♦ The lineup is set for the sixth annual Roundabout Underground Reading Series, a five-night event that will feature readings of new works written and directed by emerging artists, presented at the 62-seat Black Box Theatre at The Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre. The readings are free to the public. The 2017 series will feature:
- Usual Girls, written by Ming Peiffer and directed by Tyne Rafaeli, about a young woman’s journey from the discoveries of childhood to the realities of adulthood. Performance Jan. 9.
- My Lover Joan, written by Emily Feldman and directed by Will Davis, is a surprising journey through history as seen through the eyes of a wise and ambitious woman. Performance Jan. 10.
- Bobbie Clearly, written by Alex Lubischer and directed by Kip Fagan, is a darkly comic portrait of a small-town community at a crossroad. Performance Jan. 11.
- The Supreme Leader, written by Don Nguyen and directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel, imagines the life of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un during his teenage years at a Swiss boarding school. Performance Jan. 12.
- The Booty Call, with music and lyrics by Michael Thurber, directed and developed by Saheem Ali, centers around a young man’s insecurities about love and intimacy. Performance Jan. 13.
♦ Kate Burton will play Liz Essendine opposite Tony and Oscar winner Kevin Kline‘s Garry Essendine in the upcoming Broadway revival of Noël Coward’s Present Laughter, directed by Moritz von Steulpnagel. Kristine Neilsen and Cobie Smulders, making her Broadway debut, also join the cast. Previews begin Mar. 10 at the St. James Theatre ahead of an Apr. 5 opening.
♦ Jessie Mueller will give her final performance in Broadway’s Waitress on Mar. 26. Mueller won the 2014 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her performance in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical and was nominated again for her performance in Waitress. The show opened Apr. 24, 2016 at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre and features a score by Grammy-nominated songwriter Sarah Bareilles and a book by Jessie Nelson. The musical is directed by Diane Paulus and choreographed by Lorin Latarro. No word yet on who Mueller’s replacement will be.
♦ Each year, Actors’ Equity Foundation presents awards to actors who have given outstanding performances in classical plays in the New York area. This year, the St. Clair Bayfield Award, presented to an actor for the most outstanding performance specifically in a Shakespearean role, was given to Louis Cancelmi for his portrayal of the warrior Achilles in Shakespeare in the Park’s Troilus and Cressida. Cancelmi said that “to be recognized by the Equity Foundation for this performance in this production, is a great surprise and a terrific honor.” The Joe. A. Callaway Award, which is presented to a male and female actor for the best performance in a classical play, went this year to Corey Stoll and Lisa Harrow. Stoll won for his performance as Ulysses in the same production of Troilus and Cressida, while Harrow won for her distinguished performance as Volumnia in Red Bull Theater’s production of Coriolanus. The Actors’ Equity Foundation will present the recipients with a plaque and $1,000 check on January 9, 2017, at Actors’ Equity’s Membership Meeting in the Eastern Region.
♦ And finally, the New York City Center benefit concert version of Sunday in the Park With George, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Annaleigh Ashford, will transfer to Broadway as the first show in the newly-restored Hudson Theatre on W. 44th St. “Opening the historic Hudson Theatre with this magnificent show, for me, is about the possibilities—a blank page, the white canvas, a new era for a theater and the great work to come,” said Jeanine Tesori, New York City Center Artistic Advisor and producer of the NYCC concert production. The vintage 1903 Hudson Theatre has not been used as a Broadway house since 1968. The Stephen Sondheim/James Lapine musical, directed by Sarna Lapine, will play a limited 10-week engagement only, Feb. 11 through Apr. 23. Opening night is set for Feb. 23. No immediate word yet on whether any of the other cast members will make the move to Broadway.
– Written by Richard Hart