♦ Three-time Tony Award winner Mark Rylance will return to Broadway this winter in a transfer of the London production of Claire van Kampen‘s Farinelli and the King, to be directed by John Dove. Inspired by the true story of the Italian castrato opera singer Farinelli and his often contentious relationship with his patron, King Philippe V of Spain (to be played by Rylance), the play includes many of the Handel arias that were first sung by Farinelli in the 1730s. The production will also feature live accompaniment played on Baroque instruments in a gallery above the stage. Previews begin Dec. 5 at the Belasco Theatre ahead of a Dec. 17 opening, with a limited run currently scheduled through Mar. 25, 2018.
♦ After a very successful Off-Broadway run this winter at the Atlantic Theater Company, Itamar Moses and David Yazbek’s award-winning new musical The Band’s Visit is set to open on Broadway this fall at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. The show tells the story of what happens when a border mix-up leaves an Egyptian police band, scheduled to play a concert in Israel, stranded without transportation or housing, forcing them to seek help from the local community. David Cromer will repeat his directing duties, with the entire Off-Broadway cast, including Emmy Award winner Tony Shaloub and Katrina Lenk, making the move to Broadway as well. Previews begin Oct. 7 ahead of an official opening on Nov. 9.
♦ The New York Post is reporting that The Kid Stays in the Picture, a stage adaptation of the memoir penned by Hollywood producer Robert Evans that played London’s Royal Court earlier this year, might be headed to Broadway in the fall. The play, adapted and directed by Simon McBurney, will be produced by Barbara Broccoli and Patrick Milling Smith and is expected to open sometime in September at a Shubert theater to be announced. No official announcement about a Broadway production has been made.
♦ Off-Broadway’s Classic Stage Company has announced its 50th anniversary season, the second under current a.d. John Doyle. The season begins in September with Shakespeare’s As You Like It, reset in the Jazz Age and featuring original music by Stephen Schwartz. John Doyle directs this co-production with the Bay Street Theater. Fiasco Theater’s production of Twelfth Night follows in November. In January, CSC will present the world premiere of Terrence McNally‘s new play, Fire & Air, also directed by Doyle, about Sergei Diaghilev’s touring Russian ballet company, the Ballets Russes. A co-production with the Transport Group of Tennessee Williams’ Summer and Smoke will run in April, to be directed by Transport a.d. Jack Cummings III. The season will conclude in June with Carmen Jones, Oscar Hammerstein’s adaptation of Georges Bizet’s opera about an ill-fated triangular romance involving parachute factory worker Carmen, a famous boxer and a WWII airman. Doyle directs. CSC will also present two productions for young audiences next season: Drew Petersen’s The Stowaway, based on the plays of Shakespeare, in November for ages five and older, as well as Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar in March 2018 for ages 12 and older. Casting for all shows will be announced at a later date.
♦ The Roundabout Theatre Company’s Broadway production of J. B. Priestley’s 1937 play Time and the Conways will begin previews Sept. 14 at the American Airlines Theatre, with an official opening set for Oct. 10. The play focuses on the experiences of a moneyed Yorkshire family, the Conways, over a period of nineteen years, from 1919 to 1937, while exploring the notions of choice, chance and destiny. The production, scheduled to run through Nov. 26, will be directed by recent Tony winner Rebecca Taichman and will star Downton Abbey’s Elizabeth McGovern as Mrs. Conway. The fall revival will mark the first time that the play has been seen on Broadway since its premiere in 1938. Additional casting will be announced soon.
♦ And finally, playwright A.R. Gurney passed away last week at the age of 86. Throughout his career, he wrote more than 45 plays, three novels, as well as several libretti for operas and musicals. Among his more successful plays are Children, The Middle Ages, The Dining Room, The Cocktail Hour, Sylvia and Love Letters, which was a finalist for the 1990 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. In his later years, Gurney worked extensively with off-Broadway’s Signature and Flea Theatres, both of which produced his final plays. Love & Money was seen at Signature in 2015 as part of a residency devoted to his work, while his two one-acts, Ajax and Squash, were seen at the Flea in October 2016. In 2011, Gurney received an honorary Drama Desk Award “for his enduring, keenly observed portraits of American life over a prolific four-decade-long career.”
Written by Richard Hart