“It Shoulda Been You” Begins Previews

David Hyde Pierce Directs, Tyne Daly Stars

it shoulda been youOn March 17, 2015, It Shoulda Been You began previews at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre. The musical comes to Broadway after a critically acclaimed run at the George Street Playhouse in Millburn, New Jersey. The show marks David Hyde Pierce’s Broadway directorial debut. As an actor Pierce has appeared on Broadway in many shows including Spamalot, La Bête, and Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. This is in addition to his numerous screen credits, most notably TV’s “Frasier.” The musical has book and lyrics by Brian Hargrove (who happens to be David Hyde Pierce’s husband) and a score by Barbara Anselmi. This marks the Broadway debuts of both Hargrove and Anselmi. This wedding musical comedy stars Tyne Daly (Mothers and Sons, Master Class, Gypsy) as the mother of the bride, Sierra Boggess (Master Class, The Little Mermaid) as the bride, Harriet Harris (Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Present Laughter) as the mother of the groom, and David Burtka (Gypsy, husband of Neil Patrick Harris) as the groom.

Further Cast and Creative Teamit shoulda been you

Additional roles are played by Montego Glover (Memphis, The Color Purple) as the bride’s maid of honor, Lisa Howard (Priscilla Queen of the Desert, 9 to 5) as the sister of the bride, and Edward Hibbert (Mrs. Warren’s Profession, The Drowsy Chaperone) as the wedding planner. The show is choreographed by Josh Rhodes (Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella, First Date), and the musical director is Lawrence Yurman (On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, Grey Gardens). In addition, the scenic design is by Anna Louizos (Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella), the costume design is by William Ivey Long (On the Twentieth Century), the lighting design is by Ken Billington (Hugh Jackman, Back on Broadway), and sound design is by Nevin Steinberg (Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella), who happens to share the same last name as the bride’s family in this musical comedy.

A Wedding Comedy Gone Awry

In It Shoulda Been You, two families of different backgrounds come together for the wedding of their son and daughter. Rebecca Steinberg, the bride, comes from a very Jewish family, whereas Brian Howard, the groom, comes from a WASPier clan. The groom’s mother loves to drink, and the bridge’s mother loves to kvetch. Not only do the parents clash immediately, but there are other tensions brewing beneath the surface. Ultimately, the bride’s sister needs to come to the rescue, as she realizes her sister has gone too far and the secrets need to be revealed. The show is scheduled to open on April 14, 2015, and it is presently set for an open-ended run.

“Love Letters” Opens on Broadway

Just Six Preview Performances

love letters posterOn September 13, 2014, A.R. Gurney’s play Love Letters had its first preview at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre. After just six previews, on September 18, 2014, the show had its official opening. Whereas most shows usually run for three or four weeks of previews before inviting the press to review the show, denoting its official opening, Love Letters took a different approach. The reason is that the show is cast with a rotating selection of actors, all who are at the top of their trades. As the show is read rather than memorized, which they can get away with due to the conceit of letters, there is less left to chance than with most shows, so fewer preparatory performances were needed. Moreover, as this preliminary cast – Mia Farrow and Brian Dennehy – is only slated to appear until October 10th (with Dennehy continuing on until November 8th), it was necessary for the press to be invited early on, so theatregoers would have a chance to see the cast represented in the reviews for a few weeks after the reviews came out.

A Rotating Cast of Stars

This is the second time Gurney’s epistolary play has been seen on Broadway – the first time was in 1989. The 2014 revival is directed mia farrow brian dennehy love lettersby Gregory Mosher, who is presently the artistic director of Lincoln Center Theatre, and who has directed such Broadway shows as That Championship Season, A View From The Bridge, and James Joyce’s The Dead. Like in the first production of Gurney’s play, the show is performed with a rotating cast of stars, taking turns in the two-hander. As mentioned, the first duo is Mia Farrow and Brian Dennehy, and on October 11th Carol Burnett will step in to read with Dennehy. Brian Dennehy is a Broadway star best known for his portrayal of Willie Loman in Death of a Salesman. Farrow, on the other hand, hasn’t been seen on Broadway since 1996, but she is renowned for film performances in such movies as Rosemary’s Baby. On November 8th, the pair will be replaced by Alan Alda and Candice Bergen, and on December 6th the duo will be played by Stacy Keach and Diana Rigg. Finally, from January 10th to February 1st, the run will conclude with the roles played by Anjelica Huston and Martin Sheen.

Mixed Reviews, Tending Toward the Positive

The reviews spanned the spectrum, with critics either praising the durability of the revival along with the star performances, or panning the show for being glorified staged reading. It is true that the actors have not memorized their lines, which is why the producers were able to woo such esteemed actors, and so many of them, to do the parts. Furthermore, as these actors have busy film schedules, the short stints allowed many of them to take on the roles when they would have normally been unable to commit to a Broadway show. Therefore, the balance works out, as long as the audience doesn’t mind seeing the actors with their glasses donned and reading the parts from the pages of the letters. Fortunately, it is all about the letters, and the story was commended for its tribute to a now old-fashioned form of communication in this age of email and text messaging. The play was reported as being quietly moving and deceptively simple, while the performances were lauded for the depths they managed to reach.

Peter and the Starcatcher Celebrates Pirate Day With Free Ticket Offer

“International Talk Like a Pirate Day,” founded by humor columnist Dave Barry, is coming up on September 19, and the Peter Pan-themed show Peter and the Starcatcher has come up with a unique way to celebrate it.  In tribute to the play’s own pirate, Black Stache, Peter and the Starcatcher will have a special “Stache Day” on that date.

In honor of “Stache Day,” Peter and the Starcatcher will give out free tickets for that night’s performance to the first 100 people wearing mustaches (they can be real or fake) who line up at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre (located at 256 West 47th Street) on the morning of September 19.  The tickets will be distributed at 10:00AM, and only one ticket can be claimed per person.

To encourage fans to come bearing their most impressive mustaches, Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson (the authors of the book on which Peter and the Starcatcher is based), as well as the actor who plays Black Stache, Matthew Saldivar, will choose the three best mustaches.  Those people will each be given a pair of tickets, plus a backstage tour at the performance that evening.