THIS WEEK @ JK's TheatreScene

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HERE'S WHAT'S NEW:

Well, my "little vacation" ended up lasting two and a half years... funny how life steers your life in directions you weren't planning on. I'll start off with occasional posts, but I fully plan to resume this blog to full speed by the new year.

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, March 6, 2011

TheatreScene: February 28 - March 6

DON'T FORGET TO VOTE IN THIS MONTH'S NEW POLL (TO YOUR RIGHT)!

 
LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?  BECOME A "FOLLOWER"!

 
HERE'S WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED THIS WEEK:

 
BROADWAY BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK:

 
  • February 28: Tommy Tune, Actor/Director/Choreographer (Seesaw, My One and Only/Grand Hotel: The Musical, Will Rogers Follies)
  • March 1: Larry Keith, Late Actor (Titanic, Cabaret (1998), Caroline, or Change)
  • March 2: John Cullum, Actor (The Scottsboro Boys, Urinetown: The Musical, Shenandoah)
  • March 3: Christopher Body, Actor/Dancer (Movin' Out)
  • March 4: Adrian Zmed, Actor (Grease - original and 1994, Blood Brothers)

 
Jack Cassidy (far right) at opening of
It's a Bird!  It's a Plane!  It's Superman!
  • March 5: Jack Cassidy, Late Actor (Maggie Flynn, original She Loves Me)
  • March 6: Shuler Hensley, Actor (Les Miserables - original, Oklahoma! (2002), Tarzan)

 
ON BROADWAY - IN PREVIEWS AND OPENING THIS WEEK:

 

 
  • Arcadia: Previews - February 26; Opening - March 17
  • The Book of Mormon: Previews - February 24; Opening - March 24
  • Ghetto Klown: Previews - February 21; Opening - March 22
  • Good People: Previews - February 8; Opening - March 3
  • How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying: Previews - February 26; Opening - March 27
  • Priscilla Queen of the Desert: Previews - February 28; Opening - March 20
  • Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark: Previews - November 28, 2010; Opening - March 15
  • That Championship Season: Previews - February 9; Opening - March 6

 
TOPS AND BOTTOMS (February 21 - 27):
  • Top Gross: Wicked ($1.66M)
  • Top Attendance: TIE: How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying; Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark (100.1%)
  • Bottom Gross: How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying ($162K - 1 preview)
  • Bottom Attendance: Colin Quinn: Long Story Short (61.6%)
  • $1M Club: Jersey Boys, The Addams Family, The Lion King, American Idiot, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark and Wicked
  • SRO Club: How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, Wicked

 
THIS WEEK IN BROADWAY HISTORY
  • The Oldest Opening of the Week: 1794: a double bill of "musical comedy spectacle": Tammany and The Agreeable Surprise.  Perhaps the biggest "surprises" were that the show ran a whopping 4 performances and that the cast included five married couples!
  • Funniest Title/Best reference in [title of show]: 1980's 11 preview, 5 performance flop, Censored Scenes from 'King Kong'.  It played the Princess Theatre, and starred Stephen Collins, Alma Cuervo, Chris Sarandan and Carrie Fisher!
  • The Longest Time Since the Last Broadway Opening: March 5.  26 years ago, in 1985, The Octette Bridge Club opened at the Music Box Theatre and ran 24 performances.

 
February 28:
  • 1979: On Golden Pond opened at the New Apollo Theatre, and given what a huge success the play has become and the film that was made of it, how surprising to find out that it only ran 126 performances!  Perhaps this sweet little show was too much for the 42nd Street crowd.
  • 2008: Passing Strange opened at the Belasco.  A critical hit, the show won the Tony for Stew's book, but closed after only 165 performances.

 
March 1:

 
  • 1979: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street opened at the Uris Theatre, winning 8 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Actor (Len Cariou), and Best Actress (Angela Lansbury).  It closed after 557 performances, and Broadway hasn't been the same since.

 
March 2:
  • 1995: Smokey Joe's Cafe opened at the Virginia Theatre, where it played an impressive 2,036 performances.  Even more impressive: it was shut out of the Tonys that year (7 nominations/0 wins) by Sunset Boulevard, but managed to run more than twice as long.

 
March 3:
  • 2005: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels opened at the Imperial Theatre where it played 627 performances.  It was only 6 years ago, but feels so much longer ago...

 
March 4:

 
  • 1993: The Goodbye Girl, one of the most underrated shows of the 90's, opened at the Marquis Theatre, starring Bernadette Peters and Martin Short.  It ran 188 performances.
  • 1999:  Annie Get Your Gun, one of the most overrated shows of the 90's opened at the Marquis Theatre, starring Bernadette Peters.  It ran 1,045 performances.

 
March 5:
  • 1981:  Bring Back Birdie, proof that sequels don't work, opened at the Martin Beck Theatre, starring Chita Rivera and Donald O'Connor.  Even though it ran only 31 previews and 4 performances, it earned Rivera a Tony nomination, and it got a cast recording...  So come on, Elf and Cry-Baby!

 
BROADWAY NEWS THIS WEEK

 
February 28:
  • Another week starts, another New York Times article taking a swipe at Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.  Seems Bono finally got around to coming back to see the show, and this set off speculation (along with a book doctor and an alleged co-director) that the show would again postpone its official opening.  I think that, if indeed, this massive overhaul is happening, than a delay is necessary.  But why does the Times care?  It already has had its say.  Now, maybe they could just shut up?
  • Priscilla Queen of the Desert began previews today at the Palace Theatre.  What a drag!  LOL

 
Clockwise from left: Alan Menken, Douglas Carter Beane,
 Glenn Slater and Cheri Steinkellner
  • With an article that made the man sound like the second coming of Christ in The New York Times, Douglas Carter Beane, was officially announced as co-book writer of Sister Act: The Musical.  This has to be Broadway's worst kept secret.  Well over a year ago, Beane announced he was going to work on the Broadway version after having seen the London version a few times at the request of producers.  I guess for some shows, this is good news; for others a rallying cry to close it!  (For the record, I personally love Beane.  He wrote two of my favorite shows: Xanadu and The Little Dog Laughed.)

 
March 1:
  • Lord Vader Webber's impossibly megalomaniac take on The Wizard of Oz opened in London today, to um, less than rapturous reviews... my favorite was the one that said that Toto looked as bored as the audience.  And big surprise - not - they said the spectacle of a Webber show outweighed the content! Only ALW would think he had the stones to improve a classic.
  • First announced for off-Broadway, then postponed, then cancelled, Michael Mayer's new version of On a Clear Day You Can See Forever has announced that it will go right to Broadway instead.  Opening this fall, the show will star none other than Harry Connick, Jr.  This will be interesting, I have a feeling...

 
  • Broadway good guy Christopher Sieber will save the day over at La Cage aux Folles, replacing Jeffrey Tambor shortly.  He was supposed to return to Chicago  as Billy Flynn.  Another Broadway good guy, Jeff McCarthy will instead make a return visit to that show in Sieber's place.  I love it when Broadway rallies together.

 
March 2:
  • Rock of Ages, the film version, that is, is doing an online search for the role of Drew.  How much you wanna bet Constantine Maroulis will end up playing the part anyway?

 
March 3:
  • Good People by David Linday-Abaire opened tonight at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre.  Produced by the Manhattan Theatre Club, the show co-stars Frances McDormand, Tate Donovan and Estelle Parsons.

 
March 4:
  • Stephen Sondheim will be this year's recipient of the Olivier Special Award at the Olivier Awards honoring the best in London theatre this past season.
  • Dancing with the Stars champion Julianne Hough will be co-starring with Tom Cruise and Mary J. Blige in the film version of Rock of Ages.  Conflicting reports say she will (or won't) be Sherie.  Can't you get excited about the film on just the possibility that Cruise will try to ravage her in the men's room?  (Does that qualify as a spoiler?  If so, sorry.)

 
  • For a show that some people are still doubting will happen, this might just confirm that it is: Wonderland - A New Alice. A New Musical. will be recorded on March 6th for a cast recording release in May.  Apparently, the company is confident that the score won't be what changes during nearly a month of previews, which start March 21 at the Marquis Theatre.  P.S.: The Spider-Man title is no longer the one I hate the most.  Just typing this one makes my fingers hurt...
  • If you have tickets to the July 7,8 or 9 performances of How to Succeed... you better get them exchanged, and quick.  Seems they have to let Daniel Radcliffe go for a few days to promote the final installment of the Harry Potter series.  A wise move, really.  Would you want to feel the wrath of Harry Potter fans against your little one theatre show?  I did read one comment that asked why not just let the understudy go on?  Yes, they could do that, and I'm sure whoever he is is quite fine in the role, but let's face it.  Everything about this production is geared toward Radcliffe's presence.  John Larroqutte, the only other above-the-title name is probably not a huge draw (in comparison) as he's making his Broadway debut and hasn't been much in the public eye since Night Court left the air in 1992, making appeal to almost no one of the Harry Potter age.
  • Kathy Griffin may want a Tony - unlikely - but she will be getting a Broadway extension!  Two shows have already been added.
  • George C. Wolfe has signed on to co-direct (uncredited) The Normal Heart with director Joel Grey, so that the latter can more easily balance his Anything Goes obligations.  That is great news for me... maybe Grey will be in the performance I'm going to the weekend before his play opens... we shall see.
  • And what week would be complete without more bad news for Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark?  This time, it is reported that the show was "slapped" with 3 citations for unsafe work practices by OSHA (this takes the show to the Federal level, not just the city/state level).  Of course, little has been done to make it what it is:  these fines and citations are for the same four incidents that occurred during initial rehearsals and previews.  This has nothing to do with any continued problems with safety at the show, which has remained compliant ever since the initial incidents occurred and new safety procedures were implemented.  If history is any guide, this should propel ticket sales higher than Spider-Man flies.

 
March 5:
  • Colin Quinn: Long Story Short, which was twice extended, closes today after 135 performances at the Helen Hayes Theatre.  HBO will air the show in April.

 
March 6:
  • That Championship Season opens today at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre.
  • John Doyle will use his actors as musicians style on another Sondheim piece - Merrily We Roll Along.  I hope this makes the show work, and if anyone can, it is him.  I also hope that he, like he did with both Company and Sweeney Todd, finds a way to mix it up and not let it be the same old thing.  I am confident!

 
  • Most of the principal original cast of The Addams Family, including Nathan Lane, Kevin Chamberlin, Carolee Carmello, Terrence Mann, Krysta Rodriguez and Wesley Taylor, leaves the show today, with a whole new cast of crazies coming in on Monday.  Lane's replacement, Roger Rees, will play Gomez starting March 22.  I hope tickets sales remain decent.  This is a show that is really much better than the critics said it was.  You will have fun, if nothing else.  Is that so bad?  Snap-snap.

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