Don’t miss Broadway’s 72nd Annual Tony Awards live Sunday June 10 on CBS at 8pm E.T.
Here’s a quick glance of some notable happenings on the Great White Way this week:
The all-star revival of Mart Crowley’s groundbreaking 1968 play The Boys in the Band officially opened last week at the Booth Theatre. where reviews were mostly positive. Some critics found the script a bit dated and the cast struggling to bring the archetypal characters into the new millennium:
New York Times – “The bitchy quips are all delivered and landed with deft comic timing, and the show is an entertaining primer in the now widely accepted art of throwing shade. But I had to strain to imagine the boys of Boys were a blood-bound clan. And without that illusion of chosen consanguinity, the expositional creakiness of Crowley’s script is laid unflatteringly bare.”
New York Magazine – “Given that there’s something still alive, and still painful, at the heart of [the play], how does one explain the museum-piecey-ness that still overwhelms this production?…it seems a little strange that a story of fear and loathing is being met by an auditorium full of ‘Yas Kween’ effervescence.”
But most reviewers were enthusiastic about the revival, with praise for the affecting portrayals by the cast, and a new appreciation for a work that has divided many in its representation of homosexuality in the modern age:
Hollywood Reporter – “The play stands as a compelling portrayal of internecine savagery bred by the stigma of isolation and oppression, by turns bitingly funny and moving. Mantello’s superbly cast and acted production makes an even stronger case for its durability.”
Entertainment Weekly – “Half a century on, Crowley’s landmark [play] feels like both a lovingly preserved time capsule and a sometimes stark distillation of what has and hasn’t changed since its debut. His script is still funny and cutting and heartbreaking, too; it’s also a fraught, glittering showcase for actors.”
Variety – “Happily, a lot about the play now seems dated – but not everything, and not in all circles of society, which makes this anniversary presentation doubly welcome. It not only reminds us of where we’ve been, it also serves as a warning about whatever forms of social oppression are still here and yet to come.”
Broadway News and Notes:
Broadway Has Highest-Grossing Season on Record
- Broadway grosses hit a record high this past season, pulling in $1.7 billion, fueled by fervent demand to see such draws as Bruce Springsteen, Bette Midler and a grown-up Harry Potter. Data from the Broadway League, the national trade association for the industry, released last week shows box office receipts were up 17.1 percent over last season’s $1.45 billion. Another positive note in the financial windfall was that attendance was up, coming in at 13.79 million, an increase of 3.9 percent against last season’s 13.27 million. That indicates some broadening of ticket-buyers, but mostly just higher prices pushing the yearly box-office records. Broadway’s new crop of powerhouse performers this season included Tina Fey’s Mean Girls, the British import Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and Springsteen on Broadway, which added to established megahits such as Hamilton, Hello, Dolly! and Dear Evan Hansen. More details here.
Donna Murphy to Return to Broadway’s Dolly
- Donna Murphy will return as Dolly Gallagher Levi at select performances of Hello, Dolly!. During Bette Midler’s forthcoming return to the Broadway revival, the two-time Tony winner will take the Shubert Theatre stage July 22 and 29, as well August 5, 12, 19, and 20. Midler steps back into the production July 17, taking over for Bernadette Peters. She’ll play a six-week engagement before the Tony-winning revival ends its run August 25. Murphy, a Tony winner for Passion and The King and I, played her first performance in the Jerry Zaks-helmed musical June 13 last year – the first performance to follow the revival’s four wins at the Tony Awards. She continued to take the stage on Tuesday evenings (and for some extended engagements) through Midler’s run, earning critical acclaim for her take on the beloved role. More details here.
Frozen Songwriters Removed from Copyright Lawsuit
- Bobby Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez have been removed from the lawsuit surrounding their iconic song “Let It Go,” written for the animated film Frozen, and featured in the current Broadway musical adaptation. The suit was filed in November 2017, and was against Disney, Idina Menzel, Demi Lovato, and others, claiming that the hit song was copied from a Chilean song “Volar.” Jaime Ciero, the plaintiff, said there were “striking similarities” between the two tracks, and said the composing couple must have copied “quantitatively and qualitatively distinct, important, and recognizable portions.” He asked that “Let It Go” stop being performed, and that the couple give Ciero their profits. According to court documents, because Ciero waited more than three years after the release of the song to file a copyright suit, the statute of limitations expired, meaning that he could not seek damages from the songwriters. More details here.
Escape to Margaritaville Sets Broadway Closing Date
- Escape to Margaritaville, the new musical featuring the songs of singer-songwriter-author Jimmy Buffett, will play its final Broadway performance at the Marquis Theatre on Sunday, July 1. Featuring a book by Greg Garcia and Mike O’Malley, Escape to Margaritaville uses Buffett’s familiar catalog to tell the story of a relaxed island paradise and its inhabitants—including a carefree bartender and a visiting, career-minded scientist who challenges his worldview. The production premiered at La Jolla Playhouse before subsequently playing Houston, New Orleans, and Chicago. A national tour will launch in October 2019 in Providence, Rhode Island. Shortly after closing on Broadway, the cast will travel to Washington, D.C., to perform on PBS’ A Capitol Fourth on July 4. More details here.