Week in Review 6.13.14

An American in Paris World Premiere

We've known for several months that a full stage adaptation of the beloved movie musical, directed  by the great Christopher Wheeldon (Cinderella, Carousel (A Dance)), was on its way, premiering in Paris and then coming to Broadway in spring 2015. This week, dates for the world premiere Paris bow at the Theatre du Chatelet were announced (November 11, 2014–January 4, 2015), and it was officially announced that New York City Ballet principal dancer Robert Fairchild will star as Jerry Mulligan, taking on the role made famous by Gene Kelly!!! (Robbie has excelled in Wheeldon ballets, particularly in the recent A Place for Us.) He'll be joined by Leanne Cope as Lise. An American in Paris is a trunk musical featuring some of the Gershwin brothers' greatest tunes. Theatre veteran Craig Lucas is writing the book and Encores! stalwart Rob Fisher is serving as musical director and arranger. Recent Tony winner Natasha Katz is on board as lighting designer; sound design is by Jon Weston; and scenic and costume designs are by Bob Crowley. Visit the Theatre du Chatelet website for details about the Paris premiere, and stay tuned for any and all news about the Broadway run.

Jake Gyllenhaal to Make Broadway Debut in New Nick Payne Play

It looks like both Gyllenhaal siblings are making their Broadway debut in the 2014-2015 season. Stage and screen star Jake Gyllenhaal will reunite with his If There is I Haven't Found it Yet playwright, Nick Payne, and director, Michael Longhurst, for the American premiere of Constellations. Manhattan Theatre Club will co-produce the production with London's Royal Court Theatre, with Constellations playing MTC's Friedman (nee Biltmore) Theatre. Previews begin December 16, and opening night is scheduled for January 13, 2015. Broadway.com notes that Constellations "tells the story of one relationship with infinite possibilities," making it sound like another dreamy, romantic tale joining the likes of the recent Peter and the Starcatcher and Fly by Night. (Jake's sister, Maggie, will make her Broadway debut in Roundabout's revival of The Real Thing.)

Casting Updates

FilmGeorge Clooney (The Descendants) and Josh Brolin (True Grit) are joining the cast of the Coen Brothers' new flick, Hail Caesar! Both stars are Coen Brothers regulars. Hail Caesar!, Deadline reports, is about a Hollywood fixer "circa [the] 1950s, who works for the studios to protect the stars of the day."

Film—It's official: Jennifer Lawrence will star in David O. Russell's latest film, Joy, which tells the story of Miracle Mop inventor Joy Mangano. It's slated for released in December 2015. This marks yet another collaboration for the actor and director, who previously worked together on Silver Linings Playbook, which netted Lawrence an Oscar, and American Hustle, which garnered the star an Oscar nomination. E! Online has more.

BroadwayBen Davis is departing Violet, playing his final performance as The Preacher on June 29. Stepping into the role is Tony winner Levi Kreis (Million Dollar Quartet), who will play his first performance on July 1. Kreis joins a company that also includes Sutton Foster, Joshua Henry and Colin Donnell. Violet's limited engagement is set to conclude on August 10. Broadway.com has more.

FilmTheater Mania reports that the now three-time Tony Award winner Mark Rylance has joined a new, untitled Steven Spielberg film. Written by the Coen Brothers and starring Tom Hanks, the film takes place during the Cold War, and production is set to begin this fall. Rylance won his third Tony on Sunday night for his work in Twelfth Night. He previously won for Jerusalem and Boeing Boeing

Off-Broadway Concert—Additional casting has been announced for the one-night-only Encores! Off-Center concert of Randy Newman's Faust, a retelling of the classic Faust story. Joining Newman (who'll play the Devil) are Michael Cerveris (Fun Home), Laura Osnes (Cinderella), Isaiah Johnson (Far From Heaven) and Tony Vincent (American Idiot), among a few others. The concert will bow on Tuesday July 1, and is directed by Thomas Kail (The Tutors). Broadway.com has more.

BroadwayHedwig is getting a new Hedwig. When Tony winner Neil Patrick Harris concludes his limited run with Hedwig and the Angry Inch (August 17 is his final performance; this has been the plan, announced publicly, from the start), Tony nominee Andrew Rannells (The Book of Mormon) will start donning the wigs. Rannells will be with the production August 20–October 12. Rannells played Hedwig in a 2001 production and has performed "The Origin of Love" in concert. Broadway.com has more. 

Tony Awards Wrap Up

The 68th annual Tony Awards are in the books! It was a decent broadcast, with some surprise wins, some locks and some exciting performances. Ahead is a  roundup of all things Tony Awards, but scroll down for new about the 2015 Tony Awards.

Broadway Comings and Goings

Each year, after the Tony Awards we see a merry-go-round of shows closing and opening. Oftentimes, shows that had been struggling at the box office hold out hope of a Tony win, which can translate into a box office boost. Alas, not all shows walk away winners, and thus post closing notices. But that also means that some theatres open up, making way for shows in the new season.
  • Closing: The timely and poignant new Terrence McNally play Mothers and Sons will conclude its Broadway run on June 22. The play received Tony nominations for Best Play and Best Leading Actress (Tyne Daly), but did not win either. When it closes, it will have played 33 previews and 104 regular performances. Broadway.com has more.

  • Opening: The Pulitzer Prize winning Ayad Akhatar play Disgraced will bow on Broadway this fall. The play was critically acclaimed when it played off-Broadway in 2012 and in London in 2013. Disgraced will run at the Lyceum Theater, with previews beginning September 27; opening night is scheduled for October 23. Kimberly Senior will reprise her directorial work, and Hari Dhillon, who appeared in the London production, will lead the cast, which also includes Gretchen Mol (Boardwalk Empire), Josh Radnor (How I Met Your Mother, Liberal Arts), and Karen Pittman, who appeared in the off-Broadway iteration. Broadway.com has more.
Finding Neverland

The in-development musical Finding Neverland, based off the Johnny Depp-Kate Winslet movie that tells the story of how J.M. Barrie created Peter Pan, will likely receive a concept album. After workshops, a change in writers and much retooling, the show is being produced at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, MA, with Artistic Director Diane Paulus (Hair, Pippin) directing the musical. (The show in its current state is written by Gary Barlow + Eliot Kennedy (score) and James Graham (book).) The ultimate Hollywood broker Harvey Weinstein is behind the project, and he says they are looking to bow on Broadway (duh!). But before that, there will be a concept album featuring Jennifer Hudson (who is not in the ART production but performed a Finding Neverland song on the Tony Awards). Broadway.com has more.

Broadway in Bryant Park Line Up Announced

The annual summer tradition is back. The free concert series, held in New York's Bryant Park, features performances of many Broadway and off-Broadway shows. (It is also often features performances from upcoming shows, giving New York audiences a sneak peek at the season ahead.) Held on six consecutive Thursdays beginning July 10, the concert schedule (which is subject to change) is as follows:
2015 Tony News

Yes, we are less than a week removed from the 68th annual Tony Awards but we already have news about the 69th celebration of Broadway. This week, the 2014-2015 Tony Nominating Committee was announced, as were eligibility and rules changes. The Tony Nominating Committee is comprised of 50 people, all of whom represent various interests in the arts world. Some are actors, like returning committee member Cheyenne Jackson (The Performers), others are producers and still others are movers and shakers in the theatre and broader arts community. Visit Broadwayworld.com to know whom to lobby come the next Tony Awards season. And then there are the rule changes, the last act of the 2013-2014 Tony Awards Administration Committee, and the first one is bunk. The committee has eliminated the Best Sound Design categories because apparently amplification, sound cues and a top notch aural experience aren't important in live theatre. As Broadway.com reports, "a special Tony Award may be given to a production when the committee determines that extraordinary sound design has been achieved." (If you're outraged, and you should be, sign the petition urging the committee to reinstate the category.) The second rule change, explained in the same Broadway.com report, is that authors of plays and musicals that have not been previously produced on Broadway but are, because of their place in the popular repertoire, considered in the revival categories, will have their names included in their respective categories. If the rule had been in effect this year, for example, John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask would have been named alongside the producers in Hedwig and the Angry Inch's official nomination. Finally, the committee ruled that Broadway producers could "send a larger variety of promotional items to Tony nominators and voters," Broadwayworld.com reports. Let's see how this goes...

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