Extra! Extra! I’ve got my little newsboy cap on today (and darned if it’s not fetching) with a trio of headline making theater stories. Perhaps I should audition for the upcoming Paper Mill Playhouse adaptation of the film Newsies–with a new book by Harvey Fierstein, fascinatingly enough. If they put some filters on the lights, I could look dewy fresh and yet still hungry and hardscrabble enough. But I digress. Let’s get to the scoop:
- The Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s production of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, which I raved about after seeing it at Arena Stage in D.C., is headed for Broadway with its entire original cast, including Amy Morton and Tracy Letts. Don’t start lining up for tickets, though; it’s not scheduled to hit the boards until October 13, 2012, exactly 50 years after the play’s original Broadway opening. Look at it this way, you’ve got something to look forward to next year other than the Mayan-predicted end of the world.
- Speaking of the grim reaper (I’m on fire today), Roundabout announced the full company for their upcoming world premiere of Death Take a Holiday, a new musical with book by Peter Stone (1776) & Thomas Meehan (Annie), music and lyrics by Maury Yeston (Nine). Previews begin June
10 with a cast that includes some seasoned Broadway pros like Rebecca Luker (Mary Poppins), Simon Jones (The Real Thing), Matt Cavenaugh (West Side Story), Jill Paice (Curtains) and Max Von Essen (the recent revival of Hello Again). Sounds like something worth living for.
- The intel on a new musical headed for the West End called Viva Forever reads like one of those good news/bad news situations, but darned if I can tell which is which. Make up your own mind as I tick off the players. It’s a jukebox musical featuring the music of The Spice Girls; written by Jennifer Saunders, the genius behind Absolutely Fabulous; produced by Judy Craymer, the mastermind behind Mamma Mia; and (per a recent press release) to be directed by Marianne Elliot, co-director of the gorgeously staged, current Broadway smash War Horse. Would you pay to see a 10-foot tall, Victoria Beckham puppet wearing some Lacroix, Sweetie?
A final note: The star-studded revival of The Normal Heart, Larry Kramer’s scorching manifesto about the beginnings of the AIDS crisis, opened last night on Broadway. I’ll have coverage of the reviews and my full response next week in the “See or Not to See” column, but until then let me say that it is frighteningly timely and overflowing with passionate performances. While I’ve heard some people question its dramaturgical merits, the play feels absolutely necessary; it is a voice crying out to be heard. Now it will be heard, loud and clear.