David Letterman Retires from “Late Show” with Final Episode

Final Show Airs May 20, 2015 on CBS

david lettermanFor 22 years, David Letterman has been the host of the Late Show with David Letterman, airing five late nights a week on CBS. Including his previous tenure on a late night talk show on NBC, this represents the end of 32 year career for David Letterman as the king of late night. At age 68, he finally feels ready to step down and pass the mantle. On May 20, 2015, the final episode of the Late Show with David Letterman airs on CBS. He will be succeeded by Stephen Colbert, whose The Colbert Report has gained immense acclaim with American viewers, but the Late Show with Stephen Colbert will not begin until September 8, 2015, allowing a summer break for viewers to get accustomed to Letterman’s departure and become eager for the new premiere. David Letterman has influenced generations of comedians, setting the tone for an entire era of comedy that was way ahead of his time. Unlike Johnny Carson who preceded him on the late night landscape, Letterman was not afraid to point out artifice around him, bringing an anarchic quirkiness to television that has undoubtedly paved the way for Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart, and Craig Ferguson.

Tom Hanks and Bill Murray Among Final Week Guestsdavid letterman bill murray

Among the guests to appear on the final week of the Late Show with David Letterman, Tom Hanks made his 60th appearance on a show hosted by Letterman. His first time appearing with David Letterman took place on April 4, 1984. For Monday night’s show, Tom Hanks sat on the couch one final time. Also on that show, Eddie Vedder from Pearl Jam performed, backed by Paul Shaffer and the CBS Orchestra. For Tuesday night’s show, Bill Murray made his 44th appearance on a show hosted by Letterman. He was also a guest on the first ever Late Night in 1982, getting Letterman off to an excellent start with the undeniable chemistry between the duo. In a hilariously memorable moment, Murray walked on the stage in 1982 proclaiming that he had missed the beginning of the show, and asked what happened, and if it had been going well. In addition, for this penultimate episode, Bob Dylan was the musical guest. At age 73, Dylan hasn’t performed on a Letterman show in 22 years. The last time was in 1993, which was the first season the show played on CBS. As for the final show on May 20, the guests will be a slew of surprises, including a final Top Ten.

Changing the Landscape of Late Night Forever

With the departure of Letterman, late night viewers are awaiting the fall when Stephen Colbert will transition into this more serious role, a departure from his farcical portrayal as the faux conservative character he has played on The Colbert Report. This is not the only change taking late night by storm. In addition, Craig Ferguson completes his tenure on The Late Late Show also on CBS in December 2015. His replacement, the British comedian James Corden who starred on Broadway in One Man, Two Guvnors, will not begin until March 2016. It is unclear if there will be guest hosts in the interim between Letterman and Colbert, although CBS has announced that there will be guest hosts for The Late Late Show between Ferguson and Corden. In any case, the set for the Late Show with David Letterman will be torn down at the Ed Sullivan Theatre, making the way for Stephen Colbert to do his best to step into those very worthy shoes.

Upcoming Film To Tell the Story of Making Mary Poppins

Saving Mr. BanksThe Broadway stage version of Mary Poppins recently closed, but another iteration of the beloved musical will be hitting the big screen on December 13 when the new film Saving Mr. Banks opens. The movie tells the behind-the-scenes tale of Walt Disney’s effort to get the Mary Poppins books made into a movie musical.

As a Disney blurb about Saving Mr. Banks describes it, “When Walt Disney’s daughters begged him to make a movie of their favorite book, P.L. Travers’ Mary Poppins, he made them a promise—one that he didn’t realize would take 20 years to keep. In his quest to obtain the rights, Walt comes up against a curmudgeonly, uncompromising writer who has absolutely no intention of letting her beloved magical nanny get mauled by the Hollywood machine.”

Tom Hanks plays Walt Disney, while Oscar winning actress Emma Thompson takes on the role of P.L. Travers, the woman who wrote the original Mary Poppins stories. Jason Schwartzman and B.J. Novak play the Sherman brothers, the men who wrote the classic score to the Mary Poppins movie.

Theatre World Awards Go To Tom Sturridge, Bertie Carvel, and More

Tom Sturridge

Tom Sturridge

The 2013 Theatre World Award winners have been announced. The honorees have been recognized for making an outstanding debut performance on or off-Broadway. Tom Hanks is the most recognizable name on the list, and among the most buzzed about this season are Bertie Carvel (Matilda), Tom Sturridge (Orphans), Rob McClure (Chaplin), and Keala Settle (Hands on a Hardbody). Other winners include Carrie Coon, Shalita Grant, Brandon J. Dirden, Valisia LeKae, Ruthie Ann Miles, Yvonne Strahovski, and Conrad Ricamora.

Theatre World has also bestowed a pair of special honors to particular individuals. The 2013 Dorothy Loudon Award for Excellence in the Theater has gone to Jonny Orsini for his work in The Nance. Alan Alda is being given the John Willis Award for Lifetime Achievement.

The honorees will be recognized at the 69th Annual Theatre World Awards ceremony, taking place at the Music Box Theater on June 3. Theater journalist Peter Filichia will serve as host for the festivities. For more information, visit www.theatreworldawards.org.

Tony Nominated Lucky Guy Recoups Investment

Lucky Guy Broadway ShowAfter just eight weeks on Broadway, the Nora Ephron play Lucky Guy has recouped its investment. Its very unusual for a Broadway show to earn back its capitalization so quickly, but then again there is no other Broadway show out there featuring international film star Tom Hanks, who is making his Broadway debut in Lucky Guy.

In addition to its excellent financial performance, the producers have another reason to be happy: Lucky Guy recently earned a total of six Tony Award nominations. The play was recognized with nods for Best Play, Best Direction, Best Scenic Design, Best Lighting Design, Best Featured Actor (Courtney B. Vance), and Best Actor for Tom Hanks.

The story of colorful real-life New York City tabloid columnist Mike McAlary, Lucky Guy started preview performances on March 1st. The production continues its limited run at the Broadhurst Theatre through July 3.

Tom Hanks Hosts Rodgers & Hammerstein Celebration June 10

Tom HanksLucky Guy star and Tony Award nominee Tom Hanks will serve as host for “Something Wonderful! The Songs of Rodgers & Hammerstein”. A gala benefit to raise funds for the Irish Repertory Theatre, this special concert will be held at the Broadhurst Theatre on June 10.

Featuring Shirley Jones, the evening will include an array of cherished Rodgers & Hammerstein’s songs, such as “Some Enchanted Evening,” “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’,” “It’s a Grand Night for Singing,” and “Shall We Dance?”. Jones has a strong association with the famed songwriting team, as she appeared in the film versions of their classic musicals Oklahoma!, South Pacific, and Carousel.

Tickets to “Something Wonderful!” are $150-$350. Call 212-727-2737 or go to www.IrishRep.org for details.

Further Casting for Lucky Guy, Starring Tom Hanks, Announced

It has already been big news that Tom Hanks will be hitting the Broadway stage for the first time in early 2013 in the new play Lucky Guy, but now the names of many of his castmates have also been announced.  Hanks will be reunited with Peter Scolari (Magic/Bird, Sly Fox), his co-star on the TV comedy Bosom Buddies, and he was also be joined by Richard Masur (Democracy), Christopher McDonald (Chicago), and Peter Gerety (The Lieutenant of Inishmore).

In Lucky Guy, Tom Hanks plays columnist Mike McAlary.  The play was written by the late Nora Ephron, who worked with Hanks in the films Sleepless in Seattle and You’ve Got Mail.  Directed by George C. Wolfe, Lucky Guy will start preview performances at the Broadhurst Theatre on March 1, 2013, and then open on April 1.

The cast of Lucky Guy will also include Stephen Tyrone Williams, Danny Mastrogiorgio, Deirdre Lovejoy, Michael Gaston and Dustyn Gulledge.

Tom Hanks Confirmed To Star in Lucky Guy on Broadway

It has finally been confirmed that Tom Hanks will indeed be making his Broadway debut in the upcoming Broadway play, Lucky Guy.  Written by the late Nora Ephron and directed by George C. Wolfe, Lucky Guy is a biographical drama about controversial newspaper columnist Mike McAlary.  Hanks and Nora Ephron of course had a history of working together, with Hanks starring in the Ephron-penned films Sleepless in Seattle and You’ve Got Mail.

Perhaps because of Tom Hanks’ generally busy movie schedule (his latest, Cloud Atlas, is opening soon), Lucky Guy is currently scheduled for what appear to be a very limited run.  The play will begin preview performances at the Broadhurst Theatre on March 1 and open on April 1, but it is only selling tickets through May 19.  However, if ticket sales are as good as one would expect for a Broadway turn by one of Hollywood’s biggest stars, it is always possible that the production could extend.

 

Nora Ephron’s Lucky Guy Still On Track to Broadway

Nora Ephron

Despite her recent death, writer Nora Ephron’s final play, Lucky Guy, is still set to come to Broadway.  A few months ago it was announced that Tom Hanks would star in the play about columnist Mike McAlary.  Though no official casting details have been confirmed recently, a new Equity casting notice claims that the role of McAlary has been cast, which may be a clue that Tom Hanks is still attached.

George C. Wolfe (The Normal Heart) is expected to direct Lucky Guy, which is planning to start previews in March of 2013 at a Shubert theater that has yet to be announced.  In a previous statement made to the New York Times, producer Colin Callender said,  “We are honored to be part of her legacy and remain committed to seeing her magnificent work ‘Lucky Guy’ shine on Broadway and can think of no more fitting tribute to her extraordinary writing and remarkable body of work.”

Lucky Guy is about the life and career of New York Post and New York Daily News columnist Mike McAlary, who earned a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of the famed Abner Louima case.  A previous version, titled Stories About McAlary, had a reading starring Hugh Jackman in 2010.