Archive for Shrek
Opening/Closing on Broadway: Shrek, White Christmas, Finian’s Rainbow, Ragtime, Come Fly Away, American Idiot, Altar Boyz, Ragtime
As previously announced, Shrek closed on Broadway on Sunday after an admirable run of 441 performances at the Broadway Theatre. Also closing Sunday was the holiday favorite White Christmas, which played out its limited engagement at the Marquis.
And last week a shocker of an announcement hit Broadway audiences that another of the critically acclaimed productions that just opened – Finian’s Rainbow – will be playing its last performance on Jan 17. Coming on the heels of the Ragtime closing announcement, a number of big names like Matthew Broderick are doubting the lasting power of anything that’s not a “sure bet” in this economy…
But, along with the closings and bemoaning came some happier news: Producer James L. Nederlander announced that Come Fly Away, Twyla Tharp’s Frank Sinatra inspired musical, will open March 25. The musical, originally titled Come Fly With Me, played a sold-out engagement last year at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta.
And it’s official: another out-of-town favorite, American Idiot, is taking over at the St. James on April 10. If you haven’t yet heard of this show, you soon will – the creative team is an incredible assembly of Broadway big-hitters, and if the reviews from its Berkely Rep run are any indication – this show may be a contender for many of those looking for one of Broderick’s “sure bet[s].”
If we’ve learned anything from 2009 it’s this: if there’s anything on Broadway you’ve been dying to see, see it now! Unless it’s Phantom of the Opera or Wicked, there’s no guarantee it’ll be around beyond next week.
A lot has been happening on Broadway these last few weeks. Here are the biggest of the announcements:
Bye Bye Birdie has offically announced that it will play its final performance on Jan 24. Though technically an extension of its limited run, many had expected this expensive production to run much longer, and producers are definitely walking away with losses.
RUMOR: Michael Riedel of the New York Post is saying things aren’t looking good for Broadway’s Ragtime: “Officially, the producers say, ‘there are no plans to close at this time.’ Unofficially, it’s likely to close Jan. 3 at a total loss, several production sources say.”
Though not Broadway, this one is a big blow for NYC theatre. Altar Boyz, the longest running Off-Broadway musical to open in more than a decade (the 9th longest of all time), will play its final performance at New World Stages on Sunday, January 10th at 7:30 PM.
Million Dollar Quartet will officially begin previews at the Nederlander Theatre on March 13, 2010 and open on April 11, 2010. The Broadway production will be independent of the Chicago company, which will continue there. Broadway casting has not yet been announced.
All About Me, which had announced an opening in a few months at the John Golden Theatre, will instead take over Henry Miller’s Theatre now that Bye Bye Birdie is vacating.
Producer Ken Davenport has announced that Stephen Schwartz’s Godspell, which had been scheduled to begin previews at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre in September 2008, is now aiming for a Broadway bow during the 2010-11 season. The revival will be directed by Daniel Goldstein. No casting has yet been announced.
PS Classics and Nonesuch will team to release the new Broadway cast album of Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music. The cast of the Trevor Nunn-directed revival will record the album Jan. 4, 2010. No release date has yet been announced.
The cast album for the Broadway revival of Finian’s Rainbow will be available on Feb. 2, 2010 (though the disc will be at the St. James Theatre three weeks before that). The new Broadway cast album will be produced by PS Classics.
Broadway’s Memphis has recorded a cast album with Delray Records. The national release will be announced shortly, but in the meantime fans may purchase it at the Shubert Theatre where the musical opened in October.
Broadway casting announcements
Corbin Bleu of High School Musical fame is going to play the role of Usnavi in In the Heights starting January 25th. Regarding the casting (which has met with a lot of nay-saying online), Lin-Manuel Miranda had this to say:
Javi is amazing. Jon Rua is too.
Michael Balderrama makes the drama ring true.
They’re big footsteps; I wrote a really big shoe.
This one is Lin-approved: Mr. Corbin Bleu.
Producers have announced that the Broadway production of Sondheim on Sondheim, opening April 22, will star Barbara Cook, Vanessa Williams, Tom Wopat, Leslie Kritzer, Norm Lewis, Euan Morton and Matthew Scott.
Kelsey Grammer has signed on to star in the Broadway musical La Cage Aux Folles, as Georges. He will star alongside Douglas Hodge, who will continue in the role of Albin, the drag queen star, which he played to critical acclaim in London. The revival opens on April 18, 2010 at the Longacre Theatre.
Matt Cavenaugh will play his last performance as Tony in West Side Story on Dec. 13. His understudy Matthew Hydzik will resume the role on Dec. 15.
Broadway’s Mary Poppins welcomes Valerie Boyle to the role of household cook Mrs. Brill Dec. 4 and Tony nominee Jonathan Freeman to the company on Dec. 12 at the New Amsterdam Theatre.
Destiny’s Child member Michelle Williams will join the musical Chicago on Broadway starting Feb. 8. Williams is slated to star as Roxie Hart in the production until mid-April.
Grammy-nominated cast albums
Wicked sets a new record
Wicked hit a major milestone Thanksgiving weekend, becoming the first Broadway production to report sales of more than $2 million for a single week.
Musicals on the Silver Screen
Variety is reporting that “Shakespeare in Love” director John Madden is in talks to direct the film version of My Fair Lady with a screenplay by Emma Thompson. Keira Knightly and Daniel Craig have been rumored to star in the Cameron Mackintosh and Duncan Kenworthy produced movie musical.
Tony Award-winning actress Donna Murphy (Passion, The King and I) has joined the cast of the new Disney animated musical Rapunzel. Murphy will voice the role of the witch, alongside Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi. Academy Award-winning composer Alan Menken will compose and Byron Howard and Nathan Greno will direct.
Amateur rights available
Musicals on Time’s Top Ten of Everything list
Time Magazine unveiled its “The Top 10 Everything of 2009,” rating news, entertainment, pop culture and more. Ragtime, Finian’s Rainbow and Fela! all appeared on the “Top 10 Plays and Musicals” list and Marion Cotillard on the “Top 10 Movie Performances” list for her turn in the film version of Nine.
New equity leadership
Actors’ Equity Association announced Dec. 11 that Mark S. Zimmerman has resigned as president, effective immediately. Equity’s vice president Paige Price will now carry out the duties of the president until a new president is elected.
Dreamgirls concludes its Harlem run Dec. 12 prior to embarking on a national tour. The production, starring Moya Angela, Syesha Mercado, Adrienne Warren, Margaret Hoffman, Chaz Lamar Shepherd, Chester Gregory, Trevon Davis and Milton Craig Nealy was directed by Robert Longbottom (Side Show, Flower Drum Song, Bye Bye Birdie), who co-choreographed with Emmy-nominated hip-hop artist Shane Sparks.
Spider-man: Turn Off the Dark is gearing up again this time with a lead actor and producer
It’s official – Reeve Carney, the lead singer of the band Carney, will be playing Peter Parker (ie. Spideman) in the upcoming Broadway mega-spender Spider-man: Turn Off the Dark.
Why cast such an unknown in the lead role? Director Julie Taymor said they wanted a “Peter Parker who could really act and sing, but who still brings a kind of performance that could be new to Broadway audiences. We wanted something a little more authentically rock and roll.”
And to help with that rock and roll vibe, Michael Cohl, a rock concert promoter with ties to the Rolling Stones and U2, is stepping in as lead producer, hoping to stop all the speculation that the show would never make it to opening night.
The show, which is reputed to have spent $52 million to date, will open in 2010 at the Hilton Theatre in New York.
American Idiot will be making its way to Broadway
On November 9, the producers for American Idiot announced Equity Principal Auditions for a Broadway run of the nearly sold-out Berkley Rep production. According to spokesman Michael Hartman, “there is a Broadway future for the show, but at this time no dates or theatre are confirmed.”
RUMOR: Ashlee Simpson may star in Chicago on Broadway
Multiple sources are reporting that Ashlee Simpon-Wentz, the former Melrose Place star, will be playing Roxie Hart in Chicago on Broadway for a six week run this December. Though she did play the role on the West End, her Broadway appearance has not been confirmed by any official sources.
A bittersweet anniversary on Broadway for Shrek
On November 8, the cast of Broadway’s Shrek celebrated one year on Broadway, but the festivities were somewhat bittersweet. The show, which was nominated for 8 Tony Awards, will be closing January 3 after playing 441 performances and 37 previews. The national tour will launch at Chicago’s Cadillac Palace Theatre for a limited engagement, running from July 13 – September 5, 2010.
Title battle – Dame Edna’s It’s All About Me vs. Michael Feinstein’s All About Me
I don’t know if you’ve been tracking the hilarious banter between Dame Edna and Michael Feinstein, who have very similarly named shows headed to Broadway this fall. Of the mishap, Edna said “It’s All About Me is my title. While I was saddened to hear that Mr. Feinstein did not heed my sage advice to change the title of his show, I’m overjoyed to hear that he at least took my suggestion to open his show after mine. I’m sure Mrs. Feinstein is very proud of her son.”
Broadway Stars on TV this month
A number of big tars will be appearing on television in the next few months. Check out the list below:
“The View” ABC, daytime
- Wednesday, Nov. 11: Finian’s Rainbow
- Thursday, Nov. 19: John Stamos
“Jimmy Kimmel Live” ABC, late night
- Tuesday, Nov. 17: John Stamos
“The Today Show” NBC, 7AM ET
- Wednesday, Nov. 18: Liza Minnelli
Shrek the Musical will play its final performance at the Broadway Theatre on January 3, 2010, following 441 performances and 37 previews.
The national tour of the musical based on the DreamWorks film will launch at Chicago’s Cadillac Palace Theatre for a limited engagement, July 13–September 5, 2010.
West Side Story recoups investment after 30 weeks
West Side Story has officially recouped its $14 million initial investment after running 30 weeks (247 performances)! A national tour of this production will begin in the fall of 2010 though it is likely the Broadway version will stick around for a good while longer.
American Idiot extends run at Berkley Rep
American Idiot has been extended at Berkely Rep through Nov 15! The show is now the top-grossing show in the Rep’s 41-year history with the biggest advance sale, the biggest day at the box office, and 17 of the top 20 days ever. Extended for three weeks even before it had its first performance, American Idiot now adds another two weeks. We can only hope it will next move straight on to NYC.
The Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction was a great success
The Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction that took place this past Sunday raised $403,929 for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS! Since its debut in 1987, the event has raised a staggering grand total of $8,161,752!
Shrek the Musical adds the song “I’m a Believer”
And … due to popular demand, the song “I’m a Believer” will now be sung in Shrek the Musical beginning Friday, October 2. Not sure what I think of this. They must be doing well-enough to pay those royalties …
If you missed the fabulous performances at yesterday’s Broadway on Broadway concert, check out these video clips (NOTE: Some of the fan footage is better than others):
There have been lots of casting changes announced in recent weeks, so rather than making you read multiple entries, I thought I would do a lovely roundup of all of them for you!
STARTING AUGUST 17
Rock of Ages
Don Stephenson (The Producers, Dracula, By Jeeves, Titanic, Private Lives, Parade, Wonderful Town) temporarily steps in for Paul Schoeffler in the role of Hertz in Rock of Ages. Schoeffler is on leave to play Lawrence in the Walnut Street Theatre’s Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and will return to the show on Oct. 26.
STARTING AUGUST 18
Burn the Floor
Anya Garnis and Pasha Kovalev (“So You Think You Can Dance”) take over for Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Karina Smirnoff (“Dancing with the Stars”) in the new musical Burn the Floor.
Michelle Federer, who originated the role of Nessarose in the Broadway production of Wicked, returns to the role, taking over for Cristy Candler.
Talk show host Jerry Springer is stepping into the role of Billy Flynn in Broadway’s Chicago. He will play the role through September 6.
Ben Crawford (Les Miserables), the current standby for Brian d’Arcy James, will take over the title role in Shrek on November 10 and Robb Sapp (Wicked) will temporarily step into the role of Pinocchio, replacing John Tartaglia during his leave of absence (Tartaglia will return mid December).
STARTING AUGUST 22
Trevor Braun (Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid) will join the cast of Broadway’s Billy Elliot a couple days later than originally announced (the 22nd, rather than the 18th). He and Tony nominee David Bologna will alternate in the role of Michael.