Week in Review 12.9.16

The Great Comet, Josh Groban Extend

Josh Groban announced via a tweet that he is staying in Russia a little longer. The singer and actor is making his (impressive) Broadway debut in the the terrific new musical, Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812, and will remain with the show through July 2, 2017. In a follow up tweet from the show's account, we learned that tickets are now on sale through Labor Day. No word on who will succeed Groban, though the current standby, Scott Stangland, played the role in the A.R.T. production, and went on last month when Groban was ill. Additionally, Groban will miss 10 performances this spring, and the show's creator and the original Pierre, Dave Malloy, will step into Pierre's salon, making his Broadway performing debut. Groban will be out and Malloy will be on May 4-9; May 16; June 13; June 20; and June 27. (By the way, in a menschy move, Groban committed to matching Colts owner Jim Irsay's $20,000 gift to BC/EFA. Playbill has the details.) In other Josh Groban news, the performer chatted with Forbes about plans for a new album.

Sweat on Broadway

The insightful Lynn Nottage play, Sweat, running off-Broadway at the Public through December 18, will transfer to Broadway in the spring, marking the Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright's Broadway debut. The production is set to play at Studio 54 (an entirely too large house for the intimate play, in my opinion), with previews beginning March 4, 2017. Opening night is scheduled for March 26. Kate Whoriskey directs, though there is no official word regarding whether or not the (talented) off-Broadway cast will make the transfer, as well. Broadway.com has more.

It's an Honor/End of Year Lists

Kennedy Center Honors—Presenters and tribute performers for the Kennedy Center Honors have been revealed. The honorees—Martha Argerich, the Eagles, Al Pacino, Mavis Staples, and James Taylor—were feted at a December 4 ceremony. Presenters and performers include President Bill Clinton; Yo-Yo Ma; Cynthia Erivo; Bobby Cannavale; Lily Rabe; Bonnie Rait; and Itzhak Perlman, among others. Playbill has the full list of presenters and performers. You can catch an edited version of the celebration on CBS on Tuesday, December 27.

Grammy Awards Nominations—Nominees for the 59th annual Grammy Awards have been announced. View the full list of nominees on grammy.com/nominees. Below, find some nominees in some categories of interest:
  • Josh Groban, Stages; and Barbra Streisand, Encore: Movie Partners Sing Broadway, Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album
  • David Bowie, Blackstar, Best Alternative Music Album; "Blackstar," Best Rock Song (a songwriter's award) and Best Rock Performance (a performer's award)
  • Carol Burnett, In Such Good Company..., Best Spoken Word Album 
  • Amy Schumer, Live at the Apollo, Best Comedy Album
  • Waitress; Fiddler on the Roof; The Color Purple; Bright Star; and Kinky Boots (original West End cast recording), Best Musical Theater Album
Best Theatre of 2016
Academy AwardsJimmy Kimmel will host the Academy Awards. This will be Kimmel's first time hosting the Oscars, though he's an experienced awards show host; he most recently hosted this year's Emmys. Oscar nominations will be announced January 24, 2017, and the big show will be held February 26. Variety has more.

Writers Guild of America Awards—The nominees for achievement in writing for TV, new media, news, radio, and promotions have been announced. Among those nominated for WGA Awards are the writing staffs of Game of Thrones; Silicon Valley; Veep; The Night Of; Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Inside Amy Schumer; and Jeopardy. The Wrap has the full list of nominees, and winners will be announced and honored on February 19, 2017. Additionally, as Variety reports, Aaron Sorkin will received the Guild's Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award for Television Writing Achievement.

Best Movies of 2016
  • Rolling Stone film critic Peter Travers has named his picks for the Top 20 Films of 2016. Among his favorites are 13th; Arrival; Fences; Moonlight; Manchester by the Sea; and La La Land. Visit Rolling Stone for the full list.

  • The New York Times' film critics Manohla Dargis, A.O. Scott, and Stephen Holden named their picks for the best movies of the year. Among their picks: Moonlight; Arrival; Sausage Party; and Manchester by the Sea.

  • The American Film Institute has also named its picks for the best movies (and TV shows) of the year. Its picks for the best movies include Arrival; La La Land; Manchester by the Sea; and Moonlight. Visit The Hollywood Reporter for the full list, as well as for the list of the AFI's picks for the best TV series.
Casting News

  • Cobie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother, The Intervention) will make her Broadway debut in the upcoming revival of Present Laughter. Smulders and Tony nominees Kristine Neilsen (Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, You Can't Take It With You) and Kate Burton (Spring Awakening) join the previously announced Kevin Kline. Previews at the St James theatre begin March 10, 2017, with opening night of the limited engagement set for April 5. Entertainment Weekly has more.

  • Jasmine Cephas Jones has completed her run with Hamilton, playing her final performance on December 8. The actress took to Instagram to share the news. No word from the production regarding who will succeed Cephas Jones, who played Peggy Schuyler and Maria Reynolds.

  • Initial casting for Kid Victory, the new musical from John Kander (yes, that one) and Greg Pierce, has been announced. The Vineyard Theatre production, directed by Liesl Tommy, will be led by Tony winner Karen Ziemba. Previews begin February 1, 2017, with opening night scheduled for February 22. Theater Mania has more.
In Other News

  • The film adaptation of Jordan Harrison's Marjorie Prime, which features Lois Smith (who was in the Playwrights Horizons production), Jon Hamm, Geena Davis, and Tim Robbins, will premiere at the 2017 Sundance Festival. Playbill has more.

  • Prince of Broadway, the musical celebrating the work of legendary and still-at-it director Hal Prince, will begin Broadway previews on August 3, 2017, with opening night scheduled for August 24. A Manhattan Theatre Club production, it will play the Biltmore Theatre. Broadway.com has more.

  • There is a digital lottery for Dear Evan Hansen. Fans can visit dearevanhansenlottery.com to enter for a chance to win up to two tickets, $40/ticket, for all performances except for Saturday performances, and performances December 23-30. Playbill has more.

  • Dates have been set for the Broadway bow of Paula Vogel's Indecent. Previews at the Cort Theatre will begin April 4, 2017, with opening night scheduled for April 18. Tickets are available to Audience Rewards members, and go on sale to the general public on December 14. Playbill has more.

  • You can now catch Louis C.K.'s "dramedy" series, Horace and Pete, on Hulu. Deadline has more about the deal.

  • John Mulaney and Nick Kroll, stars and creators of the hilarious Oh, Hello, are the latest performers to sit for the Broadway.com feature, "Ask a Star," in which artists answer fans' questions. Watch below, and head to the Lyceum to catch Oh, Hello before it concludes its run on January 15.

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