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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

 

Stage Addiction: Looking For That Silver Lining

If you're one of those people who visit ModFab only on Tuesdays, looking for the juicy theatre gossip in our Stage Addiction column, you're probably about ready to open a vein at this point. For weeks, I've been mournfully cataloging the downward economic spiral Broadway has been sucked into: the never-ending stream of show closings, the postponements, yadda yadda yadda. But today, I'm turning my frown upside down -- because truthfully, there's a lot to be excited about right now in New York theatre, and it's time, as the song says, to accentuate the positive.

For instance, here are Five Things To Look Forward To In 2009:

EXCELLENT CASTING: You think Roundabout's spring revival of Waiting For Godot, featuring Nathan Lane and Bill Irwin, was already starry enough? Not by half. The rest of the cast has just been announced, and they're even MORE exciting. Pozzo will be played by Emmy winner John Goodman (Roseanne, O Brother Where Art Thou), and recent Oscar nominee David Strathairn (Good Night and Good Luck) is taking on the part of Lucky. Even in a great depression, I'd pay to see that. (Side note: I'm also thrilled with the supporting players filling up the cast of Guys and Dolls, especially this group. Luck may indeed by a lady tonight!)

NEW PLAYS, DONE RIGHT: The upcoming Broadway transfer of Neil Labute's reasons to be pretty, which recently put down its mark on the Lyceum, is eschewing the trend of big-name movie stars who can't act...and retaining their lesser-known, but incredibly talented, original cast. Among them: Alison Pill (Milk) and Pablo Schreiber (The Wire). Equally smart is the New York transfer of Our Town...it's the same exact production that took Chicago by storm, directed by the sizzling hot David Cromer (Adding Machine). Expect it in February at Barrow Street.

TV, FILM GETTING IN THE ACT: Last season's better-than-expected revival of Cyrano de Bergerac, with Kevin Kline, Jennifer Garner, Daniel Sunjata, Chris Sarandon, and Euan Morton, will finally be broadcast on PBS nationwide on January 7th. Woo hoo! A month later, Spike Lee arrive at the Sundance Film Festival to premiere his film of the Tony-winning Passing Strange, which will hopefully be followed with a national release. Woo hoo too!

A STEADY STREAM OF MUSICALS: Nothing gets people out of an economy-induced funk like a big shiny Broadway musical, and there are many exciting ones in the pipeline for 2009. Start with The Story of My Life, a new two-hander about, um, friendship between two guys, starring legit heartthrobs Malcolm Gets (Amour, Caroline in the City) and Will Chase (High Fidelity, Lennon). Next up: Catch Me If You Can, based on the Spielberg/DiCaprio film with music by Marc Shaiman (Hairspray) and directed by Jack O'Brien (The Coast of Utopia). They've just leaked details of their out-of-town run in Seattle next summer...and with a team like that, you can bet Broadway will follow soon after. Also making a regional stop on (hopefully) the trek to the Great White Way is Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, which will land on the North American continent in Toronto next fall after runs in London and Sydney. And just last week, there was great word from Finding Neverland, the movie-turned-musical that starred Christian Borle (Spamalot), Tom Hewitt (Dracula), Marc Kudisch (9 To 5) and Blythe Danner (Suddenly Last Summer).

AND IF ALL ELSE FAILS...bring out the big guns. It looks more and more likely that one of the saviors of Broadway will be your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, probably starring Evan Rachel Wood (The Wrestler) as Mary Jane and definitely featuring a score by U2's Bono and The Edge (not to mention a little director you may have heard of, Julie Taymor). What Broadway smash could be bigger than that, you say? Well, I've got an idea...

Three words. Hugh. Jackman. Returns.
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1 Comments:

Blogger Esther said...

When I first read about this production of Our Town I was like, how different can it be?

But then I read the review that Chris Jones from the Chicago Tribune wrote and he was just ecstatic about it. Beyond ecstatic really, like it was almost a life-changing experience. I'm serious!

I hope it sticks around until spring so I can see it. The only downside is, it's not being done by the same theater company and performers that did it in Chicago. I don't know whether it's an Equity issue or what.

12/16/08, 11:09 AM  

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