THIS WEEK @ JK's TheatreScene

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Summertime...Took a little vacation! Three reviews coming soon! Amazing Grace, Hand to God and Mamma Mia!

I hope you'll come back for frequent visits, to see new reviews, to share opinions, to take a survey (or two), and to celebrate the shows and show people that have made the TheatreScene!

Jeff

Sunday, November 14, 2010

TheatreScene: November 8 - 14

DON'T FORGET TO VOTE IN THE CURRENT POLL!  IT CLOSES TOMORROW, 11/15/2010!

THE ANSWERS TO LAST WEEK'S WORD PUZZLE ARE AT THE BOTTOM OF TODAY'S BLOG!

LINKS TO WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED THIS WEEK!

NOVEMBER 8
HISTORY:
  • 1990: Six Degrees of Separation opened on this date at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre, where it ran 485 performances.  Stockard Channing and Courtney B. Vance co-starred.

  • 2007:  Hoping to have Producers lightning strike twice, Mel Brooks and company, brought Young Frankenstein to life at the Hilton Theatre.  Despite a run of 485 performances, the show as a flop, losing quite a bit of money.  My favorite review of the show said, "When the curtain opened, the stage vomited scenery, showing me how my money was being spent.  I want to return my ticket!"
NEWS:
  • A Life in the Theatre announced that its life will be a bit shorter than expected.  Instead of closing January 2nd, the play will close November 28.  It really should come as no surprise to anyone involved (see below), but it sure is a shame.
  • No one mourns the wicked, they say, especially when it is such a success (see below).  Wicked adds another feather to its cap as it was announced today that the Original Cast Recording has been certified Double Platinum, signifying US sales of 2 million copies.  Pretty cool, huh?
  • As soon as the season is over at Dancing with the Stars, dancer Mark Ballas will be joining the National Touring Company of Burn the Floor for three of that tour's stops.  No word on whether Bristol Palin will be joining him... yeah, right.
TOPS AND BOTTOMS: (11/01 - 11/07)
  • Wicked is once again at the top of the heap, both in gross with $1.5M and capacity at 98%.
  • Colin Quinn: Long Story Short  was once again short in gross with $87K, and A Life in the Theatre had the lowest capacity at 33%.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Chuck Cooper, Actor (The Life, Finian's Rainbow)

NOVEMBER 9
HISTORY:

The Scarlet Pimpernel
Version 1.0 with Terrence Mann, Douglas Sills and Christine Andreas.

Version 2.0 with Douglas Sills, Rachel York and Rex Smith

Version 3.0 with Ron Bohmer, Carolee Carmello and Marc Kudisch
  • 1997: The Scarlet Pimpernel (the musical version) opened at the Minskoff Theatre.  This was version 1.0.  The show closed and re-opened with a completely revised version, theatre fans called 2.0.  A third version, you guessed it, referred to as 3.0, opened at the Neil Simon Theatre.  When all was said and done, it played a total of 772 performances, closing on January 2, 2000.
  • 2006:  The completely unnecessary revival of Les Miserables opened at the Broadhurst Theatre, for a "strictly limited engagement."  That got extended and extended until it closed after 463 performances.
NEWS:


  • Colin Quinn: Long Story Short opens tonight at the Helen Hayes Theatre.
  • Author Carlos Moore files a copyright infringement suit against the producers of Fela!.  He wrote the book Fela, Fela: This Bitch of a Life, which he claims has been used liberally by the production and director Bill T. Jones.  Moore wants the show closed immediately.  I think we can all assume that Will and Jada are not jiggy with this news.
  • MCC holds a test reading of the revised version of the musical Carrie, which it will produce.  The reading stars Marin Mazzie.  Certain message boards were all afire about her allegedly bad performance.  Pretty interesting since it was a closed reading, and the thread started very shortly after the reading ended.  Turns out one of the posters claims to have heard a bootleg of the reading.  Whatever. (Seriously, it is crap like this that will always make people leery of the validity of Internet sites and blogs, and the like.  We know they are all different, but we all get lumped in together, anyway.)
  • The Pitmen Painters will not be extended at the Manhattan Theatre Club.
  • The lights of Broadway are dimmed tonight in memory of the late Jill Clayburgh.

  • The biggest and best news of the day though has to be that in February, Harvey Fierstein will be replacing Douglas Hodge as Albin/Zsa Zsa in the revival of La Cage aux Folles.  No word yet on who will be his Georges, but this is great casting news.  I can only imagine how fierce his "I Am What I Am" will be!
 
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Ellen McLaughlin, Actor (Angels in America)

NOVEMBER 10
HISTORY:


  • 1993: A ridiculously huge (but still fun) revival of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat opened at the Minskoff.  It starred soap actor Michael Damian.  Critics were not impressed, and this mega-hit from London, which forever added the "mega-mix finale" to the show closed after only 231 performances.  Gerry McIntyre and Marc Kudisch were two of the brothers!
NEWS:
  • Alan Menken received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame today in the Motion Picture category.  The composer had film and stage hits with Little Shop of Horrors, The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast.  Other films of his include Enchanted, Pocahontas, and the soon-to-be-released Tangled.  This season, he will be back on Broadway with Sister Act: The Musical and is scheduled to be on Broadway next season with Leap of Faith.  Congratulations, Mr. Menken!
  • Two of Broadway's favorite divas are ailing, but on the mend, soon to return to their shows: Kristin Chenoweth and Vanessa Redgrave.
  • Casting for Catch Me If You Can is complete, and the leads are exciting and all back from the Seattle try-out: Norbert Leo Butz, Aaron Tveit, Tom Wopat, Kerry Butler and Linda Hart.  I am really looking forward to this one!
  • The Merchant of Venice will officially open on November 13.
  • This season's Tony Awards will be held at the Beacon Theatre on June 12, 2011.
  • next to normal announced today that it will be closing on January 16, 2011.  I am now wearing all purple as I mourn.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Ann Reinking, Actor (Pippin, Chicago, Dancin'), Choreographer (Fosse, Chicago)

NOVEMBER 11
HISTORY:
  • 1971: Neil Simon's The Prisoner of Second Avenue opened at the Eugene O'Neill, where it stayed for 798 performances.  The original cast included three big names of the time: Peter Falk, Lee Grant and Vincent Gardenia.
  • 2001: Perhaps hoping he'd have the same luck 30 years later, Neil Simon opened his play 45 Seconds from Broadway at the Richard Rodgers.  Despite being about my favorite theatre district eatery, the Cafe Edison, and having Marian Seldes and Louis Zorich (both of whom I've seen at the actual cafe) in the cast, the show ran a depressing 73 performances.
NEWS:


  • The Pee-Wee Herman Show opens at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre.

  • The Syfy Channel becomes the lead media sponsor of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.  Perhaps the most logical news about the show to date.  The producers released a few rehearsal photos...looks spectacular!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Jackie Hoffman, Actor (The Addams Family, Xanadu, Hairspray)

NOVEMBER 12
HISTORY:
  • 1917: A play called The Gay Lord Quez opened at the 48th Street Theatre and ran 40 performances.  The name says it all.
  • 1970:  Sleuth, a thriller, opened at the Music Box Theatre, winning the Tony for Best Play of 1971, and running a very impressive 1,222 performances.
  • 1987:  One of my all time favorite flops, Teddy and Alice opened at the Minskoff, where it ran for 77 performances. The cast was superb, including Len Cariou, Nancy Opel, Beth Fowler and Karen Ziemba.  The Wedding Singer/Legally Blonde's Richard Blake was a very little boy in the show.  It also starred the season's "It" girl, Nancy Hume, who never stepped foot on the Broadway stage again.
  • 1989:  One of the best musicals of all time, Grand Hotel: The Musical opened at the Martin Beck Theatre on this date.  The original cast included Jane Krakowski, Michael Jeter, Liliane Montevecchi, Karen Akers, and David Carroll, who famously withdrew from the production as he became too ill from AIDS to perform.  Sadly, Mr. Jeter, who overcame alcoholism and a host of other issues, also succumbed to the disease years later.  The show was so deep with talent that Ken Jennings was in the ensemble, and Mark Jacoby was only an understudy.  A triumph of staging and seamless pageantry, thanks to director/choreographer Tommy Tune, the show finally checked out of the Gershwin Theatre (it had transferred there) after 1,017 performances.
NEWS:

  • Setting off speculation that he might be running against himself for the Best Actor in a Play category, La Bete's Mark Rylance (above) has been announced to star in this spring's London import, Jerusalem, a play in which he starred to great acclaim on the West End.
  • Robin Williams will in fact play the title character in Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo when it opens this spring at the Richard Rodgers.
  • Miss Daisy might be driving awhile longer on Broadway.  Negotiations are underway with the stars of Driving Miss Daisy to continue past their current January 29 closing date.
  • Is anyone really shocked by this news?  Rosie O'Donnell wants to play Miss Hannigan in the 2012 revival of Annie.  Oprah is behind her, it seems.  Rosie's new talk show, set to debut on Oprah's OWN network, already has the green light to work around any Annie schedule that might come up.  Actually, she's be perfect for the role, I think.
  • My beloved Angela Lansbury is going to be an a new film with Katherine Heigl.  Perhaps the classiest actress Ms. Heigl has ever had the privilege to work with?
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Karen Ziemba, Actor/Dancer (Steel Pier, Contact, Curtains)

NOVEMBER 13
HISTORY:
  • 1930:  Grand Hotel: The Play opened at the National Theatre where it ran for 459 performances.  The cast included an actress named Raffaela Ottiano, the namesake of Karen Akers' character in the musical version.


  • 1997:  A little show called The Lion King opened on this date at the New Amsterdam Theatre, as of today, the show has run 5,397 performances.
  • 2003:  One of this century's most famous flops opened on this date at the Plymouth Theatre, where it moped around for 100 performances.  Produced by the beloved Rosie O'Donnell, the show featured Boy George, Euan Morton (as Boy George), Liz McCartney, Jeffrey Carlson, Raul Esparza, and an ensemble that included: Curtis Holbrook, Jennifer Cody, Sarah Uriarte Berry and the "It" boy of the season, Cary Shields.  He has yet to return to the Broadway stage.
  • 2006: Douglas Carter Beane's searing comedy The Little Dog Laughed opened at the Cort Theatre.  It starred Tony winner Julie White, Johnny Galecki, Tom Everitt Scott and Ari Graynor.  I big hit off-Broadway and with the critics, it only managed 112 performances before closing.
  • 2008:  Two years ago already?  Billy Elliot: The Musical took Broadway by storm, at least initially, swept the Tonys and will have played its 836th performance at the Imperial Theatre as of today.  I don't think anyone expected to see the show on the TKTS board on a Saturday night less than 6 months after winning all of the awards.  But it is.
NEWS:

  • The Merchant of Venice opens tonight at the Broadhurst Theatre.


HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Whoopi Goldberg, Actor (Xanadu,...Forum), Producer (Thoroughly Modern Millie, Sister Act: The Musical)

NOVEMBER 14
HISTORY:
  • 1825: The oldest opening of the week:  King Richard III opened at the Park Theatre, starring Edmund KeanIt is unknown how long this production ran.

  • 1996:  Chicago: The Musical opened on this date at the Richard Rodgers Theatre.  The revival would move two more times, to the Shubert Theatre and its current home, the Ambassador Theatre.  As of today the show will have been performed 5,812 times.  An also ran in 1975-76, it looks like this revival will overtake the previous big winner, A Chorus Line, pretty soon.
NEWS:


  • Elf: The Musical opens at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre for a limited holiday run.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Sandahl Bergman, Actor/Dancer (Dancin', Pippin, A Chorus Line) - above, center, upside down in All That Jazz.

ANSWERS TO "A BROADWAY WORD GAME, PART III":

A. CANDELA
B. WAYNE CILENTO
C. ELVIS
D. FINISHING THE HAT
E. SHIPOOPI
F. GREEN
G. YANK
H. WEST
I. MAME
J. DROOD
K. BABY
L. ME AND MY GIRL
M. THEATER
N. SWEET
O. SUNSET

#1:  Little Women on the Verge
#2:  Reno Sweeney Todd  (Interestingly, Patti LuPone starred in revivals of both Anything Goes and Sweeney Todd!  Phew!  only three lines to go...I was afraid I'd miss a week without mentioning her! - For my buddy Tyler.)
#3:  Beauty and La Bete
#4:  Arms and the Man of La Mancha
#5:  Shipping Ice

Comments?  Leave one here, email me at jkstheatrescene@yahoo.com or Tweet me!
Jeff
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