THIS WEEK @ JK's TheatreScene

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HERE'S WHAT'S NEW:

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, February 27, 2011

TheatreScene: February 21 - 27

DON'T FORGET TO VOTE IN THE NEW POLL, WHICH STARTS ON TUESDAY, MARCH 1st!

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?  BECOME A "FOLLOWER"!

WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED THIS WEEK:

ON THE RADAR: Little Miss Sunshine
Life After Idiot: From Green Day to Green Pastures
RANT/RAVE: The It Gets Better Project and  Priscilla's PSA
CASTING: Sister Act
LOGO: The Book of Mormon
Broadway Crossword by Blog #5: Original vs Revival: The Answers

WINNERS AND ANSWERS TO THE HOW TO SUCCEED TICKET CONTEST! 
Thank you to the dozens of you who entered my first contest ever!  The winners of a pair of tickets to Broadway's How to Succeed in Business (Without Really Trying) are Sarah P. of NYC and Robb J. of Bayside, NY.  Here are the answers:

1.  C. A Chorus Line
2.  B. South Pacific
3.  C. next to normal
4.  A. Michael Greif
5.  B. Fiorello! and E. Of Thee I Sing

BROADWAY BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK:
  • February 21: Tyne Daly, Actor (Gypsy, Rabbit Hole, Master Class)
  • February 22: Trent Kowalik, Actor (Billy Elliot)
  • February 23: Robert Lopez, Writer/Composer (Avenue Q, The Book of Mormon)
  • February 24: Rupert Holmes, Writer/Composer (The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Curtains)
  • February 25: Larry Gelbart, Late Writer (...Forum, City of Angels)

  • February 26: Priscilla Lopez, Actor (A Chorus Line, In the Heights)
  • February 27: Debra Monk, Actor/Writer (Curtains, Steel Pier/Pump Boys and Dinettes)

TOPS AND BOTTOMS (February 14 - 20)
  • Top Gross: The Lion King ($1.534M)
  • Top Attendance: The Merchant of Venice (101.1%)
  • Bottom Gross: Colin Quinn: Long Story Short ($174K)
  • Bottom Attendance: Colin Quinn: Long Story Short (61.6%)
  • $1M Club: American Idiot, The Lion King, The Merchant of Venice, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, Wicked
  • SRO Club: The Merchant of Venice

THIS WEEK IN BROADWAY HISTORY:
  • The Oldest Opening of the Week: King Henry IV, Part I opened on February 25, 1768 at the John Street Theatre.
  • The Longest Time Since a Show Opened: February 24, 1980: 31 years ago was the last time a Broadway show opened on this date.  It was the re-opening, actually, of Whose Life is it Anyway? a very popular play which closed for a few weeks in order to move to the Royale Theatre, and to rehearse a new cast, led by Mary Tyler Moore.  What was so unusual was that the original script and production had a male lead and corresponding female supporting characters.  With the gender-switch came re-writes ans a brand new cast, including James Naughton and Josef Sommer.  This version played a 96 performance limited engagement.

February 21:

  • The Tony Award/Pulitzer Prize-winning Lost in Yonkers opened at the Richard Rodgers Theatre, starring Irene Worth, Mercedes Ruehl and a pretty much unknown Kevin Spacey.  It ran 780 performances.

February 22:
  • One of the most famous flops of all time opened and closed on this date in 1983.  It was called Moose Murders and it starred Eve Arden.  Its brief home was the Eugene O'Neill Theatre.

February 25:
  • 1953: Wonderful Town went five for five at the Tonys, including Best Musical.  It opened on this date at the Winter Garden Theatre, starred Rosalind Russell, and played 559 performances.
  • 1973:  A Little Night Music won 6 Tonys including Best Musical and Best Score.  It opened on this date at the Shubert Theatre, and played 601 performances.

February 26:
  • The Music Box Theatre was the place, 1978 the year.  Ira Levin's master thriller, Deathtrap opened.  By far the most popular play of the season - several, actually - it didn't win any of its 4 Tony nominations.  But it did play 1,793 performances (1,096 more than Tony winning Da).  And Marian Seldes never missed a single performance of it.

  • A 9 month rehearsal period, serious, career-ending injuries to the cast, dancers being cut days before the first preview, a director out of control and demanding, actors signing resignation papers during intermission on Opening Night... no, not Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.  In 1989, the talk of Broadway was Jerome Robbins' Broadway.  It went on to win the Tony for Best Musical, plus five others.  By far the most expensive musical at the time, the show employed 64 cast members.  It ran 633 performances.

February 27:
  • 1997: Last Night of Ballyhoo won the Tony Award for Best Play.  It opened on this date at the Helen Hayes Theatre, where it played 556 performances.
 
  • 2003: Take Me Out won the Tony Award for Best Play.  It opened on this date at the Walter Kerr Theatre, where it played 355 performances.

THIS WEEK IN BROADWAY NEWS:
February 21: 
  • After the producers vehemently denied the hire of a co-director for Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, it was reported by The New York Times that Paul Bogaev was hired to "as a consultant to help improve the performance, vocal and orchestration arrangements, and sound quality of the songs and numbers."  Having seen the show twice, and despite MAJOR improvements in the area of sound (and, therefore, the ability to understand the show) I can say that this is money well spent.  It is also rumored that Bono and The Edge are working on new songs for the show.  All I can say to that is: IT'S ABOUT TIME!  (Please, please, please get rid of the shoes.... please...)  Of course, now there is speculation that the opening will be postponed again.  I have said before that I'd support them up to the March 15th deadline that they, themselves, set.  But if they are really making such drastic steps - script doctoring, song doctoring, sound doctoring - along with the MASSIVE improvements already made, I'll support another delay.  Besides, at this point they have zero to lose, since most people consider it a done deal and ticket sales are still terrific.

  • John Leguizamo's one man play Ghetto Klown began previews today at the Lyceum Theatre.

February 22:
  • It was a great day for casting news:  the entire cast of The People in the Picture was announced today, as was Memphis' announcement that Nancy Opel will be replacing Cass Morgan shortly.
  • And it was more good news for a few working actors:  the yet-to-open Good People  has already been extended by two weeks, while the off-Broadway production of Angels in America has been given a fourth "final" extension.  Wasn't the last one "absolutely it"?

February 23:
  • Idiots rejoice!  And get your audition books ready!  The producers of American Idiot announced today that they are holding open call auditions for the First National Tour.
  • A 12 week limited engagement of Larry Kramer's The Normal Heart will play the Golden Theatre.  IT will star Joe Mantello, Ellen Barkin and it is reported that Cheyenne Jackson is in talks to join the cast.  And with Joel Grey directing (while still co-starring in Anything Goes) let's add him to the list of stars who are better than ever as they grow older!

February 24:


  • The Book of Mormon had its first preview today at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre.  There were a reported three stoppages for technical difficulties.  The New York Times did not feel this was newsworthy.
  • Oscar and Tony Award-winning actress Catherine Zeta-Jones received one of the United Kingdom's highest honors for civilians today.  Prince Charles bestowed a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) on her for her work on stage and screen.  Her husband, Michael Douglas, was with her and they celebrated his turn towards good health following treatment for throat cancer.
  • This year's collection of Broadway Bears was unveiled today.  The auction will be held on March 6 at 7PM, at B.B. King's Nightclub on 42nd Street.  For more information and to bid online, go to http://www.broadwaycares.org/.  Here are a few of my favorites:


Clockwise from Top Left: The Witch from Into the Woods (signed by Bernadette Peters);
St. Jimmy from American Idiot (signed by Tony Vincent, Melissa Etheridge and Billie Joe
Armstrong; Spider-Man from Spider-Man:Turn Off the Dark (signed by Reeve Carney); and
Timon - both actor and puppet - from Disney's The Lion King.
  • James Earl Jones will play the President of the United States when the next revival of Gore Vidal's The Best Man hits Broadway.
  • The Drama Desk Awards will be hosted by La Cage aux Folles' Harvey Fierstein on May 23.

February 25:
  • No day but July 14.  That's when Jonathan Larson's Pulitzer Prize winning RENT returns to New york.  This time it will play off-Broadway (where it all began) at New World Stages.  It will again be directed by Michael Greif, however it will be a completely new production.  Go to http://www.siteforrent.com/ for show AND audition information.
  • And congratulations, Kelsey!  Today Tony nominee Kelsey Grammer and his fiancee Kayte Walsh took to the Longacre stage one last time, where they were married today in a ceremony officiated by Terry Lavell, who also co-stars as one of Les Cagelles in the show.

Buy one of these posters!  It'll
be worth a fortune some day!
  • Musta been some bachelor party the night before... Jeffrey Tambor left La Cage aux Folles as of today; his last performance was February 24.  The official announcement from producers included the standard regrets, and an explanation of the pain to a recent hip surgery over an 8 performance week was too much for the actor.  Other sources were less kind, citing "anguish and anger" over his musical debut.  He felt his singing was inferior to Harvey Fierstein's?  WOW.  Chris Hoch, who was an awesome Lord Farquaard understudy in Shrek, will play Georges until further notice.  And he's yummy, too...

February 26:


  • How to Succeed in Business (Without Really Trying) begins previews today at the Al (Hirschfeld Theatre).  (Just trying to get used to this production's parentheses...)

  • The revival of Tom Stoppard's Arcadia begins its limited engagement with previews starting today at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre.
February 27:
  • After this evening's performance, the majority of the American Idiot original cast of principals will be finished their run at the St. James Theatre.  The "2nd Cast" will begin performances, Tuesday, March 1.  Click on the related article at the top of this blog to see an article all about Life After Idiot.
Comments?  Leave one here, email me at jkstheatrescene@yahoo.com or Tweet me.
Jeff
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