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Tag: This Week on Stage (61-70 of 178)

This Week on Stage: Julie Taymor vs. Bono, a capella in New York

Julie Taymor’s back, she’s saved her emails, and she’s not afraid to use them. News broke this week that the fired Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark director filed new documents—which include private emails and recorded conversations—in her $1 million lawsuit against the show’s producers. Let’s just say the papers don’t portray Spider-Man’s composers Bono and the Edge as Broadway’s best collaborators.

Meanwhile, out in Los Angeles, half the town was holding a court of their own at the star-studded (think George Clooney and Brad Pitt) reading of Dustin Lance Black’s 8, which chronicles the federal trial over same-sex marriage in California. And in non-law-related theater news, Universal Pictures Stage Productions announced that they were adapting the cult film Animal House for the Main Stem. (Doubters, before you say “ugh,” remember that the Greeks did invent drama.)

Our writers also reviewed five new off-Broadway shows. Writer Stephan Lee awarded Nina Raine’s Tribes an A- for the “incisive writing and superb acting” in the family drama about a deaf man’s struggle to discover himself among his hearing relatives. “There isn’t a weak performance in the bunch,” he said about the cast.

The off-Broadway revival of Edward Albee’s The Lady from Dubuque earned an A- from correspondent Keith Staskiewicz, who called it “two hours of intentional discomfort spewed out of some dark and recondite corner of Albee’s mind, adorned in grim irony,” adding that “the production is also absolutely riveting, which is the right word because it indeed feels like someone has affixed your body to your chair.”

I gave the off-Broadway a cappella show Voca People a C- for trying to cram over 70 songs and a thin sci-fi plot into 90 minutes, writing that “someone appears to be laboring under the misapprehension that more songs and more variety will appeal to more people (and more tourists).”

An Iliad “can occasionally be a bit of a slog” admitted stage editor Thom Geier about Denis O’Hare and Stephen Spinella’s one-man readings of Homer’s war epic (the actors alternate performances), but he found it notable “as a showcase for the acting skills of two accomplished stage veterans.” He graded the production a B-.

The revival of Tina Howe’s 1983 Pulitzer Prize-winning Painting Churches also scored a B-. Critic Lisa Schwarzbaum wrote that the “esteemed portrait of an artist and her aging parents is as relevant today as it was when the award-winning play premiered,” but felt the drama’s dialogue (who still says “at sixes and sevens”?) showed its age.

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

This Week on Stage: Brad Pitt joins Prop 8 reading, Justin Long to make Broadway debut; plus 'Carrie' Off Broadway

Hollywood’s budding love affair with Broadway just continues to grow, doesn’t it? Justin Long is set to join Jeff Goldblum in the comedy Seminar when the Alan Rickman-led cast exits on April 1. Brad Pitt joined the star-studded reading of 8, the Proposition 8 play by Dustin Lance Black which already includes names like Clooney and Sheen (Martin, not Charlie). Beloved book-turned-children’s film Matilda is headed to Broadway following an acclaimed run in London’s West End. Even Hollywood insiders got in on the action with the opening of Assistance (pictured above), an Off Broadway play penned by Harvey Weinstein’s former personal assistant (EW has the Q+A here). EW’s critics took in that and two other Off Broadway shows in this week:

Senior editor Thom Geier flashed back to the 1980s at the MCC Theater’s new revival of Michael Gore’s musical adaptation of Carrie – yes, that Carrie. The original 1998 Broadway production was a famous flop, so how did the new cast of blood-drenched high schoolers fare? “Underwhelming” and “robbed of any sense of fun,” wrote Geier, giving the over-the-top story a lowly C.

Writer Melissa Rose Bernardo got a healthy dose of Hollywood realism from Assistance, Leslye Headland’s “sharp, punchy comedy” about the unfortunate souls who toil for an unseen figure that bears a striking resemblance to Headland’s former boss, movie-studio chief Harvey Weinstein. EW awarded the show a B+, praising Headland’s “snappy, stylish script” and her “enviable gift for making hollow, slightly despicable characters oddly appealing.”

Bernardo also took a visit to the intimate Romulus Linney Courtyard Theatre for Hurt Village, a “sprawling, cacophonous elegy on Dubya-era life in a Memphis, Tenn., housing project.” She praised the script by The Mountaintop playwright Katori Hall, as well as standout cast members Tonya Pinkins (“incredible”) and 23-year-old Joaquina Kalukango (“a star-making performance”). The drama scored a B+.

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

The Royal Shakespeare Company bringing Roald Dahl’s 'Matilda' to Broadway in early 2013

Roald Dahl’s little English girl with a very big brain, Matilda Wormwood, is coming to Broadway next year in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s new  Matilda The Musical. The show — which opened at the RSC’s Courtyard Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon in 2010 — has been playing to sold out houses in London’s West End since October. And it’s not just your usual children’s tuner — the colorful production is directed by Matthew Warchus (The Norman Conquests), written by Dennis Kelly (who is known mostly in the U.K. for the raunchy television comedy Pulling), and features songs by wild-haired, usually barefooted Australian-British comedian Tim Minchin — making it already very different from the Broadway revival of kids’ musical Annie that also opens next season. It’s too early to say, but I might be Team Matilda.

Read more:
EW Special Coverage: Stage 

This Week on Stage: Woody Allen's musical and Rufus Wainwright's opera

Very few Broadway news stories excited me as much this week as Woody Allen’s announcement that he was turning one of his best films, Bullets Over Broadway, into a Main Stem musical. Yet, I did celebrate with the rest of Linda Lavin’s fans when the producers of The Lyons — in which she gave an award-worthy performance off-Broadway last fall — announced that the show was also coming to the Great White Way. Plus, as a huge devotee of the movie Once, I was thrilled for EW to get another sneak peak at the making of next month’s Broadway adaptation.

Senior writer Melissa Maerz also gave us the rundown on Rufus Wainwright’s new opera, Prima Donna. (Should you see it? In her words, “Hell yes!”) And correspondent Keith Staskiewicz reviewed an “airless” off-Broadway revival of Bertolt Brecht’s Galileo, which is “so dry it threatens to catch fire.” He had praise, however, for star F. Murray Abraham’s “exuberance” and “conviviality,” and ultimately gave the production a B.

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

Read more:
EW Special Coverage: Stage 

This Week on Stage: William Shatner returns to Broadway, 'August: Osage County' film moves ahead

The boards had a busy week. The Book of Mormon won a Grammy. Broadway’s upcoming Once musical gave us a video sneak peak. Jeff Goldblum announced that he is replacing Alan Rickman in Seminar. Chris Colfer, Kevin Bacon, and John C. Reilly joined the star-studded cast reading of Dustin Lance Black’s Prop 8 play. Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark’s producers reached a settlement with the union that represents Julie Taymor. The film adaptation of August: Osage County finally secured leads Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts. The stage version of The King’s Speech found a spot on the West End. The Bodyguard musical got closer to actually happening, while the Sleepless in Seattle musical was delayed. The Newsies cast asked Christian Bale to come see their show. And our critics reviewed five plays in New York and Los Angeles.

How I Learned to Drive: Film critic Lisa Schwarzbaum gives a B- to this off-Broadway revival of Paula Vogel’s Pulitzer Prize-winning two-hander about a girl who is molested by her wayward uncle. READ FULL STORY

William Shatner returns to Broadway, talks one-man show -- VIDEO

Tonight, the one-man show Shatner’s World: We Just Live in It opens on Broadway after touring Australia and Canada. The limited engagement, through March 4, marks William Shatner’s return to the Great White Way for the first time since 1962. In the video interview below, he shares one of the many stories you’ll hear him tell on stage and reminds us that back in the ’60s, you didn’t get instant Twitter reviews as you left the theater.  READ FULL STORY

This Week on Stage: Keys is out, Danza is in, and Sondheim goes backwards

Unless you consider the high number of theater stars on NBC’s Smash (Christian Borle, Brian d’Arcy James, and more) to be a win for Broadway, it’s been a quiet week on stage. The Main Stem’s sole opening was actually a reopening—of Venus in Fur, which moved from the Samuel J. Friedman Theater to the Lyceum. Just one production announced an extension: Porgy & Bess will now run through September. And only two shows, thankfully, divulged that they were closing: Broadway’s Alicia Keys-produced Stick Fly and off-Broadway’s long-running Love, Loss, and What I Wore. Oh, and we learned that Tony Danza will return to Broadway to co-star in his first Main Stem musical, an adaptation of Honeymoon in Vegas, next year. READ FULL STORY

Alicia Keys-produced 'Stick Fly' to close, 'The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess' to live on

Singer-songwriter-actress Alicia Keys’ first gig as a Broadway producer is ending early. Lydia R. Diamond’s Stick Fly will play its final show on Feb. 26, following 24 previews and 92 regular performances. The dramatic comedy—which stars Psych’s Dulé Hill and Torchwood: Miracle Day’s Mekhi Pfeffer as brothers returning to their family’s ritzy Cape Cod vacation home for a weekend of big fights and bigger secrets—opened to mix reviews on Dec. 8. Its producers had only recently announced that the show was adding special Wednesday matinees througout March (to accommodate spring-breakers) and would be selling tickets through Apr. 8.  On the flip side, the controversial Gershwins’ Porgy & Bess, starring Audra McDonald and David Alan Grier, announced today that it was extending through Sept. 30.

Now, the only question left is: What show will take Stick Fly‘s place at the Cort Theatre? Share your suggestions below.

This Week on Stage: Nick Jonas versus Darren Criss; Janeane Garofalo off-Broadway

The theater world had a relatively busy news week. Broadway’s battle of the heartthrobs was finally settled: Nick Jonas’ first week in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying grossed less cash than Darren Criss’ and Daniel Radcliffe’s. London’s Hampstead Theatre confirmed that the stage adaptation of Chariots of Fire will open this May, in time for the Olympics. Rumors spread about a Back to the Future musical coming to Broadway. Megan Hilty and Raven-Symoné joined Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Sister Act, respectively. Pulitzer Prize-winning Clybourne Park continued its on again, off again relationship with Broadway. And EW critics saw two major off-Broadway openings.

EW correspondent Keith Staskiewicz reviewed Janeane Garofalo in Erika Sheffer’s new comedy-drama Russian Transport. “She puts forth a genuine effort…and the result isn’t bad at all,” writes Staskiewicz about the comedienne’s performance as a Russian-Jewish immigrant raising her two assimilated teenagers in New York City when their mysterious uncle visits from the homeland.  “Unfortunately, the play lacks any sort of narrative discharge,” he sadly adds, rating the show a B, “and ends abruptly before reaching the climax to which it had been building.”

I called Matthew Rhys’ New York stage debut as infamous British malcontent Jimmy Porter in Sam Gold’s reimagining of the Angry Young Man drama Look Back in Anger, “one of the better Jimmys since Richard Burton’s in Tony Richardson’s 52-year-old movie adaptation.” But I gave the play itself a B+, faulting Gold’s pared-down script for excising most of the 1956 play’s period detail and losing what makes it seminal.

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

This Week on Stage: Darren Criss exits ‘How to Succeed’; Cynthia Nixon brings ‘Wit’ to Broadway

If there is a truth now universally acknowledged on Broadway, it is that producers in need of a fortune should cast Darren Criss. The Glee star’s 24-show tenure in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, which ended on Sunday, took in a total of just over $4 million dollars—besting all but one of his predecessor Daniel Radcliffe’s per week grosses and putting some extra pressure on his replacement Nick Jonas, whose stint runs until July 1. READ FULL STORY

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