tapping your high heels to our exclusive first listen from Cyndi Lauper’s upcoming musical Kinky Boots, take a hot second to peruse this week’s offering of Off Broadway reviews: READ FULL STORY

This Week on Stage: Jim Parsons returns to Broadway in 'Harvey'

Tony Award voters may have been falling slowly for the musical Once, which won eight prizes (including Best Musical), but theater fans at home weren’t quite as enthused. Despite the efforts of Neil Patrick Harris and special award winner Hugh Jackman, the CBS telecast posted its worst ratings ever. In the days that followed, a bunch of Broadway shows announced plans to close: Anything Goes (Aug. 5), Godspell (June 24), The Lyons (July 1), and A Streetcar Named Desire (July 22). Three other new productions — Don’t Dress for Dinner, Other Desert Cities (featuring Tony winner Judith Light), and Venus in Fur (starring Tony winner Nina Arianda) — will have their final curtain calls this Sunday. Even so, this week saw the opening of three major new productions. Here’s our take:

Harvey Jim Parson (above with Carol Kane) is “perfectly suited” to the role Jimmy Stewart made famous in the 1950 film about a seemingly ordinary guy whose constant companion is a six-foot-three-inch rabbit named Harvey that no one else can see. While the star of The Big Bang Theory “commands the stage in a surprisingly offhanded way,” I write that the overall production of the revival is “oddly sluggish” and “lurches from scene to scene when it should be bunny-hopping briskly along.” EW grade: B–

Rapture, Blister, Burn “There’s nothing more enjoyable than watching super-smart characters make exceedingly dumb decisions,” writes Melissa Rose Bernardo of Gina Gionfriddo’s “fascinating new drama” starring Amy Brenneman as a middle-aged academic who’s single, unmarried, and unhappy. EW grade: A–

Storefront Church Despite fine performances by a cast that includes Giancarlo Esposito, Bob Dishy, and Tonya Pinkins, writer-director John Patrick Shanley’s “hamfisted” new play about a church vs. state conflict never quite jells in the way that his earlier Pulitzer winner Doubt did. “The characters feel like proxies rather than flesh-and-blood humans, and the situations in which Shanley places them too often strain credulity,” I write. EW grade: C+

Read more:
Al Pacino back to Broadway in ‘Glengarry Glen Ross’
Six things we love about Tony winner Steve Kazee
‘Peter and the Starcatcher’ gets box office bump even before Tony wins
Tony Awards 2012: 10 Moments We Loved

This Week on Stage: We've got Tony on our minds!

Are you ready for the Tonys?! With Broadway’s most important night only a day away, we’ve got Tony on the brain. The competition at the Neil Patrick Harris-hosted ceremony is fierce, but EW has a mighty useful guide to help you get up to speed on this year’s nominees for Best Play, Best Musical, Best Revival of a Play and Best Revival of a Musical. Our stage critics Thom Geier and Melissa Rose Bernardo offered their predictions for the winners, but as we know, anything can happen at the Tonys. Be sure to join Thom and editor Laura Hertzfeld as they live-blog the event on EW.com starting at 8 p.m. EST, while Melissa and I bring you coverage from the red carpet and inside the Beacon Theatre!

Earlier this week, EW lounged with Liza Minnelli, chatted up last year’s Tony winner Nikki M. James, and went backstage at The Book of Mormon‘s second annual Fan Day (which also marked star Josh Gad’s last show). We also brought you the news about Broadway’s billion-dollar boom, Julie Taymor’s courtroom drama, and Hugh Jackman’s prodigal return to the Tonys. And we triple-dog-dare you not to get excited that a musical version of A Christmas Story is headed to Broadway later this year. As for this week’s new openings, they all happened Off Broadway: READ FULL STORY

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