♦ Lincoln Center Theater has announced that Tony Award winner Bartlett Sher will direct a revival of Lerner and Loewe’s classic musical My Fair Lady next spring. This will be the musical’s first Broadway production in 25 years. The show will begin previews Mar. 22, 2018 at LCT’s Vivian Beaumont Theater, with opening night set for Apr. 19. Casting will be announced at a later date, although LCT favorite Kelli O’Hara seems a shoo-in for Eliza. In related news, no mention of the acclaimed production of the musical directed by Julie Andrews for the Sydney Opera House last fall, which many thought would make the big leap to Broadway sometime next season. Clearly, that won’t be happening now.
♦ The McCarter Theatre Center‘s production of Ken Ludwig‘s new play, Murder on the Orient Express, begins performances on Mar. 14. Directed by Emily Mann, Ludwig’s adaptation of the Agatha Christie murder mystery features Allan Corduner as Hercule Poirot, Veanne Cox as Princess Dragomiroff, Maboud Ebrahimzadeh as Michel, Julie Halston as Mrs. Hubbard, Susannah Hoffman as Mary Debenham, Alexandra Silber as Countess Andrenyi, Juha Sorola as MacQueen, Samantha Steinmetz as Greta Ohlsson, Tony nominee Max von Essen as Ratchett/Col. Arburthnot and Evan Zes as Bouc. The show officially opens Mar. 17 and runs through Apr. 2.
♦ Speaking of the McCarter, the New Jersey theater has been awarded a National Endowment for the Arts grant of $35,000 to support the McCarter LAB, a year-round creative venture that provides support to writers at all stages of their careers while helping to cultivate original works for McCarter’s main stages and future co-productions. Fostering the development of new plays, adaptations and musicals, the Lab consists of readings, workshops and commissions, along with the Sallie B. Goodman Artist Retreat and the annual LAB Spotlight Production. “The arts are for all of us,” said NEA chairman Jane Chu in a statement, “and by supporting organizations such as McCarter Theatre Center, the National Endowment for the Arts is providing more opportunities for the public to engage with the arts.”
♦ A new adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s Enemy of the People opens Mar. 11 at the TBG Theatre at The Barrow Group. The cast includes Jeremy Folmer, Eliza Foss, Mike Giese, Reade Kelly, Larry Mitchell, Katherine Neuman, Martin Van Treuren, Spiff Wiegand and Roxanne Wells. Adapted by Seth Barrish and K. Lorrel Manning, this production will utilize story theater elements and a revised structure to focus Ibsen’s tale around this fundamental question: Does democracy work? Directed by Manning, the official opening is set for Mar. 14, with a limited run scheduled through Apr. 1.
♦ A stage musical adaptation of “Fancy,” Bobbie Gentry‘s country anthem about a resilient young sex worker with dreams of stardom, is in the works. Producer Margot Astrachan, along with The Peccadillo Theater Company, will present a two-day developmental lab of Fancy at Off Broadway’s Westside Theatre. The story follows Fancy, a 16-year-old aspiring music star in Louisiana who, after being abandoned by her mother, turns to a life of prostitution before eventually finding the fame she craves. The cast includes Katie Boeck, Matt Bogart, Felicia Finley and Jon Patrick Walker. Denis Jones directs and choreographs. With a book by Susan DiLallo and Dan Wackerman, the show’s score features a number of country and blues chart-toppers, including “I Walk the Line,” “Redneck Woman,” “Before He Cheats,” “Hit the Road, Jack,” “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” along with the title song. The lab will take place Mar. 16 at 4 PM and Mar. 17 at 11 AM and 3 PM
♦ Tony-winning producer Mike Isaacson is the winner of this year’s Commercial Theater Institute’s Robert Whitehead Award for “outstanding achievement in commercial theatre producing.” The award will be presented Mar. 14 at a reception at Sardi’s. Since 2000, Isaacson has co-headed Fox Theatricals with Kristin Caskey and has produced more than 21 Broadway musicals and plays, national tours, Off-Broadway plays and London productions. “Mike Isaacson is the ideal recipient of the Robert Whitehead Award because he displays an unwavering passion and commitment to every project. He truly puts his heart on Broadway,” stated Charlotte St. Martin, president of the Broadway League.
♦ And finally, previews begin Apr. 4 for the Broadway transfer of Pulitzer Prize winner Paula Vogel‘s play with music, Indecent. The show, created by Vogel and Rebecca Taichman, and directed by Taichman, had its NYC debut at Off Broadway’s Vineyard Theatre last summer and will officially open at the Cort Theatre on Apr. 18. Music for the show is composed by Lisa Gutkin and Aaron Halva. The entire Off Broadway cast, featuring Katrina Lenk, Mimi Lieber, Max Gordon Moore, Tom Nelis, Steven Rattazzi, Richard Topol, and Adina Verson, will make the move to Broadway. Joining them are Ben Cherry, Andrea Goss and Eleanor Reissa. With. Vogel’s play is inspired by the real-life controversy surrounding the 1923 Broadway production of Sholem Asch’s God of Vengeance, a love story of two women.
– Written by Richard Hart