Do you like Sherlock Holmes? Did you enjoy
“The 39 Steps?” Do you like to laugh — a lot — in the theater?
Then you will love Ken Ludwig’s “Baskervilles” now playing at the McCarter Theatre complex in Princeton through March 29. You loved “Moon Over Buffalo” and “Lend Me a Tenor,” right? He wrote those.
And bring the kids. I’ve never seen such a mix of adults and so many young theatergoers — tweens, high schoolers, college students and young adults — as I did last night during the opening at the nearly full 1,100-seat Matthews Theatre space. It’s a co-production with the Arena Stage in Washington, DC, where it was presented earlier this year to raves.
Wanna be a Broadway producer? How about off-Broadway? Maybe you should launch a show at one of NJ’s regional theaters, which have transferred several shows to NYC, most recently Dan Lauria’s mob drama “Dinner With the Boys.”
According to today’s New York Times the show, which made its world debut last year at the New Jersey Repertory Company in Long Branch, was so popular patrons paid $10 to watch it in the lobby from a TV feed. The troupe’s main stage seats less than 50.
The play concerns two old-school Mafia guys hiding out after botching an assignment. They cook and swap stories as they await their fate. “It’s really about all the violence we consume,” Lauria told the Times.
The show stars Lauria, best known as the dad in TV’s “The Wonder Years,” Ray Abruzzo, who played Little Carmine on HBO’s “The Sopranos,” and Richard Zavaglia, who was in “Donnie Brasco.” Frank Megna will direct. To read the whole story, click here.
Beginning Broadway previews Tuesday (March 17) is “It Shoulda Been You,” one of the funniest shows I’ve ever seen. Directed by the super multi-talented David Hyde Pierce, it had its world premiere at the George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick. Starring Tyne Daly and Harriet Harris, the show has more crazy characters than one show should be legally allowed to possess, even if it is a comedy about a wedding day run amok between Christians and Jews.
Meanwhile, Paper Mill Playhouse’s“Honeymoon in Vegas” currently is running on Broadway and its very successful production of “Newsies” recently closed. On Sunday, the 77-year-old theater in Millburn opens a new production of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” which could be ripe for a Broadway picking. And there is talk that a revamped version of Cole Porter’s “Can-Can,” which opened Paper Mill’s current season last fall, may make a Broadway transfer.
Next season, the 1,500-seat space offers two world premiere musicals: “Bandstand,” a story of a mismatched band of WWII veterans, and “A Bronx Tale,” set against a backdrop or organized crime and racial strife in the 1960s. The latter is directed by Robert DeNiro. Yeah, the two-time Oscar winner. Jerry Zaks, the four-time Tony Award winner, co-directs. For the complete season, click here.
McCarter Theatre in Princeton, which tonight opens Ken Ludwig’s new take on Sherlock Holmes in “The Hound of the Baskervilles” sent Christopher Durang’s 2013 Tony Award-winning comedy “Vanya, Sonia, Masha and Spike” to Broadway. David Leveaux’s production of “Electra” featuring Zoë Wanamaker moved to Broadway in 1998. And that’s just the latest in a long line for the venerable playhouse that itself is the recipient of the 1994 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre.
National Theatre Live has revealed the plays it will broadcast in venues around the world this Spring and the offerings are tantalizing. It includes the first (of I hope many) Broadway productions — “Of Mice and Men” with James Franco and Chris O’Dowd — and, this fall, Benedict Cumberbatch as Hamlet.
Also scheduled are the classics “A View From the Bridge” and “Man and Superman,” and new plays by Tom Stoppard and David Hare.”
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.
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.
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.
(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.)