Spamalot won’t be the only Broadway musical to close on January 18. It has just been announced that Spring Awakening will also take its final Broadway bow that day. Hairspray, too, will shut its doors at the beginning of the year, closing on January 4. Seeing such significant Broadway shows – all Tony-winning musicals, all having enjoyed a lot of box office success – go down all at once is dispiriting. It’s not a very good sign for the health of Broadway. That said, the truth is that all of these shows have had less than impressive ticket sales for awhile now, so it isn’t a huge surprise. To get discount tickets to these shows while they’re still on Broadway, click here.
Singer Aubrey O’Day, a member of the all-girl pop/R&B group Danity Kane, is coming to Broadway on July 18. She will be taking on the part of Amber Von Tussle in the hit Broadway musical Hairspray. O’Day, who will be assuming the role when Ashley Spencer leaves Hairspray to join the Broadway company of Grease, is expected to stay through August 31.
Marissa Jaret Winokur, who memorably played Tracy Turnblad in the original Broadway company of Hairspray, will host her own TV talk show soon. Winokur has just signed a contract with Sony Pictures Television for a talk show, which is scheduled to start production in the fall of 2009. No other details about the show are currently available, but hopefully Broadway baby Winokur will — like that other famous Broadway supporter, Rosie O’Donnell — feature lots of Broadway musicals on her show. Marissa Jaret Winokur, who nabbed a Tony Award for her role in Hairspray, is currently appearing on TV in the popular ABC reality show Dancing With the Stars.
This year’s Broadway-musical-to-movie transfers didn’t fare too well with the Academy Awards nominating committee, which announced its picks this morning. Sweeney Todd, Tim Burton’s cinematic take on the 1979 Broadway musical, didn’t get a Best Picture nomination, but star Johnny Depp did receive a nod for Best Actor. Sweeney was also recognized for its Art Direction and Costume Design. Surprisingly, the Hairspray film — which was a critical and box office smash this summer — didn’t take away any Oscar nominations at all.
To look at the list of Golden Globe nominations this year, you’d almost think it was the old days again, when big screen musicals were common. After a long dry spell, when the category title “Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy” seemed like a relic of the Golden Age, the film version of Chicago changed everything. Although subsequent Broadway-to-Hollywood transfers like Phantom and Rent weren’t very successful, last year’s Dreamgirls did much better with both critics and audiences.
This year, things are looking even brighter. Hairspray (which is still playing on Broadway) was a big, fat summer hit, and the dark slasher musical Sweeney Todd is looking like it will do bloody good box office this Christmas. Both films snagged Golden Globe noms in the aforementioned category, and a third musical also made the cut — Across the Universe, director Julie Taymor’s (The Lion King) film musical that utilizes Beatles songs to tell its story. A couple other musical films that weren’t honored still had stars that were recognized (Amy Adams in Enchanted, John C. Reilly in Walk Hard), and both Sweeney and Hairspray‘s stars got acting nominations (Johnny Depp and Helen Bonham Carter, Nikki Blonsky).
Beloved Cheers barfly George Wendt will join the cast of Broadway’s Hairspray on October 23 in the role of Edna Turnblad (originated by Harvey Fierstein on Broadway, and by John Travolta in the hit film version of the musical). Wendt, who has recently appeared on stage in Art and 12 Angry Men, is scheduled to be Broadway’s Edna through January 20, 2008.
The DVD of the hit film version of the Broadway musical Hairspray is due in stores on November 20. The movie has already grossed $114 million at the box office in the United States alone, and DVD sales are likely to be strong as well.
Starting tomorrow, Friday, August 3, select movie theaters across the country will be screening special “sing-along” prints of the Hairspray movie. To find out more about where you can take part in this interactive Hairspray experience, see the film’s blog here.
Hairspray made over $11 million at the box office on its opening day, beating out behemoth Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (though, just barely, losing the top spot to I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry). The reviews for the Hairspray movie have been outstanding, registering an impressive 94% positive review rate at RottenTomatoes.com. And thanks to all the publicity for the film, the Broadway show has been getting a big boost in attendance as well.
It’s always exciting when a Broadway musical is made into a film, especially since the age of the movie musical has long since passed. The Broadway community always holds its collective breath, waiting to find out whether or not the film will be well-received. Unfortunately the track record has been a little hit-or-miss lately. When Chicago won the Academy Award a few years ago, everybody was proclaiming that Hollywood musicals had made a comeback. However, The Producers and Rent movies didn’t do very well, and even Dreamgirls was considered a little disappointing. So will the new film version of the musical Hairspray be the next Broadway-to-Hollywood smash? For that matter, will it be a creative success? Head to the movie theater this weekend and find out!