First Date Opens on Broadway Today

First DateThe 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.

Fred Dalton Thompson To Co-Star in A Time To Kill

Fred Dalton Thompson

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.

Fantasia Barrino To Be After Midnight’s First Star

Fantasia Barrino

Fantasia Barrino

After Midnight, the new Jazz Age inspired show coming to Broadway’s Brooks Atkinson Theatre this autumn, has announced that the first of a line-up of guest-star headliners will be Fantasia Barrino. Last seen on Broadway in The Color Purple, Fantasia was first brought to fame as a contestant on American Idol.

In addition to famed guest stars, After Midnight will feature 25 singers and dancers, along with a 17-person band. According to press notes, “After Midnight will celebrate Duke Ellington’s years at the Cotton Club using his original arrangements and performed by a world-class big band of 17 musicians … The timeless tunes set against a narrative of Langston Hughes poetry will provide an authentic backdrop for an array of cutting-edge performances.”

Directed and choreographed by Warren Carlyle, the production begins preview performances on October 18. Fantasia Barrino is scheduled to perform in After Midnight through February 9 2013

The Assembled Parties Closes on Broadway

The Assembled Parties Broadway ShowThe 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.

Off-Broadway Musical Parodies Saved By the Bell

Bayside the MusicalThe high school sitcom Saved By the Bell is getting an unauthorized parody tribute with Bayside! The Musical!, which will start performances at the Off-Broadway space Theatre 80 (80 St. Mark’s Place) on September 12. Bob and Tobly McSmith penned the music, lyrics, and book to the musical, while Jason Wise provides choreography.

Airing from 1989 to 1993, Saved By the Bell was a light-hearted NBC show that launched the careers of actors such as Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, Elizabeth Berkley, and Mario Lopez.

The show’s press notes state that, “Bayside! The Musical! tackles all the tough questions: Will Zack and Kelly break up? Will Slater quit wrestling forever? Who will develop an incurable caffeine addiction? Can the gang save The Max? Will Screech die? Bayside! The Musical! has it all: large cell phones, wrestling, feminism, ducks covered in oil, teenage pregnancy, and proms.”

Go to www.BaysideTheMusical.com to learn more about the show and how to purchase tickets.

Idina Menzel To Star in If/Then on Broadway in 2014

Idina Menzel

Idina Menzel

If/Then, a new musical by the Next to Normal team of Brian Yorkey (book/lyrics) and Tom Kitt (music), is coming to Broadway early next year. The show is scheduled to start preview performances at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on March 4, with an opening set for March 27.

Tony Award winning actress Idina Menzel, the original Elphaba in Wicked, will star in If/Then, which will be directed by Michael Greif. Before coming to Broadway, the musical will get its world premiere in Washington D.C. at the National Theatre this coming November.

If/Then is a romantic new musical about Elizabeth, a woman who moves to New York City to get a fresh start in her life and career and discovers that the smallest decisions and occurrences have greater impact that she could have ever imagined.

Find out more about the show at www.IfThenTheMusical.com.

Let It Be Opens on Broadway

Let It Be Broadway ShowDirect 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.

Broadway’s Trip To Bountiful Extends Until October

The Trip To Bountiful Broadway ShowThe Trip to Bountiful will last a little longer now that the new production of Horton Foote’s play is extending into the fall. Originally scheduled as a strictly limited engagement set to end on July 7, the Tony Award nominated revival was extended until September 1. But this latest extension means that it is now going to play through
October 9.

The extension gives audiences plenty of time to catch Cicely Tyson in the role that won her a Tony Award, a Drama Desk Award, and an Outer Critics Circle Award this season. She is joined onstage at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre by Cuba Gooding Jr. (Jerry Maguire), Vanessa Williams (TV’s Ugly Betty), and Best Featured Actress Tony nominee Condola Rashad.

The Trip to Bountiful tells the story of an elderly woman, Carrie Watts, who sneaks away from her son and daughter-in-law to return back to her old hometown of Bountiful, Texas.

Spend A Night With Janis Joplin on Broadway

A Night with Janis JoplinOne of the greatest rock stars of the ’60s, Janis Joplin, will be celebrated on the Broadway stage this autumn when A Night With Janis Joplin opens at the Lyceum Theatre. The production is scheduled to begin previews on September 20, with its official opening being scheduled for October 10.

Directed and written by Randy Johnson, A Night with Janis Joplin has already enjoyed acclaim in venues around the country, including the Cleveland Play House, Arena Stage, and the Milwaukee Repertory Theater. Mary Bridget Davies has been praised for her performance as Janis Joplin, which has already earned her a Cleveland Critics Circle Award and a nomination for a Helen Hayes Award.

The Washington Post has described A Night with Janis Joplin as “a remarkable, exhilarating portrait of a singer in love with the cleansing embrace of the crowd”.

A Time To Kill Coming to Broadway

A Time To KillA Time to Kill, the best-seller that first put John Grisham on the map, has been transformed into a stage play, which will soon be on Broadway. Adapted by Rupert Holmes, A Time to Kill will begin previews at the John Golden Theatre on September 28, with an opening set for October 20.

Directed by Ethan McSweeny and produced by Daryl Roth and Eva Price, A Time to Kill actually marks the first time that one of John Grisham’s novels has been brought to the stage. The play had its world premiere at Washington D.C.’s Arena Stage in 2011.

“For almost a quarter of a century, A Time to Kill has captivated readers with its raw exploration of race, retribution and justice,” stated Grisham. “It was my first book and the first that I have allowed to be adapted for the theatre. Rupert Holmes did an excellent job of translating it from the page to the stage, and I am happy that not only my loyal readers, but a whole new audience will be able to experience this story in live theatre.”