♦ Looks like “The Boss” is coming to Broadway! Rock icon Bruce Springsteen announced this week that he will play an eight-week limited engagement at the Walter Kerr Theatre in the fall, performing five shows each week. “My show is just me, the guitar, the piano and the words and music,” said Springsteen. “Some of the show is spoken, some of it is sung. It loosely follows the arc of my life and my work.” Performances of Springsteen on Broadway begin Oct. 3, with a run set through Nov. 26. The official opening is Oct. 12. “I wanted to do some shows that were as personal and as intimate as possible,” he added. “I chose Broadway for this project because it has the beautiful old theaters which seemed like the right setting for what I have in mind.”
♦ Earlier this summer, there was a great deal of speculation surrounding the possible cast for Steve Martin‘s new comedy Meteor Shower, set to open on Broadway this fall. Staged previously at San Diego’s Old Globe Theater and at Connecticut’s Long Wharf Theater, Martin’s absurdist comedy takes an offbeat look at the anxieties lurking just beneath the surface of two “modern” marriages. At the time, Martin was reportedly courting actor-comedian Amy Schumer to make her Broadway debut alongside Tony winner Laura Benanti and that news has now been confirmed. Joining Schumer and Benanti are Spamalot alum Alan Tudyk and Comedy Central’s Keegan-Michael Key, also making his Broadway debut. Jerry Zaks is set to direct. The show begins previews Nov. 1 at the Booth Theater, with an official opening set for Nov. 29.
♦ PBS‘ fall lineup will feature a number of theater-related programs, including three Broadway productions. Great Performances will present She Loves Me with Laura Benanti and Zachary Levi on Oct. 20, Noel Coward’s Present Laughter starring Kevin Kline on Nov. 3, and Holiday Inn with Bryce Pinkham and Corbin Blue on Nov. 24. These three titles were previously filmed for the streaming service BroadwayHD. The public television network with also air a tribute to Harold Prince on Nov. 17, while Tony Bennett: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize, a PBS music special taping honoring the singer, is set to air in January 2018. Viewers can also catch encore airings of In the Heights – Chasing Broadway Dreams (Nov. 10) and Hamilton’s America (Dec. 1).
♦ Tony winner Bette Midler, currently starring in the Broadway revival of Hello, Dolly! at the Shubert Theatre, has announced the date of her last performance. She will take her final bow as Dolly Gallagher Levi on Jan. 14, 2018. In the meantime, two-time Tony Award winner Donna Murphy will continue to play the title role on all Tuesday evenings and at other select performances. No word yet on who Bette’s permanent replacement will be.
♦ Sandra Caldwell will play Mama Darleena Andrews in the New York premiere of Philip Dawkins’ Charm at the Lucille Lortel Theater. An MCC Theater production, the play is inspired by the real-life story of Miss Gloria Allen, a black transgender woman who changed the lives of students at Center on Halsted, Chicago’s LGBTQ community center. The cast will also feature Michael David Baldwin, Jojo Brown, Marky Irene Diven, Michael Lorz, Hailie Sahar, Kelli Simpkins, Marquise Vilson and Lauren F. Walker. Will Davis directs. Previews begin Aug. 31 ahead of an official opening on Sept. 18. The limited engagement runs through Oct. 8.
♦ And finally, Barbara Cook, beloved soprano and legendary Broadway star, passed away on Aug. 8 at the age of 89. Born Oct. 25, 1927, Ms. Cook moved to New York City in 1947 to pursue her love of opera and musical theater. Her Broadway debut came in 1951 in the Fain/Harburg musical Flahooley, which closed after only a month. More high profile roles followed: Hilda, the ingénue in Plain and Fancy in 1954, which garnered her a Theatre World Award as a Promising Personality; Cunegonde in Leonard Bernstein’s 1956 musical Candide, in which she nightly stopped the show with her rendition of “Glitter and Be Gay”; perhaps her most iconic role, Marian the librarian in The Music Man, for which she won the 1958 Tony Award for Featured Actress in a Musical; and 1963’s She Loves Me, playing lovelorn shop girl Amalia opposite Daniel Massey. Personal issues kept Ms. Cook out of the spotlight for the next decade or so, until she returned to the stage in a legendary solo concert on Jan. 26, 1975 at Carnegie Hall, which resulted in a highly successful album and jump-started her thriving concert and cabaret career. From then on, she worked continuously on many successful projects, most notably the 1985 concert version of Stephen Sondheim’s Follies and her 2004 Lincoln Center concerts Barbara Cook’s Broadway! Ms. Cook is survived by her son, Adam LeGrant.
Written by Richard Hart