From 2007–2010, Imelda Staunton struck terror into the hearts of the students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the Harry Potter movie series in which she played Dolores Jane Umbridge.
Tonight you can catch her in select theaters around the country making people happy in Stephen Sondheim‘s “Follies” as Sally Durant Plummer, a former dancer who meets up with a former friend and an old flame. Nostalgia vs. aging.
The smash-hit National Theatre production is being broadcast live to international movie theaters with repeat screenings during the coming weeks. To find a theater near you and more about the production, click here.
Staunton, a theater icon in England and West End regular in plays and musicals, winning four Olivier Awards, three of which were for Best Actress in a Musical as the Baker’s Wife in “Into the Woods” (1991), Mrs. Lovett in “Sweeney Todd” (2013) and Mama Rose in “Gypsy” (2016). She also won Best Supporting Performance for both “A Chorus of Disapproval” (1985) and “The Corn is Green” (1985).
Obviously, Rex Harrison making his Hollywood debut as the King of Siam is casting that wouldn’t happen now. But it was 1946. Better yet, read the memoirs written by Anna Leonowens, the Anglo-Indian, British-born travel writer, educator and social activist (on whom the films and musical were based) whose achievements include co-founding the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design.
American millionaires in the 21st century have changed.
No longer are they a monolithic group of white Anglo-Saxon Protestants who disproportionately control social and financial power and trace their ancestry back to the Revolution.
They are post Woodstock grand-babies of baby boomers who got a good education (or dropped out to create a start-up) and found success in jobs such as finance, the media, entertainment, and more recently the tech industry, and represent diverse ethnicities.
But they feel a bit guilty about it. They reject being a conspicuous consumer. That, they rationalize, is for the one percenters.
Tickets now are on sale for Kathleen Turner’s performance as God in the George Street Playhouse production of “An Act of God” in New Brunswick, N.J., Nov. 28 through Dec. 23.
Yeah, really. That Kathleen Turner. The Academy Award nominee, Tony Award nominee, and multiple Golden Globe winner. She’s appeared in nearly three dozen films, including “The War of the Roses”, “Prizzi’s Honor” (Golden Globe Winner), “Romancing the Stone” (my favorite), “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” and “Marley and Me.” She received an Academy Award nomination for her starring role in “Peggy Sue Got Married.”
A star of the Broadway stage as well, Turner received Tony Award nominations for her performances in Tennessee Williams’ “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” and Edward Albee’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” She also starred as Mrs. Robinson in the Broadway and West End productions of “The Graduate.” Her television appearances include “Nip/Tuck,” “Friends” and “Californication.” Turner’s distinctive husky voice can be heard on TV episodes including “Family Guy,” “The Simpsons” and “King of the Hill.”
“We could not be more thrilled to have one of the most revered film and Broadway stars of our time playing God,” said GSP artistic director David Saint who also directs “An Act of God.” “God has a lot to say in this incredibly funny modern comedy, and Ms. Turner has just the right amount of chutzpah to bring us Her words.”
Performances begin Nov. 28 and continue through Dec. 23.
Tickets start at $85 for all performances. “Heavenly Seating,” the first three rows of the theater, that enable patrons to be close to God (or should that be Goddess?) are $100.
For more information, visit the George Street Playhouse website at www.GeorgeStreetPlayhouse.org where you also can purchases a seat. Tickets also available at the box office and by calling 732-246-7717.
In the 90-minute comedy by David Javerbaum, God takes human form and doesn’t hold back about what She’s seen and heard. God, along with two archangels (casting TBA), answer many of the deepest (and not so deep) questions that have plagued mankind since Creation. Javerbaum’s play is based on his book “The Last Testament: A Memoir by God” and his Twitter feed.
Jim Parsons played the title road in the original 2015 Broadway production. It returned to Broadway in 2016 starring Sean Hayes. The New York Times called “An Act of God” “a gut-busting-funny riff on the never-ending folly of mankind’s attempts to fathom God’s wishes … It’s an hour and a half of comedy heaven … .”
Javerbaum has 13 Emmy Awards, a Grammy Award and three Peabody Awards for his work on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.” Javerbaum is the co-creator of the Netflix sitcom “Disjointed” starring Kathy Bates and worked on “The Late Late Show with James Corden” and “The Colbert Report.”
While the new performing arts center that will serve as George Street Playhouse’s future home in downtown New Brunswick is being built, the company is in residence in the former New Jersey Museum of Agriculture at 103 College Farm Road on Rutgers University’s Cook Campus off Route 1 for its 2018-19 season.
George Street Playhouse is expected to return downtown to the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center in time for its 2019-20 season. A former museum exhibit area is being transformed into an intimate, mainstage theatre space.
The interim venue features expansive lobby spaces, an outdoor patio and free nearby parking. The entrance into the building and to all areas of the theatre are barrier-free. For directions to George Street Playhouse, visit the GeorgeStreetPlayhouse.org and click on “Directions” on the homepage.
The Paper Mill Playhouse has released a video of its world premiere of “The Honeymooners,” now in previews, opening Sunday (Oct. 8) in Millburn, NJ. Michael McGrath as Ralph Kramden, Michael Mastro as Ed Norton, Leslie Kritzer as Alice Kramden, and Tony Award-nominee Laura Bell Bundy as Trixie Norton. Lewis J. Stadlen plays Old Man Faciamatta, Lewis Cleale is Bryce Bennett, and David Wohl is Allen Upshaw.
The New Jersey Repertory Company is throwing a coming out party for its new West End Arts Center during the first week of October with a Theater Brut arts festival featuring 28 new short plays, plus music, poetry, art and photography events.
This is the fifth Theatre Brut (pronounced brew) for the professional, non-profit theater founded in 1997 and the most ambitious since it acquired the 28,000 square-foot former grammar school in the West End section of Long Branch as a second space.
Theater Brut’s stated goal is to foster the “creative impulse unfettered by social and artistic convention.” That objective also could be applied to the founders, artistic director SuzAnne Barabas and executive producer Gabor Barabas.
Instead of going the traditional route of first raising money to fund a complete renovation before opening the doors to the public — which could take years, not counting building a cinema arts theater and apartments for visiting artists as well — the decision was made to create programming and invite the public in as soon as possible.
Not many Americans are alive today who watched the original broadcast of “The Honeymooners,” the iconic TV show created by Jackie Gleason that has morphed into a limited run world premiere musical (after two previous attempts) that begins performances today (Sept. 28) at the Paper Mill Playhouse in New Jersey and probably is Broadway bound.
It’s based on the 1950s CBS television series that featured Gleason as bus driver Ralph Kramden; Audrey Meadows his as faithful but sharp-tongued wife Alice, Art Carney as his best friend Ed Norton, a sewer worker, and his wife Joyce Randolph and best friend to Alice.
Coming full circle, Gleason’s skits about working-class married couples in a gritty Brooklyn apartment originally were broadcast live in front of a theater audience on the DuMont network’s variety series “Cavalcade of Stars,” which Gleason hosted, and subsequently on the CBS network’s “The Jackie Gleason Show” (1951–55).
“You people,” says the man from the all-white Clybourne Park Welcoming Committee — repeatedly —to the Younger family living in a one-bedroom rundown apartment on the South Side of Chicago in the 1950s.
He’s so polite that the Younger family, at first, believe Mr. Lindner (Nat DeWolf) is sincere until it becomes clear he’s not. He’s there to offer them more money than the purchase price of their new three-bedroom house so that their neighborhood won’t be sullied by black people.
The dream of leaving a cramped cockroach invested apartment where the shared bathroom is down the hall, for an airy suburban home with a yard waiting for a garden, is so visceral it took them a few minutes to realize his visit was about race, not open arms.
“Raisin in the Sun” opens tonight at the Two River Theater Company in Red Bank with a cast that would do a Broadway production proud. It includes Jasmine Batchelor (Beneatha Younger), Nat DeWolf (Karl Lindner), Crystal A. Dickinson (Ruth Younger), Brandon J. Dirden(Walter Lee Younger), Willie Dirden (Bobo), Charlie Hudson III (Joseph Asagai), Brenda Pressley (Lena Younger), Owen Tabaka (Travis Younger), and York Walker (George Murchison). Andrew Binger and David Joel Rivera play the Moving Men.
I can’t believe that Joe Orton’s last play, the once controversial farce “What The Butler Saw,” is his first work ever to be produced by the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey. Performances begin tonight in Madison, N.J.
I would have sworn I’d seen an Orton work there … wait a minute. I’m thinking of Orton’s “Loot, staged at McCarter Theater in Princeton directed by the incredibly inventive and exciting director Daniel Fish in 2002.
That must be what’s confusing me. Paul Mullins, another the incredibly inventive and exciting director (as well as actor), is staging the farce here. First performed in 1969, it shocked audiences. Nudity and extramarital affairs probably had something to do with that.