Week in Review 3.27.15

Lots of casting news this week; scroll down for more news, including a new play from Annie Baker and a new musical from Billie Joe Armstrong.

Casting News

Film—The cast for Nocturnal Animals, the follow up from fashion designer Tom Ford's excellent directorial debut, A Single Man, is starting to come together. According to various trade papers, Jake Gyllenhaal (Constellations, Nightcrawler), Amy Adams (Big Eyes, Her) and Joaquin Pheonix (Her, Inherent Vice) will appear in the film, with Gyllenhaal and Adams leading the cast. George Clooney is a producer of the movie, which is based on Austin Wrgiht's novel, Tony and Susan. The Film Stage has more.

Television—The talented Krysta Rodriguez (First Date, Smash) will appear in the second season of the ABC Family series, Chasing Life. The series focuses on April (Italia Ricci), a young women battling cancer. Rodriguez, who was diagnosed with breast cancer last year and is chronicling her recovery on krystacouture.com, will play a fellow cancer patient. Broadway.com has more.

Broadway—Stage and screen veteran Jason Alexander, of Seinfeld fame, will take over for Seinfeld creator, Larry David, when David's hit play, Fish in the Dark, extends its run. The limited run was scheduled to conclude on June 7. That will mark David's final performance. The run will then continue through July 19, with Alexander succeeding David. Broadway.com has more.

Off-Broadway—Casting has been announced for the world premiere of Gloria, a new play by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins that is set to run at the Vineyard this spring. Kyle Beltran (The Fortress of Solitude) stars, along with Jennifer Kim and Ryan Spahn (What's Your Emergency?). Performances begin May 28. Broadway.com has more.

Film—It's not officially official, but six-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald (Porgy and Bess) is rumored to have joined the cast of Disney's live-action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast. McDonald would play the opera singer-turned wardrobe. Broadway.com has more.

Broadway-Bound—A musical stage adaptation of the Drew Barrymore film, Ever After, is in the works, and casting was recently announced for its stint at the Paper Mill Playhouse. (The story is a take on Cinderella.) Margo Seibert (Rocky), James Snyder (If/Then), Christine Ebersole (Grey Gardens), Tony Sheldon (Priscilla Queen of the Desert) and more will appear in the production, which runs May 21-June 21. Tony winner Kathleen Marshall (Anything Goes) is directing and choreographing. Broadway.com has more.

Broadway DepartureTony nominee Ramin Karimloo has announced that he will be leaving Les Miserables. His final performance will be August 30. His successor has not been named. Broadway.com has more.

Television—Two-time Tony Award nominee Condola Rashad (Stick Fly, Romeo and Juliet) is part of the cast of the recently picked-up, Billions, a new Showtime series. Set in the finance world, Billions also stars Emmy winner Damian Lewis (Homeland), Paul Giamatti (The Ides of March) and David Costabile (The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence, Breaking Bad). Visit The Hollywood Reporter for more.

Film—Oscar and Tony nominee Anna Kendrick (Into the Woods) has joined the cast of the comedy Table 19, about a group of misfits seated together at a wedding. The flick also stars Lisa Kudrow, Craig Robinson and Stephen Merchant. Playbill has more.

Television + Off-BroadwayMichael Zegen (Bad Jews, Boardwalk Empire) joins an impressive roster of actors slated to guest star on the upcoming Showtime series, Happyish. The series stars Steve Coogan and Kathryn Hahn, both fantastic in everything, as well as The West Wing alumnus, Bradley Whitford. In addition to Zegen, guest stars include Emmy winner Carrie Preston (The Good Wife); Tony winner Ellen Barkin (The Normal Heart); Molly Price (The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide...) and Andre Royo. Happyish was created by Shalom Auslander. Promos for the show can currently be seen on Showtime. Variety has more. (And Broadway.com reports that Zegen has also joined the cast of off-Broadway's The Spoils, a new play written by and starring Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network, Asuncion.)

Signature Season Announced; Includes Annie Baker

New York's Signature Theatre has announced its 2015-2016 season (the company's 25th season), and it includes plays from two recent, female Pulitzer Prize recipients, Annie Baker and Quiara Alegria Hudes. First up will be John,the latest from Annie Baker (The Flick, The Aliens). Baker's frequent collaborator, Sam Gold, will direct the production that runs July 22-August 30. The play is described on Signature's website as follows: "The week after Thanksgiving. A Bed and Breakfast in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. A cheerful innkeeper. A young couple struggling to stay together. Thousands of inanimate objects, watching." The website also states that Georgia Engel and Lois Smith will be featured in the production. The season will also feature the premiere of Quiara Alegria Hudes's Daphne's Dive, with performances beginning April 26, 2016. Hudes wrote the book for In the Heights, and won the Pulitzer for Water by the Spoonful. Broadway.com has more about the Signature season.

Atlantic Theater 2015-2016 Season Announced

The Atlantic Theater Company's 30th anniversary season is shaping up to be a good one. We'll see the New York premiere of These Paper Bullets! in November. With a score by Billie Joe Armstrong (American Idiot) and a book by Rolin Jones, the musical is a take on Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, and premiered in Berkeley last year. In spring 2016, a new musical, The Band's Visit will premiere. Written by book writer Itamar Moses (Completeness, The Fortress of Solitude) and songwriter David Yazbek (The Full Monty, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels), the show is directed by the legendary Hal Prince. After that is the New York premiere of Adam Rapp's The Purple Lights of Joppa Illinois, which the writer of The Metal Children will also direct. Visit Playbill to learn more about the full season, and head to atlantictheater.org to view subscriber options. (Pro tip: early bird rates are being offered now through May 31.)

Series Finales

Unfortunately, this week we received word that a couple of beloved (by me, at least) series will soon come to an end:

Looking, the HBO show starring Jonathan Groff, has been canceled. Fans won't be left hanging, however. A special "final chapter" will be produced, tying up loose ends and bringing a (hopefully) satisfying conclusion to the story. Broadway.com has more.

Downton Abbey will conclude after its sixth season. (The fifth season ended last month.) Executive producer Gareth Neame said, "We wanted to close the doors of Downton Abbey when it felt right and natural for the storylines to come together... We can promise a final season full of all the usual drama and intrigue, but with the added excitement of discovering how and where they all end up." Show creator Julian Fellowes added, "The Downton journey has been amazing for everyone aboard... I suspect the show will always be a principal marker in most of our careers as we set out from here, and if so, I consider that a blessing and a compliment." Variety has more.

Dig This

  • Chilina Kennedy, who can now be seen as iconic songwriter Carole King in Beautiful, is releasing her debut album of original music, What You Find in a Bottle. Kennedy says, "I am inspired by songwriters who aren't afraid to write from a genuine and vulnerable place," and that influence is evident on her album. What You Find in a Bottle will be released April 14; visit iTunes to pre-order.

  • Speaking of Beautiful, the show is headed to the big screen. Play Tone (Tom Hanks's production company) will produce the adaptation. Casting has not been announced. Broadway.com has more.

  • The effervescent revival of On the Twentieth Century will be preserved with a cast recording. The production features Kristin Chenoweth and Peter Gallagher. Broadway.com has more about the album, which will be released on May 19, and you can head to PS Classics to pre-oder.

  • Cabaret is going on tour. Launching in Providence, RI, in January 2016, the tour will stop in over 20 cities, including Miami, LA and Baltimore. Playbill has more.

  • A new, immersive production of American Idiot is set for L.A. Details are scarce, but Playbill has the official announcement.

  • Complete details have been announced for Idina Menzel's world tour. Visit Playbill for all the info. 

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