♦ New York City Center’s Encores! series will celebrate its 25th anniversary season with three productions under the musical direction of Rob Berman. First up is Hey, Look Me Over!, a showcase of songs and scenes from musicals that Encores has yet to produce, conceived by Encores! a.d. Jack Viertel. The show will run Feb. 7-11. Up next is Grand Hotel, inspired by the novel by Vicki Baum, about the comings and goings in post-war Berlin’s most prestigious hotel. With music and lyrics by Robert Wright and George Forrest and a book by Luther Davis, Grand Hotel runs March 21-25. Finally, Encores! will present Me and My Girl, the first Encores! presentation to have originated on London’s West End rather than Broadway. Back in New York after almost thirty years, the show will run May 9-13. No word yet on creative teams or casting.
♦ Streaming service BroadwayHD has entered into new partnerships with both Amazon and telecommunications giant Ericsson. With subscription costs dropping from $14.99/mo. to $8.99/mo., the service is now available through its own Amazon channel on all compatible devices, including Amazon Fire TV Stick, Amazon Fire TV, Fire tablets and computers, as well as Android and iOS mobile devices. The BroadwayHD app will also be pre-loaded on all Ericsson TVs in time for the holiday shopping season. The current on-demand lineup for BroadwayHD includes over 400 hours of content, currently featuring Roundabout Theatre’s productions of Holiday Inn and She Loves Me, as well as the 2017 revival of Noel Coward’s Present Laughter starring Tony winner Kevin Kline.
♦ Speaking of BroadwayHD, the streaming service has added a number of West End productions to its fall and winter lineup. “We are giving people access to live theatre that they may otherwise never see. It’s likely many of our viewers will never make it to Broadway, let alone the West End,“ said Stewart F. Lane, co-founder of BroadwayHD. The fast-growing theatrical streaming service will present the London production of The Wind and the Willows starting Nov. 23, along with Tim Rice’s musical version of From Here to Eternity (Dec. 7) and the play The Railway Children (Dec. 14).
♦ ACROSS THE POND: Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo will star in the titular parts in Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra from September 2018, directed by Simon Godwin; departing Shakespeare Globe a.d. Emma Rice‘s unique theater/film hybrid production of Noël Coward‘s Brief Encounter returns to the West End this March following a regional tour; Off-West End audiences can see a revival of Kander and Ebb’s The Rink, directed by Adam Lenson, at the Southwark Playhouse May 25-June 23.
♦ Courtesy of American Theatre Magazine, here is a list of the Top 10 Most-Produced Plays of the 2017-18 season:
- Shakespeare in Love, adapted by Lee Hall from Marc Norman & Tom Stoppard’s screenplay
- Fun Home, by Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori, based on Alison Bechdel’s graphic novel
- Skeleton Crew, by Dominique Morisseau
- The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time adapted by Simon Stephens from Mark Haddon’s novel
- Marjorie Prime by Jordan Harrison
- The Humans by Stephen Karam
- A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry
- Heisenberg by Simon Stephens
- Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley by Lauren Gunderson & Margo Melcon
- Sense and Sensibility adapted by Kate Hamill/adapted by Emma Whipday & Brian McMahon
♦ IN BRIEF: Beth Leavel is Miss Hannigan and Christopher Sieber is Daddy Warbucks in Paper Mill Playhouse’s holiday-season production of Annie; Erik Gratton and Veronica J. Kuehn star in Elf at the Theater at Madison Square Garden starting Dec. 13; playwright Paula Vogel received this year’s Hull-Warriner Award from the Dramatists Guild for her play, Indecent; Lee Pace will play Joe Pitt in the Broadway revival of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America beginning Feb. 23 at the Neil Simon; Todrick Hall joins the Broadway production of Chicago as Billy Flynn Nov. 30-Jan. 14; Allan Harris‘ Cross That River, a new musical about black cowboys in the American West, plays the 59E59 Theaters Nov. 30-Dec. 31; the 29th annual Gypsy of the Year competition, benefiting Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, takes place Dec. 4-5 at the New Amsterdam Theatre; Ann Wedgeworth, a Tony winner for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play for her performance in Neil Simon’s 1977 comedy Chapter Two, has died at age 83.
Written by Richard Hart