Friday, April 6, 2012

 

THIS WEEKEND’S HIGHLIGHTS:

Friday, April 6

* Stockard Channing returns to Other Desert Cities at Broadway’s Booth Theatre.

* The Prince of Atlantis opens at Costa Mesa’s South Coast Rep.

* Judy Garland’s The Lost Easter Special, starring Peter Mac, opens at Hollywood’s French Market (7985 Santa Monica Blvd.).

* One Man, Two Guvnors, starring James Corden, begins previews at Broadway’s Music Box Theatre.

* Ladies in Lavender, starring Hayley Mills and Belinda Lang, begins previews at Northampton’s Royal & Derngate.

* In Masks Outrageous and Austere, featuring Shirley Knight and Alison Fraser, begins previews at NYC’s Culture Project.

* A Celebration of Harold Pinter fundraiser, starring Julian Sands and directed by John Malkovich, at 8 PM at LA’s Odyssey Theatre (through April 8).

* Tommy Walker joins the cast of NEWSical the Musical: End of the World Edition at Off-Broadway’s Kirk Theatre.

* Leslie Uggams‘ solo show Uptown Downtown is now available on CD and mp3.  Order both here.

Saturday, April 7

* Fish Men begins performances at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre.

* The Bungler opens at Pasadena’s A Noise Within.

* Early and Often opens at LA’s Open Fist Theatre.

* Time Stands Still begins previews at Minneapolis’ Guthrie Theatre.

* Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Freestyle Love Supreme concert at 7:30 PM at NYC’s Gramercy Theatre.

* A Farewell to the Theatre, world premiere by Richard Nelson and starring Ben Chaplin, closes at London’s Hampstead Theatre.

* Legally Blonde closes at the West End’s Savoy Theatre.

* The Glorious Ones closes at London’s Landor Theatre.

* Short Shakespeare! The Taming of the Shrew closes at Chicago Shakespeare Theater.

* Rutherford & Son, starring Robert Hogan, closes at Off-Broadway’s Mint Theatre.

* Private Eyes, starring an entirely blind cast, closes at Santa Monica’s Promenade Playhouse.

Sunday, April 8

* Psycho Therapy re-opens at Off-Broadway’s Cherry Lane Theatre.

* Roundabout‘s Look Back in Anger,  starring Adam Driver, Charlotte Parry and Matthew Rhys, closes at Off-Broadway’s Laura Pels Theatre.

* Ah, Wilderness! closes at DC’s Arena Stage.

* Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, starring Yvette Freeman, closes at Boston’s Huntington Theatre Company.

* The Birds closes at Minneapolis’ Guthrie Theatre.

* Re-imagined Camino Real closes at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre.

* Mamma Mia! closes at LA’s Pantages Theatre.

* No Place to Go closes at the Public Theatre.

* Sister’s Easter Catechism: Will My Bunny Go to Heaven?, written by and starring Maripat Donovan, closes at Laguna Playhouse.

* MCC Theater‘s Carrie, starring Marin Mazzie and Molly Ranson, closes at Off- Broadway’s Lucille Lortel Theatre.

* Tyler Perry’s The Haves and the Have Nots closes at NYC’s Beacon Theatre.

* The Whipping Man, featuring Josh Breckenridge, Michael Genet and Kyle Hatley, closes at Kansas City Rep.

* Twelve Angry Men, starring Terry Layman, Greg Edelman and Jonathan Hadary, closes at NJ’s George Street Playhouse.

* A Midsummer Night’s Dream, starring Ron Orbach, Tracy Michelle Arnold,
Timothy Edward Kane, Elizabeth Ledo and Tim Kazurinsky, closes at Chicago Shakespeare Company.

* Curse of the Starving Class closes at Philadelphia’s Wilma Theater.

* In This House, starring Chuck Cooper, closes at NJ’s Two Rivers Theater Company.

* Hello, Dolly, starring Sally Struthers, closes at Jacksonville, FL’s Alhambra Theatre.

* Rated P for Parenthood closes at Off-Broadway’s Westside Theatre.

* Steel Magnolias closes at PA’s Bristol Riverside Theatre.

* The Indians are Coming to Dinner closes at LA’s Pacific Resident Theatre.

* It’s Just Sex closes at Studio City’s Two Roads Theatre.

* Clyde ‘n Bonnie: A Folktale, by Hunter Foster and Rick Crom, closes at Lawrenceville, GA’s Aurora Theatre.

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Reviews for Broadway’s Evita:

NY Times (Ben Brantley):  “This just in: Eva Perón is still dead…  Michael Grandage’s revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s Evita, which opened on Thursday night, is from beginning to end so stately and sober-sided that you may feel out of place if you’re not wearing your best black.”

Newsday (Linda Winer):  “And yet, I’ve always had a soft spot for the toughness of the show, which has arrived — again from London — with most of its bold profile and all its brutal, angular, stratospheric vocal demands intact. Director Michael Grandage’s dark, stately staging has more surprising heart and more Latin authenticity than what I still fondly recall from Harold Prince’s vibrant, chilling poster-art original.”

Hollywood Reporter (David Rooney):  “In the assured hands of director Michael Grandage and choreographer Rob Ashford, fresh electricity charges through the poperatic 1978 saga of the immortalization of Argentine First Lady Eva Perón, a juicy anti-heroine captured with teeth and claws in a sensational performance by Elena Roger.”

Variety (Steven Suskin):  “Director Michael Grandage scores with a dynamic new Evita, graced by an impressive performance from Argentinean actress Elena Roger and the ticket-selling presence of recording star Ricky Martin, who acquits himself nicely if not remarkably. The 1979 Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice poperetta comes off fairly well in its first Broadway revival, thanks to a director who doesn’t seem crimped or intimidated by Hal Prince’s striking original staging. That said, the flaws inherent in the material — typified by grasping-at-straws rhymes like ‘That’s what they call me/so Lauren Bacall me’ — remain. Look for boffo biz so long as Martin chooses to stay.”

USA Today (Elysa Gardner):  “Yet the triumph of this Evita, which opened Thursday at the Marquis Theatre, is its accessible, graceful humanity. As played by Argentine actress Elena Roger, reprising her West End performance from 2006, the title character is not the fiery spellbinder introduced on Broadway by Patti LuPone or the glamorous diva Madonna was in the film version. What’s most striking about Roger’s Eva is her fragility and her hunger.”

NY Post (Elisabeth Vincentelli):  “Last night, Evita returned after a 30-year absence from Broadway. The wait was worth it: This is a big, fat, juicy blockbuster of a show.  Naturally, everybody’s flipping out over the hot new bombshell in town. Usually we mean the actress in the title role, but this time it’s the guy who plays the narrator: Ricky Martin — you may have heard of him?  And does he deliver! Despite being vocally underpowered at times, Martin is a supernova of charisma in the key part of Che, a Zelig-like Everyman always hovering on the side of the action. (A country where every man looks like Ricky Martin must get a lot of tourists.)”

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Video:  Highlights from Broadway’s Evita.

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San Francisco’s A.C.T. is set to present the Bay Area premiere of The Scottsboro Boys June 21 – July 15, opening June 27. Susan Stroman will direct.

The cast will feature Hal Linden as The Interlocutor as well as David Bazemore (Olen Montgomery), Nile Bullock (Eugene Williams), Christopher James Culberson (Andy Wright), Clifton Duncan (Haywood Patterson), Eric Jackson (Clarence Norris), Kendrick Jones (Willie Roberson), Jared Joseph (Mr. Bones), James T. Lane (Ozie Powell/Ruby), JC Montgomery (Mr. Tambo), Clifton Oliver (Charles Weems), Clinton Roane (Roy Wright), and C. Kelly Wright (The Lady).

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Jonathan Groff will be featured opposite Alfred Molina in the Donmar Warehouse production of Red at LA’s Mark Taper Forum, Aug. 1 – Sept. 9, opening Aug. 12. Directed by Michael Grandage.

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2012 LA Weekly Award winners:

Production of the Year: Small Engine Repair, Rogue Machine at Theatre/Theater

Revival Production of the Year (20th- or 21st-century work): Peace in Our Time, Antaeus Company

Musical of the Year: Re-Animator The Musical, Red Hen Productions and Schramm Group LLC at the Steve Allen Theater

Direction: Bernardo Bernardo, The Romance of Magno Rubio, PAE Live at [Inside] the Ford

Direction of a Musical: Stuart Gordon, Re-Animator The Musical

Comedy Direction: Bart DeLorenzo, Day Drinkers
Musical Direction: Wayne Moore, I Love Lucy Live on Stage

Ensemble: Small Engine Repair

Musical Ensemble: Re-Animator The Musical

Comedy Ensemble: Margo Veil

Leading Female Performance: Jacqueline Wright, House of Gold, Ensemble Studio Theatre/L.A. at the Atwater Village Theatre

Leading Male Performance: Norbert Weisser, Way to Heaven

Supporting Female Performance: Kate Huffman, 100 Saints You Should Know

Supporting Male Peformance: Michael McGee, Way to Heaven

Two-Person Performance: Blackbird (Sam Anderson and Corryn Cummins)

Solo Performance: John Fleck, Mad Women, Skylight Theatre

Female Comedy Performance: (tie) Maile Flanagan, Day Drinkers… and …Jonica Patella, Turbo Tartuffe

Male Comedy Performance: Daniel Escobar, Room Service

Play Writing: John Pollono, Small Engine Repair

Career Achievement: John Flynn

Queen of the Angels: Ameenah Kaplan

Adaptation: Dennis Paoli, Stuart Gordon and William J. Norris, Re-Animator The Musical

Choreography: Peter De Guzman, The Romance of Magno Rubio

Original Music: Mark Nutter, Re-Animator The Musical

Click here for a complete list of winners.

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Video:  Highlights from The Old Globe’s world premiere musical A Room with a View.

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The soundtrack for the “Rock of Ages” film will be released on June 5.  I’ll post a link for ordering when it’s available.

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NYC’s Iridium will present Luba Mason performing Mixtura in concert May 15 at 8 PM. The evening will be recorded for a live CD to be released at a later date.

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Got a question for Leap of Faith‘s Raul Esparza?  Ask it here.

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LA’s Show At Barre continues its run of For The Record: Coen Brothers, a concert event celebrating the directing team and bringing the movies to life, through April 29. The production is conceived and directed by Shane Scheel and Christopher Lloyd Bratten.

The cast will feature a rotating ensemble including Ginifer King, Anderson Davis, Jackie Seiden, Rogelio Douglas Jr., Milena Govich, Darryl Semira, Steve Mazurek, Dionne Gipson, Danielle Truitt, and Jason Paige.

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Lyric Theatre Belfast presents Tim Loane’s The Civilisation Game — a sparky new comedy which takes a wry look at our so-called ‘broken society’ — playing April 29 – May 26 (opening May 3) at the Northern Bank Stage.

Directed by the playwright, the cast features Alan McKee, Allie Ford, Ryan McParland, Eugene O’Hare and Cathy White.

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Article:  Who will get the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Drama?  Speculation swirls.

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Recently the Les Miserables site listed J. Mark McVey starring as Jean Valjean in the national tour.  However, Peter Lockyer took over the role yesterday.  Also missing in the cast list were Jason Forbach (Enjolras) and John Brink (Ensemble).  The site is now updated.

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Jennifer Holliday has recorded a single version of “Hold On,” the inspirational song from the acclaimed Broadway musical Lysistrata Jones. The song will be heard as a bonus track on the show’s upcoming cast album.  Pre-order the CD here.

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Article:  Bebe Neuwirth on Bob Fosse, Michael Bennett, and more.

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NYC’s Signature Theatre has announced a $10 Million Gift from the Irene Diamond Fund in support of The Pershing Square Signature Center, the company’s new home.

In recognition of the gift, the Center, a Frank Gehry building featuring three intimate theaters, will rename the 299-seat End Stage Theatre as The Irene Diamond Stage.

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DC’s Studio Theatre has announced its 2012-13 season (dates TBA):

Invisible Man, direced by Christopher McElroen, The Real Thing, directed by David Muse, The Motherf**ker with the Hat, directed by Serge Seiden, and one more play TBA.

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Brent Barrett will join Cathy Rigby’s Peter Pan tour as Mr. Darling/Hook. The tour will launch July 10 at Dallas’ Music Hall at Fair Park.

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Josh Young, who is starring as ‘Judas’ in Broadway’s Jesus Christ Superstar after originating the role in both the Startford and La Jolla productions of the show, will be sidelined from the production again, this time for an undetermined period of time, as a bacteria infection which has caused him to miss several performances has worsened into laryngitis.

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Lili-Anne Brown has been named the new artistic director of Bailiwick Chicago. She replaces founding artistic director Kevin Mayes, who has resigned due to recent career opportunities, but will remain a seated board member in a corporate development capacity.

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Ted Chapin will be joined by Debra Monk, Brandon Victor Dixon and Betsy Wolfe, with Andy Einhorn on piano, as they perform selections from the new DRG recording, “Stage Door Canteen: Broadway Responds to World War II” on Wed. April 11 at 5 PM a Barnes and Noble Upper East Side.

Following the performance, the participants will sign copies of the CD.  The in-store event is open to the public Note:  Participants will sign “Stage Door Canteen: Broadway Responds to World War II” only. No other CD’s or memorabilia, please. Priority seating with CD purchase.

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The Daily Mail UK reports that Sheridan Smith has pulled out of the musical version of Bridget Jones Diary.  The show was scheduled for a possible September opening at the Savoy Theatre and had rehearsals scheduled to begin in August. But those plans have been postponed.

Smith’s departure has been labeled a scheduling conflict. She and her representatives claim that the show would keep her away from a growing career in film and television.

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Brian Stokes Mitchell will perform as part of A Gala Performance to End Bullying, to be presented by New Conservatory Theatre Center at San Francisco’s Palace of Fine Arts on Sun. May 13 at 5 PM.

The event, which benefits NCTC’s YouthAware Program, will also feature Yale Whiffenpoofs and the Stanford Mendicants.

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Julian Ovenden will star as J.M. Barrie (a role he played in two London workshops last winter) in a musical version of the film Finding Neverland.

The show features a book by Allan Knee, and music and lyrics by Scott Frankel and Michael Korie.   Rob Ashford will direct and choreograph.

The show begins rehearsals July 30 with a four to five week run scheduled at the Curve Theatre in Leicester in September.

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Jazz at Lincoln Center is set to present Ethel Waters: Blues, Broadway, and Jazz as part of the second season of the Jazz & Popular Song series, May 1-2 at 7:30 PM at The Allen Room at Frederick P. Rose Hall.  Michael Feinstein will direct and host.

In addition to Feinstein, the evening’s performers will include Adriane Lenox and musical director Tedd Firth. Scott Siegel is supervising producer.

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