New York: Industry News 5/26/17

Glenda Jackson

♦ Back in November of last year, it was announced that two-time Academy Award winner Glenda Jackson would bring her critically-acclaimed turn as King Lear at London’s Old Vic to the New York stage sometime this season or next. While that still remains a possibility, word now is that the former Labour MP will return to the Broadway stage after an absence of almost thirty years to star in a production of Edward Albee‘s 1994 Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Three Tall Women. Joining Jackson is Tony nominee Laurie Metcalf, currently appearing on Broadway in A Doll’s House, Part 2. With Joe Montello directing, the show is scheduled to begin previews on Feb. 27, 2018 ahead of a Mar. 29 opening at a Shubert theater yet to be announced. No additional information about the production has been released. 

♦ After 57 years, producers of Off-Broadway’s The Fantasticks have announced that the long-running musical will close for good on June 4 after playing a total of 21,552 performances. The show, featuring music by Harvey Schmidt and book, lyrics and direction by Tom Jones, originally opened in 1960 at the Sullivan Street Playhouse, where it logged a record-breaking 17,162 performances, making it the world’s longest-running musical. The original production closed in 2002, and then in 2006, a revival, directed by Jones, opened at The Jerry Orbach Theatre at The Theater Center in Times Square, where it will have played an additional 4,390 performances by the time of its official closing. Fans of The Fantasticks need not fear that the much-loved musical will disappear for good. According to The New York Times, The Fantasticks is one of the most widely produced musicals in the world, with more than 11,000 productions so far, in 3,000 cities and towns in all 50 states, as well as in 67 countries.

Irish Repertory Theatre has announced two shows for its summer season. First up is Woody Sez: The Life & Music Of Woody Guthrie, a musical portrait of the folk singer which will feature some of his best-known songs like “This Land is Your Land” and “So Long It’s Been Good To Know Yuh.” Directed by Nick Corley, performances begin June 1 ahead of a June 8 opening, with a limited engagement scheduled to play through July 23. Following Woody is the U.S. premiere of John Millington Synge’s The Aran Islands about Synge’s 1898 journey to the mystical land on the West coast of Europe. Adapted and directed by Joe O’Byrne and starring Brendan Conroy, the show features original music by Kieran Duddy and will officially open June 19 for a limited run through July 23.

NEWSical The Musical, the 14th longest running Off-Broadway show in history, played its 2500th performance on May 23. In celebration of the milestone, representatives from Mayor de Blasio’s office presented producer Tom D’Angora with a proclamation declaring the day as “NEWSical The Musical Day” in New York City. The show, directed by Mark Waldrop, began previews Dec. 13, 2010 and officially opened Jan. 9, 2011 at Theatre Row’s Kirk Theatre. The show is described as “80 minutes of uproarious songs and sketches that parody all of today’s biggest headlines, from politics to pop culture from celebrities to social trends.” The current company features Taylor Crousore, Kristen Mengelkoch, Susan Mosher and Michael West, who has been with the show since opening night.

Edward Albee

♦ Off-Broadway’s Signature Theatre‘s 2017–2018 season will begin with resident playwright Suzan-Lori Parks’ Red Letter Plays, produced together for the first time. Fucking A, directed by Jo Bonney, will run Aug. 22-Oct. 1 in the Romulus Linney Courtyard Theatre, while In The Blood, directed by Sarah Benson, will run Aug. 29-Oct. 8 in the Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre. Next up is Stephen Adly Guirgis’ play about prison life on Rikers Island, Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train, directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson and running Oct. 3-Nov. 12 on the Irene Diamond Stage. In honor of late playwright Edward Albee, the theatre will present Edward Albee’s At Home at the Zoo: Homelife & The Zoo Story, directed by Lila Neugebauer, performing Jan. 30 through Mar. 11. Resident playwright Dominique Morisseau’s new play, Paradise Blue, also directed by Mr. Santiago-Hudson, will run Apr 24-June 3. And finally, Guirgis’ Our Lady of 121st St., directed by Anne Kaufman, will close out the season May 1-June 10.

♦ And finally, Cassie Levy and Patti Murin have been chosen to play the Arendell sisters in the Broadway-bound musical Frozen, based on Disney’s Academy Award-winning animated musical film. Levy will create the role of Elsa, a young woman wrestling with her own innate powers, while Murin will star as Elsa’s younger sister Anna. The show is scheduled to play the Denver Center for the Performing Arts Aug. 17–Oct. 1 before arriving on Broadway in spring 2018 at the St. James Theatre. The two will be joined by Greg Hildreth as Olaf, Robert Creighton as Duke of Weselton, John Riddle as Hans and Jelani Alladin as Kristoff. Additional principal and ensemble casting will be announced soon. Tony winner Michael Grandage directs, with Rob Ashford on board as choreographer.

Written by Richard Hart


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