THIS WEEKEND’S HIGHLIGHTS:
Friday, March 7
* Sheldon Harnick, George Abbott, Jerome Weidman & Jerry Bock’s Tenderloin, directed by Carl Andress, featuring Jennifer Cody, Katie Rose Clarke, Mark Jacoby, Jillian Louis, Michael McCormick, Marcy McGuigan, Diane Phelan, Wayne Pretlow, Jay Russell, Tally Sessions, Kendal Sparks, Max Von Essen, Debra Walton and Zakiya Young, opens at Off-Broadway’s York Theatre.
* Daniel Aukin, Itamar Moses & Michael Friedman’s The Fortress of Solitude, directed by Aukin, with Adam Chanler-Berat, Kyle Beltran, Andre De Shields, Kevin Mambo, Alex Organ, Patty Breckenridge, Etai Benshlomo, Nick Christopher, Jeremy Dumont, Cara Duren, Alison Hodgson, Jahi Kearse, Traci Lee, Britton Smith, Akron Watson and Juson Williams, opens at Dallas Theater Center.
* Samuel D. Hunter’s The Whale, directed by David R. Gammons, starring John Kuntz, with Josephine Elwood, Georgia Lyman, Maureen Keiller and Ryan O’Connor, opens at Boston’s SpeakEasy Stage.
* Larry Shue’s The Foreigner, directed by Brian Yorkey, with Erik Gratton, Eric Ray Anderson, Angela DiMarco, Jonathan Crimeni, Sharva Maynard, Anthony Lee Phillips and Patrick Phillips, opens at Everett, WA’s Village Theatre.
* Chekov’s The Seagull, directed by Maria Aitken, featuring Kate Burton, Morgan Ritchie, Ted Koch, Auden Thornton, Nancy E. Carroll, Thomas Derrah, Meredith Holzman, Don Lee Sparks, Marc Vietor, June Baboian, Kyle Cherry, Melissa Jesser and Jeff Marcus, begins previews at Boston’s Huntington Theatre Company.
* Chita: A Legendary Celebration Actors Fund benefit, at 8 PM at FL’s Aventura Art and Cultural Center.
Saturday, March 8
* The Reduced Shakespeare Company’s All The Great Books (abridged), written & directed by Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor, featuring Dominic Conti, Michael Faulkner, Jerry Kernion, Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor, opens at Laguna Playhouse.
* Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun, directed by Kenny Leon, featuring Denzel Washington, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, David Cromer, Bryce Clyde Jenkins, Sophie Okonedo, Anika Noni Rose Stephen Tyrone Williams, Jason Dirden and Stephen McKinley Henderson, begins previews at Broadway’s Ethel Barrymore Theatre.
* Ray Cooney’s Two into One, directed by the playwright, featuring Michael Praed, Josefina Gabrielle, Jean Fergusson, Jeffrey Holland and Nick Wilton, begins previews at London’s Menier Chocolate Factory.
* David Ive’s Venus in Fur, directed by Joanie Schultz, with Rufus Collins and Amanda Drinkall, begins previews at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre.
* Spokane Symphony‘s Show Boat concert presentation, featuring Teri Dale Hansen, Joy Jacobs, Robert Sims and Nat Chandler, at the Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox.
* Norm Lewis: Who Am I? concert, directed by Richard Jay-Alexander, at 8:30 PM at Lincoln Center‘s Allen Room.
* Celebrity Autobiography reading, with Debbie Harry, Sherri Shepherd, Mario Cantone, Rachel Dratch and Alan Zweibel, at 9 PM at NYC’s Stage 72.
* ”The Trip to Bountiful” TV film version of the Broadway revival, starring Cicely Tyson, Vanessa Williams, Blair Underwood and Keke Palmer, premieres at 8 PM on Lifetime.
* NY Philharmonic’s Sweeney Todd concert staging, directed by Lonny Price, starring Emma Thompson, Bryn Terfel, with Jeff Blumenkrantz, Christian Brole, Kyle Brenn, Jay Armstrong Johnson, Anthony Hope, Eric Mackey and Philip Quast, closes at NYC’s Avery Fisher Hall.
* Barry Humphries‘ Eat Pray Laugh UK tour concludes.
* Andrew Lloyd Webber & Don Black’s song cycle Tell Me On a Sunday, starring Marti Webb, closes at London’s Duchess Theatre.
* Thomas Bradshaw’s Intimacy, directed by Scott Elliott, with David Anzuelo, Austin Cauldwell, Ella Dershowitz, Laura Esterman, Daniel Gerroll, Déa Julien, and Keith Randolph Smith, closes at Off-Broadway’s New Group.
Sunday, March 9
* Jean Paul Sartre’s No Exit, directed by Linda Ames Key, featuring Jolly Abraham, Bradford Cover, Sameerah Luqmaan-Harris and Pete McElligott, opens at Off-Broadway’s Pearl Theatre.
* Stephen Flaherty & Lynn Ahrens’ Dessa Rose, directed by Lili-Anne Brown, featuring Sydney Charles, Harmony France, Jayson “JC” Brooks, Brigitte Ditmars, Gilbert Domally, Jasondra Johnson, Jaymes Osbourne, Steven Perkins, Pavi Proczko, David Schlumpf, Sasha Smith and Eunice Woods, opens at Chicago’s Bailiwick Theatre.
* Gregory S. Moss’ Reunion, directed by Adrienne Campbell-Holt, featuring Kevin Berntson, Tim Cummings and Michael Gladis, begins previews at Costa Mesa’s South Coast Rep.
* Louise Dearman: Songs in the Key of Streisand concert, at 7 PM at London’s St. James Theatre.
* Phylicia Rashad in conversation with Michael Kahn, at 7:30 PM at DC’s Shakespeare Theatre Company.
* Bebe Neuwirth concludes her run as Matron” Mama” Morton in Chicago at Broadway’s Ambassador Theatre.
* k.d. lang concludes her run in After Midnight at Broadway’s Brooks Atkinson Theatre.
* Sheldon Harnick, George Abbott, Jerome Weidman & Jerry Bock’s Tenderloin, directed by Carl Andress, featuring Jennifer Cody, Katie Rose Clarke, Mark Jacoby, Jillian Louis, Michael McCormick, Marcy McGuigan, Diane Phelan, Wayne Pretlow, Jay Russell, Tally Sessions, Kendal Sparks, Max Von Essen, Debra Walton and Zakiya Young, closes at Off-Broadway’s York Theatre.
* Beth Blatt & Jenny Giering’s The Mistress Cycle, directed by Bronagh Lagan, featuring Caroline Deverill, Maria Lawson, Kara Lane, Nicola Blackman and Laura Armstrong, closes at London’s Landor Theatre.
* Tracey Scott Wilson’s Buzzer, directed by Jessica Thebus, with Eric Lynch, Lee Stark and Shane Kenyon, closes at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre.
* Bertolt Brecht’s Mother Courage and Her Children, translated by David Hare and directed by Molly Smith, with Kathleen Turner, Nehal Joshi, Nicholas Rodriguez, Erin Weaver, Rick Foucheux, Meg Gillentine and Jack Willis, closes at DC’s Arena Stage.
* Janece Shaffer’s The Geller Girls, directed by Susan V. Booth, with Mark Cabus, Courtney Collins, Ann Marie Gideon, Courtney Patterson and Joe Sykes, closes at Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre.
* Million Dollar Quartet national tour, with John Countryman, Lee Ferris, Scott Moreau, Cody Ray Slaughter, Vince Nappo, Kelly Lamont, Katie Barton, Andrew Frace,Robby Kipferl, Stephanie Lynne Mason, Sean McGibbon, David Sonneborn, H. Bradley Waters and musicians Patrick Morrow & Corey Kaiser, closes at Denver Center‘s Buell Theatre.
* Jon Robin Baitz’ Other Desert Cities, directed by Richard T. Dolce, featuring Phillip Clark, Joy Franz, Nancy Lemenager, Christopher Bolan and Joan Porter, closes at Northport, NY’s Engeman Theater.
* South Pacific, directed by Allen D. Cornell, featuring David Pittsinger, Heather Botts, Jodi Kimura, Faye Bautista, Ross Lekites, George Merrick, Joseph Dellger, Benjie Randall, Mark DiConzo, Mark Epperson, Micah Nalzaro, Morgan Moss, Happy McPartlin and Darrell T. Joe, closes at Vero Beach, FL’s Riverside Theatre.
* Adam Rapp’s Nocturne, directed by Justin Ross, starring George Regout, closes at West Hollywood’s The Other Space @ The Actors Company.
NY Times (Charles Isherwood): ”Riding the crest of his fame from ‘Breaking Bad,’ Mr. Cranston strides onto the Broadway stage with an admirable confidence, meeting the challenge of animating Mr. Schenkkan’s sprawling civics lesson as if he’s thoroughly at home. Although Johnson is not the exclusive focus of the play — many passages focus on the strategizing among various black civil rights organizations — Mr. Cranston’s heat-generating performance galvanizes the production. Even when Johnson is offstage or the writing sags with exposition, the show, directed solidly if a little stolidly by Bill Rauch, retains the vitalizing imprint of his performance.”
NY Daily News (Joe Dziemianowicz): ”School is in session on Broadway at Robert Schenkkan’s All the Way, the talky but terrifically acted poli-sci seminar about President Lyndon Johnson. Hot off a prize-winning streak on ‘Breaking Bad,’ Bryan Cranston drives this star vehicle covering LBJ’s turbulent first year in the top job with an uncanny authority and confidence rare in first time Broadway performers. The actor is at the height of his power playing a commander-in-chief striving to harness his own.”
Newsday (Linda Winer): ”Twenty-four actors portray many historical characters in All the Way, but let’s not pretend. There really is only one who matters in Robert Schenkkan’s ambitious and didactic three-hour drama about 11 months in the presidency of Lyndon Baines Johnson. And that one, Bryan Cranston, matters a lot… Through it all, Cranston’s LBJ feels a bit like a caricature, but one that’s compelling and fun to watch. And every time the president made a big point at a recent preview, the audience clapped as if the actor were a tenor singing a high C. We suspect the unflashy Walter White would not have approved.”
USA Today (Elysa Gardner): ”There’s a new Broadway production that breathlessly explores behind-the-scenes intrigue in national politics — real-life national politics, in this case — while paying enough attention to policy to appeal to your inner wonk.”
NY Times (Charles Isherwood): ”Despite the body count to rival an action movie, the scenes of human flesh put through a sausage grinder, and the protagonist who announces in ringing tones that we all deserve to die, Sweeney Todd has an uncanny way of sending musical theatre audiences into raptures of glazed-eyed bliss. That was certainly the case Wednesday night, when the New York Philharmonic presented a starry concert version….Ms. Thompson is hardly known as a musical theater specialist… her only musical theater credit is a London staging of Me and My Girl in the mid-1980′s, and this performance marked her New York stage debut. Could she sing? Could she ever; the performance was by virtually all measures a triumphant one.”
NY Daily News (Joe Dziemianowicz): ”In her New York stage debut, the two-time Oscar winner [Emma Thompson] stole the show and even appeared to pilfer a fur wrap from a woman in the audience to use on stage. Thompson was the perfect foil for the vengeful demon barber played by opera star’s Bryn Terfel, whose burly baritone was a fine fit for Sondheim’s beautiful and haunting songs… The excellent supporting cast included Christian Borle as the barber Pirelli; Jay Armstrong Johnson and Erin Mackey as the young lovers, and Audra McDonald as the Beggar woman…”
Hollywood Reporter (David Rooney): ”The big question, of course, is can Thompson sing – and not just any role but one of the female titans of musical theater… The answer is most definitely yes. Thompson’s last musical role was in a 1985 London revival of Me and My Girl, before her film career had taken off. And while her voice may not be as supple when shifting registers as more seasoned singers, she carries a tune with gusto. More importantly for this particular role, Thompson’s comic timing makes her Mrs. Lovett a murderous delight, whether squishing roaches on her pie shop floor or steering hapless barber shop patrons to have their throats slit upstairs at the ‘tonsorial parlor’ of her beloved Mr. Todd.”
Video: Production highlights.
NY Times (Ben Brantley): ”You know that Caribbean vacation you’ve been dreaming about in these last draggy days of winter? Well, you may want to rethink such fantasies after you see the Tarell Alvin McCraney’s squishy, misbegotten Antony and Cleopatra, which resets Shakespeare’s tragedy on the island of Hispaniola during the reign of the French. True, as designed by Tom Piper, this production — which opened at the Public Theater on Wednesday night — looks travel-brochure seductive at first, with its beckoning seascape of gleaming water and airy shades of blue. But be warned. Swimming equals death here: When characters get wet, in the rippling pool at the rear of the stage, you know they’re goners.”
Newsday (Linda Winer): ”The staging — a coproduction with the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Public and Miami’s GableStage in McCraney’s hometown — has the English actors talking Brit Shakespeare and the Americans mutating the verse into Caribbean dialect. All this might have its own internal sense, but only if the tragedy had a percentage of the emotional heat that Jonathan Cake brings to his seductions as a rakish, smirking Mark Antony. Joaquina Kalukango has a pleasant earthy beauty as Cleopatra, but little royal stature, and their clutches feel less urgent as the drama gets serious.”
Vulture (Jesse Green): ” His [Tarell Alvin McCraney] production, despite a laughable solution to the always bedeviling problem of Cleopatra’s asps, is too tasteful, and yet not tasteful enough. Still, I applaud the effort to wrestle difficult Shakespeare onto the contemporary stage without undue reverence, and I hope McCraney is willing to try again. But please, not King Lear. Whether that snuff drama is set in Trenton or Tahiti, I’m tired of it.”
The casting was a surprise. The program did not include McDonald’s name with the rest of the cast, instead listing “?” in its place.
She will reprise her portrayal of the Beggar Woman Mar. 6-7, with Bryonha Marie Parham playing the role for the final two performances Mar. 8.
Leonard Bernstein, Betty Comden, Adolph Green & Jerome Robbins On The Town will open in October at Broadway’s Lyric Theatre (formerly the Foxwoods Theatre), directed by John Rando, with choreography by Joshua Bergasse.
Dates and casting TBA.
Alysha Umphress, Tony Yazbeck, Clyde Alves, Jay Armstrong Johnson, Elizabeth Stanley and Jackie Hoffman were featured in a December 2013 workshop.
Video: Brilliant! “Adele Dazeem” by Randy Rainbow
BC/EFA‘s 28th Annual Easter Bonnet Competition will be held Mon. Apr. 21 at 4:30 PM and Tues. Apr. 22 at 2 PM at Broadway’s Minskoff Theatre.
Hosts, judges and special guests TBA.
TodayTix mobile theater ticketing app has partnered with Off-Broadway’s Atlantic Theater to offer 3PennyTix, an unprecedented new lottery for its production of The Threepenny Opera, directed & choreographed by Martha Clare.
The theater will make available two seats for each performance for only 3 pennies a piece. The lottery program will be completely mobile via TodayTix to make sign-up simple.
Kevin Spacey will release “Now: In The Wings On A World Stage,” a new documentary film about his experience playing Richard III for the Bridge Project.
The exact release date has not yet been announced.
“Andrea Martin’s Lady Parts,” a new memoir, will be released in Sept. (date TBA).
Cast: Kerry Butler and Matt Walton, with Megan Sikora, Allison Strong, Kate Loprest and Andrew Polk.
In Under My Skin, ”a twist of fate leads to love and laughs when New York’s most eligible bachelor and a single, working mother hilariously experience each other’s lives and see things from a very different perspective.”
Sarah Ruhl’s Stage Kiss has extended its run through Apr. 6 at Off-Broadway’s Playwrights Horizons.
Against the Wall, written & directed by Charlie Mount, will run May 22 – June 29 at LA’s Theatre West.
Cast: Nick McDow, Lukas Bailey and Katie Adler.
Casting has been announced for J.B. Priestley’s Time and the Conways, to run Mar. 29 – May 4 (opening Apr. 3) at San Diego’s Old Globe, directed by Rebecca Taichman.
Cast: Leanne Agmon, Jonathan Fielding, Morgan Hallett, Rose Hemingway, Sarah Manton, Leo Marks, Kim Martin-Cotten, Max Gordon Moore, Amanda Quaid and Lee Aaron Rosen.
“The curtain rises on a gorgeous English country home in 1919 in the midst of a game of charades played by the young Conway family at a birthday party with their friends. Flash forward to 1937 in the same house: the grown children have gathered to settle family accounts in a world not so bright as it was. For this family, time is a kind of dream: their precious moments together are fleeting and brief, but their destinies are eternal.”
Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton will have its world premiere Jan. 20 – Feb. 22, 2015 at the Public Theater, directed by Thomas Kail.
“The new musical features Miranda playing Alexander Hamilton, one of our country’s Founding Fathers and the first Secretary of the Treasury, as well as a cast of historical figures that include George Washington, Aaron Burr, James Madison, and Thomas Jefferson.”
Martin Gottfried, an award-winning drama critic and author who wrote biographies on Arthur Miller, Jed Harris and Bob Fosse, died at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center March 6. The cause was complications from pneumonia. He was 80.
Though he held positions as daily theatre critic at Women’s Wear Daily, New York Law Journal, Saturday Review and the New York Post, Mr. Gottfried was eventually less famous as a journalist than as a biographer, taking a long view of the stage, and typically spending years on his carefully researched books.
Cabrillo Music Theatre presents Doris Day and Me, a tribute to Doris Day in celebration of her 90th birthday, Sun. Mar. 30 at 7 PM at Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza.
Cast: Scott Dreier.
“As the ultimate obsessed fan, Scott Dreier makes Doris and Me more than just a typical tribute show to a timeless artist, taking the audience with him on a sentimental journey to nostalgic times gone by. As he lovingly shares through classic treasured songs, personal anecdotes, humor, heart, and many Doris Day stories and history, Scott never lets us forget how much he loves her, and why he has become Doris Day’s biggest fan.”
Burbank’s Colony Theatre presents a fundraising screening of the classic film “Sunset Boulevard” Sat. Mar. 22 at 8 PM (wine and cheese reception starts at 7 PM).
The winter 2015 production at the Laura Pels Theatre will be directed by Noah Brody & Ben Steinfeld, who also directed the 2013 show.
“With only 10 actors, one piano and boundless imagination, this witty and wildly theatrical re-invention is Into the Woods like you’ve never seen it before!. Mind the wolf, heed the witch and honor the giant in the sky at this extraordinary musical about the power of wishes and what really happens after they come true.”
The McCarter cast included Jess Austrian, Noah Brody, Paul L. Coffey, Andy Grotelueschen, Liz Hayes, Claire Karpen, Jennifer Mudge, Patrick Mulryan, Ben Steinfeld and Emily Young.
Fiddler on the Roof will have its 5th Broadway revival in the fall of 2015, directed by Bartlett Sher.
Theatre, dates and casting TBA.
Off-Broadway’s Classic Stage Company has announced its 2014-15 season:
* Allegro (October), by Rogers & Hammerstein, directed by John Doyle.
* Hamlet (January), starring Peter Sarsgaard.
* Doctor Faustus (April), by Christopher Marlowe, directed by Andrei Belgrader, starring Chris Noth.
Carmen Pavlovic, CEO of Global Creatures, said, “King Kong has been more than five years in the making and we are thrilled with the production that played to packed houses in Melbourne. We learnt so much from this first engagement. We realize that there are some exciting creative changes we can and want to make before King Kong comes home to New York City and we don’t want to be pressured to rush in to meet any artificial deadlines. We want to make the best possible show. We will announce our plans when we can confirm our time-line to open on Broadway. It will be worth the wait!”
FL’s Theatre Jacksonville will celebrate Stephen Sondheim’s birthday with two performances of Side by Side by Sondheim Mar. 22 at 2 & 8 PM as its annual fundraiser, directed by Jean Tait, with musical direction by Joey Chancey.
Cast: Pamela Myers, Harvey Evans, Michael Iannuci, Sarah Boone and Shinnerrie Jackson.
Philadelphia’s Walnut Street Theatre has announced its 2014-15 season:
* 9 t0 5 (Sept. 2 – Oct. 19)
* Bad Jews (Oct. 7-26), by Joshua Harmon
* Mary Poppins (Nov. 4 – Jan. 4)
* A Life in the Theatre (Jan. 13 – Feb. 1), by David Mamet
* Private Lives (Jan. 13 – Mar. 1)
* Mickle Street (Feb. 7 – Mar. 8), by Michael Whistler
* And Then There Were None (Mar. 10 – Apr. 26), by Agatha Christie
* Liberace! (Mar. 24 – Apr. 12), by Brent Hazelton
* I Love a Piano (Apr. 28 – May 17), conceived by Ray Roderick & Michael Berkeley, music by Irving Berlin
* Memphis (May 12 – July 12)
Alice Ripley has launched an Ebay online auction of memorabilia featuring a wide range of intriguing musical theatre merchandise from Side Show to Next to Normal and more.
Says Ripley, ”Welcome to the Official Alice Ripley Collection on eBay. Most memorabilia start at only 99 cents. More to come this month. This is for the audience. RIPLEY THANKS YOU.”
: Click here to see what’s available and to bid.
Peter Strain, a talent agent for film, television, and Broadway actors, pled guilty yesterday in Manhattan federal court to stealing more than half a million dollars from his clients, which he used to purchase personal luxury retail goods and artwork, among other things. Strain was originally charged in November 2013.
As a talent agent, Strain received funds in trust for his clients for their acting work, and was required to remit those funds to his clients, less his commission, which was typically 10%. However, between approximately 2011 and 2013, Strain diverted money he received on behalf of three clients, and used it to, among other things, pay for personal luxury retail goods and artwork. In order to conceal his theft and ensure that his clients allowed him to continue receiving money on their behalf, Strain repeatedly lied to his clients about why he had failed to timely remit their money.
Between July 2011 and December 2011, Strain received more than $1.4 million in his trust account on behalf of a particular client (“Client-1″), an actor who earned that money for work on a currently broadcast television series. However, Strainfailed to remit approximately $500,000 of this money to Client-1, and diverted it for his own use. In order to conceal his theft from Client-1, when Strainand Client-1 discussed the missing payments by telephone, Strain asked Client-1 if he could delay making the payments because, according to Strain, he was short on funds as a result of his partners at PSA embezzling money from the firm. Strain further claimed that he had recently won a lawsuit against his partners related to the supposed embezzlement, and that he was waiting to receive settlement payments from his partners.
Ultimately, during 2012, Strain repaid Client-1 by stealing money from a different client, Client-2, an actor who has appeared in several television shows, including a currently broadcast television series. Strain then lied to Client-2 in order to conceal his theft. Among other things, STRAIN falsely told Client-2 that Strain had recently hired a new business management team and that the new team must have misplaced Client-2′s money. In truth and in fact, Strain had used Client-2′s money to repay the money he had stolen from Client-1. Strain never fully repaid the money he took from Client-2, and still owes Client-2 in excess of $350,000.
And the saga continues…..
Strain, 64, of Studio City, California, pled guilty to one count of interstate transportation of stolen property, which carries a maximum term of 10 years in prison.
Bebe Neuwirth has joined the cast of the CBS pilot, “Madam Secretary,” as ‘Nadine’, the chief of staff who works alongside the Secretary of State.
Also in the cast are Tea Leoni in the lead, Tim Daly, Geoffrey Arend and Patina Miller.
Kristin Chenoweth in concert will take place Sat. July 12 at 7:30 PM at London’s Royal Albert Hall.