“Venus” Rises Again, “Lives” Ends and More Theater News
Openings and closings; it’s the Circle of Life on Broadway. So let’s raise a toast (or a small lion cub) to comings and going in our latest theater news round-up:
Praise goddess! The fabulously entertaining S&M/audition (I know, same thing) comedy Venus in Fur will live on beyond its limited Manhattan Theater Club engagement. After closing up at the Friedman December 18, a commercial production will open Friday, February 7 at the Lyceum Theatre, with unimprovable stars Nina Arianda (I want to be her when I grow up) and Hugh Dancy (and marry him when I grow up, sorry Claire Daines) continuing in their roles. The production is slated to run through June 17 and tickets are on sale now. Lovely news…and aren’t they clever pusses for skipping over the January ticket-sales doldrums?
- The news was not as good for another sexy couple of the stage. The charming revival of Private Lives starring a very entertaining Kim Cattrall will close December 31, five weeks ahead of schedule. Though reviews were generally good, tickets sales were not. Hopefully the early ending doesn’t put a crimp in a possible Tony nod for Ms. Cattrall when the season comes to a close in the Spring.
- It’s hard to imagine who can fill the fuh-lapping tap shoes of last year’s Tony winner (and, to my mind, main reason to see the show) Sutton Foster but producers announced a national tour for Anything Goes. Launching October 2012 in Cleveland, the Cole Porter musical comedy will set sail for 25 cities with casting and official dates to be announced.
- Do you hear that playing? It’s not Gabriel blowing his horn; it’s the siren call of Carla Gugino as she returns to New York in a revival of Athol Fugard’s The Road to Mecca at the Roundabout (previews start today). As I’ve mentioned before, the last time Ms. Gugino appeared on stage here in Desire Under the Elms, she made a believer out of me as far as her acting prowess…and nearly converted me to heterosexuality with her, well, prowess. This time, she plays a South African teacher who befriends an elderly artist played by the divine Rosemary Harris. Something tells me neither will be wearing lingerie in this play.
It’s been a news roundup full of delicious divas of the stage, so how about one bitch? Producers announced a spring 2012 development reading for a new musical based on the beloved novel Because of Winn-Dixie, about a young girl, her estranged father and the dog that brings them together. Yes, a musical starring a dog in the lead role. The creative team is certainly nothing to sniff at: music by Duncan Sheik (Spring Awakening) and lyrics/book by Nell Benjamin (Legally Blonde). And for those just itching to be the lead, you’re too late; Taran, an Irish wolfhound, has already been cast as Winn-Dixie. [Full disclosure: Taran is a male dog so my initial joke is entirely unfair and possibly slanderous.]