The new revival of the musical Grease opened on Broadway last night, and it looks like the reviews have (predictably) been largely negative. However, the critics — and the rain — couldn’t dampen the spirits of the celebs who showed up on opening night, the enthusiastic audience, and the cast itself. nytix was there to record all the Broadway buzz, and soon we will have the footage up on our site. In the meantime, check out our stage door footage from the first Broadway preview performance of Grease here.
The latest issue of Entertainment Weekly, which is the magazine’s “Fall Movie Preview” special, has a couple items of interest for Broadway lovers. One of the featured films is Tim Burton’s big screen adaptation of the Stephen Sondheim/Hugh Wheeler/Christopher Bond musical masterpiece Sweeney Todd, which stars Johnny Depp as the murderous barber. The other movie with a Broadway connection is the new film adaptation of Anthony Shaffer’s mystery play Sleuth starring Jude Law, which is adapted by Harold Pinter and directed by Kenneth Branagh, stage veterans both.
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.
This Sunday, August 19, is your last opportunity to see three star vehicles on Broadway. The first is Deuce, a play about two former tennis players played by Angela Lansbury and Marian Seldes. The second is Peter Morgan’s Frost/Nixon, starring Frank Langella and Michael Sheen as former U.S. President Richard Nixon and British journalist David Frost, respectively. And the last is Old Acquaintance, a Broadway revival featuring the marvelous Harriet Harris and Margaret Colin.
S. Epatha Merkerson, who for many years has played the role of a sympathetic but no-nonsense New York City police chief on TV’s Law & Order, will be coming to Broadway early next year. Merkerson will star in the Manhattan Theatre Club production of William Inge’s play Come Back, Little Sheba. Performances begin at the Biltmore Theatre on January 3, 2008, with an official Broadway opening on January 24.
Modern Broadway legends Patti Lupone and Mandy Patinkin are planning to do a series of concerts called An Evening with Patti Lupone & Mandy Patinkin. The pair gained fame on Broadway 25 years ago when they starred together as Eva Peron and Che Guevera in Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s bio-musical Evita. So far the duo are planning to do their concert in Philadelphia and Palm Desert, California, but more dates are likely to follow.
The Dirty Dancing musical (bafflingly subtitled “The Classic Story on Stage”) will finally be coming to America in September when it kicks off its U.S. national tour in Chicago. This musical version of the 1988 Patrick Swayze film premiered in Australia and is currently playing in London, but it appears that the producers preferred to bypass Broadway entirely and go straight for a tour. Not a bad idea considering that the sharp-tongued Broadway critics aren’t too likely to give Dirty Dancing a warm welcome.
The Tony Awards Nominating Committee for the 2007-2008 season, the people who will be in charge of seeing all of the Broadway shows and picking the best, has been announced. Among the many distinguished Broadway performers and theater professionals on the committee are producer Sue Frost, actress Joanna Gleason (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels), actor Brian Stokes Mitchell (Ragtime), actress Phyllis Newman, playwright Lynn Nottage, actor Roger Rees, choreographer Donald Saddler, and theater writer Steven Suskin.
They didn’t make it to Broadway, but they’re close: Grease – You’re the One That I Want finalists Austin Miller and Kate Rockwell will be in a new musical at the New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF) this autumn. Miller and Rockwell will star in Tully (in no particular order), which plays at The Sage Theater in midtown on selected dates in late September. For show tickets and other info, see www.tullymusical.com.
The last time a John Waters movie was made into a musical, it made a tremendous splash on Broadway and went on to spawn a successful movie that is still raking in the bucks. So no doubt that the producers of Cry-Baby, the new musical based on Waters’ 1990 movie of the same name, are hoping to meet with similar success. A send-up of old Elvis films and other “bad boy” flicks of the ’50s, Cry-Baby starred Johnny Depp as a juvenile delinquent who falls for the classic good girl. The musical version, which has a book by Hairspray scribes Thomas Meehan and Mark O’Donnell, is expected to start previews on Broadway in March 2008, with an April opening.