* Manhattan Theatre Club‘s Casa Valentina, by Harvey Fierstein, directed by Joe Mantello, featuring Patrick Page, John Cullum, Reed Birney, Gabriel Ebert, Lisa Emery, Tom McGowan, Larry Pine, Nick Westrate and Mare Winningham, opens at Broadway’s Samuel J. Friedman Theatre.
* The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess national tour, with Alicia Hall Moran, Nathaniel Stampley, Alvin Crawford, Kingsley Leggs, Sumayya Ali, Denisha Ballew, Danielle Lee Greaves and David Hughey, opens at LA’s Ahmanson Theatre.
* Ricky Ian Gordon & Leonard Foglia’s A Coffin in Egypt, a chamber opera in one act, starring Frederica Von Stade, opens at Beverly Hills’ Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts.
* Oni Faida Lampley’s Tough Titty, directed by Awoye Timpo, featuring Christine Toy Johnson, Antoinette LaVecchia, Richard Topol, Victor Williams, Nikkole Salter, Elizabeth Van Dyke and Ami Brabson, opens at NYC’s Paradise Factory.
* Adam Rapp’s The Purple Lights of Joppa Illinois, directed by Crispin Whittell, featuring William Apps, Connor Barrett, Christina Elmore and Virginia Veale, begins previews at Costa Mesa’s South Coast Rep.
* Samuel D. Hunter’s The Few, directed by Davis McCallum, featuring Gideon Glick, Michael Laurence and Tasha Lawrence, begins previews at Off-Broadway’s Rattlestick Playwrights Theater.
* Gardner McKay’s Sea Marks, directed by Ciarán O’Reilly, starring Xanthe Elbrick and Patrick Fitzgerald, begins previews at Off-Broadway’s Irish Rep.
* The Taming of the Shrew, directed by Dan McCleary, featuring MaConnia Chesser, Paul Kiernan, Lauren Ballard, Mark McCarthy, Andrew Joseph Perez, Ben Reed, Jessica Weaver, Isabel Azar, Peri Beckerman, Brian Sheppard, Cara McHugh, Phil Darius Wallace, Stuart Heyman, Bradly Kroeker, Lorraine Cotton and David Rhea, begins previews at Tennessee Shakespeare Company.
* Daniel S. Acquisto & Sammy Buck’s Like You Like It concert, featuring Nick Cearley, Rebecca Faulkenberry, Hannah Elless, Amy Spanger, Jenna Leigh Green, Max Crumm, Laura Osnes Ben Fankhauser, Noah Galvin, Nathan Johnson, Bonnie Milligan, Molly Ranson, Kate Rockwell, Nic Rouleau, AJ Shively, Dana Steingold, Sam Underwood, Stephen Christopher Anthony, Kennedy Caughell, Ali Gordon, Sam Heldt, Elisabeth Ness, CJ Pawlikowski, Taylor Rathus, Chandler Reeves, Aaron Riesebeck, Emily Rogers and Patrick Shelton, at 9:30 PM at 54 Below.
NY Times (Ben Brantley): ”Playing an ‘internationally ignored song stylist’ of undefinable gender in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Mr. Harris is in full command of who he is and, most excitingly, what he has become with this performance. That’s a bona fide Broadway star, the kind who can rule an audience with the blink of a sequined eyelid. You may have assumed that Mr. Harris had won that status already….But he has never had to carry a full-scale production on his shoulders, as he does in Hedwig, John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask’ s 1998 rock musical memoir, which opened at the Belasco Theater on Tuesday night. And while Mr. Harris may let you see him sweat as he struts, slithers and leaps through this shamelessly enjoyable show, rousingly directed by Michael Mayer (Spring Awakening, American Idiot), he never makes it feel like heavy lifting.”
Variety (Marilyn Stasio): ”The screaming starts when a bespangled Neil Patrick Harris parachutes onstage in Hedwig and the Angry Inch and doesn’t stop until he’s back in his dressing room. That’s the kind of rock-star performance he gives in this spectacular revival — helmed with fabulous flash by Michael Mayer — of the 1998 musical (and later movie) by John Cameron Mitchell (book) and Stephen Trask (music & lyrics). Harris’ Hedwig is an imperfectly transformed transvestite who grew up in East Berlin before the wall came down, resplendent in the punk drag of a nihilistic rocker but still concealing a heap of hurt under her wig.”
Hollywood Reporter (David Rooney): ”The big question from the start was could Neil Patrick Harris sing the hard-driving glam rock-meets-punk score of Hedwig and the Angry Inch. And would the former Doogie Howser go as far out there as the title role of the embittered East German singer with the botched sex-reassignment surgery demands? The swift answer on both counts is that Harris is beyond fabulous, holds nothing back and plays it any way but safe in Michael Mayer’s exhilarating production.”
Associated Press (Mark Kennedy): ”It’s obvious from the first moments of Hedwig and the Angry Inch that star Neil Patrick Harris is doing something special. And it’s not just trying on a new role… Before our eyes, Harris is opening another chapter in his exceptional show business career with this 90-minute show and he simply crushes it, holding nothing back, softening no edges, making no nice… But it will come as no surprise that while [Lena] Hall has an understudy, Harris does not. And that’s perfectly right: Rarely does a role fit a performer so well. Harris is funny, twisted, poignant, outrageous, bizarre, silly and very, very human.”
NY Times (Charles Isherwood): ”Plays with just two characters usually move in one of two directions: from animosity to comity, or vice versa. Annapura, a new play by Sharr White starring Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman, is definitely the kind that begins in full battle… The production, first seen at the Evidence Room Theater in Los Angeles and here presented by the New Group, has been efficiently directed by Bart DeLorenzo.”
NY Post (Frank Scheck): ”Offerman and Mullally (late of ‘Will and Grace’), who are married in real life, have a strong chemistry onstage. But their efforts — and Bart DeLorenzo’s subtle staging — are undone by the schematic writing, which uneasily veers from comic shtick to melodramatic revelations.”
Theatermania (Zachary Stewart): ”Offerman and Mullally excel in cracking open the ambiguity of this incredibly complicated and painful relationship. Their rapport and chemistry is that of two people who still share a lot of affection (maybe even love). They also drive each other crazy… Unfortunately, that realism isn’t always the most interesting thing to watch. The play tends to meander, stopping to focus on minutiae that do little to push the plot forward. Extended conversations about money and groceries will lead many in the audience to think about their own shopping lists. It’s like sitting in on a couple’s counseling session: thrilling when the sparks fly, but a lot of the time you’ll be bored out of your gourd.”
New Broadway Play
All The Way
The Realistic Joneses
New Broadway Musical
Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder
New Off-Broadway Play
The Explorer’s Club
The Heir Apparent
New Off-Broadway Musical
Far From Heaven
Murder For Two
What’s It All About? Bacharach Reimagined
Revival of a Play (Broadway or Off-Broadway)
The Cripple of Inishmaan
The Glass Menagerie
The Winslow Boy
Revival of a Musical (Broadway or Off-Broadway)
Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill
Actor in a Play
Bryan Cranston, All The Way
Ian McKellen, No Man’s Land
Brían F. O’Byrne, Outside Mullingar
Mark Rylance, Twelfth Night
Tony Shaloub, Act One
Actress in a Play
Tyne Daly, Mothers and Sons
Rebecca Hall, Machinal
Jessica Hecht, Stage Kiss
Cherry Jones, The Glass Menagerie
Estelle Parsons, The Velocity of Autumn
Actor in a Musical
Michael Cerveris, Fun Home
Neil Patrick Harris, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Andy Karl, Rocky
Jefferson Mays, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder
Bryce Pinkham, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder
Actress in a Musical
Sutton Foster, Violet
Audra McDonald, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill
Jessie Mueller, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
Kelli O’Hara, The Bridges of Madison County
Michelle Williams, Cabaret
Featured Actor in a Play
Paul Chahidi, Twelfth Night
Michael Cyril Creighton, Stage Kiss
John McMartin, All The Way
Alessandro Nivola, The Winslow Boy
Brian J. Smith, The Glass Menagerie
Featured Actress in a Play
Barbara Barrie, I Remember Mama
Andrea Martin, Act One
Sophie Okonedo, A Raisin in the Sun
Anika Noni Rose, A Raisin in the Sun
Mare Winningham, Casa Valentina
Featured Actor in a Musical
Danny Burstein, Cabaret
Nick Cordero, Bullets Over Broadway
Joshua Henry, Violet
James Monroe Iglehart, Aladdin
Jarrod Specter, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
Featured Actress in a Musical
Judy Kuhn, Fun Home
Anika Larsen, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
Sydney Lucas, Fun Home
Marin Mazzie, Bullets Over Broadway
Lisa O’Hare, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder
Jim Brochu, Character Man
Debra Jo Rupp, Becoming Dr. Ruth
Ruben Santiago-Hudson, How I Learned What I Learned
Alexandra Silber, Arlington
John Douglas Thompson, Satchmo at the Waldorf
Director of a Play
Tim Carroll, Twelfth Night
Michael Grandage, The Cripple of Inishmaan
Lindsay Posner, The Winslow Boy
Bill Rauch, All The Way
Lyndsey Turner, Machinal
Director of a Musical
Warren Carlyle, After Midnight
Laurence Connor and James Powell, Les Misérables
Sam Gold, Fun Home
Alex Timbers, Rocky
Dark Tresnjak, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder
Warren Carlyle, After Midnight
Peggy Hickey, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder
Steven Hoggett and Kelly Devine, Rocky
Casey Nicholaw, Aladdin
Susan Stroman, Bullets Over Broadway
Book of a Musical (Broadway or Off-Broadway)
Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder
New Score (Broadway or Off-Broadway)
The Bridges of Madison County
A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder
John Gassner Award (presented for an American play, preferably by a new playwright)
Scott Z. Burns, The Library
Eric Dufault, Year of the Rooster
Madeleine George, The (Curious Case of the) Watson Intelligence
Steven Levenson, The Unavoidable Disappearance of Tom Durnin
Lauren Yee, The Hatmaker’s Wife
Set Design (Play or Musical)
Christopher Barreca, Rocky
Beowulf Boritt, Act One
Bob Crowley, Aladdin
Es Devlin, Machinal
Alexander Dodge, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder
Costume Design (Play or Musical)
Gregg Barnes, Aladdin
Linda Cho, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder
William Ivey Long, Bullets Over Broadway
Jenny Tiramani, Twelfth Night
Isabel Toledo, After Midnight
Lighting Design (Play or Musical)
Kevin Adams, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Howell Binkley, After Midnight
Paule Constable, Les Misérables
Natasha Katz, Aladdin
Philip S. Rosenberg, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder
The Award winners will be announced May 12.
BC/EFA‘s Las Vegas Broadway Bares will return for its fifth year with Got Wood, to be presented Fri. May 2 at 11:59 PM at the Planet Hollywood Showroom.
The event will feature performers from Rock of Ages, Le Rêve – The Dream, Dreamgirls, Jubilee, Divas Las Vegas, Véronic Voices, LIGHT night club, and more.
Kansas City, MO’s Spinning Tree Theatre presents A Little Night Music, to run May 8-24 at Crown Center Off Center Theatre, directed by Michael Grayman, with choreography by Andy Parkhurst.
Cast: Melinda MacDonald, Lauren Braton and Charles Fugate, with Molly Denninghoff, Liz Golson, Vigthor Zophoniasson, Cathy Wood, Daniel Beeman and Allison Banks.
GRACE NOTES Quote of the Week: “I think on-stage nudity is disgusting, shameful and damaging to all things American. But if I were 22 with a great body, it would be artistic, tasteful, patriotic, and a progressive religious experience.” ~ Shelley Winters
According to the Wall Street Journal, scenic designer Edward Pierce and the creatives of Holler have repositioned the ground-level orchestra seats into a stadium-seating configuration to “deepen the sense of intimacy” at the Palace.
“Everybody in those first few rows can basically high-five the actors,” Pierce told the Wall Street Journal. “They’re that close.”
GRACE NOTES Exclusive!
Interview: LESLIE CARON: Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks
NJ’s McCarter Theatre Center and Princeton University will present a reading and symposium of Emily Mann’s Hoodwinked on Sat. Apr. 26 at 1 PM Princeton’s James Stewart ’32 Theater. The event is free and open to the public, and seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Mann will direct the reading.
Cast: Bill Pullman, David Morse, Donnie Keshawarz, Heather Raffo, Bhavesh Patel, Melissa Miller, Sanjit De Silva, and Zainab Jah.
“Hoodwinked is a look at radical Islam and its impact on the world. The play examines geopolitical responses to terrorism, gender roles in the Muslim world, and the radicalization of Islam in the West. It uses an experimental dramatic structure to weave together scenes inspired by real conversations and speeches.”
Raised an all-time record $4,532,129 in 6 weeks of nightly curtain-call appeals.
Fundraising Award: The national tour of The Book of Mormon: $405,009
Presenters: Idina Menzel, Denzel Washington, Bryan Cranston and Fran Drescher
Outstanding Bonnet Design: Once, which created a hat that incorporated several musical instruments from the show, including a ukulele and an accordion, plus a fan of kazoos that were played during the bonnet presentation.
Outstanding Bonnet Presentation: The Lion King, with a comedy number “Momentum,” featuring the only two Caucasian members of the cast (who play Pumbaa and Timon) dancing shirtless a la Flashdance. The show’s bonnet was topped with large cutouts of the duo standing atop of a pile of money and the words “1 Billion Dollars, Baby!,” a reference to the fact that the show was the first in Broadway history to earn that much cumulatively at the box office.
Outstanding Bonnet Presentation Runner-up: After Midnight, whose dance “Snatched,” showed a man dancing with a series of beautiful women who pick his pockets. Their bonnet featured a spray of feathers and a New York city skyline.
Broadway Musicals that Raised the Most
Kinky Boots at $284,170
Beautiful at $208,697
Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderellawith $206,941
The Book of Mormon with $181,065
Touring Runners-Up for Fundraising
Wicked (Munchkinland tour) at $277,109
Book of Mormon (Jumamosi tour) at $209,023
Wicked (Emerald City tour) with $182,704
Broadway Plays That Raised the Most
All The Way with $186,424
Mothers and Sons with $100,102
Off-Broadway Shows That Raised the Most
Avenue Q at $28,577
Heathers at $24,363
Off-Broadway’s MCC Theater has announced its 2014-15 season:
* The Money Shot (Sept. 3 – Oct. 12), by Neil LaBute, directed by Terry Kinney.
“Karen and Steve are glamorous movie stars with one thing in common: desperation. It’s been years since either one’s had a hit, but the latest movie by a hot shot European director could change that. The night before filming a big scene (that seems destined to assure them a spot back on the pop culture radar), Karen, her partner Bev, Steve, and his aspiring actress wife Missy meet in order to make an important decision: how far will they let themselves go to keep from slipping further down the Hollywood food chain?”
* Punk Rock (Oct. 29 – Dec. 7), by Simon Stephens, directed by Trip Cullman. ”In a private school outside of Manchester, England a group of highly-articulate seventeen year-olds flirt and posture their way through the day while preparing for their A-Level mock exams. With hormones raging and minimal adult supervision, nothing can mask the underlying tension that becomes increasingly pronounced as the clock ticks towards the ultimate dismissal.”
* The Nether (Feb. 4 – Mar. 15), by Jennifer Haley, directed by Anne Kaufman.
“There is a new immersive realm for the senses online, a virtual playground where those who plug in are coaxed into acting out their darkest fantasies – with no consequences in the ‘real’ world. Or so it seems…until a young female detective begins an investigation to determine if there is a point at which thought or intention may actually constitute a crime within — and outside of — this new frontier.”
* Permission (Apr. 29 – June 7), by Robert Askins, director TBA. ”Eric and Cyndy are looking for some direction. They’ve decided to follow the lead of their friends Zach and Shelley and make Christian Domestic Discipline the foundation of their marriage. But restructuring their lives and their union according to role play and a new moral code upends everything they knew – and took for granted – about one another, their friends, and more importantly, who really holds the paddle!”
“A devastatingly beautiful, dramatic work set over the course of the Civil War. Jo Bonney directs this moving and haunting drama comprised of three plays presented in a single performance. In Part 1, A Measure of Man, Hero, a slave who is accustomed to his master’s lies, must now decide whether to join him on the Confederate battlefield in exchange for a promise of freedom. Part 2, The Battle in the Wildernessfollows Hero and the Colonel as they lead a captured Union solider toward the Confederate lines as the cannons approach. Finally, in Part 3,The Union of My Confederate Parts, the loved ones Hero left behind question whether to escape or wait for his return – only to discover that for Hero, freedom may have come at a great spiritual cost. A masterful new work from one of our most lyrical and powerful writers, Father Comes Home from the Wars is a deeply personal epic about love and hope in a world of impossible choices.”
Off-Broadway’s Atlantic Theater Company will kick off its 2014-15 season with the world premiere of Hunter Bell, Lee Overtree & Eli Bolin’s musical Found, to run Sept. 18 – Nov. 9 (opening Oct. 14), directed by Overtree.
I’ll post a link when it’s available.
“Found is an original musical based on scores of surprising and eccentric discarded notes and letters that have been ‘found’ in the real world by every-day people. Inspired by actual events, the show follows Davy who, along with his two best friends, is lost and broke. When he finds a strangely revealing note on his windshield meant for someone else, it sparks an outlandish idea that finds him and his compatriots on a wild, comedic journey. By bringing a host of real notes and letters from Davy Rothbart’s popular Found Magazine to irreverent theatrical life, this raucous and insightful new musical tells a story of ambition, betrayal and loyalty while celebrating the weirdness in all of us.”
A developmental workshop of Craig Lucas, Dan Messe & Nathan Tysen’s Amelie will take place July 18 – Aug. 15 in NYC, directed by Pam MacKinnon.
The musical is adapted from the award-winning 2001 film that starred Audrey Tautou as a shy waitress with a wild imagination.
Additional information is forthcoming.
North Hollywood’s Road Theatre Company presents Maura Campbell’s Flower Duet, to run May 31 – July 27 (opening June 6) at the Road Company on Magnolia, directed by Jeffrey Wienckowski.
Cast: Avery Clyde, Adam Mondschein, Jessica Noboa, Patrick Reiger and Kara Hume.
“A careless act of infidelity sends the lives of two couples spiraling out of control. Flower Duet is a ferocious new comedy that spans 20 years of love, friendship, betrayal and heartbreak in the lives of two passionate opera singers whose relationships prove to be just as dramatic as the music they sing.”
Peccadillo Theater Company presents the first NY revival of William Inge’s A Loss of Roses, to run May 8 – June 7 (opening May 12) at Off-Broadway’s Theatre at St. Clements, directed by Dan Wackerman.
Cast: Deborah Hedwall, Patricia Hodges, Ben Kahre, Jean Lichty, Gregory Perri, Fina Strazza, Jonathan Stewart, Kristen Sweeney and Marty Thomas.
“A poignant story of a young man’s struggle for independence and an older woman’s search for connection. Set against the backdrop of a small mid-western town in the 1930’s, their unconventional romance is filled with the promise of new beginnings as well as the possibility of scandal and rejection.”
Performers: Alex Brightman, Matt Doyle, Molly Hager, Bryan Terrell Clark, Bonnie Milligan, Sam Tadaldi, Marty Thomas and Mariand Torres.
Utah’s Pioneer Theatre Company has announced its 2014-15 season:
* The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Sept. 12-27)
* The Rocky Horror Show (Oct. 24-25)
* One Man, Two Guvnors (Oct. 31 – Nov. 15)
* Peter and the Starcatcher (Dec. 5-20)
* Albany Story (Jan. 9-24), by Kenneth Jones
* The Crucible (Feb. 13-28)
* I Hate Hamlet (Mar. 30 – Apr. 4)
* The Music Man (May 1-16)
Costa Mesa’s South Coast Rep has announced its Pacific Playwrights Festival (Apr. 25-27):
* Zealot (Apr. 25, 1 PM), by Theresa Rebeck, directed by Marc Masterson. Cast: Omid Abtahi, Tala Ashe, Adam El-Sharkawi, Penny Johnson Jerald and Alan Smyth.
* Future Thinking (Apr. 25, 3:30 PM, by Eliza Clark, directed by Lila Neugebauer. Cast: Greg Derelian, Enver Gjokaj, Arye Gross, Linda Gehringer and Justine Lupe.
* Mr. Wolf (Apr. 26, 10:30 AM), by Rajiv Joseph, directed by Matt Shakman. Cast: Mia Barron, John de Lancie, Kaitlyn Dever, Laura Heiser and Jon Tenney.
* Of Good Stock (Apr. 27, 10:30 AM), by Melissa Ross, directed by Lynne Meadow.
* Rest (Apr. 25-26), by Samuel D. Hunter, directed by Martin Benson.
* Five Mile Lake (Apr. 25-27), by Rachel Bonds, directed by Daniella Topol.
* The Purple Lights of Joppa Illinois (Apr. 25-27), written & directed by Adam Rapp.
Video: Murder for Two welcomes Hedwig and the Angry Inch to Broadway.
Producer Jeffrey Finn (Seminar, The Realistic Joneses) announced that An Act of God, the stage adaptation of The Last Testament: A Memoir By God, is headed to Broadway. The new Broadway comedy is based on the critically acclaimed book, which was written by God and scribed by David Javerbaum, an 11-time Emmy Award winner for his work as a head writer and executive producer for “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”.
Finn says the identity of the actor whose body God will borrow for the show has yet to be determined, though he admitted the Lord’s first choice - Oprah Winfrey - had already passed “despite numerous divine entreaties.” Creative team and casting will be announced at a later date.
When reached for comment, God released the following statement through His press agent:
“Lo, I am thrilled to be making My Broadway debut. I verily hope it leads to more show business opportunities for Me, particularly in Hollywood, into which I have not been allowed up to this point. This play will help clear up the fallacy that I’m old-fashioned and holier-than-thou and instead reveal the true Me: up-to-date and holier-than-you. In short, thou shalt run, not walk, to see An Act Of God.”
Article: Daisy Eagan responds to Ben Brantley’s negative remarks in his review of Broadway’s Of Mice and Men.
Additional casting has been announced for Shakespeare in Love, based on the screenplay by Marc Norman & Tom Stoppard. and adapted by Lee Hall, to begin previews July 2 and open July 23 at London’s Noël Coward Theatre, directed by Declan Donnellan, with music direction by Tim Van Eyken.
Previously announced: Tom Bateman and Lucy Briggs-Owen.
Newly announced: Ian Bartholomew, Tony Bell, Anna Carteret, Paul Chahidi, David Ganley, Richard Howard, Harry Jardine, Abigail McKern, David Oakes, Patrick Osborne, Alistair Petrie, Doug Rao, Ferdy Roberts and Colin Ryan, with Daisy Boulton, Ryan Donaldson, Janet Fullerlove, Sandy Murray, Timothy O’Hara, Thomas Padden, Elliott Rennie, Charlie Tighe, and Gaiety the dog, with more TBA.