Hopefully, you've had a few minutes to play around with our Fall Entertainment Generator. But if you’re looking for straight and simple lists of things to look out for by medium, we’ll be breaking them out separately. Here's a look at fall theater.
Nearly 40 years ago, Diane Lane acted in Joseph Papp’s production of Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard; this fall, at 51, she returns to the play as tragedy-beset heroine Madame Ranevskaya. Though Lane is best known for her sultry onscreen presence, her theater roots run deep: She began acting as a child, with the experimental La MaMa theater in the East Village, and then graduated to musicals, Shakespeare, and Greek drama. While Simon Godwin’s new production (adapted by The Humans Tony winner Stephen Karam) isn’t technically her first time on the Great White Way, “this,” she says, “feels like my Broadway debut.”
Two stars of The Front Page, Nathan Lane and John Slattery, are in the back room of a Chelsea Italian joint waiting for a third, John Goodman. “He was in a car right behind us,” Lane says before shrugging, ordering a Chardonnay, and settling in to reminisce with Slattery about a play, The Lisbon Traviata, that they did together back in 1989. “Nathan was the toast of the town — I mean, it was a hilarious part,” says Slattery. “And I was naked. I made my New York theater debut naked. It was horrifying.” Soon, the pair — now joined at dinner by Goodman, who’s had a preprandial smoke — will again team up and begin rehearsals for their revival of The Front Page, a 1928 play by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur about a band of salty newspapermen waiting for a hanging, reveling in gallows humor, and making up headlines as they go.
In adapting Daphne du Maurier’s dour novella The Birds for the movies, Alfred Hitchcock instructed his screenwriter to start the story with some screwball comedy in order to heighten the terror when it came. I think, but cannot be sure, that Leslye Headland is going for a similar effect in her Hitchcock homage The Layover, which opened tonight at Second Stage. Because this is 2016, the screwball element is reconfigured as rom-com: The play opens with two attractive professionals meeting-cute on an American Airlines flight stuck on the runway at O’Hare. Dex is an engineer with a high-strung fiancée waiting for him in New York; Shellie teaches American crime fiction at Hunter. In fact, when Dex interrupts her, Shellie is reading a thick James Ellroy; over drinks at the airport Marriott when the flight is later cancelled, she rhapsodizes about Patricia Highsmith, whose novel Strangers on a Train Hitchcock also adapted. We see bits of the 1951 movie projected on Mark Wendland’s sleek set.
David Edelstein has his eye on the heavy stuff.
Oliver Stone takes on the multi-tentacled story of the multi-tentacled surveillance state and the alleged traitor (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt). Needless to say, Stone does well with manic, paranoid conspiracy narratives (JFK was insane but wildly entertaining).
Clear out the DVR, stretch your page-turning fingers, and prepare for the deluge: We're about to move from the summer, with its avoidable blockbuster dreck and largely inessential TV lineups, and into the entertainment-rich months of fall. To ensure that your limited reading, watching, and listening hours are well-spent, we've produced another edition of our Fall Entertainment Generator — an interactive guide to this season's 306 best offerings. Just select a genre (blockbuster, indie, something adventurous, something trashy) and mood (laugh, cry, scared, thrilled, inspired, or feel-smart) and watch as your cultural calendar turns into a thrilling to-do list.
Jason Sudeikis is here to sound his barbaric yawp over the roofs of New York. The SNL vet has taken the role of prep-school teacher John Keating in a production of Dead Poets Society, which is being adapted into a play by original screenwriter Tom Schulman. Robin Williams earned an Oscar nomination for playing Keating in the 1989 film, so Sudeikis is clearly aiming for a low-pressure new New York stage debut. The play will wake the slumbering masses from unartistic complacency when it goes up at the Classic Stage Company this fall.
How do two bastard, old friends, son of a Jew and a Dutchman, dropped in the middle of a forgotten spot on the UPPER WEST SIDE OF MANHATTAN by providence, impoverished, in squalor, grow up to be tuna-sandwich prankers? Gil and George, Oh, Hello. Their names are Gil and George, Oh, Hello. And there's a million things they haven't done — well, maybe not a million — they really just haven't pranked you with a giant tuna-fish sandwich, you stupid idiot — there's one thing they haven't done. Just you wait. Just you wait, cause they are going get you, you dumb asshole. With the help of Nick Kroll and John Mulaney, Gil Faizon and George St. Geegland will make their Broadway debut with Oh, Hello on Broadway at the Lyceum Theater from September 23 through January 8. Vulture has an exclusive look at their first photo shoot and the first promo photo for the show. Just you wait, you bozo.
It’s 2016, and one of the hottest commodities on Broadway is still Arthur Miller. The Roundabout Theater Company will revive the playwright’s 1968 drama The Price, and the production has just taken on a very exciting trio of performers. John Turturro will make his return to the stage playing Victor Franz, the man who gives up on his own education to go home and support his father after the Great Depression wipes out the family’s finances, and joining him will be Tony Shalhoub as Victor’s brother, Walter, and Jessica Hecht as his wife, Esther. Shalhoub has been active on Broadway in recent years, earning Tony nods for Golden Boy in 2013 and Act One in 2014, and Hecht received her own nomination in 2010 for her turn as Beatrice in A View From the Bridge, another Miller play. Terry Kinney, the co-founder of the Steppenwolf Theater Company, will direct the show, which goes into previews on February 16, with the official opening coming one month later on March 16.
This Video of Cynthia Erivo Singing ‘My Funny Valentine’ Only Has 694 Views. That Is Too Few. Watch It.By Jesse David Fox
[Pulls suspenders.] Now I might not be some big-city streaming analyst, but I think this video has too few views. As of publication, 694!? That's too few, regardless of when this post was published. And it's nine months old! It could have a little video baby by now, and what a baby it would be, considering its parents.
It's Cynthia "Great Singer" Erivo! How good is she at singing? [To the tune of "Simply the Best"] She's Cynthia best. Did you see her at the Tony's? You still crying, too? Me neither. Girl gets mid-show standing ovations every night! [To the tune of "Simply the Best"] She's Cynthia best.
I don't know The Protagonist Magazine from any other surprisingly nice, presumably foreign fashion magazine, but they did a great job with this video by pairing Cynthia "Great Singer" Erivo with "My Funny 'Great Song' Valentine." Two great tastes that taste great together. So watch the video. It has too few views.
Also, it's Friday.
Cynthia Erivo and Joshua Henry Are Doing a Last Five Years Benefit Concert, and No, You Can’t Do Better Than ThatBy Jackson McHenry
You don't have to like Duran Duran, just love this. Cynthia Erivo, who recently won a Tony for her breakout turn in The Color Purple, is teaming up with Joshua Henry, who'll soon to start playing Aaron Burr in the Chicago production of Hamilton, for a concert performance of The Last Five Years. Proceeds from the September 12 performance will go to the Brady Center to Prevent Violence. The musical from Jason Robert Brown moves backward and forward in time to tell the story of a love affair gone awry; Brown will also direct the concert version. Tallying up to about 90 minutes of straight music, The Last Five Years is an endurance test for performers, but we don't doubt Erivo's pipes for one millisecond.
There are some things that the Public Theater — founded as the Shakespeare Workshop in 1954 and known for a long time as the New York Shakespeare Festival — can’t avoid. The occasional Troilus and Cressida is one of them. In every way, this mid-career work, probably written between Hamlet and Othello, is what Shakespeare scholars call a “problem” play. That the accuracy and authenticity of the text are still in doubt wouldn’t matter if the version we have of it were sensible, but it’s not. Bits of Chaucer, The Iliad, and medieval romance are potted together like a particularly odd bouillabaisse; with each spoonful you have no idea what you might be asked to swallow. One fishy ingredient is the romance of the title characters, youthful Trojans whose fidelity is tested when Cressida is surrendered to the Greeks in exchange for a prisoner. Another lump bubbling around in the broth is the story of the great Greek fighter Achilles, who has lost interest in combat and instead languishes in his tent with his “male varlet,” Patroclus. And then there is the Trojan War itself, featuring all the familiar big names from Helen to Hector, doing selections from their greatest hits. These three stories barely intersect, let alone meld, which is why the play doesn’t even have a genre. In the 1609 quarto it’s called a history, in the First Folio a tragedy, and in an epistle appended by a wishful publisher a “witty comedy.” They’re all right, all wrong.
Progressive historical musicals about American history are so hot right now, even if, like so many American staples, they're not made in America. Rosa, a new musical based on the life of Rosa Parks, is in development in London, written by Victoria Gimby (book and lyrics) and Stuart Matthew Price (music and lyrics). The musical will follow Parks's life story from her time as a seamstress to her time as a major leader in the civil-rights movement, including, of course, the pivotal moment when she refused to give up her seat to a white passenger on a bus — we're willing to be surprised, but we're guessing that comes in a big number before the first act break. Playbill reports that workshops for the musical are in progress now, while a full-scale production is being planned, thanks to interest, unsurprisingly, on both sides of the Atlantic.
What comes next for Leslie Odom Jr. after his departure from Hamilton? On Thursday night at least, it was a return to the theater, as the Tony winner joined the cast of Sleep No More in a one-night-only guest appearance as the Doctor. If you think that sounds random, rest assured there's a connection: Odom recently played a concert residency at the bar at the McKittrick Hotel, where Sleep No More is showing. He's the latest celeb to sit in on the immersive-theater experience, joining stars like Neil Patrick Harris, Evan Rachel Wood, and Dita Von Teese, as well as other people who do not have three names. As always with Sleep No More, how much of Odom you saw depended a lot on whether you were in the room where it happened.
Look who's back in town! Miss Saigon, the smash 1989 musical from the minds of Les Misérables creators Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil that revolves around an ill-fated romance between a Vietnamese bar girl and American G.I. in the 1970s, will begin its Broadway revival in March. The production is moving from a successful run in London and will feature the same two leads: 20-year-old newcomer Eva Noblezada as Kim and seasoned vet Jon Jon Briones as the Engineer. The show's producer, Cameron Mackintosh, announced that the revival will be housed in the Broadway Theater, where the show began its original Broadway run in 1991. Mackintosh also noted that the limited production will only be running until January 2018, and will then tour throughout North America. Previews will begin on March 1, with opening night scheduled for March 23.
After making a bunch of people very rich and winning a whopping 11 Tony Awards, what comes next for Hamilton? This summer marks the end of act one for the smash Broadway hit: Unlike Alexander Hamilton himself, many of the people involved are taking a break from the production now that their yearlong contracts are up. With the change in administration, we thought this would be a good time to check in on the future of Hamilton, from cast departures to filmed versions to non-Broadway productions. Take a look below to see what you missed.
The book version of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child — really just the script for the West End play — was released at midnight on Sunday, which means we no longer have to abide by J.K. Rowling's request to #KeepTheSecrets. So let's talk about it! (Obviously, there will be spoilers.) Did you enjoy that it was basically a Harry Potter version of Back to the Future Part II? Did you see the villain coming? Should they have done more with Ron? Has Slytherin's reputation been salvaged? And can anyone who's seen the play let us know what changed between script and stage? Discuss!
Cats was always divinely snarkable, beginning with its provenance. How could anyone look at the morally knotty and verbally profound oeuvre of T. S. Eliot and say, 'Yes, let’s make a musical out of Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, that collection of dorky ailurophile doggerel he extemporized for his godchildren'? Yet that’s what Andrew Lloyd Webber, a fan of the material since youth, chose to do, setting the faintly embarrassing adventures of Rum Tum Tugger, Mungojerrie, Jennyanydots, and the rest to melody and, with the director Trevor Nunn, arranging the results to suggest a story. Not much of one, though: Eliot’s estate forbade the use of any text not by Eliot. Cats is therefore more of a song cycle or feline vaudeville than a work of musical theater; one skit or riff is followed by another, with little holding the compilation together except whatever suggestion of transcendence a production can squeeze out of moody lighting, awesome special effects, and “dramatic” performances. The wan revival that opens tonight at the Neil Simon at least gets the lighting (by Natasha Katz) right.
A free performance of The Prince of Egypt in Sag Harbor, New York, has been cancelled following significant complaints about the production’s lack of diversity. The stage musical adaptation — which is based on DreamWorks’ popular 1998 animated film about Moses’ life in Ancient Egypt as detailed in the Book of Exodus — is currently in early stages of production at the nonprofit Bay Street Theater, but received a large amount of backlash for the majority of the cast being white. (Popular theater actresses Cynthia Erivo and Denée Benton were among those who voiced concern.) "DreamWorks and Bay Street today announced that the planned free concert reading of The Prince of Egypt has been canceled," a statement on the theater’s Facebook page read. "We regret any inconvenience or disappointment this may cause the audience that was planning to attend this free one-night community event." The theater noted that it made no long-term commitments to its casting decisions, and that around two-thirds of the actors for the staged reading were going to be white.
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