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Tag: This Week on Stage (71-80 of 181)

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

Watch Nick Jonas tackle Broadway in 'How to Succeed' -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

Nick Jonas begins his run tonight as window-washer-turned-business-sensation J. Pierrepont Finch in the Broadway revival of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, relieving Glee star Darren Criss (whose three-week stint ended on Sunday to very favorable financial results).

Jonas is the third to inherit the primo part, following Criss and original star Daniel Radcliffe (all three of whom performed the role at some point during the month of January). Also joining the cast tonight is Ugly Betty star Michael Urie as the lazy, nepotistic Bud Frump. READ FULL STORY

This Week on Stage: ‘Porgy and Bess’ gets a makeunder; Kathleen Turner is a ‘Red Hot Patriot’

Gleeks, Geeks, and dedicated fans of all sorts ruled the stage world this week. Glee star Darren Criss, the current lead of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, outsold his predecessor Daniel Radcliffe—and caused quite a stir in Manhattan’s midtown. Star Trek icon William Shatner confirmed the dates and venue for his one-man Main Stem show, Shatner’s World: We Just Live In It. Newsies lovers finally got their Broadway lead, Jeremy Jordan. And our critics got back to being theater nerds after a short winter break. (The Harry Connick Jr.-led On a Clear Day You Can See Forever also announced that it wouldn’t last forever and is closing on Jan. 29, but let’s not dwell, as Raúl Esparza’s Leap of Faith will be moving in to its theater in April.)

Senior writer Clark Collis traveled to Brooklyn’s St. Ann’s Warehouse for Brit comedian and monologist Daniel Kitson’s latest solo show, It’s Always Right Now, Until It’s Later. He gave the production a B, writing that it “showcases Kitson’s beguiling skills as a miniaturist tale-teller.” “Kitson’s message is that everything contributes to life’s rich pageant,” he adds. “Certainly it has been enriched in some small way by this show.”

Stage editor Thom Geier saw Broadway’s The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, a pared down B+ revival, which, while not perfect, is bolstered by four-time Tony-winner Audra McDonald’s performance as its heroine. “Is there anything Audra McDonald can’t do?” he asks. “As played by McDonald with the full force of her vocal and acting abilities, Bess becomes an unforgettable and iconic American character.”

Out in Los Angeles, staff writer Tanner Stransky watched Kathleen Turner channel famed Texas journalist, political commentator, and wisecracker Molly Ivins in Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins. He calls Turner “a treat,” giving the show an A- and warning, “A word to the wise: Do not miss Kathleen Turner when she’s on the stage.”

'Joyful Noise' star Jeremy Jordan to lead Broadway's 'Newsies'

It’s finally official: Jeremy Jordan will reprise his Paper Mill Playhouse role as head paperboy Jack Kelly (the Christian Bale part) in Broadway’s upcoming adaptation of Disney’s cult hit Newsies. It’s a casting move that was long rumored, but jeopardized when Jordan was still starring in last fall’s Bonnie & Clyde. That show’s early close on Dec. 30 freed him up for Newsies limited Broadway run, which starts previews at the Nederlander Theatre on March 15 (opening night is scheduled for March 29).

If you’re not a Broadway aficionado, and you don’t know Jordan (or his singing voice) from starring roles in West Side Story and Bonnie & Clyde or his recent cameo in the audition-themed web series “Submission’s Only,” then you might recognize him from the ubiquitous TV spots for the Queen Latifiah-Dolly Parton choir film, Joyful Noise, that hits theaters tomorrow. He plays Parton’s grandson, the nice-looking boy teaching Keke Palmer how to sing it loud and sing it proud.

 

'Naked Boys Singing!'? Not for long.

The eight crooners of New York mainstay Naked Boys Singing! are permanently putting on their clothes. Producers of the 12-year-old musical — off-Broadway’s second longest-running show after the fully-clothed Fantasticks, and certainly its oldest all-nude, all-male musical review — announced today that the show will close at the end of the month after 3,069 performances.

The 15-song review — created by Robert Schrock and penned by a team of 12 writers, including Emmy-winning patter expert Bruce Vilanch — opened in 1999 and has not been without its share of controversy (a 2005 Milwaukee production was closed down early by police) or its boatloads of rabid fans. (Who can resist a ditty called “The Bliss of a Briss”?) The West End version is currently enjoying its second year and a Sydney show is in the pipeline for later in 2012. The last nude man sings at New York’s New World Stages on January 28.
 

This Week on Stage: Harry Connick, Jr. and 'Lysistrata Jones' drop the ball

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We at EW ended the year on stage by learning the news about Private Lives‘ early close, celebrating that George Clooney is hitting the boards in L.A., enjoying our readers’ memories of Hugh Jackman: Back on Broadway, finding out your thoughts on our 2011 Top 10 list, and reviewing the Broadway musicals On the Clear Day You Can See Forever and Lysistrata Jones. Read the highlights below.

On a Clear Day You Can See Forever: According to EW stage editor Thom Geier, Harry Connick, Jr.’s new starrer about a psychiatrist who falls for his patient’s alter ego, “feels like one very long therapy session.” “[The revival] strains to be hip and contemporary, but manages only to feel awkward and dated,” Geier writes, giving the musical a C and adding that Connick “seems almost straight-jacketed in a fundamentally recessive role.”

Lysistrata Jones: Douglas Carter Beane’s basketball-themed off-Broadway adaptation’s quick move to the Main Stem seems “a little like a solid junior-high basketball team playing Madison Square Garden,” says Geier. “Too much of the time, it plays like a slightly raunchier version of a Nickelodeon or Disney Channel sitcom,” he writes about the B-grade musical, “rife with predictable plotlines and broad cultural and racial stereotypes. “

Read more:
First Look at Harry Connick Jr.’s new show
Harry Connick and daughter talk American Girl
Harry Connick returning to Broadway? Yes, please.

Best of 2011: 'The Book of Mormon' leads EW's Top 10 stage list

It’s been a rather remarkable year for theater — and not just because the most expensive musical ever produced finally opened and (perhaps more remarkably) is still spinning its web on 42nd Street. (Who’d have guessed the lights would still be on at Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark?) A remarkable number of 2011’s new productions found fresh and inventive ways to surprise, delight, and challenge audiences — from a genuinely original musical by Broadway newbies (The Book of Mormon, pictured at left) to two Chekhov revivals starring Hollywood stars (Three Sisters with Maggie Gyllenhaal and Uncle Vanya with Cate Blanchett) to an immersive, choose-your-own-adventure event in a six-story warehouse space (Sleep No More). Without further ado, here are EW’s top 10 standouts in stage: READ FULL STORY

Jason Reitman announces 'Princess Bride' live read cast

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Jason Reitman took to his Twitter today to announce several key roles for tomorrow night’s live reading of The Princess Bride, part of the Film Independent series at LACMA. Last month, we pitched our suggestions to fill the roles, and it looks like Reitman was listening in at least one instance. As for the others, well… I guess Kris Humphries was too busy focusing on basketball to lend a hand.

That said, the line-up looks as subversive and awesome as his last two productions (The Breakfast Club, The Apartment), and Reitman has definitely established a core pool of talent from which to draw. So which actress will play Buttercup? And who will tell her beau Westley to “Have fun storming the castle”? Read on… READ FULL STORY

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