Here’s a quick Broadway News Wrap Up from the past week:
Broadway Legend Carol Channing Dies at 97
Carol Channing, who won over audiences with her giddy, guileless charm in signature roles in Broadway’s Hello, Dolly! and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, died in her California home on Tuesday at the age of 97. Channing died of natural causes in Rancho Mirage after having suffered multiple strokes last year, her publicist Harlan Boll said. In a career spanning seven decades, Channing made her mark as the role of matchmaker Dolly Levi in the 1964 musical Hello Dolly! and gold-digger Lorelei Lee in Anita Loos’ Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. She played each role for years on Broadway and on tours around the world, taking the stage as Dolly more than 3,000 times. Channing won an Emmy and several nominations for television variety specials as well as receiving an Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe for her role in the Julie Andrews musical Thoroughly Modern Millie in 1967. In 1968, she was given a Tony special award and in 1995, accepted a Tony for lifetime achievement. More details here.
Broadway’s Frozen Casts Actress as New Olaf
The Tony-nominated musical Frozen will welcome Broadway actress Ryann Redmond (Bring It On) as Olaf beginning February 19, in a gender-blind casting choice, replacing original cast member Greg Hildreth. Redmond will be the first woman to ever play the role of Olaf in any official capacity. The character was originally voiced by Josh Gad in Disney’s Frozen film. Other new cast members announced for the hit musical include Joe Carroll as Hans and current ensemble member Noah J. Ricketts in the role of Kristoff. Broadway veteran Caissie Levy and Patti Murin have extended their contracts to continue playing Else and Anna, respectively. Frozen opened at the St. James Theatre in New York last March and has grossed approximately $84 million to date. More details here.
Renovations for Broadway’s Palace Theatre Delayed
Plans for the renovation of Broadway’s Palace Theatre, located in Times Square at Broadway and 47th street, have been delayed. In order to complete the necessary renovations, the real estate developers must inspect the neighboring building and install monitoring equipment, which they have not received permission to do. The renovation is set to include a hefty makeover for the building inside and out. It will include a new entrance on 47th Street and will feature an 80-foot-long marquee, as well as added space in the wings to pave the way for larger productions. A significantly larger lobby and twice as many bathrooms will also be installed. Though some cosmetic changes will be made, the interior and exterior will still be recognizable as the Palace. Historical fixtures, such as the chandelier and decorative plaster balcony fascia, will be restored. Construction on the theatre was set to begin next month and be completed within approximately three years. More details here.
Disney’s Hunchback Live-Action Film in the Works
Disney is proceeding with plans for another live-action version of one of its classic films, The Hunchback of Notre Dame. The new screenplay will be written by playwright David Henry Hwang, with music from Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz, who picked up Oscar nominations for the music they wrote for the 1996 film. The new film will pull from the animated film and the Victor Hugo novel. Disney is already busy with several other live-action projects, with versions of Aladdin, The Lion King, and Dumbo, all scheduled for release in 2019. Forthcoming live-action updates include Mulan and Lady and the Tramp. More details here.