Movie Man Harvey Weinstein has a dream and that dream is producing a stage version of his movie “Finding Neverland” on Broadway.
He’s announced he’s booked the major musical-friendly Lunt-Fontanne Theater (where “Motown, the Musical” currently is housed) for his show, which begin previews in March and opens April 8. The phenomenally gifted Diane Paulus will direct. (Saw her “The Donkey Show,” a musical disco-era like interpretation of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in 1999 in NYC, and was blown away by its creative daring.) Paulus was nominated for the Best Director Tony Award for her revival of “Hair,” and won the award in 2013 for her revival of “Pippin.”
Sorry to say, I missed Paul Barry’s obit in the Star Ledger earlier this week. It wasn’t in the NYTimes nor the Asbury Park Press, papers that have written features and reviews about his theater in the past.
It’s a shame his passing wasn’t noticed more since he co-founded the New Jersey Shakespeare Festival, now the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, in 1963 in Cape May and directed all 38 of Shakespeare’s play, many at its current home on the Drew University campus in Madison.
According to the festival at the time of Barry’s departure as artistic director in 1990, he was the first American director to stage the full canon. Not a lot of directors now or during the last 400 years can say they did the same.
His vision and that of co-founder Phil Dorian has lasted a long time and insures there’s a place in New Jersey we, and our children, can be guaranteed each year to see plays by Shakespeare without leaving the state.
New TV shows and returning series used to be a big deal every Fall when I was growing up. Not so much any more with cable introducing new shows year-round and Netflix releasing entire series in one day. We can still count on PBS and Lincoln Center to come up with a Fall spectacular and it’s a New York Philharmonic concert version of Stephen Sondheim’s bloody musical “Sweeney Todd” airing 9-11:30 p.m. today (Sept. 26) on Channel 13 in New York. (Check local listings for air dates and times in other locations.)
NBC has finally announced the rest of the leading players for its Dec. 4 live airing of “Peter Pan.” The producers apparently chose to cast Capt. Hook and Mr. Darling with Christopher Walken and Christian Borle, respectively, instead of the same actor playing both parts.
I think the musical is much more effective with the dad and the pirate played by the same actor, at least from a Freudian point of view. And isn’t that the point? Mr. Darling loves his children, but is a strict disciplinarian whose limited time with his two sons is not pleasant. Capt. Hook, as we well know, hates the Lost Boys, Peter Pan in particular, and in this dream-like play symbolizes the Darling boys’ fear of their unapproachable dad.
But Walken is a definite “get” and we know he trained as a dancer in music theater at the Washington Dance Studio, before moving on to dramatic roles in theater and then film. Besides Mr. Darling, Borle plays Smee, Kelli O’Hara is Mrs. Darling and the previously announced Allison Williams is Peter Pan. Here’s the NBC announcement.
Emily Mann writes, directs and runs McCarter Theatre
When McCarter Theatre’s Artistic Director Emily Mann isn’t introducing major new works in Princeton, she’s creating her own. Her new translation, a stage version of Ingmar Bergman’s six-hour Swedish miniseries “Scenes From a Marriage,” is receiving a very innovative staging at the New York Theater Workshop under the direction of Ivo van Hove.
The theater has essentially been gutted. (Watch video of transformation here.) The proscenium gone. According to an article by Erik Piepenburg in the New York Times, the audience is divided into three groups of about 60 each for three different 30-minute scenes. After an intermission the theater is transformed and the audience sits in the round for the second act.
National Theatre Live brings its London shows to big screen across the United States. Now Broadway will be doing the same thing — in China.
Broadway Worldwide Entertainment Media, which most recently screened the Tony-winning musical “Memphis” in movie theaters, is teaming with China’s Sun New Light Culture Development to produce and distribute two to four musicals a year filmed live in HD, Lorne Manly reports in today’s NYTimes.
Last night I took my two 20+ kids to see the NTL 90-minute, non-stop production of “Medea,” and they both enjoyed it. Airing Broadway shows around the U.S. more often seems like a good deal to me. Unlike NY Times critics, a trip to London to see shows is not in my budget.
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.
I know. George Clooney has nothing to do with Broadway, NJ regionals, or London stages — except maybe as an audience member — but he is a class act and is supporting “Downton Abbey,” which is filled with veteran stage actors.
He filmed a scene for the popular TV series, which airs in the U.S. later than in England as part of Masterpiece Theatre. The scene will used for charity efforts during Christmas.
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.
“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.