Inside notes and comments about Connecticut and New York Professional Theater
By Karen Isaacs
Newsies on Tour: The first Connecticut appearance of the national tour of Newsies which is closing on Broadway this August, isn’t at the Bushnell or the Shubert. The honor goes to Waterbury’s Palace Theater where the tour will play Oct. 23 to 25, just four performances. Tickets are now on sale. For tickets, visit http://www.palacetherct.org or call 203-646-2000. The Broadway series will continue with Jekyll & Hyde (Dec. 6-7), The Buddy Holly Story (Jan. 23-24), Sister Act (March 6-7) and I Love Lucy Live on Stage (May 30-31).
A Folk Legend: Woody Guthrie is sometimes referred to as the father of American folk revival: he influenced Peter Seeger, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and generations of performers and composers. TheaterWorks is presenting Woody Sez which is billed as a musical event that, as the press materials say, “uses Woody’s words and songs to transport the audience through his fascinating and sometimes tragic life.” The show runs Aug. 8 to Sept. 14. For tickets call 860-527-7838 or visit http://www.theaterworkshartford.org.
Ambitious Production: Ivoryton always produces one really big musical during the summer. This year it is Jerry Herman’s classic La Cage aux Folles which runs through Aug. 31. The musical was based on a French movie about a long established gay couple one of whom is a drag star on the Rivera and what happens when their son becomes engaged to the daughter of a very conservative politician. You may recall the American film The Birdcage which set the movie in New Orleans. Among the hit songs are “I Am Who I Am,” “The Best of Times Is Now,” and “Look Over There” as well as others. For tickets call 860-767-7318 or visit http://www.ivorytonplayhouse.org.
New Blog: If you’d like to check out my reviews of both Connecticut and New York, visit my new blog: http://www.2ontheaisle.wordpress.com.
Broadway News: Two musicals that were expected to be big hits — Rocky the Musical (because of name recognition) and Bullets Over Broadway (because of the source material and the pedigrees of those involved) are accepting defeat and closing this month. Both shows got mediocre reviews and few awards. Both will lose mega-millions. While I had no great expectations for Rocky, Bullets Over Broadway disappointed me. It was one of the shows I was really looking forward to.
Michelle Williams has extended her contract to play Sally Bowles in the revival of Cabaret through Nov. 9. The show itself is selling tickets through Jan 4. Personally, I though Williams was the weakest member of the cast, but I still highly recommend the revival at Studio 54. Tickets are available at http://www.RoundaboutTheatre.org or 202-719-1300.
In the Works: Development time for Broadway musicals can easily be 5 years or more and many projects disappear along the way. But summer is the time when shows-in-the-works do New York readings to gauge reaction and interest of producers and investors. Some are revised versions of existing works, some are based on popular plays, films and TV shows, and others are totally new. Among those getting industry readings — often with well-known talent — this summer are: Gigi with a new book. This movie musical has already had a Broadway version in the 1970s. It will get a staged production at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. in January.
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil — the reading including Leslie Uggams with a book by Alfred Uhry (Driving Miss Daisy). The score will not be original but include Southern rock, blues, gospel and songs from the American songbook.
A musical Hew-Haw, yes, it is based on the TV show, will get a workshop in September. A musical version of Bull Durham will get a production at the Alliance Theater in Atlanta this September with Will Swenson as “Crash” Davis and Melissa Errico as Annie Savoy.
Nine Wives which had a reading at Goodspeed’s Festival of New Musicals several Januarys ago got what was billed as a “developmental production” at the Sharon Playhouse in Sharon, Connecticut.
The York Theater Company in New York included a new musical about Rodgers and Hart — Falling for Make Believe– in its summer series.
A new political musical — A Woman on Top got an industry reading. It’s about a woman senator who seeks the Presidential nomination while her ex-husband seeks the same for the opposition.
Lillas White and others did a reading of a new musical Harriet based on Harriet Tubman’s life. Richard Chamberlain was part of a benefit reading at the Berkshire Theater Group of a new musical Sometimes Love about a group of contemporary New Yorkers.
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