Category Archives: Broadway

The fight over ‘American Psycho’ just insane

I guess it’s the price of doing business when a musical that has the makings of a Broadway hit gets snatched away from an off-Broadway house.

As Patrick Healy reports in the NYTimes today, two veteran Broadway producers’ sharp elbows caused the new-to-NYC producers of  “American Psycho” to bypass Second Stage and go straight to the Great White Way. The California-based company Act 4 Entertainment produces movies and is new to theater.

That leaves Second Stage scrambling for a show to fill its February spot in that company’s season and delays the NYC debut of “AP” until a year from now. The show had its world premiere last winter in London to mixed-to-favorable reviews, Healy reports.

My 21-year-old son is very disappointed. He is a big fan of Duncan Sheik (“Spring Awakenings”) who wrote the score for this show based on Brett Easton’s 1991 best-selling book.

Read the full story here.

London’s ‘Skylight’ with Nighy, Mulligan is Broadway bound

The London production of "Skylight," starring  Bill Nighy and Cary Mulligan, will be broadcast by the National Theatre Live during October around the country and open on Broadway in the Spring with its original London cast.
The London production of “Skylight,” starring Bill Nighy and Carey Mulligan, will be broadcast by the National Theatre Live during October around the country and open on Broadway in the Spring with its original London cast.

Playbill.com reports Carey Mulligan and Bill Nighy will return to Broadway in David Hare’s “Skylight” beginning March 16 for a 13-week limited engagement through June 14.

If you can’t wait, you can always catch the National Theatre Live broadcast of the London production in October at venues around the USA. “Experience the best of British theatre at a cinema near you” is the slogan on its homepage.

Different venues may offer the viewing on different days. I’ve taken my kids (in their early 20s) to NTL events about six times at the Pollack Theatre at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, NJ, and we enjoyed ourselves . We’ve seen both “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” and “The Audience,” both of which are scheduled for Broadway this season, beginning Sept. 9 and Feb. 17, respectively. “Skylight” will be shown at Monmouth U Oct. 30.

“Skylights” original cast  of Carey Mulligan, Bill Nighy and Matthew Beard will transfer across the pond in the show directed by the brilliant Stephen Daldry. He took English dramatist J. B. Priestley’s classic 1946 warhorse of a show, “An Inspector Calls,” and turned it into an astonishingly modern piece on theater. It won the Tony Award for the 1994 Best Revival of a Play and Daldry went home with the Best Direction of a Play award. The set designer and lighting designer also won Tonys.

— For more info on “Skylight” and a video of the production, click here.

— For a list of NTL shows, venues in the NY metropolitan area, videos and more, click here. 

— For the Playbill.com report, click here.

Robin Williams Tribute Special to Air on PBS Sept. 9

Stars and friends of Robin Williams will share memories of the late comedian in “Robin Williams Remembered — A Pioneers of Television Special,”

“Robin Williams Remembered — A Pioneers of Television Special" airs Sept. 9.
“Robin Williams Remembered — A Pioneers of Television Special” airs Sept. 9.

reports Shelli Weinstein, @shellidw, for Variety.

For NYC metro area fans, it airs 9 p.m. Sept. 9 on Thirteen WNET New York.

The hour-long tribute includes interviews with the comedian, his colleagues, plus new footage.

Annual Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction Sept. 21

For theater lovers living near NYC, find showbiz treasures, meet  cast members and bid on backstage experiences as part of the 28th Annual Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction.

28th Annual Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction is Sept. 21./Image courtesy Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS website.
28th Annual Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction is Sept. 21./Image courtesy Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS website.

WHERE:  Times Square, Shubert Alley and West 44th Street.

WHEN: 10 am – 7 pm, Sunday, Sept. 21,

WHY: It’s loads of fun, you’ll find stuff here you can’t find anywhere else and you help raise money for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Besides, you can catch a show while in the vicinity.

“Search for that missing piece of your Broadway collection, including out-of-print cast recordings and lost Playbills from almost any show you can imagine. Get lost in the stacks of signed memorabilia, costume sketches, props and photographs. There are treasures to be found in every price range,” the website promises.

Last year, the Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction raised $631,222, bringing the event’s 27-year total to more than $10.3 million. For more info, click here.

Playbill is having a Summer clearance sale

The Playbill website lists more than 200 items on sale, including T-shirts, tote bags, posters, baseball hats, shot glasses, mugs from A (“Annie”) to Z, well, actually W (for the “Wonderland” poster). Up to 70 percent off of closed shows and overstocked merchandise. “Bullets Over Broadway,” anyone?

A recording of the live TV broadcast of

the-sound-of-music-live-dvd-2013-nbc-televison-event-5“The Sound of Music,” starring Carrie Underwood, Stephen Moyer, Audra McDonald, Laura Benanti, Christian Borle, is on sale for $9.95 (down from $22.98); a Hugh Jackman “Back on Broadway” poster for $10 (down from $20), and Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “Cinderella” Glass Slipper Socks $9.95 down from $19.95.

Click here to shop. 

‘The Good Wife’ books David Hyde Pierce

‘TGW’ mines Broadway for great actors

For 20 years, beginning in 1990, if you read the bios of actors in that Playbill program you get for free at a Broadway show, many actors listed “Law & Order” in their bios.  There was much weeping and wailing when that show ended and many actors lost “day” jobs.

For the past five years, though, stage actors have had “The Good Wife,” which shoots at Broadway Stages in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Not only does the Emmy Award-winning show feature experienced stage actors like regulars Christine Baranski (most recently on Broadway as the surly housekeeper in “Boeing-Boeing”) and Alan Cumming (currently starring in “Cabaret”), it added Nathan Lane and Stockard Channing (both currently in “It’s Only a Play”) several seasons ago in recurring roles.

On Friday, “The Good Wife” creators and writing team, Michelle and Robert King and CBS, announced David Hyde Pierce will be returning to TV for the first time since “Frasier” in a recurring role as “a highly respected cable news legal commentator” who’s so outraged at the corruption and murder rate in Chicago (where the show is set) “that he decides to run for office in order to affect change,” according to CBS.

Continue reading ‘The Good Wife’ books David Hyde Pierce

Best ways to walk out of a show; options when you’re late

As the traditional performing arts season in Manhattan gets going, the New York Times ran two interesting articles today on best practices for walking out of a show, live or at the movies. It was partnered with what to expect when arriving late.

Apparently balletomane Princess Margaret arrived on time to regular performances, but specialized in holding up the curtain on gala nights up to 30 minutes, reports Alastair Macaulay in “The Delayed: To Sit or Not to Sit.” This happens often on gala nights in NYC as well, he says.

Getting to the theater late makes no one happy.
Getting to the theater late makes no one happy.

For people who miss curtain, the Metropolitan Opera  has a room with tiered seating, a large-screen TV and superb sound. That’s where latecomers to the met Opera sit until intermission. But not for latecomers to American Ballet Theatre performances in the same space. They get seated, much to the consternation of the folks they disturb getting to their seats, which always seem to be in the middle of the row down front.

Continue reading Best ways to walk out of a show; options when you’re late

New reviews of long-running Broadway musicals

Broadway_signThinking about catching a Broadway show that’s been around awhile and the original, sometimes award-winning cast, has left?

The New York Times Checking Back series has been revisiting hits such as “Pippin,” “Matilda,” “Mama Mia,” “Phantom,” and “Wicked.” The writers, all of whom saw the original production, note how some cast changes make for a better or more nuanced experience.

For instance, Laura Collins Hughes says that “square-jawed Kyle Dean Massey” as Pippin” is “looking a bit chiseled and mature to be so wide-eyed and, at least to start with, virginal.” On the other hand when Pippin catches the interest of the much older Catherine who considers the lad as possible husband material, she notes, it “no longer (has) that slightly creepy, cradle-robbing feel.”

The Diane Paulus directed musical “has become a warmer, giddier show in its 16 months at the Music Box Theater, and that’s really not a bad thing.” I’m sure the producers breathed a sigh of relief over that comment.

So if you’re thinking about plopping down a hundred dollars for a ducat to a long-running musical, check out the series. No clue if the Times is doing all Broadway musicals (I would think so), but it’s an assignment I sure would love to have.

Here’s what’s been published so far:

“Pippin,” “Matilda,” Mama Mia,” “Phantom,” and “Wicked.”

 

‘Paper Mill” reveals Broadway-bound ‘Can-Can’ cast

Paper Mill Playhouse has announced the cast for the first Broadway revival of “Can-Can” in 30 years. It will be the first revival in 50 years for the well-known musical theater playhouse that is within 20 miles of NYC.

Maybe that’s why are some high-profile folks involved in the show running in NJ from Oct. 1-26. I’m expecting great things.

First, the cast: it stars  Kate Baldwin as Pistache and Broadway veteran Jason Danieley as Aristide.

David Lee (“Frasier,” “Cheers”) will direct. Choreography is by Patti Colombo (Paper Mill’s “Peter Pan,” “On the Town,” “Seven Brides” for “Seven Brothers”). The show features a book by Abe Burrows (“Guys and Dolls,” “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying”) and a re-crafted script by Joel Fields (“Ugly Betty,” “The Americans”) and  Lee.

“Joel and I started collaborating on “Can-Can” at the Pasadena Playhouse over seven years ago,”  Lee explained in a PMP press release. “­With full permission of the Burrows and Porter estates the book has been updated without being modernized“Can-Can is still set in 1893—and although 90 percent rewritten it retains all of Abe Burrows’ original characters and intent.”
Continue reading ‘Paper Mill” reveals Broadway-bound ‘Can-Can’ cast

Broadway Bits and Pieces

National Theatre Live

Can’t make it to London — and not many of us can — there’s the National Theatre Live which broadcasts “live” well-film productions

Benedick Cumberbatch (left) and Johnny Lee Miller in the National Theatre Live production of "Frankenstein."/Courtesy National Theatre
Benedick Cumberbatch (left) and Johnny Lee Miller in the National Theatre Live production of “Frankenstein.”/Courtesy National Theatre

aired in locations around the world.  It might be better than a front row seat at the Cottesloe Theatre as cameras film from all angles on stage with close-ups. You could see the sweat on Benedict Cumberbatch’s brow and the pores on Johnny Lee Miller’s face during “Frankenstein.” Performances also include interviews and backstage tours of the costume or make-up rooms. Coming up: “Medea,” starting Sept. 4, “A Streetcar Named Desire” starting Sept. 16, David Hare’s “Skylight” in October. Find a theater near you, I hope. Visit the National’s website.

‘The Audience’ coming to Broadway

Speaking of the National Theatre Live, I caught its broadcast of Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth in the title role of  “The Audience”

Helen Mirren zs Queen Elizabeth in the National Theatre production of "The Audience."/Courtesy National Theatre
Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth in the National Theatre production of “The Audience.”/Courtesy National Theatre

at the Monmouth University venue in West Long Branch, NJ. Surprised to see it coming to Broadway as it’s about the various prime ministers Queen Elizabeth has dealt with during her more than 60+ year reign. I’d think most American audiences would be hard pressed to name half of the 12 PMs with whom she has audiences during the play.  And some knowledge of 20th century British history  would be helpful. But, heck, Mirren on stage in America is always a good thing. It’s not my money producing it. Scheduled from Feb. 17 through June 28.

 

Emma Stone may join ‘Cabaret’

Continue reading Broadway Bits and Pieces