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Tag: This Week on Stage (41-50 of 172)

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

This Week on Stage: An actor breaks a leg, old Jews tell jokes, and a 'Cock' fight wows Off Broadway

That old actor’s adage “Break a leg” is not supposed to be taken literally. But that message apparently didn’t make it to Michael McKean, the Laverne & Shirley and This is Spinal Tap alum now starring in the hit Broadway revival Gore Vidal’s The Best Man. The actor was hospitalized Tuesday with a broken leg after being struck by a car in New York City; James Lecesne will be playing his role as a presidential campaign manager for the foreseeable future.

Otherwise, it was relatively quiet on the theater scene, though L.A.’s Geffen Playhouse announced that Brooke Shields and Richard Chamberlain would be starring in its world premiere (non-musical) stage adaptation of The Exorcist, which opens July 11. The week’s big openings all happened Off Broadway. Here’s what EW’s critics thought:

Cock Adam Markovitz found this London transfer (pictured above), about a man in a charged love triangle with a longtime boyfriend and a woman he just met, to be “a lean and sharp piece of theater.” EW grade: B+ READ FULL STORY

This Week on Stage: Topher Grace and Jonathan Pryce open in Off Broadway shows

More casualties on Broadway this week as the musicals Leap of Faith and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying both posted closing notices; the former is a reported $14 million flop, while the latter is a giant hit that simply ran out of steam after the departure of its original star, Daniel Radcliffe. (While Radcliffe’s replacement Nick Jonas initially drew smaller but steady crowds after arriving in January, the show has struggled at the box office in recent weeks.)

Looking forward, Tony-nominated musical hits Once and Nice Work If You Can Get It both set national tours — and producers announced plans for three shows bound for the Great White Way: a biomusical of Charlie Chaplin due in September, a stage version of Coal Miner’s Daughter starring Zooey Deschanel, and a new Nora Ephron play, Lucky Guy, starring Oscar winner Tom Hanks (in his Broadway debut!) as the late New York Post columnist Mike McAlary. Plus, there was a fresh batch of new openings Off Broadway (and way, way Off Broadway, in Los Angeles):

Lonely, I’m Not Stephan Lee found that filmmaker Paul Weitz’s new play, starring stage newbies Topher Grace and Olivia Thirlby (pictured above) as yuppie bankers with issues, “has all the makings of a charming but middling indie flick…and succeeds primarily because it lives up to its modest ambitions.” EW grade: B+

The Caretaker According to critic Lisa Schwarzbaum, veteran British actor Jonathan Pryce is “loose-limbed and rubber-faced” as a straggly-bearded old man at the center of Harold Pinter’s enigmatic play, running through June 17 at BAM Harvey Theatre. EW grade: B+

Man and Superman Despite a “particularly fine” performance by Max Gordon Moore as the foppish hero, I found that the Off Broadway revival of George Bernard Shaw’s 1903 play “occasionally lapses into a period comedy of mannerisms.” EW grade: B

Follies After an acclaimed run on Broadway last fall, director Eric Schaeffer’s revival of Steven Sondheim’s flawed 1971 musical about aging showgirls lands in Los Angeles with most of its Tony-nominated cast intact (though Victoria Clark steps in for Bernadette Peters in one of the two female leads). According to Laura Hertzfeld, it’s “a pitch-perfect production of an imperfect show.” EW grade: B+

Read more:
EW’s Stage Coverage
‘Big Bang Theory’ star Jim Parsons talks hitting the stage for ‘Harvey’
‘Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark’ to offer free tickets to people named Tony on Tony Awards Sunday
Topher Grace talks Off Broadway debut in new Paul Weitz play ‘Lonely, I’m Not’


This Week on Stage: Tony nomination fallout, plus Bebe Neuwirth and Christina Ricci romp with the Bard

The theater world was fixated this week on Tuesday’s announcement of the Tony nominations, which should prove a box office boon for much-nominated shows like Once, Newsies, and Peter and the Starcatcher. Of course, the noms also prompted the same-day closing notice of two shows completely overlooked for awards consideration: Magic/Bird and the Teresa Rebeck comedy Seminar. (And vultures are circling other shows, like the new musical Leap of Faith, that received only a smattering of Tony love.)

Looking ahead to next season (and who isn’t?), producers announced a Nov. 18 premiere of Rebecca, a new musical based on the Daphne du Maurier novel that had been expected to open this spring. (It’ll be going in the Broadhurst Theatre, where another production all but snubbed by the Tonys — A Streetcar Named Desire — is expect to end its limited run in July.) And former Third Watch star and two-time Tony nominee Bobby Cannavale will return to Broadway next spring in a Roundabout Theatre Company revival of Clifford Odets’ 1949 Hollywood-set drama The Big Knife. Meanwhile, Off Broadway saw the opening of three new productions; here’s our take on them:

A Midsummer Night’s Dream Despite the presence of “impossibly lithe” Bebe Neuwirth (pictured above), EW senior writer Adam Markovitz was disappointed by this often gonzo version of the Shakespearean comedy, “a haphazard mix of alternate readings that jumps at any chance to superficially tweak the bard’s tale.” EW grade: C+
Fat Camp: A New Musical
Keith Staskiewicz had a mixed reaction to the “slight” new musical about teens at a summer weight-loss program. “A couple of ’80s-style summer-camp montages are especially enjoyable,” he writes, “but the story gets a little lost in all the hands-waving.” EW grade: B
An Early History of Fire Streamers playwright David Rabe’s first new play in more than a decade is a coming-of-age drama set in the Midwest in 1962. But Stephan Lee reports that it “delivers none of the heat and all of the tedium suggested in the title.” EW grade: C+

Read more:
EW’s Stage Coverage
Director Stuart Gordon talks about ‘Re-Animator: The Musical’
Tony Award noms: Snubs/surprises
Tony Awards: ‘Once’ scores 11 noms

This Week on Stage: Broadway season wraps up with 'Ghost,' 'Leap of Faith,' and Matthew Broderick singing Gershwin

There was a mad crush of premieres this week on Broadway — seven in all, vying to open just under the eligibility wire for this June’s Tony Awards. (Nominations will be announced Tuesday, May 1.) It’s been a surprisingly deep year in each of the four major categories (play, play revival, musical, musical revival).

A Streetcar Named Desire Despite the occasional jarring moments in director Emily Mann’s revival of Tennessee Williams’ drama — which features TV stars Blair Underwood (The Event) as Stanley and Nicole Ari Parker (Soul Food) as Blanche DuBois — EW critic Lisa Schwarzbaum found the production “still reaches its destination as a mid-century classic of American theater.” EW grade: B+
Ghost I was disappointed by the musical version of the 1990 Oscar winner, which features a new score by the Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart and veteran hitmaker Glen Ballard (as well as “Unchained Melody”). The chief draws are the high-tech set and magic effects that let the hero walk through walls. “Like Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark, the musical version of Ghost haunts the eye, not the ear.” EW grade: C READ FULL STORY

'Bring It On: The Musical': Stream musical number 'It's All Happening' here -- EXCLUSIVE

When Bring It On: The Musical made its debut at Los Angeles’ Ahmanson Theatre last November, I reviewed it for EW and wrote about how important the music was to creating the show’s “ADHD vibe.” And up until now, you could only sample that delightful musical flavor if you caught the show on its 13-city tour — there are two stops left through early June — but producers have finally decided to release refined recordings of three of the jazzy show’s songs. EW has an exclusive stream of one of the show’s biggest, most soaring production numbers, “It’s All Happening.”

The recording — which you can stream below — finds hip-hop crew captain Danielle (Adrienne Warren) rallying the troops at Jackson High School to join the cheerleading squad she’s launching, at the urging of blonde cheer princess and new Jackson student Campbell (Taylor Louderman). (Warren and Louderman are pictured here.) Also included in the number are the characters Nautica (Ariana Debose) and drag queen La Cienega (Gregory Haney), with Twig (Nicolas Womack) and Cameron (Dominique Johnson) lending their rapping skills and the rest of the company on backup. This number — as well as “Trip” and “Ain’t No Thing” — will be available for purchase tomorrow, April 24, on iTunes.

All the songs from Bring it On: The Musical are by Tom Kitt (Next to Normal) and Lin-Manuel Miranda (In the Heights), with lyrics by Miranda and Amanda Greene (High Fidelity) and musical supervision by Alex Lacamoire (Wicked).

Enjoy “It’s All Happening” in all its Bring It On glory here, exclusively on EW.com:

READ FULL STORY

This Week on Stage: 'Magic/Bird' in New York, Baryshnikov 'In Paris'

 The Lion King roared into first place among the Main Stem’s biggest earners this week when it surpassed Phantom of the Opera as the highest grossing Broadway show of all time. Otherwise, it was a quiet seven days in the stage world, with the announcement that Jim Parsons and Kristen Chenoweth would name this year’s Tony nominees creating the most buzz.

In L.A., online news editor Laura Hertzfeld saw Mikhail Baryshnikov perform in his native tongue for the first time in the Russian and French In Paris. She calls the play, about a World War I general and his lover, “well-paced and quietly beautiful,” giving it an A.

Also on the West Coast, writer Tanner Stransky watched Jane Kaczmarek live the hardscrabble life of a fortysomething high school dropout in David Lindsay-Abaire’s Good People. The “shining star” of the A-grade drama, “nails the blue-collar accent, the dramatic (and comedic) timing, and the rode-hard-put-away-wet look of her South Boston character.”

Senior writer Chris Nashawaty was not as impressed with the Broadway debut of Eric Simonson’s Magic/Bird, which he calls “thin” and “primarily concerned with dramatizing the inner lives of these men, which may have been the least exciting thing about them.” He gives the show a C+.

For more stage news and reviews, check EW’s stage hub.

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