The Roundabout Theatre Company revival of Terrence McNally’s farcical play The Ritz opened this evening on Broadway at Studio 54. The production, which stars Rosie Perez and Kevin Chamberlain, will play a limited run that ends on December 2nd.
Things are getting tense between the League of American Theatres and Producers and Local One (aka the stagehands union). On October 9, following a month of contract negotiations, both sides presented what they considered to be their final offers — which are, needless to say, incompatible. Hopefully the League and Local One will work out their differences soon, or else Broadway could come to a standstill. Without stagehands, the show simply can’t go on.
Aida Turturro and Vincent Pastore, best known for their roles as Janice Soprano and Sal “Big Pussy” Bonpensiero on the acclaimed HBO series The Sopranos, will be joining the Broadway cast of Chicago on November 19. Turturro will be taking on the role of Matron “Mama” Morton, while Pastore will play sad sack Amos Hart.
Max Crumm, Laura Osnes, and other members of the cast of the current Broadway revival of Grease are appearing today at the Virgin Megastore in Times Square at 6:30pm. The Grease kids are gathering to celebrate the new Broadway cast recording of the show, which was released on October 2. Crumm, Osnes, and company will perform four songs at the event, and then they will sign copies of the CD for fans.
Broadway booster and sometime Broadway star Rosie O’Donnell is now coming out as an artist. From October 9 through December 2, she will have a gallery show entitled “Solace” at the Off-Broadway complex New World Stages. O’Donnell most recently starred on Broadway as a replacement in the Fiddler on the Roof revival, and prior to that appeared in the previous Broadway revival of Grease and in the Ahrens & Flaherty musical Seussical.
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.
Although it shouldn’t be a surprise to anybody at this point, a producer of Xanadu has finally made the announcement that James Carpinello won’t be returning to the show. Carpinello originated the role of Sonny in Xanadu on Broadway, but was injured during previews, at which point Cheyenne Jackson took over the part. Carpinello was initially expected to return after he recovered, but it’s now official that Jackson will continue to play Sonny on Broadway.
Actor George Grizzard, perhaps best known for his work in Edward Albee’s plays (he was Nick in the original Broadway production of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?), died from lung cancer on October 2nd, at the age of 79. His most recent theater roles included a revival of Albee’s Seascape on Broadway, and Off-Broadway in Paul Rudnick’s Regrets Only.
Forbidden Broadway: Rude Awakening, the latest incarnation of the cheeky Off-Broadway review that merrily skewers Broadway shows, will be captured on CD as a part of Forbidden Broadway: The 25th Anniversary, to be released on DRG in January 2008. This ninth Forbidden Broadway recording will not only include Rude Awakening material, but will also contain songs from previous editions of the show that never made it onto disc before.
The Jason Robert Brown/Alfred Uhry musical Parade, which premiered on Broadway in the 1998-1999 season, is getting great reviews in its London production at the prestigious Donmar Warehouse. And word is that this production will also yield an original London cast recording. Great news for fans of this musical drama about Leo Frank, which had an all-too-brief life on Broadway.