Just as the first new show of the season gets started, Mrs. Warren's Profession, the season ahead has begun to fluxuate, as it always does. Sure things are no longer sure things. New shows announce and settle in, other shows postpone. This week has had a flurry of such announcements, and for those of you keeping score, it ended in a tie.
- You Can't Take It with You (Play Revival): When the production that this revival was supposed to be based on didn't happen (at Boston's Huntington Theatre Company), the director (Tony Winner Anna Shapiro) took another job, effectively eliminating the possibility of a fall 2010 opening. The producers also admit that they are having a bit of trouble with casting - something about finding a star to attach to the project. This Pulitzer Prize winner hasn't been on the Great White Way since 1983.
- Postponed: Until Spring 2011. Could still make it this season.
- Chances: I'm going to say 75% that it will happen, but fading...
- Yank! (Musical): Book troubles, not surprisingly, are putting this one off... I'm sure the writer, David Zellnik, is feeling a bit at odds with producers who want a bigger Broadway show. And after three successful productions as it is, he might just be wondering why. The hit York Theatre Company production was great as a small, sweet show, where the limitations of the theatre's size actually inhanced the intimacy and urgency of the show. I loved it there. But I have always said that if it were to go to Broadway, the Helen Hayes and no bigger. There are plenty of ways/places to expand the show - huge production numbers could make sense. But it could lose something in the expansion. And with the show banking on the timeliness of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and "Prop 8", timeliness could be running out. Still both director David Cromer and star Bobby Steggert are said to be fully committed to the project, which ups the ante some. BUT both are very hot right now, and both have to eat... timing will be everything.
- Postponed: Until Fall 2011.
- Chances: 80% with Cromer and Steggert; 50% without or as the "timeliness" factor lessens...
- Love Never Dies (Musical): A dog, albeit a money-making one in London, the Phantom sequel has been in trouble for sometime. First there was Lloyd Webber's health scare. Then the reviews. Now, though no one seems to want to admit it, both Jerry Mitchell and Jack O'Brien, are off the project and onto other things, namely Catch Me If You Can. Then, too, is the rumor that Lloyd Webber wants two different teams to create two new productions for Canada and Australia, and the better of the two get to Broadway... Reality show anyone? It is a curiosity, and I know I'd buy a ticket, but I don't know anyone, aside from those involved who think this is a good idea to begin with.
- Postponed: Not Officially
- Chances: Getting slimmer every day. Still, Spider-Man seemed to make it to production...
Elling's Brendan Fraser and Denis O'Hare
- Elling (Play; begins previews at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre November 2): This interesting little play came almost out of nowhere, but now has a movie star (Brendan Fraser) making a Broadway debut (check), has two Tony winning co-stars (Denis O'Hare, Richard Easton) to add legitimacy to the project (check check), helmed by a director (Doug Hughes) who is both acclaimed and still hot (check check) and a title that is at least odd enough to make people pause and take a look (check minus). The synopsis sounds like a modern day Odd Couple. Welcome aboard!
The Book of Mormon's Matt Stone and Trey Parker
- The Book of Mormon (Musical): I am loathe to admit that the Post's Reidel is usually right with his gossipy columns, and the one he ran about the recent backer's audition for Book of Mormon cites both Stephen Sondheim and Mike Nichols as "doubled over with laughter." If that is true, and the rumor that they have a hold on the Eugene O'Neill Theatre is true, I'd say we have another Best Musical contender this season. And, written by Avenue Q's Robert Lopez and South Park's Matt Stone and Trey Parker, the show certainly has both legitimate and pop culture roots that are valid and sturdy to say the least.
- Probability: Unless every new musical that opens this fall is a BO/critical extravaganza, I would say this one is almost a done deal. I have a feeling that they will announce definites after the dust settles a bit. But look at AQ... who knows?
If Over Here! happens, is Cody Linley in or out?
- Over Here! (Musical Revival): Talk about out of nowhere! While the Sherman Brothers remain relevant with Mary Poppins showing no signs of slowing down, the 1970's show, which was a vehicle for the Andrews Sisters, and took place during WWII, seems totally unexpected. I hadn't even heard a word of gossip about it, since it dropped off the radar late last year, when Hannah Montana/Dancing with the Stars star Cody Linley was attached to a production slated for last season. He seems to be no longer attached.
- Probability: These spur of the moment deals usually happen, and unfortunately usually flop. But hey, Anything Goes and How to Succeed in Business... could use a little competition. And the first time around, Over Here! exceeded expectations, and made stars out of chorus members John Travolta, Treat Williams and Ann Reinking!
And so there you have it. One play and two musicals likely out, one play and two musicals likely in. Ain't Broadway fun?