♦ For all you Cher fans out there, here’s the latest on The Cher Show, the new bio-musical based on the life of the Grammy- and Oscar-winning entertainer expected to arrive on Broadway sometime in 2018. Word is that the show, with a book by Tony Award-winning librettist Rick Elice and direction by Jason Moore, will receive a lab presentation in New York Oct. 2-29. Featuring a score of Cher hits including “I Got You Babe,” “Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves” and “Take Me Home,” the musical will depict the pop icon at three different stages in her life: “Babe,” the teenage phenomenon; “Star,” the successful musical personality; and “Lady,” the performer we know today. No official dates or theater for the upcoming Broadway production have been announced.
♦ Lincoln Center Theater’s LCT3 will open its 2017–2018 season with After the Blast, a new drama by Zoe Kazan set in the wake of a total environmental disaster, when the human population has retreated underground. Previews begin Oct. 7 in the Claire Tow Theatre, with an official opening set for Oct. 23. With direction by Lila Neugebauer, the limited run will play through Nov. 19. Casting will be announced at a later date.
♦ The Jimmy Buffett musical Escape to Margaritaville, currently playing at La Jolla Playhouse, is expected to arrive on Broadway after the first of the year. The show features new songs in addition to well-known hits by Buffett, with a book by Greg Garcia and Mike O’Malley. The story follows Tully, a part-time bartender and singer at the titular island paradise, where a beautiful career-minded tourist makes him question his laid-back lifestyle. The La Jolla production stars Paul Alexander Nolan, Alison Luff and Lisa Howard. No word yet on casting for the Broadway engagement. Performances begin Feb. 16 at the Marquis Theater following stops in New Orleans, Houston and Chicago. Christopher Ashley directs, with choreography by Kelly Devine.
♦ Tony Award winner Kelli O’Hara and Tony nominee Patrick Wilson will star in a concert staging of the Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe musical Brigadoon at New York City Center this fall. Brigadoon premiered on Broadway in 1947 and tells the story of Tommy and Jeff, two American tourists who happen upon a peculiar Scottish village that only appears for one day every 100 years. The first performance will be at a Nov. 15 gala honoring producer Stacey Mindich. The show will then run through Nov. 19. Joining O’Hara and Pasquale is Tony nominee Robert Fairchild, while Tony Award winner Christopher Wheeldon will direct and choreograph the concert staging.
♦ Producers for SpongeBob SquarePants, the new Broadway-bound musical based on the hit Nickelodeon cartoon series, have announced that preview performances will begin Nov. 6 at the Palace Theatre prior to an official opening on Dec. 4. Newcomer Ethan Slater, who starred in the world-premiere run in Chicago last year, will make his Broadway debut in the title role. He will be joined by Chicago castmates Lilli Cooper, Danny Skinner and Gavin Lee. With a book by Kyle Jarrow, the show’s score is comprised of individual songs written specifically for the show by a long list of contemporary songwriters, including Steven Tyler of Aerosmith, Sara Bareilles, John Legend, Cyndi Lauper and David Bowie. SpongeBob SquarePants is co-conceived and directed by Tina Landau and features choreography by Tony Award winner Christopher Gattelli.
♦ A new play by Tony, Pulitzer Prize, and Academy Award winner John Patrick Shanley will be produced by Manhattan Theatre Club as part of the theater’s upcoming 2017-18 season. The romantic comedy, entitled The Portuguese Kid, will star Tony winner and “Seinfeld” alum Jason Alexander as Barry, a second-rate lawyer from Providence, R.I. who becomes romantically involved with a widowed Greek American real-estate mogul named Atalanta. Shanley is set to direct. Previews begin Sept. 19 ahead of an Oct. 24 opening Off Broadway at New York City Center – Stage I. Further casting, along with a creative team, will be announced at a later date.
♦ And finally, Academy Award-winning filmmaker and bestselling author Michael Moore will make his theatrical debut with his solo play about American politics, with a particular focus on the current administration. The play, entitled The Terms of My Surrender, will begin a limited 12-week run July 28 at Broadway’s Belasco Theatre, with an official opening set for Aug. 10. Direction is by Tony winner Michael Mayer. “I think what the world needs right now is Michael Moore standing on a Broadway stage sharing his hilarious stories and incendiary political perspective, creating the kind of dialogue that can only happen in the theatre,” said Mayer in a press statement.
Written by Richard Hart