Week in Review 12.5.14

Nina Arianda Back on Broadway

Rejoice! Tony Award winner Nina Arianda (Venus in Fur, Tales from Red Vienna) will be back on stage in NYC next fall. You might recall that the goddess starred alongside Sam Rockwell (A Behanding in Spokane) in the Sam Shepard play, Fool for Love, at the Williamstown Theatre Festival this summer. That production, with both stars in tow and directed by Daniel Aukin (Bad Jews, The Fortress of Solitude), will bow on Broadway (courtesy of the Manhattan Theatre Club) beginning September 15, 2015. Opening night is set for October 8. MTC also announced that David Lindsay-Abaire (Rabbit Hole)'s latest comedy, Ripdcord, will be part of its off-Broadway offerings. Broadway.com has more.

Foo Fighters "I Am a River"

The documentary series Sonic Highways comes to a conclusion with the New York episode, airing this week. (Don't despair yet: Dave Grohl hinted at a second season when he spoke to Jon Stewart on Wednesday.) Check out the New York-inspired song, "I Am a River," below (I can't listen without crying), visit your favorite music retailer to purchase the full album, and then head to foofighters.com to find out when the Foo Fighters' tour is coming your way. Tickets are now on sale.

Casting News

Broadway—Principal casting has been announced for the upcoming Broadway bow of Doctor Zhivago. West End star Tam Mutu will tackle the title role, with Broadway veterans Kelli Barrett, Tom Hewitt and Paul Nolan (Jesus Christ Superstar) in featured roles. The musical (based on the eponymous novel) is written by Michael Weller (book), Lucy Simon (music) and Michael Korie and Amy Powers (lyrics). Directed by Des McAnuff (...Superstar), Doctor Zhivago will play the Broadway Theatre. Preview begins March 27, 2015, with opening night set for April 21. Theater Mania has more.

TV—Academy Award winners Reese Witherspoon (How Do You Know?) and Nicole Kidman (Nine) will star in a limited series adaptation of Liane Moriarty's Big Little Lies. The show does not have a network or other home (like a streaming service), but David E. Kelley is attached to write the series. The Hollywood Reporter has more.

Broadway Replacement Casting—The starry cast of Terrence McNally's comedy, It's Only a Play, is changing its line-up a bit. Megan Mullally (Guys and Dolls) and Rupert Grint are departing the show in January, but two-time Tony Award winner Katie Finneran (Annie) and Maulik Pancholy (Weeds, 30 Rock) are joining the cast. Their first performance, as well as Martin Short's (he's taking over for Nathan Lane), is scheduled for January 7, 2015. Broadway.com has more.

Broadway Replacement CastingVeep's Anna Chlumsky and stage veteran Richard Thomas will join the family in the delightful revival of You Can't Take it With You. They'll step into the roles currently played by Rose Byrne and Mark Linn-Baker, respectively. (Linn-Baker won't be away from the stage for long. He will be featured in Roundabout's revival of On the Twentieth Century.) The pair will begin performances on January 6, 2015. The Moss Hart–George S. Kaufman play continues at the Longacre Theatre through February 22. Broadway.com has more.

Off-Broadway—Additional casting has been announced for two upcoming off-Broadway shows. Visit Broadway.com to find out who will be appearing in Second Stage's production of Between Riverside and Crazy and in CSC's A Month in the Country.

Broadway Replacement Casting—Tony nominee Gavin Creel (Hair) will step into the role of Elder Price in the hit, The Book of Mormon. Creel created the role in the London production, and also hit the road with the show. He takes over for Nic Rouleau, whose final performance will be January 4, 2015. (Rouleau will then cross the pond and join the London company.) Creel will begin performances on January 6. The Book of Mormon continues its Tony-winning run at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre. Theater Mania has more.

Sting Boards The Last Ship

As Sting gets ready to step into the role of Jackie White in the terrific The Last Ship, the production released this new commercial heralding his arrival. Sting wrote the score for the musical, with Brian Yorkey (If/Then, Next to Normal) and John Logan (Red) taking care of the book. Directed by Joe Mantello (Casa Valentina), the musical stars Michael Esper (American Idiot, Tales from Red Vienna), Rachel Tucker and Aaron Lazar (A Little Night Music, concert soloist). Sting will appear in the show December 9 through January 10, 2015; Jimmy Nail, who currently portrays Jackie White, will resume performances after Sting's departure. (In other The Last Ship news, visit Broadway.com to learn more about featured player, Collin Kelly-Sordelet.) Visit thelastship.com to learn more and to purchase tickets.

Award Season Updates

It's December, which means we're delving further and further into award season. Herein, some goings on from the week:
  • PGA Award nominees were announced for TV and Feature Documentary categories. Nominees include producers of Cosmos; Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Sesame Street; and Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. For the full list of nominees, head to Variety.

  • The Annie Award nominees have been announced. (The Annies honor excellence in animated work.) Indie Wire has the full list of nominees.

  • The New York Film Critics Circle met this week and announced the NYFCC Awards winners. Boyhood took home the top honor (and some other awards), and the delightful Wes Anderson flick, The Grand Budapest Hotel, won for Best Screenplay. Vulture has the full list of winners.

  • Winners of the Gotham Awards were announced this week, with Birdman winning the top prize. (Its star, Michael Keaton, also took home the Best Actor honor.) Julianne Moore continued to garner praise for her work in the Alzheimer's-themed film, Still Alice. Visit Variety for the full list of winners.

  • Shaking things up a bit is the National Board of Review, which named A Most Violent Year, and its stars, Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain, the best of the year. Entertainment Weekly has the fill list.

  • Gold Derby has the list of the 15 documentaries on the Oscars "short list."

  • The Hollywood Reporter awards guru, Scott Feinberg (who, BTW, sat in front of me when I saw The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time), breaks down the strategy of submitting films in musical/comedy vs. drama categories for the Golden Globes.

  • Writers Guild of America Award nominees for excellence in television, new media, news radio and promotional writing have been announced. Nominees includes writers for Game of Thrones; House of Cards; The Good Wife; Veep; Silicon Valley; The Leftovers; Olive Kitteridge; The Normal Heart; Boardwalk Empire; Modern Family; The Daily Show with Jon Stewart; Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; the 68th Annual Tony Awards; Jeopardy; Cosmos; and more. Visit Broadwayworld.com for the full list of nominees.

  • Grammy nominations were announced (except for the Album of the Year nominees; they will be announced in a special concert later this month). To be eligible, recordings must have been released between October 1, 2013, and September 30, 2014 (meaning Sonic Highways will be eligible next year). Nominees in the Best Musical Theatre Album category are Aladdin; Beautiful; A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder; Hedwig and the Angry Inch; and West Side Story (a special recording featuring Cheyenne Jackson, Alexandra Silber and the San Francisco symphony; The Bridges of Madison County was grossly overlooked). Nominees in other categories include: John Legend; Barbra Streisand; Beyonce (obviously); Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Bobby Lopez for "Let It Go" (Best Song Written for Visual Media); and the documentary 20 Feet from Stardom (Best Music Film). And in the always fascinating Best Spoken Word Album category, the nominees are: James Franco; Jimmy Carter; John Waters; Joan Rivers; Senator Elizabeth Warren; and Gloria Gaynor. Visit the Grammys website for the full list of nominees.
Aaron Tveit Takes on Assassins

Aaron Tveit is earning raves for his performance in the London production of Assassins, the Stephen Sondheim musical about the men and women who have attempted to or succeeded in killing American presidents. The production, in which Tveit play John Wilkes Booth, comes courtesy of the Menier Chocolate Factory, a company known for great Sondheim revivals, some of which have made their to New York. Keep your fingers crossed that's the fate of this production! In the meantime, check out this The Hollywood Reporter article in which Tveit talks about delving into the dark world of Assassins.

Dig This

  • Dance Enthusiast spoke to NYCB principal dancer Sara Mearns about her career and role models.

  • The Broadway run of the critically acclaimed Fun Home will begin previews on March 27, 2015, one week earlier than the original start date, April 4. Opening night has also been moved up, and is now set for April 19. Playbill has more.

  • Get ready: the third season of House of Cards will premiere on February 27, 2015, exclusively on Netflix. Check out this teaser video show creator and head writer Beau Willimon posted.

  • Parks and Recreation will return for its final season on January 13, 2015. Featured player Retta shared this photo on Instagram, while Ben Schwartz (who plays fan favorite Jean Ralphio) tweeted about the news, including that each week will feature two episodes, leading up to the February 24 series finale.

  • Good news: Tony nominee Anika Larsen's debut album is almost here! Sing You to Sleep, a collection of "dreamy ballads," will be released on December 9. Larsen's Beautiful cast mate, Tony winner Jessie Mueller, appears on the album, and producer Dan Watt shared the photo at right of the talented ladies in the studio. Visit Amazon to order your copy of Sing You to Sleep.

  • Dance magazine checks in with An American in Paris director/choreographer Christopher Wheeldon and stars Robbie Fairchild and Leanne Cope

  • The 1970s rock and roll drama series produced by Martin Scorsese and Mick Jagger and starring Tony nominee and Emmy winner Bobby Cannavale (The Big Knife, Boardwalk Empire), has been picked up by HBO. Stay tuned! (Broadway.com has more.)

  • Head to Du Jour to check in with NYCB soloist and resident choreographer, Justin Peck (In Creases, Everywhere We Go). Peck is working on a new ballet that will premiere at NYCB this February.

  • We're (unfortunately) already halfway through the final season of The Newsroom, and this week's episode, "Contempt," was terrific. Watch below to go Inside the Episode.