Sunday, October 31, 2010

TheatreScene: October 25 - 31




  • 1995: The "egregiously overlooked" company of Victor/Victoria opened at the Marquis Theatre.  Julie Andrews got the last laugh, though.  It ran just short of 2 years and spawned a popular DVD of the Broadway production.
  • 2009: The ill-fated, but critically acclaimed revival of Brighton Beach Memoirs opened at the Nederlander Theatre, where it ran a sad 9 performances.  The repertory play that was supposed to be paired with it, Broadway Bound, never even began previews.

  • Driving Miss Daisy makes its Broadway debut tonight at the Golden Theatre.

  • Librettist Joseph Stein died today at the age of 98.  He won the Tony for Fiddler on the Roof and wrote the books for such musicals as Rags, Plain and Fancy, and Zorba.  His specialty seems to have been writing about the trials and tribulations of the immigrants and small towns.
  • Wicked had both the top attendance (99.9%) and gross ($1.57M) for the week (10/18 - 24/2010).
  • Colin Quinn: Long Story Short with only 4 previews had the lowest gross at $60K.  Lombardi had the lowest gross for an 8 show week, with $139K.  A life in the Theatre had the lowest attendance for the week at 46.5%.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Adam Pascal, Actor (RENT, AIDA, Cabaret)

  • 1932: Eugene O'Neill's play Mourning Becomes Electra makes a brief Broadway debut (150 performances) at the Guild Theatre.

  • 2000: The Full Monty opens at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre, running an impressive 770 performances, though much eclipsed by that season's giant show, The Producers.

  • Rain - A Tribute to the Beatles on Broadway opens tonight at the Neil Simon Theatre.
  • Priscilla: Queen of the Desert opens tonight in Toronto.  Next stop, Broadway!
  • The Pee Wee Herman Show begins its limited (and already extended) run at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Anthony Rapp, Actor (RENT, You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown)

  • 1934: The Most Curious Opening of the Week:  Is it the title - Ted Shawn and His Male Dancers? or is it that it played for 1 performance at Carnegie Hall and is still considered a Broadway show?
  • 1966:  Decades before Avenue Q, an all-puppet revival of, get this, The Threepenny Opera opened on this date at the Billy Rose Theatre, where it lasted 13 whole performances.

  • Say goodbye to the GWB!  In the Heights, one of the best shows of the decade will be closing its bodega, hair salon and limo service for good on January 9, 2011.  The final two weeks - December 25 - January 9 - will mark the return of original star and author of the piece, Lin-Manuel Miranda, who will close the show he started and brought to Tony-winning glory.  When it closes, it will have played 1,185 performances.
  • The Kennedy Center Follies keeps getting starrier and starrier: joining Bernadette Peters will be Linda Lavin, Jan Maxwell and Florence Lacey.  I can see this one getting bigger and bigger.  But let's keep it in DC, OK?  Ragtime...

Jane Connell (in red), Bea Arthur and
Angela Lansbury in Mame (1966)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Jane Connell, Actor (Mame, Dear World, Me and My Girl)

  • 2001: The biggest flop (to date) of Andrew Lloyd Webber's on Broadway opened today at the Helen Hayes Theatre.  By Jeeves came and went with little fanfare or advertising.  And it couldn't fill that tiny theatre beyond 73 performances.
  • 2004:  One of Roundabout Theatre Company's biggest hits opened today at the then new-ish American Airlines Theatre.  The stage debut of Twelve Angry Men kept extending and extending and even spawned a national tour, starring Richard Thomas and George Wendt.
Andy Mientus, Carrie Manolakos, Zak Resnick

  • With Broadway as its goal, one of my favorite musicals of the new millennium, bare, was announced to be having a New York reading soon, directed by Stafford Arima, and starring Carrie Manolakos (Mamma Mia!, Wicked), Andy Mientus ( The First National Tour of Spring Awakening) and Zak Resnick (The Broadway Boys singing group).  This might be one of those show that Ben Brantley talked about today: small and best suited to off-Broadway.  No matter where it is, I will be there!  If you don't know the show, get the 2 CD cast recording (it comes with an awesome DVD about the genesis of the show) which features Jenna Leigh Green, James Snyder and Matt Doyle.
  • Lesley Gore finally brought her party to Million Dollar Quartet as promised tonight.
  • In tribute to the late Joseph Stein, Broadway marquees will be darkened at 8PM this evening.
  • Mark your calendars, Addams Family fans!  March 21st marks the day that Roger Rees replaces Nathan Lane as Gomez.  Bebe Neuwirth has extended her contract.  Looks like the show might stick around a bit longer.  We shall see...
  • Leap of Faith looks to be opening in the fall of 2011 on Broadway!
  • The Las Vegas company of Disney's The Lion King will be closing... at the end of December 2011!  A 14 month closing notice is very generous.

  • The son of theatre legend Helen Hayes and playwright Charles MacArthur, James MacArthur passed away today.  Best known as Danno in the original Hawaii Five-O, he made his Broadway debut opposite Jane Fonda in Invitation to a March, which earned him a Theatre World Award.  He appeared in several Broadway shows including Under the Yum Yum Tree, Murder at the Howard Johnson's, and Barefoot in the Park.  I had the good fortune to see him in the National Tour of Arsenic and Old Lace, in which he played Mortimer opposite Jean Stapleton, Marion Ross, Jonathan Frid and Larry Storch.  (Above, Top Left) Mr. MacArthur was 72 years old.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Cleo Laine, Actor/Singer (The Mystery of Edwin Drood)

  • 1853: The Oldest Opening of the Week: Shylock: A Jerusalem Hearty Joke, a musical based on Shakespeare, opened at Burton's Chambers Street Theatre.  I guess not many people got the joke... it last 4 performances.
  • 1946: Noel Coward's Present Laughter opened at the Plymouth Theatre.  Starring Clifton Webb, it ran 158 performances.  The now-classic play has been revived several times.
  • 1952: Same theatre, 6 years later, the quintessential suspense-thriller play, Dial "M" for Murder, opened and ran a very impressive - and deadly - 552 performances.

  • 2009: A year ago, the critically acclaimed revival of Finian's Rainbow, starring Kate Baldwin and Cheyenne Jackson opened at the St. James Theatre.  Despite its critical approval, the show managed only 92 performances.  A wonderful cast recording was made.

  • Oh, how the vultures descend!  Like chum to a shark, the ugly police sniffed out some trouble when it was revealed that dancer/actor Kevin Aubin (Wicked, Hot Feet) was injured while performing stunts at a group sales event for Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.  It was reported everywhere like it was a shocking, never-seen-before on Broadway event.  For shame!  Thankfully, the community - who likes hits because it means jobs, and who support friends - rallied to its defense.  God bless the Wicked folks who reported that that little mishap was nothing compared to the near daily list of casualties at the Gershwin.  Seems a raked stage is hell on the skeletal system.  And I remember (showing my age, I know) when the big news back in the day was when a performance of Cats went by WITHOUT a replacement going in at intermission.  And let's not forget that during both lengthy runs of A Chorus Line, Paul gets injured fictionally, but that injuries were so likely with that show that physical therapists were backstage working on cramps and pulls every time an actor exited.  I guess my ultimate question about all of this is: all of these people who revel in these mishaps because they are against this show or that also purport to be die hard fans of Broadway.  If that is the case, why such joy at problems?  Why dismiss a show before a single person has seen it?  How many times to I need to read, "I refuse to see Spider-Man.  It is destroying Broadway!"  How so?  By creating hundreds of jobs?  They said the same thing about all of the Disney shows, none of which has run less than a year and has contributed millions to the Broadway economy, including thousands of jobs.  Yes, they, and everyone associated with Spider-Man, Women on the Verge and any other target de jour are rotten and deserving of our ire, not our praise.  BULLS@#T!
  • On a more positive note: Kudos to the producers of The Scottsboro Boys for allowing 1,800 NYC students to see the show for FREE at several special matinees.  This important show has an important message and deserves to be seen by everyone.  How great that these kids will get the experience of a lifetime without spending a dime.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Rufus Sewell, Actor (Rock 'n' Roll)


  • 2003: The Broadway phenomenon, Wicked, opened at the Gershwin Theatre.  As of today, the 7th Annual Wicked Day, the show has played 2,902 performances.
  • The Second National Tour of Billy Elliot, starring Tony winner Faith Prince, begins its angry dance today in Durham, North Carolina.

  • After 4 and a half years, the London production of Avenue Q closes today.  It will begin a UK tour shortly.  Not a bad run for a very American musical.  I guess Internet porn and masturbation are international phenomena.  Small world, isn't it?

Before Glee, Matthew was a
Broadway Bares star!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Matthew Morrison, Actor (Hairspray, Light in the Piazza, South Pacific)

  • 1956: Auntie Mame starring Rosalind Russell opened at the Broadhurst Theatre, and ran 639 performances.  10 years later, the musical version would open at the Winter Garden, but not with Russell.  No, that role went to Angela Lansbury.
  • 2002: Hollywood Arms, the autobiographical play based on the life of legendary Carol Burnett opened at the Cort Theatre, starring Linda Lavin and eventual Tony winner for her role, Michelle Pawk.  Written by Burnett's daughter, Carrie Hamilton, Ms. Burnett had to finish the play when her daughter passed away before the show opened.

  • The Scottsboro Boys opens tonight at the Lyceum Theatre.

  • Trick or Treat!  Kid's Night on Broadway 2010 happens tonight, with free tickets to shows for the kids and trick or treating at various theatre stage doors, plus a tour of Madame Tussauds Wax Museum.  Hosted by Adam Riegler, aka Pugsley in  The Addams Family, proceeds benefit UNICEF.  Does anyone else remember those orange boxes that we used to carry with our trick-or-treat plastic pumpkins, collecting change for sick kids all over the world?
  • And this is a biggie in the "endings" category.  Almost 18 years ago, the Third National Touring Company of The Phantom of the Opera opened and began criss-crossing the country.  Known as "The Music Box Company," the others were "The Christine" and "The Raoul," it is the last production in the United States with the exception of the Broadway company.  Led by Tim Martin Gleason (who I saw in the tour as the most boring, wooden Raoul years ago), the production will close following tonight's evening performance.  And tonight's performance will be its 7,284th.  Impressive by any measure.  Congratulations to all.

(You didn't think I'd miss a chance to put
Patti LuPone in this week's TheatreScene, did you?)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Brian Stokes Mitchell, Actor (Kiss Me, Kate, Man of La Mancha, Ragtime, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown)

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1 comment:

  1. Much more than I expected. A real treat! Such pros are great to watch! An enjoyable night after getting Wicked tickets early.It was had by all of us (Young and old).


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