Week in Review 1.15.16

Mourning David Bowie, Recording Lazarus

We lost a legendary artist this week. David Bowie passed away on Sunday, January 10, just days after celebrating his 69th birthday and releasing his final (critically acclaimed) album, Blackstar. Tributes to the musician poured in from all over, including the theatre community, Hollywood, and the music world. On the heels of this news (but not necessarily because of it), the cast of Bowie's off-Broadway musical, Lazarus (which can now be interpreted as Bowie's farewell letter), headed into the studio to record a cast album. As Theater Mania reports, no release date has been announced. The cast is led by Michael C. Hall, and features Michael Esper and Cristin Milioti. Ensemble member Nicholas Christopher posted a photo of himself in the studio, saying, "Couldn't imagine a better way to spend today."

HBO Premiere Dates

HBO has announced premiere dates for several highly-anticipated shows and specials: Game of Thrones, Veep, and Silicon Valley will all premiere on Sunday, April 24. Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill, the small-screen adaption of the Broadway play that won Audra McDonald her record-setting sixth Tony Award, will debut on Saturday, March 12. And Vinyl, starring Bobby Cannavale, will begin on Sunday, February 14. The series was created and is executive produced by both Martin Scorsese and Mick Jagger, and looks at the music business in NYC in the '70s. For other winter and spring premiere dates, visit The Hollywood Reporter.

DGA Award Nominations

The nominees for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in a Motion Picture are:
  • Alejandro G. Inarritu, The Revenant
  • Tom McCarthy, Spotlight 
  • Adam McKay, The Big Short 
  • George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road
  • Ridley Scott, The Martian
The nominees for outstanding directorial work in television include:
  • Chris Addison, Veep, "Election Night"
  • Michael Engler, Downton Abbey, Episode 8
  • Alex Gibney, Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief
  • Lesli Linka Glatter, Homeland, "The Tradition of Hospitality"
  • Paul Haggis, Show Me a Hero
  • Mike Judge, Silicon Valley, "Binding Arbitration"
  • Kenny Leon and Matthew Diamond, The Wiz Live
  • Ryan McFaul and Amy Schumer, Inside Amy Schumer, "12 Angry Men" 
  • David Nutter, Game of Thrones, "Mother's Mercy" 
Visit The Wrap for the full list of DGA TV Award nominations. The guild also instituted a new category honoring directors making their feature film debuts. Among those nominated is Alex Garland for Ex Machina. Winners will be announced on February 6. Visit Variety for more about this and the other feature film nominees.

Casting News

  • Tim Curry, who famously played Dr. Frank-N-Furter in the original London production of Rocky Horror and in the cult-favorite film adaptation, has joined the cast of Fox's TV mounting of the musical. Curry will play the Criminologist Narrator. The Wrap has more.

  • Tony nominee Tony Yazbeck (On the Town) will take on the role of J.M. Barrie in Finding Neverland beginning Tuesday, January 26. He'll be succeeding Matthew Morrison, who plays his final performance on Sunday, January 24. Theater Mania has more.

  • Additional casting has been announced for the Broadway bow of Waitress. Joining leading lady Jessie Mueller are Tony nominee Nick Cordero (Bullets Over Broadway, Brooklynite), Molly Hager (Heathers, Joe Iconis Rock and Roll Jamboree), Thay Floyd, Aisha Jackson, Ragan Pharris, and Ryan Vazquez. Previews begin March 25, with opening night set for April 24. Broadway.com has more.

  • With Brooks Ashmanskas heading to Shuffle Along..., David Beach will take over the role of Brother Jeremiah in Something Rotten, beginning January 15. Broadway.com has more.

  • Additional casting has been announced for Roundabout's off-Broadway revival of The Robber Bridegroom, which will star Steven Pasquale and be directed by Alex Timbers. The company will include recent Gigantic co-stars Leslie Kritzer and Adrew Durand, Greg Hildreth (Cinderella, Timbers's Peter and the Starcatcher), Ahna O'Reilly, Nadia Quinn (Timbers's Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson), and more. Previews begin February 18, with opening night set for March 13. The limited engagement is scheduled to conclude May 29. Broadway.com has the full cast list. 

  • Full casting has been announced for the Broadway bow of American Psycho, the hotly-anticipated musical stage adaptation of the Bret Easton Ellis novel and the ensuing 2000 film. Theater Mania has the full cast list. Previews begin March 24, with opening night set for April 20. (Speaking of American Psycho: visit Playbill to get your first look at star Benjamin Walker in character, complete with a big ol' WalkMan.)

  • Kristen Bell (Frozen, House of Lies, concert soloist) and Ted Danson (Cheers, Bored to Death) have been cast in the NBC series Good Place, which comes courtesy of Michael Shur, one of the creatives behind Parks and Recreation. Broadwayworld.com has more.
Nerds Added to Broadway Season

The 2015-2016 is gaining another entrant: Nerds, A Musical Dot-Comedy, is heading to the Great White Way this spring. The story follows tech innovators Bill Gates and Steve Jobs from the time they were the titular nerds to their billionaire days. Nerds, featuring a book and lyrics by Jordan Allen-Dutton and Erik Weiner and music by Hal Goldberg, will be directed by Casey Hushion and choreographed by Tony nominee Josh Bergasse (On the Town). The tuner will play the Longacre Theatre, with previews beginning March 31. Opening night is scheduled for April 21. Casting has not yet been announced. Broadway.com has more.

TV Tidbits

  • The pilot for People of Earth has been picked up to series by TBS. The show is executive produced by Conan O'Brien and The Office's Greg Daniels, and the pilot features Wyatt Cenac (The Daily Show), Ana Gasteyer (SNL, A New Brain), Tracee Chimo (Noises Off), and Da'Vine Joy Randolph (Ghost), among others. Deadline has more.

  • American Masters: Mike Nichols will debut on PBS stations on Friday, January 29. Broadwayworld.com has photos of an event celebrating the show's premiere.

  • Hairspray will be the next musical to hit the small screen. The tuner will be presented live on NBC sometime in 2016. Broadway.com has more.

  • Here are a couple of videos to get you excited for Grease Live, which airs Sunday, January 31, at 7pm, and stars Aaron Tveit as Danny Zuko and Boyz II Men as the Teen Angel(s):



Checking in at Hamilton

Celebrating Alexander Hamilton's birthday week, Vulture gathered Hamilton's featured players—Leslie Odom, Jr. (Aaron Burr), Renee Elise Goldsberry (Angelica Schuyler), Christopher Jackson (George Washington), Daveed Diggs (Lafayette/Jefferson), and Jasmine Cephas Jones (Peggy Schuyler/Maria Reynolds)—for a wide-ranging roundtable discussion. They also got a look at the Hamilton signature wall. Later in the week, Vulture checked in with musical director Alex Lacamoire, who talks about the show's musical themes, as well as all three King George III, Brian d'Arcy James, Jonathan Groff, and Andrew Rannells. Meanwhile, on NewYork.com, Odom let fans in on "10 Things You May Not Know About Me."

Dig This

  • Parade recently spoke with Golden Globe winner and Academy Award nominee Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant) about his career and his activism.

  • Aaron Sorkin (Steve Jobs) will make his directorial debut with Molly's Game, an adaptation of Molly Bloom's memoir. (Sorkin also penned the script, naturally.) Deadline has details.

  • Tracee Chimo (Noises Off) filled out Playbill's newest questionnaire in the "Put It In Writing" feature.

  • Adam Kantor takes Newyork.com through a day in his life. Kantor can be seen as Motel in the revival of Fiddler on the Roof.

  • Josh Groban spoke to Entertainment Weekly about Stages and his upcoming Broadway debut in Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812.

  • Run DMC will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Grammys next month. Rolling Stone has more.

  • Visit the Opening Ceremony blog for a hint of the 2016 NYCB Art Series, featuring works from Marcel Dzama, who is also creating the costumes for Justin Peck's upcoming narrative ballet, The Most Incredible Thing.

  • Upon taking her final bow in Spring AwakeningMarlee Matlin wrote to the theatre community, imploring us to be more proactive in making accommodations for Deaf audience members. Playbill has her full letter.

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