The Public Theater’s first Shakespeare in the Park production of the summer, Twelfth Night, opens at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park tonight. The play, which is one of the Bard’s most enduring comedies (and was last produced in the park in 2002), began performances on June 10 and will run through July 12. Although this production doesn’t officially open until this evening, the buzz on it during previews is some of the most positive word-of-mouth on one of the Public’s Shakespeare in the Park shows in years. Twelfth Night stars Anne Hathaway as Viola, a young woman who dresses up as a young man so that she can work for Orsino (Raul Esparza), the duke who is in love with mournful Lady Olivia (Audra McDonald), who in turn falls in love with the cross-dressing Viola. Also taking part in the wacky antics is Jay O. Sanders as Toby Belch, Julie White as Maria, Hamish Linklater as Sir Andrew, and Michael Cumpsty as Malvolio. The production is directed by Daniel Sullivan, and Brooklyn folk-rock group Hem has set Shakespeare’s many songs in the play to music.
The 2004 Broadway revival of Lorraine Hansberry’s play A Raisin in the Sun, headlined by Sean “Diddy” Combs, was not videotaped for posterity during its limited run, but it got the next best thing: A made-for-TV movie featuring the revival cast. Filmed in late 2006, this television version of the Broadway production will air on ABC on February 25, 2008. In addition to Combs, multiple Tony Award-winning Broadway favorite Audra McDonald and beloved stage and TV actress Phylicia Rashad (The Cosby Show) also star.
The Lincoln Center area Barnes & Noble in New York City (exact address: 1972 Broadway) will be featuring some exciting Broadway events this month. First up, Audra McDonald, John Cullum, and the cast of the Broadway revival of 110 in the Shade will perform on June 5 at 5:30. The cast of The Drowsy Chaperone will appear at 5:30 on June 8. On June 14 at 5:00, David Hyde Pierce, Debra Monk, Karen Ziemba, and other members of the Broadway cast of Curtains will perform. These great events are all free and open to the public, so enjoy!
Last night at the Drama Desk Awards, which celebrate everything from Broadway to Off-Off Broadway, it was no surprise when The Coast of Utopia took Best Play and Spring Awakening took Best Musical. Nor did anyone raise any eyebrow when Journey’s End and Company snagged Best Play and Musical Revival, respectively. What was unusual was the fact that there were two ties: Beloved Broadway divas Audra McDonald (110 in the Shade) and Donna Murphy (LoveMusik) shared the Best Actress in a Musical award. Even more interesting, Company revival orchestrator Mary-Mitchell Campbell shared the award with the man who wrote the orchestrations for the original Broadway production of that show, Jonathan Tunick (he won for LoveMusik).