Happy Holidays from Entertainment-Link!
Here’s a quick glance of some notable happenings on Broadway’s Great White Way this week:
Now on Sale:
Pretty Woman the Musical – Begins July 20th
A new musical based on the beloved 1990 romantic comedy about a businessman who unexpectedly falls for a down-on-her-luck Hollywood call girl after hiring her as an escort.
Beginning Preview Performances this Week:
John Lithgow: Stories by Heart – Begins December 21st
Two-time Tony winner and Oscar nominee John Lithgow returns to Broadway in a solo show that traces his roots as an actor and storyteller, working classic short stories by P. G. Wodehouse and and Ring Lardner – read to him as a child – into his own narrative.
Manhattan Theatre Club’s American premiere of The Royal Court Theatre’s production of The Children, the new play by Olivier Award winner Lucy Kirkwood, officially opened on Broadway last week at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre. Reviews were mixed to positive, with some critics noting the play’s slow pace and talky script:
NY1 – “If author Kirkwood was aiming to show how life, no matter how disrupted, boils down to routine, she did perhaps too good a job, because the minutiae of their lives slows the action.”
Hollywood Reporter – “The Children squanders its provocative premise with dull execution…the actors’ fine efforts are not enough to fully breathe life into this willfully slow-paced, sluggish work.”
But most critics found the disturbing and emotional subject matter deftly handled by the strong performances and expert direction:
New York Magazine – “[Author] Kirkwood receives stellar support from the production’s remarkable trio of actors…there’s the sense of three expert players staying in close harmony. [Director] Macdonald creates a delicate, heart-wrenching sympathy amongst his trio.”
Newsday – “All three actors are in top form, portraying well-developed, multidimensional characters under Macdonald’s meticulous direction.”
Variety – “Macdonald does a masterful job of deepening and darkening the sense of menace…luckily, these mesmerizing performers could keep us enthralled through any of the cataclysmic events alluded to in the play.”
Shakespeare’s Globe production of Farinelli and the King, starring three-time Tony Award and Academy Award winner Mark Rylance, opened on Broadway Sunday night at the Belasco Theatre. Critics were mixed in their response to the new play, finding the story only scraping the surface of the complex relationship between King Philippe and Farinelli:
Time Out New York – “The nature of the central musical therapy is barely explored; instead, we get contrived court intrigue, low comedy about English theater, a rushed quasiromance and an equally hasty coda, delivered in a steady march of flat-footed exposition. ”
New York Magazine – “The play consists of a premise without a plot…when Rylance isn’t onstage or Davies isn’t singing, it’s serious looking-at-your-watch o’clock.”
However, some reviewers were taken in by the opulent design as well as the performances of Rylance and countertenor Davies:
New York Times – “Watching Rylance’s Philippe experience Farinelli’s voice, we hear what we hears. And an actor and a singer temporarily turn a night at the theater in an anxious city into an Eden beyond worldly care, all the more precious for its evanescence.”
New York Daily News – “[Director] Dove’s candlelit staging is appointed with sumptuous eye candy.”
Newsday – “Rylance all but devours the lush, candlelit scenery…countertenor Davies beautifully sings the stunning arias in the difficult upper vocal ranges the style demands.”
Broadway News and Notes:
Go-Go’s Musical Head Over Heels Announces Broadway Run
- Producers announced last week that Head Over Heels, the new musical featuring the iconic songs of The Go-Go’s, the most successful female rock band of all time, will be coming to Broadway during the 2018-2019 Season at a theatre to be announced, following an out of town engagement at San Francisco’s Curran Theater. The new musical is based upon The Arcadia by Sir Philip Sidney. The Go-Go’s have presided over an amazing three-decade reign as high pop priestesses. The internationally-loved pop hit makers helped cement the foundation of the early ’80s pop-rock sound. Head Over Heels features the Go-Go’s hits “We Got the Beat,” “Get Up and Go,” “Cool Jerk,” “Vacation,” “Our Lips Are Sealed,” “Lust to Love,” “Head Over Heels” and Belinda Carlisle’s solo hits “Mad About You” and “Heaven is a Place on Earth.” More details here.
Star Wars’ Adam Driver to Lead Broadway Revival of Burn This
- Three-time Emmy Award nominee Adam Driver (“Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” “Girls”) is set to return to the stage in 2019 in the first Broadway revival of Lanford Wilson’s 1987 drama Burn This. Tony winner Michael Mayer will direct the production at a theatre to be announced. Driver will play the role of Pale, the dangerously sexy restaurant owner who falls for a dancer named Anna. Set in downtown New York in the 1980s, the story follows their troubled relationship in the wake of a shared tragedy. Driver made his Broadway debut in 2010 in Mrs. Warren’s Profession; the following year, he appeared in Terence Rattigan’s Man and Boy. On screen, the actor stars as Kylo Ren in the newest Star Wars films. The original production of Burn This premiered Off-Broadway in 1987 starring John Malkovich and Joan Allen. The play transferred to Broadway that same year for a critically-acclaimed run at the Plymouth Theatre, earning Joan Allen a Tony Award for her performance. More details here.
Lin-Manuel Miranda Releases New Ben Franklin Song
- Last week, Lin-Manuel Miranda announced the HAMILDROPS, a new Hamilton project that will see previously unreleased content drop once per month between now and December 2018. The first of Miranda’s new tracks is “Ben Franklin’s Song,” with lyrics by Miranda and music written and recorded by indie rock band the Decemberists. This is the first new Hamilton content since Miranda released The Hamilton Mixtape one year ago. The triumphant, expletive-laced folk-rock track chronicles Franklin’s numerous accomplishments as an inventor, writer and diplomat. Miranda originally wrote the song for his hit musical, but discarded it after he couldn’t figure out how to implement the scene. The writer-actor then reached out in 2016, asking if the Decemberists could record their own version of the track. “Funnily enough, he said he’d imagined Franklin singing in a sort of Decemberist-y way, whatever that means,” the band wrote in a post on their website. More details here. Download or stream the new track here.
Temptations Musical Ain’t Too Proud Plans Broadway Run
- The Kennedy Center will present a second pre-Broadway engagement of Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of The Temptations in summer 2018. The Berkeley Repertory Theatre production will head to Washington, D.C., June 19–July 22 in the Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theater. The engagement follows the Des McAnuff-helmed production’s acclaimed world-premiere run at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, where it became the highest-grossing production in that theatre’s history. Though it was initially speculated the musical would play Broadway in the 2017–2018 season, producers confirmed that the show would instead play another regional limited engagement with eyes on a fall 2018 New York bow. Ain’t Too Proud features a book by Kennedy Prize-winning playwright Dominique Morisseau and choreography by Olivier Award winner Sergio Trujillo and charts the rise of the R&B group The Temptations. The new musical features such classics as “My Girl,” “Just My Imagination,” and “Papa Was a Rolling Stone.” More details here.