Thursday, March 29, 2012

 

TODAY’S HIGHLIGHTS:

* Newsies, starring Jeremy Jordan, John Dossett and Andrew Keenan-Bolger, opens on Broadway at the Nederlander Theatre.

* Maple and Vine, starring Emily Donahoe and Nelson Lee, opens at San Francisco’s A.C.T.

* Doubt opens at Philadelphia’s Walnut Street Theatre.

* A.C.T.’s  First Date opens at Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre.

* Legally Blonde opens at Elmsford’s Westchester Broadway Theatre.

* Nice Work If You Can Get It, starring Matthew Broderick and Kelli O’Hara, begins previews on Broadway at the Imperial Theatre.

* Creditors begins previews at Ensemble Theatre Company of Santa Barbara.

* “The Big Lebowski” reading, starring Hank Azaria, Patton Oswalt and Nick Kroll, at 7:30 PM at the LA County Museum of Art.

* MAC Awards presented, hosted by Jason Graae, at 7:30 PM at NYC’s BB King Blues Club & Grill.

* Broadway Sessions concert, featuring DC Anderson, Talitha Farrow, Jennifer Wren, and more, at 11 PM at NYC’s Laurie Beechman Theatre.

* Unexpected Joy private reading, featuring Lillias White and Annie Golden, at NYC’s Hudson Guild Theatre.

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Reviews for Off-Broadway’s Now. Here. This.

NY Times (Charles Isherwood):  “Good news, ardent fans of offbeat musical theater. The lovable gang from [title of show] is back with an endearingly goofy new diversion called Now. Here. This. Thin as a vanilla wafer but just as sweet, it opened on Wednesday night at the Vineyard Theater…”

Variety (Steven Suskin):  “Now. Here. This. is likable enough, and a couple of steps up from the quartet’s cult-fave outing [title of show], but still doesn’t quite deliver on its lofty aspirations. It’s like watching someone else’s group therapy session, albeit one filled with interesting personalities.”

Backstage (David Sheward):  “If you want a self-help seminar, Now. Here. This. is ready to help you realize your potential. The cast and creators of “[title of show],” that bubbly little gem of metatheater that journeyed from off-off to off to on Broadway, have reunited for this exploration of self-realization, friendship, family, evolution, tribal identity, and the creation of the universe. If that sounds like a rather full menu for a 90-minute musical revue, it is. There are witty and sparkling moments to savor, but the creative personnel have taken on so much material and given it such a feel-good, crunchy-granola spin that the show comes across as more of an empowerment lecture than an entertainment.”

NY Post (Elisabeth Vincentelli):  “But despite amusing lines and some tuneful numbers, the navel-gazing Now. Here. This. too often grates where its predecessor charmed.”

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NYC’s Shakespeare in the Park has announced additional casting for As You Like It and Into the Woods:

As You Like It (June 5-30):  Directed by Daniel Sullivan, the cast features Lily Rabe (Rosalind), MacIntyre Dixon (Adam), Renee Elise Goldsberry(Celia), Omar Metwally (Oliver), Stephen Spinella (Jaques) and David Furr (Orlando).  Steve Martin will provide the musical score.

Into the Woods (July 23 – Aug. 25):  Directed by Timothy Sheader, the cast features Jessie Mueller (Cinderella), Jack Broderick (Narrator), Gideon Glick (Jack), Cooper Grodin (Rapunzel’s Prince), Ivan Hernandez (Cinderella’s Prince/Wolf), Tina Johnson (Granny), Josh Lamon (Steward), Laura Shoop (Cinderella’s Mother) and Tess Soltau (Rapunzel).  Casting for the roles of The Witch, The Baker and The Baker’s Wife, Little Red and the Mysterious Man have not been announced.

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Video:  “Seize the Day” from Newsies.

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Encores! production of Pipe Dream will be recorded live during its run this week, with a summer release (date TBA) on Ghostlight Records.

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The Kennedy Center has announced casting for its production of First You Dream: The Music of Kander & Ebb, which will play the Eisenhower Theater June 8 – July 1, opening June 13.

The musical revue, directed by Eric Schaeffer, will star Heidi Blickenstaff, James Clow, Alan H. Green, Leslie Kritzer, Patina Millerand Matthew Scott.

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Win opening night tickets to Clybourne Park on Broadway!

Win tickets to Opening Night with Instagram, the fun and quirky way to share your life with friends through pictures.  Seizing on one of the play’s themes – how we each see the essential touchstones of our communities – the production is asking participants to capture the “Heart of a Neighborhood” via Instagram.  Snap a photo and choose a filter to transform the look and feel of the shot into a memory to keep around forever.

Contestants of the “Heart of a Neighborhood” challenge are asked to take a photo that captures something unique about their own community or a neighborhood of their past, using Instagram, and write a caption that includes the location and the tags #ClybournePark #HeartOfNeighborhood #Instagram. One lucky winner will be selected at random to receive a VIP package that includes two tickets to Clybourne Park’s Opening Night performance and party on Thurs. April 19, and a copy of the winning Instagram photo signed by the cast.  The deadline to enter is April 9 at 11:59 PM (winner will be notified at  twitter.com/ClybournePark within 24 hours).

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In London’s Matilda, Hayley Flaherty and Steve Furst will take over from Lauren Ward and Paul Kaye, respectively, as Miss Honey and Mr. Wormwood, beginning performances April 17 at the Cambridge Theatre.

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Thirty schools across the country are competing to be selected for the second phase of the  “Smash”: Make a Musical Program, an initiative backed by the new Broadway-themed NBC series, that will help produce musicals in underserved schools.

A second round of 30 schools has now been announced as finalists for the next wave of Make a Musical programming. The public has been invited to vote on which schools will earn one of the next ten slots. Click here to browse the schools and vote. Winners will be selected May 7.

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Whoopi Goldberg will join the cast of “Glee” for a multi-episode arc (beginning May 1) as Carmen Tibideaux, a theatre veteran and professor at the New York Academy of Dramatic Arts, the fictional school that Rachel (Lea Michele) and Kurt (Chris Colfer) have applied to.

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Video:  Highlights from the dress rehearsal of Pipe Dream.

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NYC’s The Town Hall (built in 1921) has been designated as a National Historic Landmark.

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The New Group will present a one-night-only benefit reading of Tom Eyen’s  Women Behind Bars May 7 at 7 PM at Off-Broadway’s Acorn Theatre. Information and ticketsbrandon@thenewgroup.org.

Directed by Scott Elliott, the cast will feature Charles Busch, Janeane Garofalo,  Nancy Giles, Josh Hamilton, Natasha Lyonne, Cynthia Nixon, Rosie O’Donnell,  Rosie Perez, Rhea Perlman, Chloë Sevigny and Jennifer Tilly.

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Potted Potter, the unauthorized London theatre production based on the popular “Harry Potter” literary series, may cast its spell Off-Broadway, according to the New York Times.

The two-man comedy played a 2011 summer engagement at London’s Garrick Theatre as part of a U.K. national tour. Written and performed by Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner, Potted Potter distills all seven Harry Potter books into 70 minutes.

The Times reports that Clarkson, Turner and producer Corey Ross are working on a deal to play an Off-Broadway summer engagement at the Little Shubert Theatre on 42nd Street.

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MCC’s Miscast gala on March 26 featured the following performances:

Jonathan Groff- “The Music that Makes Me Dance” (Funny Girl)
Nicole Parker – “Soliloqy” (Carousel)
Nikki M. James – “What More Can I Say?” (Falsettos)
Walter Bobbie – “If He Walked into My Life” (Mame)
Megan Hilty – “Mean to Me” (Ain’t Misbehavin)
Josh Gad & Rory O’Malley – “For Good” (Wicked)
Constantine Maroulis – “Home” (The Wiz)
Jan Maxwell – “The Confrontation” (Jekyll & Hyde)
Adriane Lenox – “When She Loved Me” (“Toy Story 2″)
Nicole Parker – “On My Own” (Les Miserables)
Constantine Maroulis – “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” (Dreamgirls)
Jonathan Groff & Dancer Ensemble – “Anything Goes” (Anything Goes)

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The New York Philharmonic’s Anywhere I Wander: The Frank Loesser Songbook on March 26 featured the following performances:

“A Bushel and A Peck”: John Bolton, Bernard Dotson, Michael Seelbach
“Ooh, My Feet”: Mary Testa
“Joey, Joey, Joey”: Marc Kudisch
“I Hear Music”: Ann Hampton Callaway
“Rosabella”: Bryn Terfel
“Standing on the Corner”: Jason Danieley, John Bolton, Bernard Dotson, Michael Seelbach
“My Heart is So Full of You”: Bryn Terfel, Victoria Clark
“Anywhere I Wander”: Victoria Clark
“I’m Hans Christian Andersen”: Marc Kudisch
“What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?”: Mary Testa
“On a Slow Boat to China”: Jason Danieley
“If I Were A Bell”: Victoria Clark
“Adelaide’s Lament”: Mary Testa
“Luck Be A Lady”: Marc Kudisch, John Bolton, Bernard Dotson, Michael Seelbach
“Once in Love with Amy”: John Bolton
“Never Will I Marry”: Jason Danieley
“I Wish I Didn’t Love You So”: Ann Hampton Callaway
“I Believe In You”: Robert Morse, John Bolton, Bernard Dotson, Michael Seelbach
“Spring Will Be A Little Late This Year”: Jo Sullivan Loesser
“Baby, It’s Cold Outside”: Full Company

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“Smash” producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron will make their first appearance on “Theater Talk” March 30 at 1 AM ET on WNET/13.

Additional broadcasts will air on CUNY TV March 31 at 8:30 PM, April 1 at 12:30 PM and April 2 at 7:30 AM, 1:30 PM and 7:30 PM. (CUNY TV, the City University of New York television station, is carried in New York on Channel 75 on Time Warner and Cablevision, Channel 77 on RCN, and on Channel 30 on Verizon FiOS.) The show is  also available online at cuny.tv and theatertalk.org.

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The Fix, Dana P. Rowe and John Dempsey’s political rock musical about the grooming of a presidential candidate, will receive its West Coast premiere April 24 – May 20, opening April 27, at Long Beach’s International City Theatre, directed by Randy Brenner.

The cast features Sal Mistretta, Alix Korey and Adam Simmons, along with Jay Donnell, Melanie Fernandez, Stephanie Hayslip, David Michael Laffey, William T. Lewisand Carrie St. Louis.

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Audio:  Ted Chapin interviews Bobby Lopez.

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The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis has announced its 2012-13 season:

Brighton Beach Memoirs, directed by Steven Woolf (Sept. 5-30), Daddy Long Legs, directed by John Caird (Oct. 10 – Nov. 4), The Foreigner, directed by Ed Stern (Nov. 28 – Dec. 23), Good People, directed by Seth Gordon (Jan. 2-27), Sense and Sensibility, directed by Jon Jory (Feb. 6 – March 3), and Double Indemnity, directed by Michael Evan Haney (March 13 – April 7).

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Upcoming at Barrington, MA’s Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center:

* Faith Prince will offer her latest solo evening, Total Faith, July 21 at 8 PM.

* Barbara Cook will be joined by John Pizzarelli for a special evening of song on Aug. 4 at 8 PM.

* Judy Collins will be joined by songwriter Jimmy Webb Aug. 26 at 7 PM.

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Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival has announced the details of its inaugural season. Performances will take place throughout the summer at three venues in Auburn, New York (Merry-Go-Round Playhouse, Auburn Public Theatre and Theatre Mack at the Cayuga Museum):

Kiss Me, Kate (May 30 – June 20), Altar Boyz (June 6-30), 9 to 5 (June 27 – July 18), My Mother’s Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding (July 5-28), My Fair Lady (July 25 – Aug. 15), Fingers & Toes (Aug. 1-18), Cabaret (Aug. 22 – Sept. 8), The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Sept. 12-29) and Nunsense (Oct. 3-20).

The festival will also feature a musical development series called The Pitch (June 14 – Aug. 18), which gives the audience the opportunity to provide feedback on 20 new musicals. At The Pitch performances, teams of three will receive 40-50 minutes to pitch their ideas using vignettes of the show.

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Graham Bickley, Anna-Jane Casey, Ruthie Henshall, and Tim Howar will headline a concert version of Guys and Dolls to be offered at London’s Cadogan Hall, Aug. 22-25. Richard Balcombe will direct the performances, which will also feature the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus.

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Casting has been announced for the Mon. April 9 edition of Celebrity Autobiography: The Next Chapter, at 7 PM at The Triad.

Performers include Mario Cantone, Gina Gershon, Darrell Hammond, Jackie Hoffman, Eugene Pack, Dayle Reyfel, Steve Schirripa, Brooke Shields, Jennifer Tilly, and Alan Zweibel.

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Brian Dennehy, Nathan Lane and Charles Newell will be honored at the annual gala for the League of Chicago Theatres, to be held at the JW Marriott Chicago on May 14 at 5:30 PM.

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Patricia Hodge and Nicholas Le Prevost will star in Arthur Wing Pinero’s Dandy Dick, which will launch a U.K. tour with an engagement at Theatre Royal Brighton June 28 – July 7. Christopher Luscombe will direct the production, which also plans a West End run.

Other tour cities include Richmond, Aylesbury, Bromley, Woking, Glasgow, York, Birmingham and Manchester.

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According to the New York Times, Bill Sherman, Rajiv Joseph and Kirsten Childs will collaborate on a new musical project entitled Fly, which will be a darker re-telling of Peter Pan and will premiere at Dallas Theater Center July 2 – Aug. 18, 2013. Jeffrey Seller will direct, with choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler

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The national tour of American Idiot will play Costa Mesa’s Segerstrom Center May 29 – June 3.

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The Smith Center for the Performing Arts has announced productions for its first ever, full-length Broadway Las Vegas season:

La Cage Aux Folles (Aug. 14-19), Wicked (Aug. 29 – Oct. 7), The Addams Family (Nov. 20 – 25), Anything Goes (Feb. 5-10), West Side Story (Feb. 26 – March 3), Shrek The Musical (March 19-24), Beauty and the Beast (April 16-21), Billy Elliot (May 14-19), American Idiot (June 11-16), and Catch Me If You Can (June 18-23).

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The Philadelphia Theatre Company will present Seminar and The Mountaintop as part of its 2012-13 season. Dates and casting, along with the remainder of the season, will be announced shortly.

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London’s National Theatre has confirmed its spring and summer schedule:

* The Last of the Haussmans, a new play by actor-turned-debut playwright Stephen Beresford, will begin performances June 12 prior to an official opening June 19 in the Lyttelton Theatre, presented as part of the London 2012 Festival. Howard Davies will direct a cast that includes Rory Kinnear, Matthew Marsh, Helen McCrory and Julie Walters.

* Timon of Athens begins performances July 10, prior to an official opening July 17, as part of the National’s Travelex £12 Tickets season and as one of the NT’s contributions to the World Shakespeare Festival.  Nicholas Hytner directs Simon Russell Beale in the title role, along with Martin Chamberlain, Jason Cheater, Stavros Demetraki, Paul Dodds, Deborah Findlay, Ciaran McMenamin and Nick Sampson.

* The Doctor’s Dilemma begins performances in the Lyttelton Theatre July 17, prior to an official opening July 24. Nadia Fall directs a cast that includes Tom Burke, Aden Gillett, Paul McLeary, Genevieve O’Reilly and Malcolm Sinclair. George Bernard Shaw’s play looks at the dubious ethics of the men who play God.

* The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, adapted by Simon Stephens from the novel by Mark Haddon, begins performances July 24 prior to an official opening Aug. 2 in the Cottesloe Theatre, as part of the London 2012 Festival. Marianne Elliott, currently represented on Broadway by her co-direction of War Horse, directs a cast that includes Matthew Barker, Niamh Cusack, Maggie Service, Nick Sidi, Una Stubbs, Luke Treadaway, Nicola Walker and Howard Ward.

* London Road, originally premiered at the National’s Cottesloe in 2011, returns to the larger Olivier Theatre as part of the Travelex £12 Tickets season, beginning performances July 28 and playing in rep through Sept. 6. Directed by Rufus Norris, original cast members returning include Clare Burt, Kate Fleetwood, Hal Fowler, Nick Holder, Claire Moore, Michael Shaeffer, Nicola Sloane, Paul Thornley and Duncan Wisbey.

* The Count of Monte Cristo, adapted by Richard Bean, begins performances Nov. 17 prior to an official opening Nov. 27 in the Olivier Theatre. It marks the National Theatre directorial debut of Timothy Sheader, who is re-staging his Regent’s Park production of Into the Woods at Central Park’s Delacorte Theater this summer.

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Torrington, CT’s Warner Theatre will present An Evening with Tom Wopat and Linda Eder on April 26 at 8 PM.

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