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Tag: This Week on Stage (71-80 of 176)

'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

This Week on Stage: Cillian Murphy, Dule Hill, and Alicia Keys in New York

The boards were busy this week. Big stars like Cillian Murphy (Inception) and Mekhi Phifer (ER) made their New York stage debuts. The Off Broadway musical adaptation of the Oscar-winning indie movie Once announced its move to Broadway just hours before its opening night performance. And we caught up with Cirque du Soleil’s dance-heavy Michael Jackson tribute show in Las Vegas. Read the highlights below:

Misterman: I give this one-man show, written by Irish playwright Enda Walsh and starring Cillian Murphy as a man ostracized from his Irish village, an A-, calling it “the perfect pairing of unorthodox playwright and fearless actor” and noting that “I’ve never seen an actor tear up as convincingly as Murphy.”

Once: Misterman scribe Walsh also penned the book to this Broadway-bound stage version of the Oscar-winning 2006 Irish film Once, which earns a B from correspondent Keith Staskiewicz, who criticizes its “cornball elements” but admits that “the production’s sheer energy makes up for much of the soppiness.” READ FULL STORY

This Week on Stage: TV stars occupy NYC’s theater scene, 'Bonnie & Clyde' shoots and misses

What do Alan Cumming, Josh Radnor, Michael Urie, and Jim Parsons have in common besides appearing on TV? They are all returning to the stage within the next year. The Good Wife’s Cumming (who earned a Tony in 1998 for playing Cabaret’s Master of Ceremonies) announced this week that he’s bringing his one-man Macbeth to the Lincoln Center Festival in July. How I Met Your Mother’s Radnor spoke out about his voice preparations for singing in next Monday’s She Loves Me benefit at the Roundabout. Ugly Betty’s Urie revealed that he’s stepping in to How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying at the end of January.  And The Big Bang Theory’s Parsons signed on to play the lead in next season’s Harvey revival.

They’re not the only TV stalwarts currently in the limelight: READ FULL STORY

'How I Met Your Mother's Josh Radnor on his new role as a musical star

It’s been a song-filled year for the guys of How I Met Your Mother. Music man Neil Patrick Harris starred in Stephen Sondheim’s Company. Jason Segel stretched his pipes in The Muppets. Now Josh Radnor is leading a one-night only benefit reading of the romantic musical comedy She Loves Me at Roundabout’s Stephen Sondheim Theatre on Dec. 5. His co-stars include Tony winner Jane Krakowski, Tony nominee Victor Garber, and a 15-member orchestra — not bad for a guy whose previous singing experience was basically crooning for laughs on TV. Since we already know that he’s a skilled romantic comedian from HIMYM, Radnor recently took some time from rehearsals to tell to EW what to expect from his Broadway-style belting.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Your How I Met Your Mother costars have been doing a lot of singing this year.
JOSH RADNOR: [Laughing] What is this? Are you trying to get me more nervous?

No! Do you feel pressure?
Um, yeah. READ FULL STORY

Jim Parsons will return to Broadway in next season's 'Harvey'

The Big Bang Theory’s two-time Emmy winner Jim Parsons is trading in physics for psychosis next summer in the Roundabout Theatre Company’s upcoming revival of Mary Chase’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 1944 comedy, Harvey. Parsons, who made his Broadway debut as big-hearted hospital administrator Tommy Boatwright in last season’s Tony-winning Normal Heart revival, will play Elwood P. Dowd, an affable man whose best friend is the titular 6-foot 3½-inch fairy rabbit. When Elwood’s odd behavior threatens his upstart sister’s social life, she tries to have him committed, only to end up in the loony bin herself. Broadway vets Jessica Hecht will play the sister and Charles Kimbrough (Murphy Brown’s deep-voiced Jim Dial) will play the hospital’s chief.

You might say it’s perfect casting — Parsons will be stepping into the shoes of fellow lanky comedian Jimmy Stewart, who (along with Frank Fay, Joe E. Brown, and Jack Buchanan) played Elwood during the show’s initial Broadway run, in the 1950 film, and the 1970 stage revival. Previews begin May 18, with the official opening night set for Jun. 14.

Read more:

This Week on Stage: Jim Parsons in ‘The Normal Heart’

Happy Birthday, 'Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark'! Hope you asked for cash.

One year ago today, Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark swung into New York City’s Foxwoods Theatre for its very first preview—a disastrous outing that was stopped five times as wires fell, scenery broke, and two actors were left dangling helplessly in midair. Twelve months, two directors, six rescheduled opening nights, and 369 performances later, how is Broadway’s injury-ridden, lawsuit-stricken, most-expensive-musical-ever faring?

Eh. On the celebratory side, since starting previews, Spider-Man’s been playing to nearly full houses (665,395 total tickets sold so far) and grossing an average of $1.4 million a week, despite earning mostly bad reviews when it opened in June. Last week—which included the tourist-filled Thanksgiving holiday—the musical didn’t just best all its previous weekly grosses by earning $2.1 million dollars, it also it broke Foxwoods’ record for the highest six-day haul by a single show. Granted, the venue has hosted only eight other productions, including flops like The Pirate Queen, in its 13-year history.

On the bury-your-head-and-pretend-your-birthday-is-just-another-day side, the New York Times estimated that the $75 million show, which costs over $1 million a week to operate, would have to play at this capacity for at least five more years in order to pay off its debts. And that projection doesn’t account for the legal fees accrued to fight lawsuits recently filed by original director Julie Taymor and investor Patricia Lambrecht—or any possible payouts.

So what’s a 1-year-old show to do? Improve with age. According to the Times, rather than relying on money from touring productions or international versions of the musical to recoup its investment, Spider-Man‘s producers are going to first focus on bettering the current show in New York (albeit with costly endeavors). Among their ideas: adding a new scene and musical number every year. They’ll also expand Spidey’s radio advertising campaign across the country and continue to aggressively court foreign tourists. Who knows–we could be back here next year celebrating the show’s terrible twos.

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