Week in Review 5.16.14

Foo Fighters Visit Studios, Film Docu-series for HBO

Remember when Dave Grohl said of the recording of Foo Fighters' latest album, "we're doing it in a way that no one's done before"? Well, here's what they're doing: The band is traveling the country to visit storied recording studios and recording one song in each studio. The recording experience has been documented (with Grohl behind the lens, picking up where he left off with his fantastic documentary, Sound City), and is set to air as a mini-series on HBO this fall, which is also when the band's eighth studio album will be released. News of this first trickled out when Grohl's biographer, Paul Brannigan, announced the series in Classic Rock magazine. Later in the week, Variety offered more details, including the important piece of information that the release of the series and album will also coincide with the band's 20th anniversary. The official press release, as shared by Consequence of Sound, states,
One song was recorded in each city, every song featuring local legends sitting in, and every lyric written in an unprecedented experimental style: Dave held off on putting down words until the last day of each session, so as to be inspired by the experiences, interviews and personalities that became part of the process.
Reporting on Brannigan's news, Rolling Stone reminded readers of what Grohl said regarding his intention behind making Sound City; Grohl said he wanted kids to be "inspired to go to a yard sale and buy a guitar and start a band and play in the garage and then take over the world. Because that can still happen." The press release reiterates this:
Each episode delves into the singular regional identity of each city—how each region shaped these musicians in their formative years, and in turn the impact those people had on the cultural fabric of their hometowns—ultimately celebrating their common bond: Every artist that appears in the show, regardless of genre or locale, started as an average kid with the universal dreams of making music and making it big.
TV Upfronts

It's upfront time, which means all the networks are announcing their seasons. This mean also means that some favorite programs are being renewed (yay!) or canceled (boo!). Herein, some noteworthy items from the up fronts:
  • Boo! Community has been canceled. Though creator Dan Harmon and fans had always hoped for #sixseasonsandamovie, it looks like it will only be five, with the current season being the final one. Shame on you, NBC. This is the funniest thing on TV, especially since Harmon came back for the fifth season. 

  • Yay! It's not upfront news, but The Hollywood Reporter hosted another roundtable discussion with drama series showrunners, and this one features Aaron Sorkin, Vince Gilligan and more. 

  • Yay! (But also boo!) Parenthood will return for a sixth season, however the sixth season will also be the final season. Buzz Feed reports that creator Jason Katims know how he wants the show to end.

  • Yay! Also not upfront news but newsworthy, nonetheless: House of Cards showrunner Beau Willimon (Breathing Time) answered fans' questions on Vulture. There are spoilers for those who have not watched all of season two, but if you are caught up, you'll want to read Willimon's thoughtful and insightful answers.

  • Meh. ABC has announced its lineup, and among the new shows is Selfie, which, as Vulture reports, focuses on "a viral-video star and the marketing expert trying to reshape her image" a la My Fair Lady/Pygmalion. Um...  However, the season also includes a new series, How to Get Away with Murder, starring Viola Davis, so that's good news. Vulture also has the network's full lineup.

  • Yay! Fox has ordered ten more episodes of Mulaney, the new sitcom from former SNL writer John Mulaney. (It's like a Seinfeld for our generation; watch the trailer here.) The series will air on Sunday nights, as will the second season of Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Buzz Feed has Fox's full line up

  • Boo! The next season of Parks and Recreation (its seventh) will be the last one. The way this season ended felt like it could have been a series finale, but fortunately there's still a little more Pawnee left to see. The Hollywood Reporter has more, including the full NBC schedule

  • Meh. CBS has ordered Madame Secretary to series. The show follows Tea Leoni as Secretary of State. The bit that makes it possibly worth tuning in? Bebe Neuwirth (The Addams Family), Patina Miller (Pippin) and Sebastian Arcelus (A Time to Kill, House of Cards) co-star, as does Tim Daily, who recently appeared on The Mindy Project. Broadwayworld.com has more. (CBS's lineup will also include its The Odd Couple reboot, starring Matthew Perry and Thomas Lennon, and Battle Creek, a new one from Vince Gilligan.)

  • Yay! The Daily Show correspondent Larry Wilmore will take over the post-Daily Show slot (opening up because Stephen Colbert is leaving to host the Late Show), bringing The Minority Report to Comedy Central. The Hollywood Reporter has details.

  • Yay! NBC announced it will air a live telecast of The Music Man in 2015. The Meredith Willlson-Franklin Lacey musical features favorites like "Seventy-six Trombones," "My White Knight" and "Shipoopi." No air date or casting has been announced, but Seth MacFarlane fans know he'd be game for the role of huckster Harold Hill. (Deadline reports that Craig Zadan and Neil Meron might produce the live special; they produced the MacFarlane-hosted Oscars, so MacFarlane as Hill might not be out of the question.)


Theatre Award Season

Outer Critics Circle Awards—Winners of the OCC Awards were announced early this week. Jason Robert Brown rightly won for Outstanding New Score (The Bridges of Madison County); Chris Barreca won for Outstanding Set Design (Rocky); Andrea Martin (Act One) and Mare Winningham (Casa Valentina) tied for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play; Tim Carroll won for Outstanding Director of a Play (Twelfth Night); and The (Curious Case of the) Watson Intelligence was one of a three-way time for the John Gassner Award for an American Play. Visit Broadway.com to see the full list of winners, all of whom will be feted at a ceremony on May 22.

Off-Broadway Alliance Awards—Dedicated to promoting and supporting off-Broadway theatre, the Off-Broadway Alliance announced nominees for its fourth annual awards. Fun Home, Heathers and Bad Jews are among the nominees. In addition, the late Philip Seymour Hoffman will receive a posthumous Hall of Fame Award. Broadway.com has the complete list of nominees and honorees.

Tony Awards
Bruce Springsteen Museum

For those of you with excellent taste, here's good news: There will be an online Bruce Springsteen museum. Rolling Stone reports that BlindedbytheLight.com "will feature 300 artifacts when it launches in June, a date that coincides with the 30th anniversary of Born in the USA. Among the collected objects are handwritten lyrics, concert posters, report cards and more..." The site is founded by Michael Crane who has previously contributed Boss artifacts to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame museum. The online museum also has a Facebook page, on which Crane will run contests every six months.

The West Wing: 15 Years Later

My favorite TV series, which brought us some of the best Sorkinese ever, premiered in fall 1999, and so it was at the upfronts 15 years ago that NBC introduced the Aaron Sorkin show to the world. To coincide with this week's upfront presentations, The Hollywood Reporter checked in with the cast and creative team to talk about the show, its significance and other behind-the-scenes gossip. The magazine also took a walk down memory lane with a photo gallery of production stills, and told readers where various cast members are now (hint: many of them have appeared or are currently appearing on stage; I've seen seven West Wing regulars (from the Sorkin and post-Sorkin years), as well as several guest stars (like John Gallagher, Jr., Amy Adams and Mary Louise Parker), and I'm set to see an eighth series regular in a couple months when I see Dule Hill in the Tony-nominated After Midnight!). Bonus West Wing items: Buzz Feed lists 27 reasons you're still watching the show, and they're all right.

Kristin Chenoweth Confirmed for On the Twentieth Century

After much speculation, Broadway.com has confirmed reports that Kristin Chenoweth and Peter Gallagher will star in a revival of On the Twentieth Century. The Comden + Green and Cy Coleman backstage musical will be part of Roundabout Theatre's 2014-2015 season, playing the American Airlines Theatre. Previews will begin February 12, 2015, with opening night scheduled for March 12. The addition of On the Twentieth Century does mean, unfortunately, that the Noises Off revival, which was to star Tony winner Andrea Martin, will be postponed until fall 2015. (It was supposed to play the American Airlines in January 2015.) This revival of the beloved musical will be directed by Scott Ellis, with choreography by current Tony nominee Warren Carlyle.

Checking in with the Ladies of Casa Valentina 

First bit of good news about the terrific Tony-nominated play: Casa Valentina has been extended. Harvey Fierstein's new play will now run through June 29. Playbill has more about that. Second bit of good news: It also might be adapted for the screen. No word on whether Casa Valentina would be seen on the big or the small screen, but talks are ongoing. And finally, Tony nominee (and one of my favorite stage actors) Reed Birney takes us (via photos) backstage at the Biltmore.

Starry Cast Assembled for Albee's A Delicate Balance

Edward Albee's A Delicate Balance will return to Broadway, and so will many stage veterans we haven't seen on the boards in too long. Directed by Tony Award winner Pam MacKinnon (who won her Tony for directing Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?), the cast will include Glenn Close, John Lithgow (who was last on Broadway in All My Sons and who will star as King Lear this summer in Shakespeare in the Park), Bob Balaban and Martha Plimpton. A Delicate Balance will play a limited run at the Golden Theatre, with previews beginning October 20. Opening night is set for November 20, and the run is scheduled to conclude on February 22, 2015. Playbill has more.

Dig This

  • Rosewater, Jon Stewart's adaptation of Maziar Bahari's memoir, will be released in the US this fall. The Hollywood Reporter has more about the distribution deal. 

  • The latest guest on Broadway.com's Show People is two-time Tony nominee Joshua Henry, who can currently be seen in Violet

  • James Snyder is taking viewers backstage at If/Then in his new Broadway.com blog, "Hey Kid." Here's episode one!

  • Complete casting has been announced for The Last Ship, the new musical with a book by Brian Yorkey and John Logan and a score by Sting. Visit Playbill to find out who will join the previously announced Michael Esper and Aaron Lazar.  

  • Next season, audiences will get to see the National Theatre's Broadway mounting of Simon Stephens's The Curious Incident of the Dog in Night-time a little earlier. Previews at the Barrymore will now begin on September 10, with opening night is still scheduled for October 5. Broadway.com has more.

  • The Bridges of Madison County might be closing (boo!!!), but the beauty lives on in the original Broadway cast recording. Stars Kelli O'Hara and Steven Pasquale, as well as composer Jason Robert Brown will appear at the UES Barnes and Noble on Friday, May 23 to celebrate the recording. Order your copy at sh-k-boom.com

  • Marin Ireland (The Big Knife) will appear in the fourth season of Girls. Playbill has more.

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