Week in Review 4.11.14

Coming to the Boards

Broadway Casting—Full casting for Holler if Ya Hear Me, the non-biographical musical featuring Tupac's music, has been announced. Leading the cast are Saul Williams, an acclaimed slam poet; Tonya Pinkins (Milk Like Sugar); and Christopher Jackson (In the Heights). They'll be joined by Saycon Sengbloh (Hair, Fela!), Ben Thompson (American Idiot, Matilda); John Earl Jelks and more. Directed by Kenny Leon (Fences) and written by Todd Kreidler, Holler if Ya Hear Me centers on young inner city dwellers who "struggle for peace against the daily challenges they face," according to press notes. The musical begins previews at the Palace theatre on May 29, with opening night set for June 19. Tickets are now on sale; the box office at the Palace opens May 8, and students can purchase $35 tickets in advance through tix4students.com.

Off-Broadway Casting—Full casting has been announced for When We Were Young and Unafraid, a new play by Sarah Treem (House of Cards) and directed by Pam MacKinnon (Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?). The MTC production will feature Zoe Kazan (A Behanding in Spokane), Patch Darragh (Kin) and Cherise Boothe (Milk Like Sugar), all of whom join the previously announced Cherry Jones (The Glass Menagerie). When We Were Young and Unafraid begins previews on May 21, with opening night set for June 17. Broadwayworld.com has more.

Revival—Though Lincoln Center hasn't made an official announcement, Ted Chapin, the president and CEO of Rodgers and Hammerstein, announced the venerable theatre company will produce a revival of The King and I in 2015, and rumors abound that Kelli O'Hara (The Bridges of Madison County) will star. Playbill has more. (Broadway.com has confirmed reports of the production and O'Hara's involvement.)

Broadway BoundKenneth Lonergan's This Is Our Youth will bow on Broadway this fall. The play, which has had multiple off-Broadway productions as well as a West End production, will first have a sit-down in Chicago; it will begin previews on Broadway, at the Cort Theatre, on August 18, in advance of a September 11 opening. Directed by Anna D. Shapiro, This Is Our Youth will star Michael Cera (Arrested Development), Kieran Culkin (Igby Goes Down) and Tavi Gevinson, all making their Broadway debut. Broadway.com has more.

Broadway Bound?—The original musical Nobody Loves You, which was seen at Second Stage last summer, is getting a two-week reading. Penned by Itamar Moses and Gaby Alter and directed by Pam MacKinnon (Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?), this reading will see Heath Calvert reprise his role; he'll be joined by Rebecca Naomi Jones (American Idiot, Murder Ballad) and others. Playbill has more.

Movie Casting

  • Mark Rylance (Jerusalem, Twelfth Night/Richard III) is in talks to join Johnny Depp in Through the Looking Glass, a sequel to 2010's live-action Alice in Wonderland. Rylance would play the Mad Hatter's father. (Remember that Depp is the Mad Hatter.) The Disney movie is scheduled to be released May 27, 2016. Variety has more.

  • Rejoice! Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are signed up to star in The Nest, a new comedy to be directed by Jason Moore (Avenue Q, Pitch Perfect). SNL writer Paula Pell penned the script, and the flick will begin shooting in New York this June. Playbill has more.
Tony Awards News

The Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre recipients have been announced. (This is a non-competitive honor.) The honorees, listed below, will be feted at a cocktail reception on Monday, June 2. (The Tony Awards in competitive categories will be handed out on Sunday, June 8. Hugh Jackman is hosting.) For more information about the honorees, visit the Tony Awards website. In addition, the Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre will be presented to Jane Greenwood, a costume designer. Broadway.com has details.
  • Joe Benincasa, president and CEO of The Actors Fund
  • Joan Marcus, acclaimed theatre photographer [most production stills you see were shot by Ms. Marcus]
  • Charlotte Wilcox, General Manager, and active leader within The Broadway League
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Several artists, including Nirvana, were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last night. (The ceremony and accompanying performances took place in Brooklyn. An edited show will be broadcast on HBO in May. Rolling Stone has coverage of the evening, including Bruce Springsteen's speech inducting the E Street Band.) On the eve of the induction ceremony Rolling Stone presented 20 artists who will become eligible for inclusion over the next five years, and pondered their chances of being voted in. (Artists become eligible 25 years after their first release; in order to then be considered for induction, an artist must have made some noteworthy contribution [vague language, I know] to music history.) Among those who will be eligible are: Biggie (eligible in 2019); Weezer (eligible in 2019); Dr. Dre (eligible in 2017); Rage Against the Machine (eligible in 2017); 2Pac (eligible in 2016); Pearl Jam (eligible in 2016); Mariah Carey (eligible in 2015); Green Day (eligible in 2015); and Jeff Buckley (eligible in 2019). (This list reads like the soundtrack of my youth.)

The Bridges of Madison County

The original Broadway cast recording of Jason Robert Brown's The Bridges of Madison County is almost here. The album will be released digitally on April 15, with physical copies hitting shelves on May 19. But fans of beautiful music are in luck: The album is streaming on Entertainment Weekly right now! That's right, head over to the site to hear Kelli O'Hara and Steven Pasquale sing incredible songs, like "One Second and a Million Miles" and "It All Fades Away." Then, head to sh-k-boom.com to pre-order your copy. Once you've done that, you can visit the musical's website to learn more about Brown's (The Last Five Years) best work in a decade, and purchase tickets to the show.

Dig This

  • city.ballet, the AOL docuseries that went behind the curtain at New York City Ballet, will return for a second season! (Season one was one of my favorite things of 2013.) The Hollywood Reporter has more.

  • More from the dance world: Sara Mearns is featured in Dance magazine; she talks about the process of creating a new work.

  • The casts of If/Then (starring Idina Menzel) and the now-in-previews Violet (starring Sutton Foster) recorded their respective cast albums on Monday. Broadway.com has pictures of If/Then, and Broadwayworld.com rounded up all the photos the cast of Violet shared via social media.

  • Here it is: another installment of Fresh Prince, Kyle Dean Massey's backstage vlog as he takes on the title role in Pippin

  • Game of Thrones has been renewed for two more seasons.

  • The smart, hilarious and theatre-friendly Stephen Colbert has been named the next host of Late Show. This follows on the heels of last week's announcement that David Letterman will retire when his current contract expires in 2015. Playbill has more.

  • The Public Theater announced a rush policy for the return engagement of Here Lies Love. Broadwayworld.com has details.

  • The first teaser trailer for The Leftovers, the upcoming HBO series based on the eponymous Tom Perrotta novel, has been released. The series premieres June 15.

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