Sunday, February 20, 2011

TheatreScene: February 14 - 20




(** indicates a blog with a contest question at the bottom of it)

CD REVIEW: La Cage aux Folles (2010 Cast)
Ms. Broadway February 2011: The Fabulous ZaZa!
**CONTEST: Win Tickets to How to Succeed on Broadway!
**CASTING: Wonderland
**The Doctor is In: Spider-Man is Far from the First
Broadway Crossword by Blog #5: Original vs Revival, Clue Set #4

  • February 14: Florence Henderson, Actor (The Girl Who Came to Supper, Oklahoma!)
  • February 15: Jane Seymour, Actor (Amadeus)
  • February 16: John Tartaglia, Actor/Writer (Avenue Q, Shrek/Imaginocean)
  • February 17: Billie Joe Armstrong, Actor/Composer (Green Day's American Idiot)
  • February 18: John Travolta, Actor, (Grease - original production, replacement, Over Here!)

  • February 19: Hugh Panaro, Actor (Side Show, The Phantom of the Opera)
  • February 20: Sandy Duncan, Actor (Chicago, Peter Pan, My One and Only)

TOPS AND BOTTOMS (February 7 - 13)
  • Top Gross: Wicked ($1.4M)
  • Top Attendance: The Merchant of Venice (101.1%)
  • Bottom Gross: Colin Quinn: long Story Short ($161K)
  • Bottom Attendance: Colin Quinn: Long Story Short (58.1%)
  • $1M Club: The Merchant of Venice, The Lion King, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, Wicked
  • SRO Club: The Merchant of Venice

  • The Oldest Opening of the Week: 1848: A Glance at New York in 1848, billed as "sketches," the show ran only 50 performances at the Olympic Theatre.  A further search revealed that people were apparently not interested enough to have an 1849 version.
  • The Longest Time Since a Broadway Opening: February 15, 1990.  It was 21 years ago that a new show opened on this date, when Miss Margarida's Way opened at the Helen Hayes Theatre, starring Estelle Parsons.  It lasted 11 performances.
  • The Most Provocative Title:  Queer People.  Today, not so much of an oddity, but in 1934 it might have raised a few eyebrows.  Of course, back then, "queer" more commonly meant something else!  Either way, it wasn't a huge hit (12 performances at the National Theatre), but it has a huge cast: 37!
  • The Funniest Title of the Week:  OK, I'm not sure why this tickles me so, but the show was The Old Lady Says "No!".  It ran a mere 8 performances at the Mansfield Theatre.
Major Openings This Week:

  • February 14, 1972:  The original production of Grease opened.  Once the longest-running show in Broadway history, the show went through 4 theatres during its 3,388 performances.  On Tony night that year, it went in with 9 nominations, and left without a single win.  The movie version changed EVERYTHING.
  • February 14, 1995: 1995's Best Play, Love! Valour! Compassion!, opened at the Walter Kerr Theatre, where it ran for 248 performances.

  • February 18, 1982:  Cher made her Broadway debut in Come Back to the 5 and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean.  The show boasted a cast that included Kathy Bates, Sandy Dennis, and Karen Black, but only managed a 52 performance run at the Martin Beck Theatre.  Cher has not been back.

  • February 19, 1992:  Crazy for You was the show that Broadway went crazy for that season.  The "New Gershwin Musical" they called it, and it ran for 1,622 performances at the Shubert Theatre.  Although it wasn't her first Broadway show, this is the one that put Susan Stroman on the map.  Every time I see a washboard and a length of rope, I start humming "Slap That Bass."


Before we start the week, my apologies to all concerned that I failed to mention that three Broadway shows began previews last week.  It really wasn't meant as a slight, I just forgot to type up that little bit of notes.  Anyway, Good People began preview performances on February 8; RAIN: A Tribute to the Beatles on Broadway resumed performances on February 8; That Championship Season began previews on February 9.

February 14:
  • The results of the New York Department of Labor's investigation into injuries sustained by cast members of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark were reported by The New York Times.  The show was issued two "safety violations" for incidents that occurred late last year, including the fall of Christopher Tierney.  Not surprisingly, the Times article makes it sound as if these "safety violations" were issued since all of the new guidelines and protocols have been put into place.  That is not the case.  The smear campaign continues...

  • It was a banner day for Broadway Box Offices:  Sister Act, Anything Goes and Wonderland all opened their BO's for business today.  Lucky Broadway fans were treated to some cool swag for waiting in line.  Anyone want to part with an Anything Goes sailor hat and button?  Email me!
  • Sierra Boggess is quite busy bee these days!  Not only is she an Olivier nominated actress for her turn in Love Never Dies, but she is going to co-star with Tyne Daly in Master Class this summer, AND head the Broadway company of the new musical Rebecca next season.  You go, Ariel!
February 15:
  • Happy News First:  Harvey Fierstein and Jeffrey Tambor took over the roles of Albin/ZaZa and Georges over at La Cage aux Folles.  This marks the first time Mr. Fierstein has appeared in the show which he co-wrote 28 years ago.
  • The hopefully Broadway-bound musical Little Miss Sunshine, with an all-star Broadway cast (Hunter Foster, Jennifer Laura Thompson, Dick Latessa and Malcolm Gets) began its world-premiere engagement in L.A. today.  I'll be blogging about this show later this week coming up.
  • Bad News Last:  Two women are suing the producers of Broadway's Billy Elliot because they were injured during a production number at the end of Act One.  They are asking for $4M.  One of the ladies sustained a permanent scar on her face, and the other suffered a concussion.  The production has since modified the staging.  I sincerely hope they both win and both recover successfully.  Now my big question:  why didn't The New York Times report this (The New York Post did)?  Could it be that because it is a "critic's pick" by Ben Brantley that it went by the way-side?  If this had been at Spider-Man, they would have been all over it.  Where are the cries to close Billy Elliot?  Why is it OK for them to simply modify some staging without a full investigation?  Spider-Man certainly doesn't deserve special treatment.  But it does deserve fair treatment.
February 16:
  • The long-discussed revival of Bob Fosse's Dancin' looks to be back on track.  It was announced today that the Roundabout Theatre Company will produce the revival and the National Tour.  The show will play Studio 54 and will be directed by Graciella Daniele.
  • Click HERE to read my blog about the biggest news of the day.
February 17:

  • The media blitz surrounding The Book of Mormon went into full swing this week:  Two huge articles in The New York Times (Ben Brantley chose this show as his most looking forward to this spring show, of course), and several video interviews with the creators and cast on all of the major theatre sites.  The actors are VERY passionate about this project, risky as it is and could be.  I really hope their first previews go well.  I'd hate for it to get the Women on the Verge treatment.  Oh, wait.  Brantley pre-picked this one.  Cast members will have to revolt (or worse) in order for it to get any negative press over at the Times.  The video interviews are very interesting.  Matt and Trey are on my "I must meet these people" list.
  • Is Broadway still in the cards for Bring It On: The Musical?  Interesting how a major National Tour has been announced as its Atlanta run finishes up, but no mention of the Great White Way.  Hmmm... maybe they are going to work it all out on the road and then bring it in.  And by announcing a tour WITHOUT Broadway, they might be able to avoid any less than advantageous scrutiny whilst they work out the kinks.  Someone is learning...
  • Maybe its because I loved Lombardi, but I am pretty excited about the announcement of Eric Simonson's new play, Magic/Bird, all about Magic Johnson and Larry Bird's domination of basketball for years.  I know my dad will be thrilled - he loves basketball even more than football.  Sign me up!
  • Good news for fans of John Gallagher, Jr. (including myself)!  His next project is all lined up - he is joining the cast of Jerusalem at the Music Box Theatre.  Good to see those American Idiot kids all moving on!
February 18:

  • Two other big shows are getting their names out there this week:  the media blitz began with some staged scenes from both Catch Me If You Can and Anything Goes for the press, and now on video at both and  TheatreMania's Peter Filicia gushed about Catch Me in his columnCatch Me  looks like a ton of fun, and the big numbers look spectacular (I love Jerry Mitchell's choreography period) and Aaron Tveit looks and sounds charming and charismatic.  I hope this is the vehicle that makes him a huge star.  I saw the "Anything Goes" number and predict that it will open the 2011 Tonys (if not open, it will certainly be in the telecast).  That said, Colin Donnell and Joel Grey leaped off the computer monitor so great is their charisma and charm.  Not so much with Sutton Foster, who sounds great if Reno Sweeney were an ingenue like Millie Dilmount.  Not long in the sassy, brassy dame department, she is one hell of a dancer, though!  To be fair, she is MUCH better in the snippets of her other songs that they taped, especially "Friendship" with Joel Grey, which is sassy and charming and goose-pimply sweet. 

February 19:
  • Riverdance - On Ice! may even be too gay for me...
February 20:
  • The Merchant of Venice closes up shop today at the Broadhurst Theatre.  The Al Pacino-Lily Rabe revival played 26 previews and 74 performances.  It was a huge success, critically, popularly and financially.  A nice change of pace for Broadway news lately.

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