Week in Review 10.23.15

Off-Broadway Othello to Star David Oyelowo

Golden Globe and Emmy nominee David Oyelowo (Selma) will return to the stage, playing the title role in Shakespeare's classic tragedy, Othello. The New York Theatre Workshop production will also star Daniel Craig (James Bond), who'll play the villain Iago. Dates and additional casting for the 2016 off-Broadway production have yet to be announced, but we do know that Tony winner Sam Gold (Fun Home, The Flick) will direct. Theater Mania has more.

Justin Peck and Amar Ramasar Win Bessie Awards

Justin Peck's stunning and romantic ballet, Rodeo: Four Dance Episodes won a Bessie Award for Outstanding Production. Peck took to Instagram and Twitter to express his gratitude to his collaborators, his mentors, like the late Albert Evans, and to Aaron Copland, whose music Peck reinterpreted to create his own Rodeo. (Pioneering director and choreographer Agnes de Mille famously used the same music for her landmark work.)

In addition, Amar Ramasar, who created a role in Rodeo and is a standout dancer with NYCB, won an Outstanding Performer award. The Bessies website perfectly explains why Ramasar is deserving of the honor; he won "for his natural ease and contemporary presence on the classical stage. For his ongoing contributions to a wide range of new ballet work, and for his sensitivity and skill in the demanding and sometimes unseen art of partnering." Merde to Peck and Ramasar!

Eclipsed Will Transfer to Broadway

Eclipsed will transfer to Broadway. The Danai Gurira play is running, to great acclaim and sold out audiences, at the Public through November 29. Beginning February 23, 2016, it will take up residence Broadway's Golden Theatre, with opening night set for March 6. Directed by Liesl Tommy, the cast includes Oscar winner Lupita Nyong'o, among other talented women. Per the website, eclipsedbroadway.com, tickets are on presale to Citi cardholders through October 27. Expect tickets to the general public to go on sale on October 28. Theater Mania has more. (Of note: standout Saycon Sengblog will depart the off-Broadway production in October; Stacey Sargeant will take over the role of Helena beginning November 3. Broadway.com has more about that.)

Bright Star Set for Broadway

Written by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell, the new musical will play Broadway in the spring. Bright Star premiered at San Diego's Old Globe Theatre in 2014, and will play The Kennedy Center this winter. Broadway previews will begin March 7, 2016, with opening night set for March 31. A theatre has not been announced. Walter Bobbie (Venus in Fur) directs the musical, which stars Carmen Cusack, who'll be making her Broadway debut, A.J. Shively (La Cage aux Folles), Paul Alexander Nolan (Doctor Zhivago), Emily Padgett (Side Show) and more. Visit Theater Mania for the full cast and creative team.

Casting News

  • Tony winner Nikki M. James (The Book of Mormon, Preludes) has been cast in Brain Dead, the new CBS series that, we learned last week, will star Aaron Tveit. The series is supposed to premiere in summer 2016. Broadway.com has more.

  • Mindy Kaling shared (on Instagram) that Broadway favorite Kerry Butler (Catch Me If You Can, The Call) will appear in an upcoming episode of The Mindy Project. The show's fourth season is now airing on Hulu.

  • Laverne Cox (Orange is the New Black) will star as Frank-N-Furter in Fox TV's remake of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The remake (not a live broadcast) will air sometime in fall 2016. Deadline has more.

  • Saved by the Bell alumnus Mario Lopez will appear in Fox's upcoming live presentation of Grease, playing slick DJ Vince Fontaine. Lopez performed on Broadway in the A Chorus Line revival. Playbill has more.  
Dig This

  • Three interesting Hamilton features from recent weeks: Lin-Manuel Miranda talks to Grantland; Christopher Jackson talks to Playbill; and rapper and activist Talib Kweli speaks of Hamilton's rap/hip-hop authenticity with Vulture. (Also, Beyonce and Jay Z saw the show.)

  • A New Brain is getting a new cast recording. The company from the recent Encores! concert, which included Jonathan Groff (Hamilton), Ana Gasteyer (SNL) and Aaron Lazar (The Last Ship), is recording the album this week. Expect a February 2016 release. Playbill has more.

  • Chris Rock (Top Five) will host the 88th Academy Awards, which will take place on February 28, 2016. Entertainment Weekly has more.

  • Date change for She Loves Me: Previews will now begin on February 19, 2016, and opening night has been rescheduled for March 17. The limited engagement will now conclude on June 5. Broadway.com has more about the Roundabout revival. 

  • Ugly Lies the Bone, written by Lindsey Ferrentino and starring Mamie Gummer, has been extended. The Roundabout Underground production will now run through December 6. Broadway.com has more.

  • Here's Aaron Tveit (who, once upon a time, appeared as Fiyero in Wicked) and current Elphaba Rachel Tucker (recently seen on Broadway in The Last Ship) singing a stripped down version of "Defying Gravity." Happy Friday! (Visit Playbill to learn about the genesis of the video.)