"Death Takes a Holiday". Photo by Joan Marcus.
It’s so hot out there, I thought it might be time for a super cool round-up of theater news.
- The new Maury Yeston-Peter Stone-Thomas Meehan musical Death Takes a Holiday opened last night with one major thing missing: Death himself. According to playbill.com, the titular leading man Julian Ovenden had to bow out of the performance due to laryngitis. It seems he took the title a little too much to heart…damn method actors. All ironies aside, we wish him a speedy recovery; it must be heartbreaking to miss out on your big moment.
Andrew Rannells. Photo by Joan Marcus.
In a rare crossover between the music theater and comic book geek worlds (other than that Spider-Man show), the producers of The Book of Mormon are offering the chance to win free tickets to the show to fans visiting the South Park Experience at San Diego’s Comic Con today and tomorrow. Stop by and try your luck (and while you’re at it, enjoy a South Park-themed sno-cone named by yours truly…Papa’s got to pay the bills and he does it by working as a writer at Comedy Central).
- Hold onto your hats (which I hope are lovely, wide-brimmed sunhats); this week was stuffed with big Broadway casting announcements. Hollywood website Deadline.com scooped word that Glee‘s Darren Criss is in final talks to take over for Daniel Radcliffe when he exits How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying in January. I guess the folks at the Al Hirschfeld Theater won’t have to remove the swooning couches after all.
- For us actress lovers, the news got even more interesting. Look for Tony-winner Cynthia Nixon to go for a repeat in the Broadway premiere of Wit. I loved Emma Thompson in the filmed version but this casting is also prickly perfection.
- The line-up has fallen into place, as well, for Other Desert Cities to make its move to the Great White Way after a successful Lincoln Center run earlier this year. Entertainment Weekly reports that talented Aussie Rachel Griffiths (Brothers and Sisters) will make her Broadway debut in the role Elizabeth Marvel played and Judith Light (sure Who’s the Boss, but also a Tony-nominee this year for Lombardi) will take over for Linda Lavin. And ready for the spooky factoid to tie it all together: Judith Light starred in the Off-Broadway and touring productions of Wit. Ooh. Ahh.
- Finally, I know for a theater blog we’ve done marriage equality news out the ying yang but I’ve got two more quick bites as we prepare for the big wedding weekend. As our sistah blog Global Cocktails reported, gay puppets Rod and Ricky from Avenue Q will be among the couples tying the knot at City Hall. (They’re here. They’re felt. Get used to it.) In addition, one of our favorite stage divas (and twitterers) Audra McDonald announced via tweet the following, “Gonna sing at the celebration of the first gay marriage officiated by Mayor Bloomberg this weekend. So honored and excited!” And, get ready for some goosebumps, Audra McDonald was also in the movie of Wit. Dang, I’m good.
The Importance of Being Earnest. Photo by Joan Marcus.
Filming theater is like going to get your picture taken with a mall Santa; while it might make a lovely memory, you’re just as likely to discover that the beard is fake. Stage videos just don’t capture the magic and, in our click and watch world, that can make sharing a show difficult. However, here are some recent clips from the internet that showcase Broadway in creative, informative or just plain ear-popping ways:
- Everything is better with an English accent. Need proof? See what happens when Oscar Wilde meets transcripts from MTV’s “Jersey Shore” in this hysterical (and raunchy) series of videos produced for Playbill.com by Santino Fontana and David Furr of Roundabout’s The Importance of Being Earnest. Make sure you have your mind condom.
Arcadia's Billy Crudup. Photo by Carol Rosegg.
Thank God for Charlie Rose. He manages to have in depth conversations with stage creatives that get beyond the same sound bites and treat theater like a vibrant part of the artistic world. He also seems like he might dish on his big wig guests (and BFF’s) if you got him liquored up on Scotch. Perhaps that’s just me. In any case, he recently recorded two great interviews about current Broadway hits: Arcadia with Raul Esparza & Billy Crudup and The Book of Mormon with Trey Parker & Matt Stone. Crudup’s horrified response to watching video of a recent performance is worth the click alone (and is better than any joke some hack blogger can come up with about taping theater.)
- I’m so glad that youtube did not exist when I was a child singing alone in my bedroom; I would never live down my version of The Carpenters’ “Rainy Days and Mondays.” (Though Karen did sing in a good key for a 10 year old boy.) One expressive young man has become a bit of a web sensation with his rendition of a song from Legally Blonde. Phlegm can’t keep this burgeoning belter down. Well, he’s back with a, shall we say, even more non-traditionally cast follow-up; can “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” be far behind? Watch the video after the jump…
The Book of Mormon, the new musical from Trey Parker and Matt Stone (South Park) and Robert Lopez (Avenue Q) about missionaries in Africa, opened last night on Broadway. Judging by the reviews, this Mormon is ringing everyone’s bell.
One of the common threads in reviews is a wide-eyed surprise at how heartfelt and respectful the piece is toward classic musical theater—even in its foul-mouthed blasphemy—but take a look at some of the collaborators’ earliest work and you’ll see that this balance between shock and affection has always been present. Unless, perhaps, you’ve never heard about the time a certain green amphibian decided to go Shakespeare in Kermit, Prince of Denmark. Or maybe you missed the heartwarming and satisfying meal of Cannibal! The Musical. Well then, prepare yourself…
Long before they killed Kenny, Trey Parker and Matt Stone were serving up a plate of singing and dancing frontier-folk in their homemade film Cannibal! The Musical. Crude and slightly sickening (and I mean that as a compliment), “The Trapper Song” shows that these writers were always OK with their Oklahoma.