Broadway debutante Claire Danes takes her final bow in Pygmalion today at the American Airlines Theatre. Meanwhile, over at the Cort Theatre, the revival of Harold Pinter’s The Homecoming has its official Broadway opening.
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).
A broadcast date has been set for the airing of the recent Broadway revival of the musical Company, which was taped during its run last season. Company will air on PBS as a part of its “Great Performances” series on February 20, 2008. (But be sure to check local listings, because sometimes different affiliates air programs on slightly different dates.)
The cast of the forthcoming all-black revival of Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is boasting a quartet of big names. It has just been announced that Terrence Howard (Crash, Hustle & Flow) will star as drunk jock Brick, making his Broadway debut. Opposite him as feisty Maggie will be Anika Noni Rose (Dreamgirls), whose turn in Caroline, or Change on Broadway earned her a Tony Award. And stage stalwarts James Earl Jones and Phylicia Rashad will take on the roles of Big Daddy and Big Mama, respectively. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof officially opens on Broadway on March 6.
It’s official! Local One, the Broadway stagehands union, has ratified its contract with the League of American Theatres and Producers. Though the details of the contract, which was tentatively agreed upon between the two parties after a three-week Broadway strike and extensive negotiations, are unknown, it will be in effect for five years.
Today marked the final performance of the Roundabout Theatre Company revival of Terrence McNally’s farce The Ritz at Studio 54. Meanwhile, over at the Lyceum Theatre, the Mark Twain play Is He Dead? (adapted by David Ives) enjoyed its Broadway opening. This is the first production of the Twain comedy, which was only recently re-discovered, and it stars Broadway regular Norbert Leo Butz as an artist who fakes his own death.
The 50th Annual Grammy Award nominations were recently announced, and several Broadway shows are among this year’s selections. Nominated in the Musical Show Album category are a new West Side Story recording, the recent revival of Company, Grey Gardens, and cast albums for two musicals that are still wowing audiences on Broadway, Spring Awakening and the revival of A Chorus Line. Broadway musicals are further honored by the Grammys in the form of the soundtracks to the new movie versions of Dreamgirls and Hairspray, which were both nominated for Best Compilation Soundtrack for Film/TV/Visual Media. Dreamgirls even snagged a Best Song Written for Film/TV/Visual Media nomination for “I Love You I Do”.
The Dukes of Hazzard star John Schneider is to be the latest in a very long line of former TV celebrities to join the cast of the Broadway revival of Chicago. On January 14, Schneider will begin a two-month stint in the role of Billy Flynn, the too-slick lawyer who knows how to razzle dazzle a courtroom (and, hopefully, a Broadway audience!). Schneider is not new to Broadway, having made his debut in Grand Hotel, in addition to many other theater credits outside of Broadway.
The Broadway openings keep on coming. The Seafarer officially opens tonight at the Booth Theatre, three weeks later than originally planned (delayed due to the Broadway strike, obviously). This production of Conor McPherson’s play, starring David Morse and Ciaran Hinds, comes to Broadway following a run at London’s National Theatre. Other McPherson plays that have appeared on Broadway include The Weir and Shining City.
David Hyde Pierce, star of the Broadway musical mystery comedy Curtains, will be staying with the show until summer 2008. It is usually tough to keep a big name on Broadway for more than a year at a time, but Pierce has stated that he’s enjoying Curtains so much that he felt compelled to stick with it longer than he was originally contracted to. Pierce won a Tony Award last year for his role as Lt. Frank Cioffi, the Broadway-loving detective. He has appeared on Broadway a few times before Curtains too, most notably in Spamalot and The Heidi Chronicles.