Last Chance! Tony Award Winning Broadway Shows To See Before They Close In Coming Weeks

As the 2012-2013 season gets in gear, several currently running Broadway musicals and plays are readying to close to make way for the new crop.  Here are four that you should see while you still have the chance.

Sister Act (closing August 26) – Raven-Symone (The Cosby Show) is currently starring in this stage version of the popular Whoopi Goldberg movie about a club singer who disguises herself as a nun after witnessing a murder.  One of the best of Broadway’s fluffy musicals, Sister Act is full of funny characters and toe-tapping ’70s soul numbers courtesy of composer Alan Menken.

One Man, Two Guvnors (closing September 2) – This British import has had Broadway audiences rolling in the aisles all summer.  A manic farce set in the 1960s, One Man, Two Guvnors includes wild slapstick, hilarious gags involving the audience, and musical interludes featuring a fantastic band playing original rock ‘n’ roll tunes reminscent of the play’s time period.

The Best Man Starring Candice Bergen Kerry Butler James Earl Jones Angela Lansbury Johm Larroquette Jefferson Mays Eric McCormackThe Best Man (closing September 9) – Timely for a presidential election year, this 1960 comedy by the late Gore Vidal stands up surprisingly well over 50 years after it was written.  The play itself is admittedly good, not great, but its starry cast makes it worth a visit.  James Earl Jones is giving the production’s most enjoyable performance as a former president, and his impressive list of co-stars includes John Stamos, Elizabeth Ashley, Cybill Shepherd, John Larroquette, and Kristin Davis.

Porgy and Bess (closing September 23) – Though controversial in theatrical circles because of the many changes made from the original version, this Broadway production of the Gershwin folk opera has been largely well-received by audiences and with good reason.  A powerful story, strong performances (Norm Lewis and multiple Tony winner Audra McDonald play the leads), and unforgettable music make this a great evening in the theater.

Public Is Invited to Gore Vidal Memorial on Broadway

Gore Vidal

Writer Gore Vidal’s life and work will be celebrated on Thursday, August 23rd at a memorial being held, appropriately, at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, where the current revival of his play The Best Man is now playing.  The memorial, which will take place from noon to 1pm, will feature loved ones sharing anecdotes and fond remembrances of Vidal.  There will also be readings from some of the author’s best-known works, courtesy of both fans and friends from the worlds of TV, film, and theater.

Gore Vidal, the famed author, public figure, and occasional performer, passed away on July 31.  He was 86 years old.  Vidal’s death has a particular resonance for the Broadway community given the success of The Best Man revival, which opened with a starry cast including James Earl Jones and Angela Lansbury.  This is the third Broadway production of Vidal’s political comedy about warring presidential candidates, which debuted in 1960 and had a previous revival in 2000.

Though perhaps best known for his novels (Burr, Lincoln, Myra Breckinridge) and screenplays (Ben Hur, Suddenly, Last Summer), Gore Vidal was no stranger to Broadway, having written the Broadway-produced plays Weekend, A Visit to a Small Planet, and An Evening with Richard Nixon and …, all comedies.

The general public is invited to attend the special memorial gathering for Gore Vidal.  Seating at the theater, which has a capacity of over 1,000, will be first come first served, so early arrival is recommended.

New Set of Stars Join Broadway’s Best Man

A new slate of stars step up to take the place of departing cast members in the Broadway production of Gore Vidal’s The Best Man tonight. Cybill Shepherd (Moonlighting) is replacing Candice Bergen as a politician’s long-suffering wife, John Stamos (Full House) is succeeding Eric McCormack as a slick rival politician, and Kristin Davis (Sex and the City) is taking over Kerry Butler’s role as his wife.

Original cast members James Earl Jones (giving The Best Man‘s most enjoyable performance as a former President of the United States), John Larroquette, Jefferson Mays, and Angela Lansbury are still with the production, though Lansbury is scheduled to depart on July 24 when Elizabeth Ashley (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof) will take over her role.

Though The Best Man didn’t win any Tony Awards last month–it was nominated for Best Revival of a Play and James Earl Jones received a Best Actor nod–the production has done quite well, nearly selling out during its first weeks and going on to enjoy an average of 80% capacity since then.  Written in 1960, its story of presidential politics still feels pretty timely during this election year.  The play was originally scheduled for a limited run ending on July 8, but extended to September 9 due to popular demand (which was undoubtedly excited by its starry cast).