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This Week on Stage: 'Matilda' casts her spell on Broadway

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This week marks the arrival of the biggest Brit hit musical since a little boy named Billy Elliot pirouetted his way across the pond, but the Off Broadway offerings in this round-up are also not to be ignored. As we prep for a tidal wave of openings in the next three weeks (with 12 Broadway titles alone to come!), check out what our staff has to say about these: (click on the links below to read the full reviews):

Matilda: Four very lucky little girls share the title role in this bold reimagining of the classic Roald Dahl novel which broke records sweeping Britain’s Olivier Awards last year. Did it survive the ride across the ocean with kudos intact? Thom Geier says yes and dubs it as enticing as a bedtime story, “you want to shout, ”Again!” and demand that the cast start over from the very beginning so you might catch everything that you missed”. He adds, “ [the show] captures the wonder and innocence of childhood, but also the frustrations that face kids confronting the bitter unfairness of the adult world”. EW grade: A– READ FULL STORY

'Glee' winter cliffhanger: Where does it stack up against other [SPOILERS!]?

If you haven’t seen last night’s Glee, then you better put this post aside, lest you stumble upon a SPOILER ALERT! If you already watched the winter finale, “On My Way,” then click through to discuss some other shows that have used a similar plot device to raise the stakes. So what tension-inducing turnabout did the Gleeks endure last night? It was… 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

'Ugly Betty' star Michael Urie joining Broadway's 'How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying'

Michael Urie will join the cast of Broadway’s hit revival How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying for a five-month run starting at the end of January. According to the show’s producers, Urie will take over for Christopher J. Hanke as snobby scion Bud Frump, the nephew of corporate big shot J.B. Biggley and rival of lovable social climber J. Pierrepont Finch. (How to Succeed is set in a universe where everyone has an awesome name.) Urie will join the show starting Jan. 24, which will also mark Nick Jonas’ debut as Finch. They’ll be joined by Beau Bridges, who will replace John Larroquette as Biggley. READ FULL STORY

America Ferrera joining 'Chicago' cast in London, also sets Broadway debut -- EXCLUSIVE

Who knew? Ugly Betty can sing! Emmy-winning actress America Ferrera will join the London cast of the long-running musical Chicago next month, EW has learned exclusively. Ferrera will play Roxie Hart, the role made famous by Gwen Verdon and Ann Reinking on Broadway and Renée Zellweger in the 2002 film. (American Idol‘s Kara DioGuardi is currently playing Roxie on Broadway.) Ferrera’s eight-week stint will begin on November 7.

After her run in Chicago, Ferrera will then make her Broadway debut in a revival of Beth Henley’s 1984 play, The Miss Firecracker Contest, about a Mississippi woman who enters a beauty pageant. Holly Hunter filled the role off-Broadway as well as in the 1989 film Miss Firecracker. Ferrera begins rehearsals in March; the production, to be directed by Judith Ivey, will premiere next spring.

Michael Urie picks 'Brain Trust' TBS pilot

Michael-UrieImage Credit: Charles Norfleet/PR PhotosIt’s a busy few days in Michael Urie news. Longtime EW fave Urie has been cast in a TBS pilot, Brain Trust, the network confirms. It’s a “comic detective series” about a disgraced cop who turns to three “hyper-smart geniuses” (none of those dumb geniuses, please!) from a think-tank to help him solve cases. Urie is one of the geniuses, and D.B. Sweeney is the detective.

Urie, who’s set to take over as Prior in the current revival of Angels in America, stood out amongst the awesome cast of Ugly Betty, and I can’t wait to see him back in a regular gig. As someone who devoutly endured The Lone Gunman once upon a time, I’m not immune to the charms of geek trios, either.

Does Brain Trust sound fun, or were you hoping Urie would land on a different show?

Read more:
‘Ugly Betty’: 10 Quippy Gems!
Michael Urie joins ‘Angels in America’

America Ferrera talks 'Independent Lens' hosting gig and potential for an 'Ugly Betty' movie

America-FerreraImage Credit: Francois Durand/Getty ImagesLast week, PBS revealed that Ugly Betty star America Ferrera would take over hosting duties for the upcoming ninth season of their documentary series Independent Lens, which premieres Oct. 19. It’s certainly an interesting choice, considering her success with mass-appeal projects like Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and Betty, but it makes sense for the star, considering her love for documentaries. Lately, she’s been traveling the world promoting the documentary The Dry Land — about soldiers back from tours in Iraq who are suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder — that she produced alongside her fiancé Ryan Piers Williams. EW took a few minutes of Ferrera’s time to chat about why she wanted to host Independent Lens, her upcoming nuptials, and what the likelihood is for Ugly Betty movie in the future.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Hosting PBS’ documentary series Independent Lens is an interesting step to take in your career. What made you want to do it, or how did it come together?
AMERICA FERRERA:
They approached me about hosting it a couple of months ago, and I just loved the whole concept. I have been a part of many independent projects, and I feel kinship with independent filmmakers, and I love documentaries. I feel that this is a really wonderful thing, that PBS is making documentaries that most people would probably never have a chance to see in a regular theater — in a lot of towns in the country there aren’t independent theaters. I think it’s really awesome that someone can turn on their television and watch a documentary that they probably would never have had access to otherwise, and they’re all really wonderful, unique, interesting, quirky, and some really powerful stories that just help give a bigger perspective of all the different stories in our world. I was honored to be asked to join the really great people that they’ve had hosting in the past, like Susan Sarandon, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Terrence Howard. READ FULL STORY

Emmy nominees 2010: A roundup of sweet tweets

We’ve rounded up our favorite Emmy nominations-related tweets from this busy day for those of you who can’t be bothered. Hey, I hear ya. Twitter is so stupid. I definitely don’t obsessively refresh it all day, use it to share pictures of food on my desk, or include my username for it at the end of all of my posts. That would be so obnoxious. Here we go! READ FULL STORY

2010 Emmys: Which longshots deserve nods in the Supporting Actor/Actress categories?

bareikis-hopkins-sykesImage Credit: Mitchell Haaseth/NBC; Mitch Haddad/ABC; Michael Ansell/Warner Bros.The 2010 Primetime Emmy nominations will be announced Thursday morning in Los Angeles, and while newcomers like Glee, Modern Family, and The Good Wife are all considered front-runners in their respective categories, you know there’ll also be plenty of groan-inducing kudos for series and actors who’ve passed their prime — or maybe never reached it in the first place. After all, it’s the Emmys, and outrage over snubs is as an important part of the process as rooting for Vanessa L. Williams in the Supporting Actress in a Comedy division celebrating what voters got right.

With that in mind, we thought we could take some time this week to discuss our left-field picks for potential nominations across 10 major categories, starting right now with Best Supporting Actor and Actress in the Comedy and Drama divisions. I’ll get the party started, then you hit the comments section with your own longshot favorites. Be sure to explain your choices, too — we’ll pick your best-argued eventual snubs as nominees for EW.com’s third annual EWwy Awards later this summer.

* Wanda Sykes, New Adventures of Old Christine: She suffered not one, but two cancellations this past season (Old Christine as well as her titular Fox comedy show) but her laughs-per-line ratio as Christine’s BFF Barb was perhaps higher than any actor on television this season. READ FULL STORY

The 100 Greatest Characters of the Last 20 Years: Here's our full list!

1105_coverTo help celebrate Entertainment Weekly‘s 20th anniversary (one more year and we can finally drink booze!), the writers and editors have carefully curated a list of the 100 greatest characters in pop-culture over the last 20 years. Whether the fictional women, men, ogres, muppets, babies, and cartoon rockers who made our list were initially created before 1990 didn’t matter so long as they made a lasting impact in the culture after 1990. Some characters were so inseparable in our minds and hearts — like a certain highly articulate TV mother and daughter, for example — that we simply listed them together. (Hey, it’s our list, so we get to make the rules.) Rest assured, we carefully deliberated, debated, argued, and bickered over who would make the cut and where they deserved to be ranked; after you take a look at our list, please feel free to do the same in the comments. READ FULL STORY

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