It has been several months since the short-lived Broadway musical Hands on a Hardbody ended its run at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre, but the show will still be remembered due to the upcoming August 27 release of its original Broadway cast recording.
The CD release will be celebrated with a special event at Barnes & Noble (Manhattan’s East 86th Street location) to be held on September 4 at 7pm. Cast members from the Broadway cast will perform and sign copies of the CD for fans.
Featuring a score by Amanda Green (Bring It On) and Phish’s Trey Anastasio, Hands on a Hardbody was inspired by a real-life event in Texas in which a group of people took part in an endurance competition in the hopes of winning a brand new truck.
The 21-track Broadway cast recording of Hands on a Hardbody includes songs such as the soaring “I’m Gone” and a bonus number titled “The Tryers”.
Emmy-winning actor Tom Skerritt will make his Broadway debut this season, co-starring in the forthcoming drama A Time to Kill, based on The Firm author John Grisham’s first novel. Skerritt will play the role of Lucien Wilbanks.
M*A*S*H, Alien, Top Gun, Steel Magnolias, and A River Runs Through It are among Tom Skerritt’s film credits. However, he is equally well-known for his role on the acclaimed CBS TV program Picket Fences, for which he won his Emmy Award.
Tom Skerritt joins a cast that includes Sebastian Arcelus, Patrick Page, Tonya Pinkins, and Fred Dalton Thompson. Adapted by Rupert Holmes and directed by Ethan McSweeny, A Time To Kill is scheduled to start performances at the John Golden Theatre on September 28. Opening night is set for October 20.
Following in the footsteps of several other TV shows, ranging from Buffy the Vampire Slayer to Scrubs, the USA network hit comedy series Psych is doing a musical episode, scheduled to air on December 15.
The special two-hour episode of Psych will feature original music, and will have guest stars from the musical theater world, notably Anthony Rapp (Rent) and Barry Bostwick (Grease, The Rocky Horror Picture Show).
The episode will follow Psych‘s lead characters, Shawn (James Roday) and Gus (Dule Hill), as they track down a crazed playwright and must consult with a dangerous villain from Shawn’s past.
The brand new musical First Date opens today at the Longacre Theatre on Broadway. First Date, which began preview performances on July 9, is currently scheduled for an open run.
Starring Zachary Levi (TV’s Chuck) and Krysta Rodriguez (The Addams Family on Broadway), First Date is — as the title aptly indicates — about two New Yorkers who go out on a first date that unfolds in real-time. Levi is Wall Street trader Aaron and Rodriguez plays artist Casey, and they are both attempting to get through the evening with their sanity intact as annoying relatives, old flames, and friends pop up to offer their unsolicited commentary.
Directed by Bill Berry, First Date has a book by Austin Winsberg, and music/lyrics by Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner. August Eriksmoen provides orchestrations, while Dominick Amendum supplies vocal and incidental music arrangements for the production.
The very Broadway-friendly cabaret spot 54 Below will be showcasing a lot of talent from the Great White Way in August.
From August 5-11, Brazilian opera star Paulo Szot (South Pacific) takes on many beloved classics of the American songbook. Sierra Boggess (The Little Mermaid, The Phantom of the Opera) will make her cabaret debut, performing an array of numbers from both classic and emerging songwriters on August 19 and 26 at 9:30pm.
Broadway fans should also be sure to check out “Broadway Swings” on August 7, 14, and 18. This event features swingin’ arrangements of Broadway tunes from musicals such as The King & I, Pippin, and Porgy & Bess.
The late night “Writer’s Block” series also offers an opportunity to hear from upcoming talent, and the “Broadway Trivia Night” on August 7 at 11:30pm gives Broadway super fans a chance to battle their wits and memories.
Fred Dalton Thompson
Casting has been announced for the upcoming Broadway production of A Time to Kill, the stage adaptation of John Grisham’s debut novel, which will start performances at the John Golden Theatre on September 28.
Sebastian Arcelus (Broadway’s Elf, TV’s House of Cards) will take on the role of defense attorney Jack Brigance, a breakout role for actor Matthew McConaughey in the 1996 film version. Actor and former senator Fred Dalton Thompson will make his Broadway debut in the production as Judge Noose.
Adapted by Rupert Holmes, the stage version of A Time to Kill will be helmed by Ethan McSweeny. James Noone will provide set design, David Woolard supplies costume design, and Jeff Croiter will do lighting. This is the first John Grisham book to be given a stage production.
Manhattan Theater Club (MTC) will produce a new play by Tony Award winning playwright John Patrick Shanley in early 2014. Outside Mullingar will begin its run at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre on January 2, with an opening set for January 23.
Directed by Doug Hughes, Outside Mullingar will star Debra Messing (Smash, Will & Grace) and Tony winner Brian F. OByrne, who received much acclaim for his work in Shanley’s most famous Broadway play, Doubt.
Outside Mullingar is set in rural Ireland, and tells the story of cattle farmer Anthony and his neighbor Rosemary. The funny, romantic, and poignant drama is set to play a limited 11-week engagement.
The Assembled Parties are now disassembling, as the Tony Award nominated production ends its run at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre today. The closure of The Assembled Parties, which was originally scheduled to shutter on June 2, follows three extensions due to the play’s significant popularity with audiences.
Written by Richard Greenberg and produced by the Manhattan Theatre Club, The Assembled Parties introduced audiences to an affluent Jewish family living on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, and the friend of the family who is drawn into their drama. The play takes place in 1980 in the first act and in the year 2000 in the second act.
Co-star Judith Light won the Tony Award this year for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play, as well as the Drama Desk Award.
Direct from London, the new Beatles tribute Let It Be opens at Broadway’s St. James Theatre today. The limited-engagement production is currently scheduled to play through December 22.
Let It Be attempts to recreate the unforgettable experience of seeing The Beatles, often celebrated as the greatest rock band of all time, live in concert. Featuring a live band playing many of The Beatles’ most cherished classic songs, the show also includes video footage that illustrates the Fab Four’s humble beginnings in Liverpool to global adulation.
Tickets for Let It Be start at $30 and can be purchased at www.telecharge.com. For more information on the show, visit www.letitbebroadway.com.
For the last several years, Broadway has embraced the Christmas holiday season with special limited-run shows designed specifically to entice holiday crowds. How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Elf, and A Christmas Story have all provided warm-hearted Christmas-themed cheer to Broadway audiences.
However, this winter, it appears that while there will be at least a couple of holiday friendly musicals in New York City, they won’t be playing in Broadway theaters. A Christmas Story, which was at Broadway’s Lunt-Fontanne Theater last year, will play instead at the Theater at Madison Square Garden, which has been a popular venue for other holiday fare like a musical version of A Christmas Carol.
As usual, Radio City Music Hall will have its Radio City Christmas Spectacular featuring the Rockettes. But neither How the Grinch Stole Christmas (which was on Broadway in 2006 and 2007) nor Elf (which played Broadway’s Al Hirschfeld Theatre in 2010 and 2012) currently plan to come to NYC. Instead, both shows will tour large regional theaters around the country.
This will be the first time since 2006 that Broadway hasn’t featured a limited-run holiday-themed show (unless something changes in the next couple months). The success of several show’s from Broadway’s spring season means that fewer theaters are available, which may be one reason for the lack of Christmas spirit on the Great White Way this year. Whether or not this is just a blip in the holiday Broadway show trend remains to be seen.