Here’s a quick glance of some notable happenings on Broadway’s Great White Way this week:
Now on Sale:
King Kong – Begins October 5th
Based on the 1932 novel and 1933 film, a new musical stage adaptaton with a contemporary take on the classic tale of beauty and the beast.
Lobby Hero – Begins March 1st
A new play from Oscar nominee Kenneth Lonergan that tells the story of four New Yorkers involved in a murder investigation in the lobby of a Manhattan apartment complex.
Opening this week:
The Children – Opens December 12th
Direct from an acclaimed run in London, a near-future drama about the aftermath of a catastrophe at a nuclear power station, exploring the responsibilities we have towards future generations.
Farinelli and the King – Opens December 17th
Three-time Tony Winner Mark Rylance stars in the the true story of Philip V of Spain who finds relief from depression by performances of a court musician, the famous castrato Farinelli.
The new musical SpongeBob SquarePants, based on the hit Nickelodeon animated series, officially opened on Broadway last week at the Palace Theatre. Reviews were mixed to positive, with many critics praising the production’s high energy and creative design:
Time Out New York – “A joy… the show is unabashedly committed to imagination and dorky enthusiasm. The wonders of Landau’s production pour from the stage in a ravishing stream of color and invention that sucks you into its merry, silly currents.”
New York Magazine – “…its relentless novelty has a sweet earnestness to it. Not to mention real inventiveness. [The] cast is uniformly outstanding. It’s a boundlessly buoyant temporary antidote to the woes of the present.”
While some reviewers found the eye-popping visuals and multiple storylines a bit much, most were won over by the musical’s heart and sense of fun:
New York Daily News – “Delightful but overstuffed…Momentum stalls occasionally from so many story threads, but [the] clever sets and costumes offer constant eye candy to compensate. The same is true of the eclectic, easy-to-like score.”
New York Times – “Exhaustingly imaginative…If you’re a SpongeBob virgin you will only short-circuit if you try to make scientific sense of this water wonderland. Instead, tune out until the next amazing set piece, and then gape at the ingenious reconfigurations of objects like packing crates and parasols.”
Entertainment Weekly – “Not everything works, and there’s often too much going on onstage at any given moment. But SpongeBob certainly deserves points for creativity. Overall, it’s an entertaining, if overstuffed and a bit too experimental, homage to the long-running cartoon.”
News and Notes:
Armie Hammer Plans Broadway Debut in Straight White Men
- Armie Hammer (The Social Network) will make his Broadway debut next summer in the play Straight White Men, Second Stage Theater announced last week. The play, originally staged to great reviews in 2014 at the Public Theatre, is written by Obie winner Young Jean Lee, and its upcoming production marks the first time an Asian-American female playwright will have her work featured on Broadway. Straight White Men is a dark comedy set on Christmas Eve, and explores questions of identity and culture as Ed and his three adult sons gather for the holidays. Emmy-winner Tom Skerritt (Picket Fences) plays Ed, while Hammer plays his son, Drew. Hammer is currently vying for his first Oscar nomination for his turn in Call Me by Your Name, a new film which is currently in the thick of the Best Picture conversation. He has already been nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for his performance in the film. More details here.
Gypsy of the Year Raises Over $5 Million for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS
- The 29th annual Gypsy of the Year competition celebrated six weeks of fundraising work of 56 Broadway, Off-Broadway and national touring companies for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS last week. The event raised a record-breaking $5,609,211 for Broadway Cares. The company of Come From Away took top honors for best onstage presentation. The runner-up was the company of Aladdin. In addition to the record-breaking Gypsy of the Year overall fundraising total, the $536,777 raised by the Hamilton – Angelica tour is the highest amount ever raised by a national tour. The 29 editions of Gypsy of the Year have raised $76 million. Last year, 54 participating shows raised $4,492,636. More details here.
Michael Luwoye to Take His Shot in Broadway Hamilton
- Michael Luwoye, currently starring as Alexander Hamilton on the musical’s Angelica tour, will take over the lead role on Broadway starting this January. Luwoye began his journey in Hamilton as Broadway’s Alexander Hamilton alternate. With book, music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton is based on Ron Chernow’s biography of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, featuring a score that blends hip-hop, jazz, blues, rap, R&B, and Broadway. Javier Muñoz is currently playing the founding father on Broadway. Luwoye’s start date will be announced at a later time. Hamilton is currently wowing audiences at the Richard Rodgers Theatre. More details here.
London Transfer of Travesties Finds Its Broadway Cast
- The first Broadway revival of Tom Stoppard’s Tony-winning play Travesties has found its complete cast. The play is set to arrive on Broadway in the spring in a co-production from Roundabout Theatre Company, London’s Menier Chocolate Factory, and Sonia Friedman Productions. Travesties previously played the Chocolate Factory in 2016 before transferring to the West End. The show’s London star, Tom Hollander, will again lead the cast; he will be joined by London cast member Peter McDonald, Seth Numrich, Nicholas Woodeson, Scarlett Strallen, Sara Topham and Patrick Kerr. Tony nominee Patrick Marber (Closer, After Miss Julie) will return to direct the production on Broadway. In Stoppard’s 1974 play, set in 1917 Zurich, a British military official recalls serving in Zurich while James Joyce and Vladimir Lenin were also there. He imagines a meeting between the two men, which is performed in the style of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest. Travesties won the 1976 Tony Award for Best Play. More details here.