♦ After much controversy surrounding the involvement of Broadway veteran Mandy Patinkin as a cast replacement, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 has posted its closing notice. Producers for the musical, which won two 2017 Tony Awards, announced that the show will play its final performance at the Imperial Theatre on Sept. 3. Okieriete “Oak” Onaodowan ended his run as Pierre on Aug. 13, with standby Scott Stangland playing the part from Aug. 15-Aug. 20. The show’s creator and original Pierre, Dave Malloy, will finish out the run. The show’s closing is a disappointment, but will come as no surprise to Broadway insiders. Malloy himself tweeted recently that the show’s box office advance after August 15 was “catastrophically low” and that without the addition of a major star to draw audiences, the show would have to close.
♦ Principal casting for the Broadway transfer of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child will include seven actors from the original West End production, most notably Olivier Award winners Jamie Parker and Mona Dumezweni as Harry Potter and Hermione Granger, respectively, and Paul Thornley as Ron Weasley. The rest of the cast of 28 will be filled by American performers, including four children who will alternate in two roles. With a new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and director John Tiffany, the two-part play will begin previews at Broadway’s Lyric Theatre in March 2018, with an official opening set for Apr. 22. U.S. casting is by Jim Carnahan.
♦ Speaking of London-to-Broadway transfers, the Menier Chocolate Factory‘s revival of Tom Stoppard‘s 1974 Tony Award-winning play Travesties will be crossing the pond early next year for a limited engagement at Roundabout Theatre Company’s American Airlines Theatre, with London star Tom Hollander set to repeat his performance as Henry Carr. Directed by Patrick Marber, Travesties centers on a British military official in Zurich who reminisces about his interactions with Lenin, James Joyce and Tristan Tzara during the First World War. Previews begin Mar. 29, 2018, with an official opening set for Apr. 24. The show will play through June 17 only.
♦ Casting is complete for the Signature Theatre’s upcoming productions of Pulitzer Prize winner Suzan-Lori Parks’ Red Letter Plays: Fucking A and In the Blood. Both plays, modern remixes of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s classic novel The Scarlet Letter, will run simultaneously at The Pershing Square Signature Center from Aug. 22 to Oct. 8. Fucking A, directed by Obie Award winner Jo Bonney, will run Aug. 22–Oct. 1 in The Romulus Linney Courtyard Theatre. The cast will feature J. Cameron Barnett, Brandon Victor Dixon, Ben Horner, Joaquina Kalukango, Marc Kudisch, Christine Lahti, Ruibo Qian, Elizabeth Stanley and Raphael Nash Thompson. In the Blood, directed by Sarah Benson, will run Aug. 29–Oct. 8 in The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre. The cast will include Jocelyn Bioh, Michael Braun, Russell G. Jones, Ana Reeder, Saycon Sengbloh and Frank Wood.
♦ Departing: Ben Platt, Tony winner for Dear Evan Hansen, will give his last performance on Nov. 19. Platt’s involvement with the musical dates back to its early developmental stages as well as its world premiere at Washington, D.C.’s Arena Stage and the show’s Off-Broadway debut at Second Stage Theatre. No replacement for Platt has been announced. Closing: Having played 32 previews and 176 regular performances, Groundhog Day, the Broadway musical based on the 1993 Bill Murray film of the same name, will end its run on Sept. 17. Future plans for the show include a London revival (the show premiered at London’s Old Vic last summer) and an 18-month national tour set to begin sometime next year.
♦ And finally, Action to the Word, a U.K.-based theatre group specializing in radical interpretations of classics, will bring their all-male stage adaptation of Anthony Burgess‘ 1962 novel A Clockwork Orange to New World Stages this fall. Directed by Alexandra Spencer-Jones, the production was first performed at the London Fringe, then played the Edinburgh Festival, followed by an international tour and a stint at London’s Park Theatre. British actor Jonno Davies will make his New York debut reprising the role of Alex DeLarge, with American Matt Doyle taking on the role of Georgie. Performances begin Sept. 2 with an official opening set for Sept. 25. The limited run ends Jan. 6, 2018. This 2017 production celebrates the centennial of Burgess’s birth in 1917.
Written by Richard Hart