♦ With his live-action version of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast set to light up the spring film box office, Oscar winner Bill Condon has signed on to direct a stage adaptation of the 1954 film A Star Is Born. The musical will feature songs from the Harold Arlen/Ira Gershwin film score, including the classic ballad “The Man That Got Away,” sung so memorably in the film by Judy Garland. This project is in no way related to the previously-announced film reboot of A Star Is Born set to star Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga. The stage musical is being handled by Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures, whose mission it is to develop and produce theatrical versions of Warner Bros. film properties. The company will be represented on Broadway this season with the stage musical Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Additional titles in the works include stage adaptations of Beetlejuice, Dave, Dog Day Afternoon, Night Shift and 17 Again.
♦ Tony-winning composer Cyndi Lauper is on board to host TDF Honors Kinky Boots, a benefit concert in support of the Theatre Development Fund’s educational programs, which make theatre accessible to more than 15,000 theatergoers each year. The fundraiser, directed and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell, will be presented Mar. 20 at 8 PM at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre, where Kinky Boots is now playing. Ms. Lauper will be joined by four of the actors who have played Lola since the show’s opening in 2013: Tony winner Billy Porter (who originated the role of Lola), J. Harrison Ghee, Alan Mingo, Jr. and Todrick Hall. Kinky Boots alum past and present will also perform, including Tony winner Annaleigh Ashford, Stark Sands, Killian Donnelly, Andy Kelso, Jeanna De Waal, Paul Canaan, Nathan Peck, Charlie Sutton and Joey Tartano.
♦ The Gabriels, Richard Nelson’s three-play cycle that tracks the lives of a family throughout the 2016 presidential election year, will take a break from touring internationally by returning to Off Broadway’s Public Theater for a short, live-streamed engagement Mar. 22-24. The performance schedule begins with Hungry on Mar. 22, followed by What Did You Expect? on Mar. 23, and ending with Women of a Certain Age on Mar. 24. The performances, directed by Emmy Award winner David Horn, will stream live on BroadwayHD.com each day at 7:50 PM ET and will feature original cast members Meg Gibson, Lynn Hawley, Roberta Maxwell, Maryann Plunkett, Jay O. Sanders and Amy Warren. For details about accessing the live stream, visit BroadwayHD.com.
♦ The world premiere of Zayd Dohrn‘s new play, The Profane, begins performances tonight at Playwrights Horizons. The cast includes Tala Ashe, Francis Benhamou, Ramsey Faragallah, Ali Reza Farahnakian, Lanna Joffrey, Heather Raffo and Babak Tafti. The play centers around a broadminded, first-generation immigrant living in Manhattan, whose liberal religious views are tested when his daughter becomes involved with the son of a conservative Muslim family living in White Plains. Directed by Kip Fagan, performances will run now through Apr. 30, with an official opening set for Apr. 9.
♦ The Encores! production of The New Yorkers, Cole Porter’s 1930 Prohibition musical inspired by cartoonist Peter Arno’s work for The New Yorker, opens Mar. 22 and runs through Mar. 26 at New York City Center. Directed by John Rando, the concert revival stars Tam Mutu, Scarlett Strallen, Arnie Burton and Kevin Chamberlin. The musical features music and lyrics by Porter and a book by Herbert Fields, based on a story by E. Ray Goetz and Arno. Encores! production notes for the show described it as “a gleefully amoral celebration of speakeasies, gangsters, society dames, and the great city they love.”
♦ And finally, the Theatre Development Fund’s will present its first-ever immersive festival, Performeteria, featuring works from some of the most innovative Off-Off Broadway theatre and dance companies in New York City. This two-night event, co-presented with Baruch Performing Arts Center, will allow the theater-goer to travel through multiple levels within the arts center to discover unique, site-specific works from a total of 15 Off-Off Broadway theatre companies. The festival runs Mar. 20 and Mar. 24, with ticket prices as low as $9. The companies performing on Mar. 20 are: The Assembly, Blessed Unrest, The Fire This Time Festival, Kinesis Project, Lesser America, The New York Neo-Futurists, The Pumpkin Pie Show, Rady & Bloom, Talking Band, and Theatre Breaking Through Barriers. The companies performing on Mar. 24 are: Blessed Unrest, Dramatic Question Theatre (DQT), The Fire This Time Festival, Flux Theatre Ensemble, Kinesis Project, Lesser America, Ma-Yi Theater Company, New York Deaf Theatre, Project: Theater, and The Pumpkin Pie Show.
– Written by Richard Hart