The Tony Award nominations include, “Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812” came out on top with 12 nominations, including Best Musical, Best Original Score for Dave Malloy, and Best Direction of a Musical for Rachel Chavkin, as well as nods for its two leads: Josh Groban and Denée Benton (both in their Broadway debuts).
Next, the woman whose LPs (look it up) I spent hours listening to in college: the great Bette Midler’s “Hello, Dolly!” earned 10 nominations, including Best Revival of a Musical and all four performance categories: Midler for Lead Actress, David Hyde Pierce for Lead Actor, Kate Baldwin for Featured Actress, and Gavin Creel for Featured Actor. I mean, was there any doubt!?
The just-opened Broadway musical “Anastasia” and the rapturously received revival of Hello, Dolly! are the top nominees of the 2017 Outer Critics Circle Awards. Both Broadway and Off-Broadway productions are eligible.
“Let’s just cut to the chase. Nat Zegree practically steals the show at Paper Mill Playhouse playing the brash — let’s make that audacious — Jerry Lee Lewis in “Million Dollar Quartet.” He ought to know what he’s doing by now as it’s the fifth time he’s played that part in the many productions of this jukebox musical about an unplanned event some say is a seminal moment in rock ‘n’ roll history.
The 2 1/2 musical features more than 20 classic hits including “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Memories Are Made of This,” “Sixteen Tons,” “Great Balls of Fire,” “Hound Dog,” “(Ghost Riders in the Sky” and “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On.”
McCarter Theatre just revealed a 2017-2018 season that includes the world premiere of Tony Award-winner Christopher Durang’s “Turning Off the Morning News”; a revival of Regina Taylor’s gospel musical “Crowns” that had its world premiere here 15 years ago; a rare staging of Sam Shepard’s “Simpatico” in collaboration with Chicago’s A Red Orchid Theatre, a recipient of this year’s MacArthur Award for Creative & Effective Institutions; Marie Jones’ Irish comedy “Stones in His Pocket” with two actors playing 15 plus characters. The musical biography “A Night With Janis Joplin,” written and directed by Randy Johnson, fills out the schedule.
The new musical “Hadestown,” a folk opera produced by the New York Theatre Workshop, and the immersive “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” currently at the Barrow Street Theatre, each earned seven nominations in the 32nd Annual Lucille Lortel Awards for Outstanding Achievement Off-Broadway, the Off-Broadway League recently announced.
For plays, Paula Vogel’s “Indecent” and J.T. Rogers’” Oslo,” both currently on Broadway, each earned four nominations, including for Outstanding Play.
Playwrights Horizons’ “A Life” also earned four nominations, including Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play for star David Hyde Pierce and Outstanding Director Anne Kauffman, earning her fourth career Lortel Award nomination; as did MCC Theater’s “YEN,” including one for recent Academy Award nominee Lucas Hedges for Outstanding Lead Actor.Lighting Designer Ben Stanton earned a nomination for the fifth consecutive year – and his seventh career nomination, including a win in 2011 – for his work on “YEN.” The newly added Outstanding Projection Design category netted a dual nomination for Peter Nigrini for his work on “Dear Evan Hansen” and “Wakey, Wakey.”
The world premiere stage adaptation of Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Orient Express” closes Sunday at McCarter Theatre in Princeton but its next stop will be at the Hartford Stage, Conn., as part to its 2018 Spring s
“McCarter Theatre Center couldn’t be more excited to have ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ at Hartford Stage as the play’s next step in its journey,” said McCarter Theatre Center Managing Director Timothy J. Shields. “Hartford Stage is an ideal partner to continue the process of bringing the enduring legacy of Agatha Christie’s fabulous characters to life for today’s audiences.”
Two couples are deep into the booze following a long afternoon at a birthday party for an 8-year-old girl. The light-hearted conversation, though, begins to veer off course. A slight insult here. A confusing comment there. Innuendo everywhere.
Then there’s awkwardness as one couple starts making out. That would be Tia (Dana Brooke) and her fiancee Stuart (Jared Michael Delaney) who plan to move into the second floor apartment in the home of Kelly (Maria Couch) and James (Dustin Charles), a married couple who bought the place hoping gentrification gets there soon, real soon. It was their daughter Olivia’s party.
It made me think a little about “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolff,” another play with two drunk couples, an unseen child and toxic relationships that thrive on taunting, nefarious games and emotional abuse.
No doubt, at least in my mind, that this is the best Tony Award show opening number ever. Even Broadway pros are looking around with their mouths hanging open in astonishment (look for Debra Messing’s swiveling head). It’s not just the look, it’s the clever lyrics and jokes that bring the spectacle to a higher level.
But what else would you expect from the guys who wrote the specialty song “Bigger” — Tony Award winners Tom Kitt and the pre-“Hamilton” genius Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Agatha Christie + Hercule Poirot + Ken Ludwig. That’s a theater trifecta. And that’s also before you know who makes up the creative dream team for the world premiere of the stage version of “Murder on the Orient Express,” beginning three weeks of performances tonight at McCarter Theatre in Princeton. (Two more performances already have been added.)