Fans of the new Broadway musical Hands on a Hardbody will be pleased to learn that the 1997 documentary of the same name is now getting released on DVD and in movie theaters. The documentary directed by S.R. Bindler, which hasn’t been available for over 10 years, has been digitally restored and re-mastered.
Hands on a Hardbody offers a candid look at a 1995 competition that offered 24 Texans in a small town the chance to win a pickup truck. The contestants were challenged to keep at least one hand on the truck as long as possible, with the last person still touching the truck winning it. The competition lasted 77 hours.
New York City film-goers can catch Hands on a Hardbody at the IFC Center on March 20, before it continues on a screening tour that will take it to locations in Texas, California, and Washington. And after seeing the documentary, you can buy a ticket to see the musical version — written by Trey Anastasio, Amanda Green, and Doug Wright — at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre on Broadway!
The new musical Beautiful, which celebrates the music of Grammy-winning artist Carole King, is planning for a Spring 2014 debut on Broadway. The show is expected to play a try-out engagement in another city this autumn before coming to Broadway.
A director has not yet been announced for the project, but the musical will have a book written by Douglas McGrath, a well-known writer in Hollywood who wrote the script for the Woody Allen film Bullets Over Broadway (also coming to Broadway in musical form soon) and the Jane Austen adaptation Emma.
Beautiful tells the true story of Carol Klein, the spunky Brooklyn girl who worked her way into the music biz as a teen and eventually became iconic pop songwriter and musician Carole King. The musical showcases hit songs that King penned along with songwriters like Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil, and Gerry Goffin.
“What’s so great about this for me is that musicals were a major influence on my songwriting,” said Carole King in a statement. “In fact, when Gerry and I first met, we made a bargain that I would write music for the Broadway show he wanted to write if he wrote lyrics for my rock ‘n roll songs. The songs took off, and the show idea never came to fruition. Now that our songs have merged with a Broadway show, we’ve come full circle.”
The long-running Off-Broadway staple Forbidden Broadway has announced that it will be concluding its Off-Broadway run at the 47th Street Theatre on April 28. Ironically named Forbidden Broadway: Alive and Kicking!, this edition of the show has to end due to the theater’s commitment to The Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre, which will be presenting its new season there.
This current incarnation of Forbidden Broadway, which can be heard on a cast recording produced by DRG Records, spoofs current Broadway hits like The Book of Mormon and Spiderman, as well as recent successes such as Evita, Anything Goes, and Porgy and Bess. Naturally the Les Miserables film musical also gets skewered, along with famed Broadway personalities like Patti Lupone and Mandy Patinkin.
Created by Gerard Alessandrini, Forbidden Broadway originally opened in 1982, but has played on and off in different theaters and updated editions since then. The show has often featured some of the musical theater world’s most gifted impressionists and comedians as they lovingly make fun of all-things-Broadway.
Just as Broadway’s Phantom of the Opera — the longest running musical in Broadway history — celebrates its 25th anniversary, a re-imagined version of the modern classic prepares to tour America. The newly re-staged production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s monster hit Phantom features new staging and set design.
“I’m delighted to be able to bring this dazzling new production of Phantom — which has been phenomenally well-received by both audiences and critics in the U.K. this past year — to America,” stated producer Cameron Mackintosh. “I am confident American audiences will fall in love with the Phantom in his new guise — for the first time or all over again.”
The revamped Phantom will start its North American tour in Providence, Rhode Island this coming November. The touring production is currently scheduled to play over 20 locations.
The adorable actress Quvenzhane Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild), the youngest performer to receive a Lead Actress nomination in Oscar history, will take on the iconic role of Annie in the forthcoming remake of the movie musical. Will Smith and Jay-Z, who is expected to contribute additional songs, are serving as producers on the new Annie film.
“She is an extraordinary young talent with an amazing range, not only as an actress but as a singer and dancer, and we can’t wait for audiences to further discover her,” stated Columbia Pictures president of production, Hannah Minghella.
Theater audiences are currently re-discovering Annie on Broadway, thanks to the hit revival playing at the Palace Theatre. The upcoming film version is anticipating a late 2014 release.
Oscar-winning actress Rachel Weisz (The Constant Gardener) announced today on the British morning TV show Daybreak that she will soon be making her debut on the Broadway stage. “I am going to do a play on Broadway,” said Weisz. “It’s confirmed.”
Weisz did not confirm which play she will be appearing in on Broadway, but rumors have been circulating that she will star opposite her husband, Daniel Craig (Skyfall), in Harold Pinter’s drama Betrayal.
Although Rachel Weisz will be performing on Broadway for the first time, she is not new to the stage. The actress received an Olivier Award for her performance in the Donmar Warehouse production of the Tennessee Williams classic A Streetcar Named Desire. On film, she can be seen in the new movie Oz the Great and Powerful.
A staple of Broadway for many years, the famed Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Cats (based on poet T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats) is soon to have its biggest staging yet. Stagecoach Theatre Arts will be celebrating its 25th anniversary in spectacular fashion by putting on a one-time-only production of Cats on March 24 that will feature 3,000 performers.
To be held in Birmingham, England at the U.K.’s National Indoor Arena, the performance will have a main cast of 500 singers and 50 dancers, and they will be accompanied by 2,500 young performers, ranging from ages 7 to 18.
“I’m absolutely thrilled that so many young people will be able to take part in this very special performance of Cats,” said Andrew Lloyd Webber in a statement. “Happy 25th Birthday Stagecoach and thank you for giving your students the opportunity to perform the show in such a spectacular way.”
The new feature film of Les Miserables, which recently won several Golden Globe Awards and is now up for a number of Oscars, will be released on DVD and Blu-ray on March 22. There will be a combo pack that includes the DVD, Blu-ray disc, and a digital copy and ultraviolet, making it possible for viewers to watch the movie on multiple platforms.
Fans will be happy to know that the Les Miserables release will include several bonus features. Both the DVD and Blu-ray will have a commentary track with director Tom Hooper, as well as features on casting, production design, and the original Victor Hugh novel.
Bonus features exclusively available on the Blu-ray disc include segments on building the iconic barricade, filming on location, the process of filming the actors singing live, and a profile of Cameron Mackintosh, who produced the original stage production of Les Miserables and was involved in the making of the movie version as well.
The popular reality TV show The X Factor is soon to become a stage musical. Simon Cowell, the former American Idol judge who created the original British series (which now has an American counterpart), will produce The X Factor musical along with Stage Entertainment.
This musical version of The X Factor has already had a workshop in London. It has a book by Harry Hill and music and lyrics by Steve Brown. Simon Cowell even features as a character in the show, though its focus is on a talented singer who lives in a trailer park but dreams of stardom and auditions for The X Factor.
Simon Cowell aims to bring The X Factor musical to London’s West End, specifically the Palladium Theatre. There is hope that the musical will eventually transfer to New York.
The Picnic ends today. Roundabout Theatre Company’s well-received production of the William Inge classic concludes its limited run at the American Airlines Theatre.
The play — which is about the dreams, regrets, and romantic entanglements of small town residents during a sweltering Labor Day — stars Sebastian Stan (TV’s Once Upon a Time) as a handsome drifter who stirs up a lot of trouble during his brief visit. His co-stars include Maggie Grace, Elizabeth Marvel, Mare Winningham, Ben Rappaport, Reed Birney, and Ellen Burstyn.
Picnic is best known by many people for its 1955 Oscar-nominated film adaptation starring William Holden and Kim Novak.