Sunday, January 23, 2011

TheatreScene: January 17 - 23



January 17


November on Opening Night in January

  • 2008: David Mamet's political comedy, just in time for the Bush-Obama election, November, starred Nathan Lane and Laurie Metcalf.  The Oval Office close at the Barrymore Theatre after 205 performances.
  • Praise the Lord!  Spider-Man's advertising now seems to satisfy the Department of Consumer Affairs.  I saw first hand that there is, indeed, a sign on the door of the Foxwoods that states that the show is in previews and opens March 15th.  Overheard on the street, "What's a preview?  Is that like a movie ad?"  So much for educating the masses.  Let's just hope every other new show's advertising is held to such scrutiny.
  • "No room for Mommy stories!"  So sayeth the folks at CBS's "The Talk," when they canned Tony winner Marissa Jaret Winokur.  Come on back to Broadway, 'rissa.  Please don't be a take your Tony and run gal!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: to James Earl Jones, Actor (Driving Miss Daisy, Fences)

January 18

  • 1998:  The highly regarded and beloved (though with a remarkably short run of just 834 performances, and much less for its recent revival) Ragtime opened at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts, current home of the latest Julie Taymor opus.  I bring that up because it was The Lion King, her last mega-show, that eclipsed Ragtime and continues to sell-out crowds more than 13 years later.

Cooper and Radcliffe

  • He has some huge shoes to fill - last time around it was news legend Walter Cronkite - but I think Anderson Cooper is a wise (and very hot) choice for the Narrator voice in the upcoming How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying! revival.  It also starts the most charming guy on Broadway these days, Daniel Radcliffe.
  • How cool!  For one week only - February 1 - 6 - St. Jimmy will be a lady!  That's right, folks!  The week Billie Joe Armstrong is out, Melissa Etheridge will step in.  My buddy Mike has a ticket and will report in on how it all turns out.  Etheridge made her Broadway debut last year in Million Dollar Quartet, but this is her first role.  Rock on, girl!
  • What a way to go!  next to normal set a new house record for Box Office its last week at the Booth Theatre.
TOPS AND BOTTOMS: (January 10 - 16)
  • Top Gross: Wicked ($1.5M)
  • Bottom Gross: Colin Quinn: Long Story Short ($187K)
  • Top Attendance: Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark (100.1%)
  • Bottom Attendance: Time Stands Still (59.4%)
  • $M Club: Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, Wicked, The Lion King
  • SRO Club: Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: to Jesse L. Martin, Actor (The Merchant of Venice, RENT)

January 19

  • The Oldest Opening of the Week: 1852: Paul Clifford, a musical spectacular at the Broadway Theatre.  It lasted an un-spectacular 18 performances.
  • Most Provocative Title of the Week: 1914:  The House of Bondage.  I'm sure it doesn't mean what came to my mind instantly, but that didn't matter either way.  8 performances at the Longacre Theater was all this show could tie down before closing.
  • It Started the "Revisal" Trend:  1971:  No No Nanette, a quaint little 20's show, was resurrected and completely revised (hence the term "revisal") into a gigantic hit.  With screen legend Ruby Keeler starring and screen legend Busby Berkley supervising the look of the production, it couldn't fail.  4 Tonys and 861 performances later, it closed at the 46th Street Theatre.
  • Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown was recorded today by Ghostlight Records.  They had Tweet-by-Tweet coverage of the 12+ hour event.  Pretty cool.  Can't wait for the CD.

For the 100th time... the Cast of Lombardi

  • Despite information given to me by the house staff at the Circle in the Square on Sunday, today's matinee of Lombardi was actually its 100th performance!  Congratulations!
  • In related "news":  How cool is this?  My blog about my Lombardi experience is featured on their website!  What an honor!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: to Veanne Cox, Actor (A Free Man of Color, La Cage aux Folles)

January 20

  • 1975: The original production of The Ritz opened, running  400 performances and earning Rita Moreno a Tony Award for her work in the Terrence McNally comedy.

Two Spider-Men: Matthew James Thomas and Reeve Carney

  • Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark must be making some progress.  The much talked about finale was put in and performed by Spidey alternate, Matthew James Thomas at the matinee on January 19th.  Reeve Carney was set to do it that evening.  Since it didn't make the national news, I think we are to assume it went off without a hitch?  I'm looking forward to seeing it!
  • Fela! co-producer Will Smith is reportedly going to produce an Annie re-make to star his cutie pie daughter, Willow.  No reports that I read discussed just how that red curly wig would hold up to being "whipped back and forth."
  • 54 days until the Broadway Cast Recording of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert comes out.  Way out.  Looks like another CD that never leaves my player.
  • It doesn't open until next week, but the producers of the Melbourne, Australia production of Spring Awakening have released some nice photos to whet our appetites.  Like other countries' productions, the photos are at times much more risque than the tame ones for the Broadway production.  We Yanks are such prudes.  Here are a couple shots.  See all of them HERE.

The Australian Cast of Spring Awakening

  • The subject of my next LEGENDS blog, Bob Fosse, will also be the subject of an upcoming biopic of his life and career.  I have my bowler hat and white gloves all ready for the premiere!
  • Heather Jane Rolff joins the cast of Fat Pig due to open at the Belasco Theatre April 26.  If you've never seen a Neil LaBute play, this is a terrific one to try.  Funny, scathing and very pointed, you'll leave the theatre with a whole new perspective on how we judge others.  Good stuff!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: to Patricia Neal, Late Actor (The Miracle Worker, The Children's Hour)

January 21

  • 2010: A year ago, a revival of Noel Coward's Present Laughter opened at the American Airlines Theatre, starring Victor Garber, Harriet Harris and Brooks Ashmanskas.  The show quietly played its limited engagement run.
  • Looks like things are looking up over at Lincoln Center, which finally has a hit this season with Other Desert Cities.  But with every theatre booked this spring, it's reported Broadway transfer won't happen until the fall when a suitable theatre opens up.
  • The revival of On a Clear Day You Can See Forever might be skipping its previously announced off-Broadway run and go right to Broadway.  If Harry Connick, Jr. really becomes attached to it, I bet it'll happen just like that!

Kathleen Turner and Evan Jonigkeit in High

  • The Booth Theatre will be trading on challenging piece of theater for another, when High starring Kathleen Turner opens this spring.  So explicit is the show that producers advise that patrons 17 and under must be accompanied by an adult.  Interestingly, 17 - 21 year olds will have the front row reserved expressly for them...
  • Evita starring Ricky Martin and Elena Roger has been formally announced for a March 2012 opening!  Look out, Buenos Aires!
  • Theoni V. Aldredge, subject of my first LEGENDS blog, passed away today at age 88.  The Tony winning designer (for Annie, Barnum and the original La Cage aux Folles) of the iconic costumes for A Chorus Line, and Dreamgirls, Aldredge also won an Academy Award for her work on the film, The Great Gatsby.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: to Mac Davis, Singer/Actor (The Will Rogers Follies)

January 22


Kieran Campion and Lily Rabe in The American Plan

  • 2008: The American Plan opened at the Samuel Friedman Theatre, starring Mercedes Ruehl, Lily Rabe and Kieran Campion.  After an extension, the hit play closed at the Manhattan Theatre Club after 70 performances.
  • No news is good news, I guess!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: to Katie Finneran, Actor (Promises, Promises, Noises Off)

January 23


The Broadway Company of Little Women

  • 2005: One of my favorite musicals of this century, Little Women opened at the Virginia Theatre, starring Sutton Foster as Jo March and Maureen McGovern as Marmee.  The Civil War-set show closed after just 137 performances.
  • If anything comes up today, I'll add to this!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: to Chita Rivera, Actor/Dancer (West Side Story, Bye, Bye Birdie, Kiss of the Spider Woman)


What is it about Wesley Taylor that gets me every time I see his picture?  Feel free to answer for me...

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