Sunday, November 7, 2010

TheatreScene: November 1 - 7



  • 1944: Now a staple in community theatre and in high schools nationwide, Harvey the play about a man who sees an invisible rabbit opened on this date at the 48th Street Theatre.  The Pulitzer Prize winning play by Mary Chase ran a remarkable 1,775 performances.

  • 2001: A revival of Noises Off opened at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre, where it ran 348 performances.  It is notable for its cast: Patti LuPone, Katie Finneran(she win her first Tony for this), Peter Gallagher, Faith Prince, Edward Hibbert, Richard Easton and TR Knight.  With this much Tony power behind it, you'd think it would have run longer... 

  • Two time Tony-winner Donna Murphy is announced to head the cast of yet another new musical this season.  She will star in Roundabout Theatre Company's The People in the Picture.  With this many new musicals, you'd never guess we were in a recession...

  • Patina Miller (whose 26th birthday is this week) is announced to star in the Broadway production of Sister Act.  She will play the Whoopi Goldberg part, as she did to Olivier-nominated glory in London.
  • The announcement that I look forward to each year, almost as much as Tony nominations day, is when they say who will be in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on NBC.  Well, it was today!  And this year's Broadway shows featured will be: American Idiot, Elf: The Musical, Memphis and Million Dollar Quartet.  No word on what, if any, shows will be on the CBS broadcast of the show.
  • Shannon Tavarez (The Lion King) passed away today at the age of 11.  Click on the obituary link above to read more about this courageous young lady.
  • Colin Quinn: Long Story Short had the lowest gross ($81K) and the lowest attendance (28%) for any show on Broadway the week of 10/25-10/31/2010.
  • Wicked had the highest gross ($1.5M) and the highest attendance (100%).
BIRTHDAY: Beth Leavel, Actor (The Drowsy Chaperone, Elf)

  • 1840: The Oldest (and Oddest Title) Opening of the Week: Buy-It-Dear, 'Tis Made of Cashmere, billed as a "Burlesque Operatic Ballet" opened at the Olympic Theatre, where it ran 30 performances.
  • 1989: The movie to musical thing was in full swing when an all-star cast brought Meet Me in St. Louis to the stage, complete with trolley and ice rink, not to mention a three-story Victorian house!  It lasted 252 performances at the Gershwin Theatre.
  • 2000: One of the longest running plays in recent years, The Tale of the Allergist's Wife opened at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre, where it ran 777 performances.

  • 2006:  For the 2nd time in this short 1st decade of the new millennium, a show boasted "The Best Performance of the Decade" in Christine Ebersole's Tony winning turn in Grey Gardens which opened on this date at the Walter Kerr Theatre.  Before that it was Clark (Light in the Piazza), since then, we've had LuPone (Gypsy) and Ripley (next to normal).  Ms. Ebersole did most of the show's 307 performances on Broadway.

  • Producer Daryl Roth announces that she hopes to bring a revival of The Norman Heart to Broadway this season.  Well, not ANY revival.  The one that was held as a benefit reading, directed by Joel Grey, and starring Glenn Close and Joe Mantello, and a host of Broadway talent.
  • Producers of Houdini the Broadway-bound musical to star Hugh Jackman now has Aaron Sorkin and Glenn Slater attached as book writer and lyricist, respectively.  Directed by Jack O'Brien, the show is slated to arrive in 2012.  The line to see Jackman will form early, so watch here for details!
  • That Championship Season, a Tony and Pulitzer Prize winner, will have a revival in March 2011, directed by Gregory Mosher, and will star Jason Patric (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof), Chris Noth (Gore Vidal's The Best Man) and Kiefer Sutherland in his Broadway debut.
  • Elling begins previews today at the Barrymore Theatre, kicking off a 20 week limited run.
  • Elf: The Musical begins previews today at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre, kicking off a 9 week limited run.

BIRTHDAY: Randy Harrison, Actor (Wicked)

  • 1960: The world was introduced to perhaps Broadway's greatest drinking song, "Belly Up to the Bar, Boys!" when Tammy Grimes belted it out on opening night of The Unsinkable Molly Brown at the Winter Garden Theatre.  Molly eventually did go down with this ship, though, after 532 performances.

  • 2005: The revival of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street helmed by John Doyle and starring (you guessed it) Patti LuPone and Michael Cerveris opened on this date at the Eugene O'Neill.  Many Londoners died during its 349 performance run.


  • The Al Pacino The Merchant of Venice announces that its opening will be delayed due to the absence of Lily Rabe, who has temporarily left the production for a family emergency.
  • Jerry Bock, composer of Fiddler on the Roof and She Loves Me, among others passed away today at the age of 81.  Click on the obituary link at the top of this blog to read more about this theatre legend.
BIRTHDAY: Lois Smith, Actor (The Grapes of Wrath)

  • 1981: The John Golden Theatre was the site of Beth Henley's Pulitzer Prize winning play opening on this date.  Crimes of the Heart ran 535 performances, and was later made into a hit movie starring Jessica Lange.


  • Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown opens tonight at the Belasco Theatre.
  • The lights of Broadway are dimmed for one minute in honor of the late Jerry Bock.
  • The New York Times is reporting that Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark will be delayed by at least two weeks and will change its opening night to sometime in January.  Nothing is official, except that the authorities have not yet seen and signed off on all of the stunts the show will be doing.  Last week, two actors from the show made public that they were injured doing a flying stunt that included being catapulted from the rear of the stage to the front.  One actor broke both wrists.

Arielle Jacobs (left) in Disney's High School Musical

Seated (right) in the National Tour of In the Heights

  • Welcome to the big time, Arielle Jacobs!  After playing the role in the National Tour, Miss Jacobs will make her Broadway debut as Nina in In the Heights.  She replaces Jordin Sparks beginning November 15 and will stay with show until it closes, January 9.  I had the pleasure of seeing her in Disney's High School Musical when she played Gabrielle in that show's National Tour.  She was very good!
  • The National Tour of Dreamgirls announced that it will close in Detroit following its December 26th performance.
BIRTHDAY: Daisy Eagan, Actor (The Secret Garden)

  • 1941:  Just before all hell breaks loose in World War II, Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit makes its Broadway debut at the Morosco Theatre.  Elvira will haunt the place (and the Booth Theatre where it moved to later) for 657 performances.

  • 1987:  Into the Woods, Stephen Sondheim's most successful show to date, opens after a lengthy preview period at the Martin Beck Theatre.  Everyone lives happily "Ever After" for 765 performances!
  • 1995: Zoe Caldwell brings Broadway to its feet as Maria Callas in Master Class which opened on this date at the Golden Theatre.  Eventually, Patti LuPone will replace her in the role.  The play, by Terrence McNally, will run 598 performances.

  • RENT-heads rejoice!  It was announced today that the Jonathan Larsen Tony and Pulitzer Prize winning musical will have a revival (already) off-Broadway at New World Stages, opening in June 2011.  Michael Greif will direct this revival with a cast of unknowns, much as he did originally.  When this production opens, it will have been less than three years since the original closed.
  • Theatre vultures start re-circling...Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark has officially moved its preview start date to November 28 and its opening to January 11.  It really comes as no surprise to anyone.   And though no one will be named in these articles for fear of being fired, the one thing everyone agrees upon is that Julie Taymor is firmly in control.  I really want to believe that, and I believe in her.  But what kind of work environment is going on over there that no one will say who they are?  How villainous!  Maybe 1/11/11 will prove lucky for Spidey...

Holy Double Vision, Batman!  There might be TWO Spideys!
Reeve Carney, left, and Matthew James Thomas, right!
  • In more Spidey news... to add insult to injury, London news papers are reporting that Reeve Carney (above) will only be Spider Man for 6 shows a week and that Matthew James Thomas (above) will be playing the other two.  At this point, and no disrespect to Mr. Thomas, they really need to give everyone who sweated this thing out WITH tickets (some exchanged now three times) a show with all of the leads in it at every show.  A quick jaunt over to the show's website is interesting... injured actor Kevin Aubin's name now appears as part of the cast - it did not when he reported his injury publicly...and aside from the three main characters, no one else has a name or ensemble designation, nor are understudies listed...
  • The lights on the Empire State Building were turned to white red and yellow in honor of the 5th Anniversary of Jersey Boys tonight.
BIRTHDAY: Howard McGillin, Actor (The Phantom of the Opera, Anything Goes)

  • 2005: Jersey Boys opened on Broadway at the August Wilson Theatre five years ago today.  Tonight's show will mark that show's 2,055th performance.  Oh, What a Night! indeed!


  • Jill Clayburgh star of Broadway's Pippin and most recently, A Naked Girl on the Appian Way and Barefoot in the Park.  The prolific actress also appeared very recently in several off-Broadway plays, co-starred in the TV series Dirty Sexy Money, and really made an international name for herself in her Oscar-nominated turn in An Unmarried Woman. On November 5th, she died of complications from leukemia , which she battled for over 20 years.  Ms. Clayburgh is survived by her husband, David Rabe and her daughter, actress Lily Rabe.  She was 66 at the time of her passing.

  • Soul Doctor , a new musical said to be aiming for Broadway, begins performances today in New Orleans.
BIRTHDAY: Michael Cerveris, Actor (The Who's Tommy, Assassins)

  • 1922: Rain (not the Beatles show) opened on this date at Maxine Elliott's Theatre.  The play took place on the South Seas and ran a very wet, but long 256 performances.

  • 1956:  Arguably one of the most important American plays ever written, Long Day's Journey into Night opened on this date at the old Helen Hayes Theatre.  Today it is a classic, and when it opened it was a solid hit, winning the Tony and the Pulitzer Prize in 1957, as well as a Theatre World Award for Jason Robard's Broadway debut.  It ran an impressive 390 performances and has been revived several times.

Alan Rickman and Lindsay Duncan in
1987's Les Liaisons Dangereuses

BIRTHDAY: Lindsay Duncan, Actor (Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Private Lives)

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