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Stage Hits on the Big Screen? Why I Never!

May 16th, 2011

"The Importance of Being Earnest". Photo by Joan Marcus.

In the olden days (you know, like maybe five years ago), the only way you could see the latest Broadway hit at the movies was in a high class adaptation, opened up to make it feel less stage-bound and cast with big stars on an Oscar hunt. Now, thanks to the Metropolitan Opera’s innovative and highly successful The Met: Live in HD program, theater producers are packaging special screenings of plays and musicals, filmed live and then shown for very limited engagements at movie theaters. Tickets cost a fraction of Broadway seats and the quality of the filming is highly accomplished; a friend of mine actually called a recent screening of Danny Boyle’s Frankenstein, “live” from the National Theatre in London, his favorite theater experience of the year so far. So, ignore that slightly dubious feeling and grab your tickets now for these three blockbuster “stage to screen” engagements, currently scheduled for June:

  • The Tony-nominated revival of The Importance of Being Earnest, starring the glorious Brian Bedford as Lady Bracknell, quips its way into digital movie theaters beginning June 2. Tossing in a little added value with the bon mots, the screenings will feature behind-the-scenes footage hosted by David Hyde Pierce and an expert’s take on Oscar Wilde during intermission.
  • "The Cherry Orchard". Photo by Jim Naughten.

    Did you get tickets to the star-crammed concert version of Company at the New York Philharmonic this spring? Neither did I. But now you can see Neil Patrick Harris, Stephen Colbert, Patti LuPone and more on the big screen and feel sorry/grateful for yourself. Sondheim’s boundary-pushing look at marriage and “being alive” beams into select movie theaters starting June 15.

  • London’s calling again with screenings of the National Theatre’s The Cherry Orchard beginning June 30. Starring Zoe Wanamaker in a new adaptation by Andrew Upton (that’s Mr. Cate Blanchett to cinema buffs), this production is sure to be worth a look.
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