Here’s a quick Broadway News Wrap Up from the past week:
Nerds the Musical Investors Seek Damages
Investors who contributed over a half a million to the thwarted Broadway-aimed musical Nerds are suing lead producers Carl Levin and Vicki Halmos claiming they were misleadingly led to believe the project had the needed funding in place. According to the lawsuit, Levin had claimed to have secured big-time investors, including Microsoft and Randi Zuckerburg, sister to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerburg, to bring the $7.8 million musical to Broadway. The investors claim that the producer had only raised $200,000 and had grossly misrepresented the financial health of the project. The musical’s Broadway run was canceled before the start of previews in spring 2016, with Levin claiming the loss of at least one major investor, “when upon information and belief there was no such investor” the lawsuit alleges. Nerds chronicled the rise and rivalry of tech trailblazers Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. More details here.
Wicked Celebrates its 15th Anniversary
The Broadway production of Wicked celebrated its 15th anniversary last week. Based on Gregory Maguire’s 1995 novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, an alternative take on L. Frank Baum’s 1900 novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and later the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, the immensely popular musical opened in 2003, becoming he sixth-longest running and the second-highest grossing Broadway show of all time. The musical was nominated for ten Tony Awards, winning three: Best Actress in a Musical for Idina Menzel, Best Scenic Design and Best Costume Design. It was also nominated for eleven Drama Desk Awards, winning six. The musical celebrated its anniversary with a primetime NBC special last Monday, A Very Wicked Halloween: Celebrating 15 Years on Broadway, that recognized the cultural impact of its unforgettable Broadway debut while reuniting Tony Award winners Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth, the original Elphaba and Glinda who hosted the show. The special also featured an array of performances from Adam Lambert, Ledisi, Pentatonix and Ariana Grande. More details here.
Cast Announced for Fox’s Rent Live!
Fox has unveiled the cast for its upcoming live musical production of the Tony Award– and Pulitzer Prize-winning Rent. The production is scheduled to air Sunday, January 27. The cast includes Kiersey Clemons as Joanne Jefferson, Emmy Award nominee and Tony Award winner Brandon Victor Dixon as Tom Collins, Dancing with the Stars winner Jordan Fisher as Mark Cohen, High School Musical star Vanessa Hudgens as Maureen Johnson, Brennin Hunt as Roger Davis, R&B and Empire star Mario as Benjamin Coffin III, recording artist Tinashe as Mimi Marquez and RuPaul’s Drag Race star Valentina as Angel Dumont Schunard. Tony Award nominee Keala Settle (Hands on a Hardbody, The Greatest Showman) will guest star as the soloist for the musical’s best known number “Seasons of Love”. Loosely based on the opera La Boheme, Jonathan Larson’s Tony- and Pulitzer-winning rock musical follows a group of New York City artists dealing with the HIV/AIDS crisis in 1989. More details here.
London’s Gender-Swapped Company Rumored for Broadway
According to the New York Post, Marianne Elliott’s gender-bending production of Company, which is currently running in the West End at the Gielgud Theatre, will open on Broadway in fall 2019. Michael Riedel reports that the transfer will be led by London stars Rosalie Craig and Patti LuPone. An official announcement has not yet been made. Director Elliott’s take on Stephen Sondheim and George Furth’s Company follows Bobbie (played by Rosalie Craig) at her 35th birthday party as her friends begin to wonder why she isn’t married, why she can’t find the right man and why she hasn’t settled down to start a family. The musical features iconic songs including “The Ladies Who Lunch,” “Being Alive,” “Side by Side” and “You Could Drive a Person Crazy.” More details here.