Here’s a quick glance of some notable happenings on Broadway’s Great White Way this week:
Now on Sale on Broadway:
Saint Joan – Begins April 3rd
A revival of George Bernard Shaw’s classic play that recounts the story of Joan of Arc, a peasant girl who claimed to hear the voices of saints directing her to help the Dauphin of France drive the English out of the country.
The Broadway premiere of John Lithgow: Stories by Heart, a solo show in two acts from the two-time Tony winner and Oscar nominee, celebrated its official opening last week at the American Airlines Theatre. Reviews were mixed to positive, as some critics found the stories underwhelming while still admiring Lithgow’s stagecraft and personal tales of his family:
Entertainment Weekly – “The actor-playwright’s relatively short descriptions of what the stories mean to him – of the role they’ve played in his life – wind up more compelling than the stories themselves.”
Hollywood Reporter – “Ironically, the most resonant moments come not from the stories Lithgow recites but rather the personal anecdotes he shares. However, those are not enough to compensate for the thinness of this gussied-up literary reading.”
But other critics were completely charmed by the entire production, finding the stories delightful and the 72-year-old Lithgow in fine form:
New York Magazine – “Endearing…it’s a conversational celebration of good tales told well and a touching tribute to his parents…full of smart, good-natured charm.”
New York Times – “Delightful…uplifting…the two stories that Mr. Lithgow recites are superb, outlandish and, in very different ways, hair-raising.”
Time Out New York – “Lithgow’s love of sharing it is infectious. Likable though the stories themselves may be, the heart of this show is in their telling.”
News and Notes:
Lin-Manuel Miranda Wins 2018 Monte Cristo Award
- Tony and Pulitzer Prize winner Lin-Manuel Miranda will receive the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s 18th annual Monte Cristo Award, presented each year to artists who embody the “pioneering spirit” of the namesake playwright. The Hamilton and In the Heights creator will be presented with the award and take part in a conversation at a gala dinner at New York’s Edison Ballroom April 30. The O’Neill Theater Center was home to Miranda’s first professional production: a presentation of In the Heights at the National Music Theater Conference in 2005. The musical went on to play Off-Broadway’s 37 Arts Theater before transferring to Broadway’s Richard Rodgers Theatre (now home to Hamilton). Past recipients of the award include Judith Light, Meryl Streep, Nathan Lane, James Earl Jones, August Wilson, Neil Simon, Harold Prince, and George C. Wolfe. More details here.
Sara Bareilles Joins NBC’s Jesus Christ Superstar Live
- Waitress star and composer Sara Bareilles has been announced to take on the role of Mary Magdalene in NBC’s upcoming live adaptation of Jesus Christ Superstar. The Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice musical, which will be presented live, is set to air Easter Sunday, April 1, 2018. Bareilles joins a cast that also includes rock icon Alice Cooper, who will play King Herod, and 10-time Grammy winner John Legend, who will take on the title role. Additional casting for the telecast will be announced. The legendary rock opera will be staged in front of a live audience at the Marcy Armory in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. More details here.
Google Cracks Down On Ticket Scalpers
- Google has initiated the process of vetting Broadway ticket resellers in an effort to reduce the number of notoriously expensive scalpers. Google wishes to remove these sellers from their top results by requiring an inspection that must be passed in order to receive advertisement on their website. This will hopefully clarify to online ticket customers which sites are real Broadway ticket vendors and which are deceptive ones. In addition to this, Broadway ticket resellers must reveal that they are not affiliated with a show’s box office in order to avoid further deception. In terms of the infamously high ticket inflation, Google is requiring that resellers not only clarify that they are reselling at a higher price, but also must include a breakdown of all additional costs (including high fees and taxes) before collecting payment information. More details here.
Jason Mraz Extends Engagement in Broadway’s Waitress
- Jason Mraz, who is currently making his Broadway debut in Waitress, has extended his limited engagement in the musical at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre for a second time. The Grammy Award winner will continue in the role of Dr. Pomatter through February 11 instead of the previously scheduled January 28. Sara Bareilles, who earned Tony and Grammy nominations for her score and made her Broadway performing debut in the musical last year, will reprise her performance as Jenna from January 16 through February 25, taking over for Betsy Wolfe. Mraz will not appear in the show February 1 or 2 due to prior obligations. More details here.