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.

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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

Doctor Faustus, Martin Luther, Hamlet gather at Shakespeare Theatre

” ‘Wittenberg’ should delight Tom Stoppard fans, recovering English majors, disillusioned academics and anyone who has ever wondered what Helen of Troy was like in the sack,” reads the press release from the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey about the David Davalos play in which Doctor Faustus, Martin Luther, and Hamlet are united.

Ooookay.

According to the press release, “Wittenberg” is “A play that the Philadelphia Inquirer winkingly celebrates as ‘a decent Protestant Reformation comedy!’  Witty observation. Wish I’d written it.

“Wittenberg” begins in northern Germany in 1517 on the University of Wittenberg campus. ( a real place.) Young Hamlet, prince of Denmark, (not a real person) is a senior, unsure of his beliefs after an eye-opening summer spent studying abroad. Upon his return to school, he seeks guidance from his two trusted professors—philosopher John Faustus (not real) and theologian Martin Luther (super real).

Continue reading Doctor Faustus, Martin Luther, Hamlet gather at Shakespeare Theatre

‘Sherlock’ season 4 ‘devastating,’ says Moffat

Benedick Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman won Emmy Awards last night for their performances on “Sherlock.” Neither were on hand to collect the coveted statuettes. Martin is performing the title role in “Richard III” at London’s Trafalgar Studios and unable to attend.

No idea where Cumberbatch, 38, who won for Actor In A Miniseries or Movie, was. Martin, 42, won for Supporting Actor In A Miniseries or Movie for “Sherlock: His Last Vow.”

Co-creator and writer Steven Moffat also won for Outstanding Writing For A Miniseries, Movie Or A dramatic Special for “Sherlock: His Last Vow,” winning over Larry Kramer’s script for HBO’s “The Normal Heart,” “Treme,” “Luther,” “Fargo” and “American Horror Story: Coven” He had some stiff competition.

Mark Gatiss has written for and acted in the TV series "Doctor Who" and "Sherlock," the latter of which he also co-created.
Mark Gatiss has written for and acted in the TV series “Doctor Who” and “Sherlock,” the latter of which he also co-created.

But the really good news, depending on how you look at it, were the leaks Moffat and “Sherlock” writer-producer and actor Mark Gatiss (who plays Mycroft on the series) hinted at for season 4:

“We have a plan to top it,” Moffat said. “And I do think our plan is devastating. We’ve practically reduced our cast to tears telling them the plan … we’re probably more excited that we’ve ever been about ‘Sherlock’.”

For more details, including why Moffat never looks at Tumblr, click here.

 

 

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.”

 

Quick video fix for ‘Sherlock’ TV fans

"Sherlock" startting Benedict Cumberbatch (left) and Martin Freeman returns to Masterpiece on Jan. 19.
“Sherlock” starring Benedict Cumberbatch (left) and Martin Freeman returns to Masterpiece on Jan. 19.

Jan. 19 seems a long way off. That’s when “Sherlock” returns to American TV as part of the Masterpiece franchise. And before you know it, it will be gone again after three episodes (if past history is future) with another interminable wait for more episodes featuring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman.

Meanwhile, satisfy your Sherlockian self with this Season Three repeat of a Behind the Scenes peak from PBS.

(So why is his TV show in a theater blog. Because Cumberbatch is a regular on the English stage and is scheduled to play Shakespeare’s Hamlet at London’s Barbican Theatre. The production will be directed by Lyndsey Turner and will be produced by Sonia Friedman. It will start its 12-week run in August 2015. Freeman has also tread the boards as well, as seen here.)

News and views of New Jersey's regional theaters, and bits about Broadway.

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