Sunday, September 19, 2010

TheatreScene: Week of Sepetmber 13 - 19

Funny what you think about when you are lying in bed and feeling sorry for yourself...  I decided that I'd streamline 2 common blogs that I do into one.  My weekly "Bits and Pieces" and my newer "This Week in Broadway History" will be combined now into what you are reading: "TheatreScene: Week of..."  I'll combine historical tidbits and commentary about this week's goings on into 1 weekly calendar of info, snarky commentary and news.  Plus I'll highlight the week's "Beginnings" and "Endings."

My history blog fans...don't worry.  You can get the week's news for each week by clicking on "Broadway Then and Now" above, scrolling to the bottom and picking the week you want to read about.  I'll try this for awhile, and see how it goes.  And, of course, I don't just do this for me, so PLEASE feel free to give me your critiques and suggestions!



  • The Book of Mormon announces that it has booked the Eugene O'Neill Theatre, where it will begin previews February 24 and open on March 24.  Personally, I can't wait.  I could use a smart laugh, long missing from Broadway, since, well, Avenue Q.  Am I the only person on the planet who hasn't seen South Park?
  • Heathers: The Musical gets a starry staged reading/concert at Joe's Pub.  Annaleigh Ashford, Jenna Leigh Green and James Snyder star.

Heathers: The Musical

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Christine Estabrook, Actress (Spring Awakening)

  • 1855: The oldest show to open this week: a revival of The Beggar's Opera, which opened on this date at 537 Broadway, which was then known as Niblo's Garden
  • 1925:  The Jazz Singer opened at the Fulton Theatre and ran for 303 performances.  The work is probably best known as the first talking picture, starring Al Jolson.
  • 1989: The first revival of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street opened at the Circle in the Square, and starred Beth Fowler (Beauty and the Beast) and Bob Gunton (Evita).  It ran for 188 performance, and is notable for opening at the theatre attached to the Uris, where the original production - much larger - made Broadway history.  Of course, we now know Sweeney could get even more teeney!
  • Jordin Sparks officially opened in In the Heights.  The reviews were...mixed.  Let's just say, "Sing: 10, Act: 3".
  • Allyce Beasley begins performances as Mme. Dindon in La Cage aux Folles.
  • Patti LaBelle officially begins performances in Fela!, even though she's played a few already.
  • Angels in America: Millennium Approaches beings previews off-Broadway.
  • Patti LuPone: A Memoir is in stores. La LuPone appears on The View to dish and promote the tome.  Nothing revelatory to fans of the diva: she had an on-off thing with Kevin Kline, and "took batting practice" in her London dressing room after getting ready to go on and finding out by phone that she was dismissed from Sunset Boulevard.

La LuPone and her book.
She looks great, doesn't she?

Her Verge and Gypsy co-star,
Laura Benanti shows her Momma some love!

Tony x 3: a Gypsy reunion!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Zoe Caldwell, Actress (Master Class)

  • 1976: The now classic for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf opened at the Booth Theatre, where it would stay for nearly 2 years and 742 performances.
  • The Stephen Sondheim Theatre is officially lit.  A teary Sondheim spoke after tributes from Todd Haines, Nathan Lane and Patti LuPone, among others.

The great man, himself.

Broadway's newest marquee!

  • Producer Ken Davenport announces that the revival of Godspell coming to Broadway next year, will be the first produced "by the people".  He hopes to collect the entire investment from folks like us (plus a few big spenders, I'm sure) for just $100 a unit, with a ten unit minimum.  So, for a thousand bucks, you can be a Broadway producer!  I guess that leaves out the "I can't afford a discount ticket" whiners, huh?  So, this is either genius marketing (it could be, Davenport is a master) or it has the stink of Max Bialystock.  And you don't even get opening night tickets...  Go to to find out more.  There is a link there, which I have trouble getting to directly, for producing info.
  • West Side Story announces it will close at the Palace Theatre on January 2, 2011 after 742 performances.
  • Minutes later, Priscilla: Queen of the Desert announces it will begin previews at the Palace Theatre on February 28, 2011.  Why can't the housing industry get rid of real estate that fast?
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Michael Countryman, Actor (Mary Stuart, Laughter on the 23rd Floor)

  • Angels in America: Perestroika begins previews off-Broadway, where it and Millennium Approaches will play in rep through February 20.  Michael Greif directs the star-filled cast.  Is this Broadway-bound?
  • Promises, Promises announces a closing date of January 2, 2011.  So far, no one has snatched up this cave, um, theatre.
  • King Kong: The Musical announces its presence.  It is hoping for Broadway in 2013.  My favorite "fan" response to this is a rant about "too many puppets on Broadway."  Really?  Would an ACTUAL giant gorilla work better?  Talk about your overhead costs... not to mention casting...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Molly Shannon, Actress/Broadway Debutante (Promises, Promises)

  • The oddest title of the week and the shortest run of the week goes to 1953's A Pin to See the Peepshow, which ran for 1 performance at the Playhouse Theatre.
  • David Cromer is announced to direct Nicole Kidman in her Broadway return in a revival of Sweet Bird of Youth.  Poor Yank!, another step down the ladder...
  • In what has turned out to be a busy week for our favorite diva, Patti LuPone, Lincoln Center Theatre has released more promo pics for Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.  Odd, bizarre, a little weird and off-putting, these gems speak volumes about wit and tone.  I hope.

Benanti and Burstein...

Mitchell and LuPone

The Women (and their Men) on the Verge

The Principal Cast

  • We Have Always Lived in a Castle a new musical based on a story by Shirley Jackson (of The Lottery, no relation to Bloody Bloody Andrew, I don't think) starring Jenn Gambatese and Alexandra Socha is at Yale Rep through October 19.

The Company

Jenn Gambatese and Sean Palmer

  • Limelight: The Story of Charlie Chaplin announces that Robert Carlyle (Finian's Rainbow) is a co-director, not just choreographer for the show which opens September 19.  It stars Robert McClure (Avenue Q) and Ashley Brown (Mary Poppins), among others.  Is there trouble for the Little Tramp?

Robert McClure and Kirstin Thomas

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Constantine Maroulis, Actor/Singer (Rock of Ages)

  • 1985: Song and Dance opened at the Royale Theatre, starring eventual Tony-winner Bernadette Peters.  It will run 474 performances before closing.  Betty Buckley replaced Ms. Peters, having left The Mystery of Edwin Drood in the hands of an unknown actress named Donna MurphySong and Dance, aside from La Peters, was chock full of dancers who would go on to huge careers: Christopher d'Amboise, Charlotte d'Amboise, Scott Wise, Gregg Burge, Cynthia Onrubia, Gregory Mitchell, Denise Faye, Gen Horiuchi and Mary Ellen Stuart.  The director was Richard Maltby, Jr. and the choreographer was Peter Martins.
  • 2008: The youngest opening on Broadway this week: A Tale of Two Cities starring James Barbour and Aaron Lazar opened in 2008 at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre.  It lasted a mere 60 performances, but is one of those shows that will never really die...
  • Patti LuPone did not make the headlines today.  Or tomorrow.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: James Gandolfini, Actor (God of Carnage)

  • Josefina Scaglione plays her final performance as Maria in West Side Story.  She was Tony-nominated for her Broadway debut in the show.  Come back soon!  You are a wonderful girl!
  • Limelight: The Story of Charlie Chaplin opens today.

The Limelight Company

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Stephanie J. Block, Actress (Wicked, 9 to 5)

So?  What did you think?  Let me know - here, Yahoo, Twitter.


  1. I actually like this format. You can directly compare the historical happenings to what's going on today. Nice!

  2. Why thank you, Miss D! Be sure to let me know about anything you'd like me to add, write about or stop doing. It is fun to change things up!



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