Calling all Anglophiles. Academy Award winner Helen Mirren will return to Broadway this spring as Elizabeth II in Peter Morgan’s The Audience, directed by two-time Tony Award winner Stephen Daldry.
For sixty years Elizabeth II has met each of her twelve Prime Ministers in a weekly audience at Buckingham Palace. Both parties have an unspoken agreement never to repeat what is said, not even to their spouses. The Audience imagines a series of pivotal meetings between the Downing Street incumbents and their Queen.
From Churchill to Cameron, each Prime Minister uses these private conversations as a sounding board and a confessional—sometimes intimate, sometimes explosive. In turn, the Queen can’t help but reveal her own self as she advises, consoles and, on occasion, teases. These private audiences chart the arc of the second Elizabethan Age, from the beginning of Elizabeth II’s reign to today. Politicians come and go through the revolving door of electoral politics, while she remains constant, waiting to welcome her next Prime Minister.
Helen Mirren received the Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Play for her role as Queen Elizabeth II in The Audience, reprising her Academy Award winning role from the film The Queen, also written by Peter Morgan.
Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre
236 West 45th Street
Opening night: March 8 (through June 28)
On the Twentieth Century
It’s been more than 35 years since this madcap musical was seen on Broadway (save a one-night only performance in 2005). The original featured the hilarities of Madeline Kahn, John Cullum and Imogene Coca. This revival, presented by the Roundabout, will feature Kristin Chenoweth, Peter Gallagher and Mary Louise Wilson respectively.
It’s nonstop laughs aboard the Twentieth Century, a luxury train traveling from Chicago to New York City. Luck, love and mischief collide when a bankrupt theater producer embarks on a madcap mission to cajole a glamorous Hollywood starlet into playing the lead in his new, non-existent epic drama. But is the train ride long enough to reignite the spark between these former lovers, create a play from scratch, and find the money to get it all the way to Broadway?
On the Twentieth Century
American Airlines Theatre
227 West 42nd Street
Opening night: March 12 (through July 5)
The Heidi Chronicles
Wendy Wasserstein’s play won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1989 (along with the Tony award for Best New Play) and director du jour Pam MacKinnon (A Delicate Balance, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?) hopes to put her stamp on its much-anticipated Broadway revival.
The play is the poignant coming-of-age story of three iconic decades of American culture: the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Through Heidi Holland, now a successful art historian, Wasserstein looked back on the promises of a generation in a work that established her voice in the canon of quintessential theater forever. Starring Golden Globe winner Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men), along with Jason Biggs (Orange is the New Black, The Good Wife) and Bryce Pinkham (A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder), the sweeping and poignant play charts 19 characters through 13 scenes in 3 decades and 4 cities, as three unlikely friends come to realize that the fight for what you believe in can bring you a long way… maybe.
The Heidi Chronicles
Music Box Theatre
239 West 45th Street
Opening night: March 19
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For those enamored by “Mr. Showmanship,” head to the Walnut Street Theatre’s Independence Studio 3 for a tribute to one of the flashiest concert pianists of all time.
Liberace! is an entertaining tribute to the man who epitomized charm, glitz and glamour. On a stage set reminiscent of his celebrated TV program, audience members will re-live the highs and lows of Liberace’s famed life. Who was the real person behind the persona, one of the most talented and acclaimed performers of the 20th century? Interwoven with a piano score that spans classical music from Chopin to Chopsticks and Rachmaninoff to Ragtime, Liberace! celebrates the life of this unique American icon.
Playwright and Director Brent Hazelton noted of Liberace!, “my goal in telling his story, was to reach for something honest, real, balanced, and fundamentally human… to reach back to that initial fascination with my own discovery of Liberace as something other than a drag clown in millions of sequins and a couple hundred pounds of seashells or feathers, and find the real guy.”
Jack Forbes Wilson will take his seat at the impressive seven-foot, black, baby grand piano on stage in Studio 3 as Liberace. Along with playing the iconic entertainer, he has contributed original music compositions and arrangements to the production. Wilson has been with the show since its world premiere, most recently performing to sold-out houses and critical acclaim in Milwaukee this winter.
Walnut Street Independence Studio Theatre
825 Walnut Street, Philadelphia
Opening night: March 26 (through April 12)