Media Morsels 11.15.13

If/Then Sitzprobe

Go behind the scenes of the original Tom Kitt-Brian Yorkey musical, If/Then. The musical, now in previews in Washington, DC, is directed by Kitt and Yorkey's Next to Normal collaborator, Michael Greif, and stars Greif's Rent stars Idina Menzel and Anthony Rapp (and others, of course). In this video, you can watch as the cast and the 13-piece band come together for the first time and go through the score, an event known at sitzprobe. It's a glorious look at the most anticipated show of spring, as it further solidifies what a genius Kitt is. (And look at Rapp's face as he watches Menzel sing.) If/Then is in DC through December 8. It comes to Broadway's Richard Rodgers Theatre beginning March 5, 2014, with opening night set for March 27. Visit the show's dynamic website to learn more.



Big Fish to Conclude Broadway Run

The wonderfully splashy new musical Big Fish will conclude its Broadway run on December 29. At the time of its closing the show will have played 34 previews and 98 regular performances. Big Fish, directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman (The Scottsboro Boys, For the Love of Duke), tells the story of Edward Bloom's outsized stories. The show stars Norbert Leo Butz, Kate Baldwin and Bobby Steggert. Head to bigfishthemusical.com to learn more and to purchase tickets for the remaining performances. (And stay tuned for announcements about touring productions!)

Casting Update

  •  The upcoming revival of Les Miserables is welcoming two more members of its cast: Andy Mientus (Smash) and Charlotte Maltby will play Marius and Cosette, respectively. Mientus and Maltby join the previously announced Ramin Karimloo (as Jean Valjean), Will Swenson (as Javert), Caissie Levy (as Fantine) and Nikki M. James (as Eponine). The latest revival, which will play at the Imperial Theatre, will begin previews on March 1, 2014, with opening night set for March 23. As mentioned by Broadway.com, casting for other roles, like Enjorlas (played by Aaron Tveit in the recent film) will be announced shortly.

  • David Cross, the famed comedian whom many know as Arrested Development's Tobias Funke, will make a guest appearance on Community. The hilarious show returns, with creator Dan Harmon at the helm, to NBC for its fifth season on January 2, 2014. The Wrap has more.

  • Jessica Hecht (The Assembled Parties), Dominic Fumusa (Nurse Jackie) and more have been cast in the New York premiere of Sara Ruhl's new play, Stage Kiss. Directed by Rebecca Taichamn (Milk Like Sugar), Stage Kiss will run off-Broadway at Playwrights Horizons. Previews begin February 7, 2014, with opening night set for March 2. The limited engagement will conclude on March 23 (unless extended). Playbill has more.

  • Additional casting for the Broadway bow of Woody Allen's Bullets Over Broadway, set to premiere this spring, has been announced. Joining the previously announced Zach Braff (All New People, Trust), in his Broadway debut, Betsy Wolfe (The Last Five Years) and Brooks Ashmanskas are several members of the ensemble, including Jim Borstelmann, Amanda Kloots-Larsen, James Moye and others. Visit Playbill for full casting details. The production, set for the St James Theatre, is directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman (Big Fish); it begins previews on March 11, 2014, and will celebrate opening night on April 10.
Award Season Updates

  • British Independent Film Awards—The nominees for the 16th annual BIFAs were announced this week. Philomena (starring Steve Coogan and Dame Judi Dench) showed up in several categories, and several prognosticators think the film and its stars have a (long-shot) chance at nominations for Golden Globes and Oscars. (The film also won a battle with the MPAA this week.) American films considered in the international category include Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine. Visit bifa.org.uk for the full list of nominees. Winners will be announced and feted December 8.

  • The Hollywood Reporter held two more roundtables, one for writers and one for directors. The writers roundtable features George Clooney + Grant Heslov (The Monuments Men); Julie Delpy (Before Midnight); Nicole Holofcener (Enough Said); John Ridley (12 Years a Slave); Danny Strong (The Butler); and Jonas Cuaron (Gravity). The directors roundtable features Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity); Lee Daniels (The Butler); Paul Greengrass (Captain Phillips); Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave); David O. Russell (American Hustle); and Ben Stiller (The Secret Life of Walter Mitty).

  • Oscars—Here's what we learned in this week's Feinberg Forecast (in which The Hollywood Reporter's awards guru, Scott Feinberg, analyzes the week's happenings and what impact they have on the Oscar race): 
    • two more contenders, Saving Mr. Banks and Out of the Furnace, premiered, officially kicking off their respective campaigns;  
    • 12 Years a Slave continues to expand to more theaters and perform well; 
    • due to the number of flicks submitted for consideration, the Best Animated Feature category is guaranteed to have five nominees (Variety thinks perennial animation favorite Pixar (the studio) might be left out of the race); 
    • the BAFTA-LA Britannia Awards were presented (and Sacha Baron Cohen stole the show with a prank); and
    • several hopefuls, including many involved with Fruitvale Station and American Hustle, were feted at various soirees.
Turkey Day News

Last week, the performers for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade were announced. This week, we learned of the performers for CBS's parade. As he teased a couple of weeks ago, Zachary Levi and the company of First Date will be performing on the parade (or, rather, a performance of their show, specially taped for the parade, will air), along with the casts of Cinderella and A Night with Janis Joplin. The CBS parade will air portions of the Macy's parade; their broadcast will begin at 9am EST. Broadwayworld.com has more.

There's been an addition to the line up for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, and it's the wonderful company of the Tony-winning Pippin. The company will perform "Corner of the Sky," led by Matthew James Thomas, and the opening song, "Magic to Do," led by Tony Award winner Patina Miller. Tune in to NBC on November 28 to watch them, the companies of Matilda and Motown, and others (like Kristin Chenoweth and Jimmy Fallon and The Roots) perform on Turkey Day. Broadway.com has more.

Catching Up with Justin Peck

Check in with New York City Ballet soloist and rising choreographer Justin Peck (In Creases, Paz de La Jolla), who recently spoke to Dance Teacher magazine. In addition to his dancing duties, Peck is working on his second collaboration with musician Sufjan Stevens, a ballet that will premiere in the spring. (Their first collaboration was Year of the Rabbit.) In the interview, Peck talks about balancing his dual roles of dancer and choreographer. (Scroll down to the bottom of Dig This for more NYCB news.)

Dig This

  • "Inconceivable" as it might be, a stage adaptation of The Princess Bride is in the works. Playbill has more.

  • Downton Abbey has been renewed for a fifth season. The fourth season of the hit period drama debuts on PBS on January 5, 2014. The Hollywood Reporter has more.

  • The wonderfully talented Maya Rudolph is coming back to TV with a variety show! The Wrap has more.

  • Thank goodness for Vulture, which ranked all of Tom Haverford's (that's Aziz Ansari's Parks and Recreation character) business proposals. 

  • According to Vulture, Jason Ritter is heading back to Parenthood for one episode. No details yet on the story arc.

  • Shoe Scribe checked in with NYCB principal dancer Sara Mearns, who talks about not only her shoes picks, but the importance of role models and being involved in the arts. Read and look at the shoes here, and check her out in the video below:

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