Sunday, December 8, 2019

Broadway Update: Meryl Streep and Beth Leavel Switch Roles

Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada
In a rare case of show-biz serendipity, three-time Oscar winner Meryl Streep and Tony winner Beth Leavel, queens of their respective media, will switch roles. It was just announced that Leavel will take on Miranda Priestley the dictatorial fashion editor, in the musical version of The Devil Wears Prada which will open in Chicago in July 2021, presumably followed by a Broadway opening in 2021-22. Elton John will compose the music, Shaina Taub the lyrics, Paul Rudnick the book and Tony winner Anna D. Shapiro directs. Streep won a Golden Globe for the 2007 movie edition.

Meanwhile Streep is playing Dee Dee Allen, the washed-up Broadway star aiming for publicity by supporting a lesbian high-school student, in The Prom for
Beth Leavel
Netflix. Leavel originated the role in the stage version which was named Outstanding Musical by the Drama Desk. There is an extremely funny sight gag involving the DD Award itself. Let's hope it makes the cut for the screenplay and Netflix viewers who are not obsessed with Broadway will get the joke. The Netflix edition will also star Nicole Kidman, Kerry Washington, James Corden, Awkafina, Ariana Grande, Keegan-Michael Key and Andrew Rannells. It will be available for streaming in November.

In other casting news, the potentially controversial Michael Jackson musical, MJ, has announced its lead. The gloved one will be played by Ephraim Sykes who gave a stunning performance as David Ruffin, the most tormented Temptation in Ain't Too
Ephraim Sykes
(he got my Tony vote for Best Featured Actor in a Musical). MJ which features a book by two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage, is scheduled to open at the Neil Simon Theater on Aug. 13. There is no word on how the show will address accusations of child molestation against the music legend, if at all. According to People Magazine, the story takes place in 1992 when Jackson is releasing his Dangerous album. The allegations of abuse did not begin until 1993. Convenient, huh?

Another musical concerning Jackson takes a totally different approach. For the Love of a Glove: An Unauthorized Musical Fable About the Life of Michael Jackson as Told by His Glove imagines that Jackson's glove is actually an alien life form which forced him to do all that kinky stuff in return for his amazing musical skills. Johnny Depp's production company was reportedly participating, but Depp's PR people have issued a statement denying any involvement. The glove show, cast with puppets, is still set to open in Los Angeles on Jan. 25.

More Broadway Openings Confirmed
A scene from Tracey Letts' The Minutes
at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theater
Credit: Michael Brosilow
Tracey Letts' The Minutes was supposed to open last season, but was delayed for some reason. Then it was announced for this season and dates, casting and a theater have finally been confirmed. This Pulitzer Prize finalist about a bizarre town-hall meeting will begin previews at the Cort Theater on Feb. 25 prior to a March 15 opening. Letts himself will be in a cast that also includes Jessie Mueller, Armie Hammer, Blair Brown, K. Todd Freeman and Austin Pendleton. Anna D. Shapiro, who helmed the Chicago Steppenwolf production repeats her directing duties and then presumably take a short break before beginning work on staging The Devil Wears Prada.

Mark Addy and Johnny Flynn in Hangmen
Credit: Ahron R. Foster
When Martin McDonagh's Hangmen was transferred from London to the Off-Broadway Atlantic Theater Company in 2018, there was talk of its moving to Broadway, but the logistics didn't work out. The play did end up winning the New York Drama Critics Circle Award anyway. Now that dark comedy about a retired executioner and his dysfunctional friends and family will finally move to the Golden Theater with previews starting Feb. 28 and opening March 19.

Tootsie is closing in January, but another musical based on a popular film comedy about a struggling actor cross dressing, not to express his gender identity, but to achieve a goal with comic results, will take its place on Broadway. Mrs. Doubtfire, based on the Robin Williams hit, starts begins at the Stephen Sondheim on March 9 and opens on April 5. The team behind Something Rotten! writes the book and score.

Here's an updated calendar of Broadway and Off-Broadway opening for 2019-20:
Dec. 9--Great Clements (LCT/Mitzi Newhouse)
Dec. 9----Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven (Atlantic Theater Company)
Dec. 10--one in two (The New Group/Signature Theatre)
Dec. 11--Judgement Day (Park Ave. Armory)
Dec. 12--The Thin Place (Playwright Horizons)
Dec. 12--Harry Connick Jr.--A Celebration of Cole Porter (Nederlander)
Dec. 15--London Assurance (Irish Rep)
Dec. 16--Sing Street (New York Theater Workshop)
Jan. 11--Timon of Athens (TFANA; previews begin)
Jan. 14--Dracula (CSC; previews begin)
Jan. 15--My Name Is Lucy Barton (MTC/Friedman)
Jan. 21--A Soldier's Play (Roundabout/AA)
Jan. 21--Paris (Atlantic Theater Company/Stage 2)
Jan. 23--Grand Horizons (Second Stage/Helen Hayes)
Jan. 23--The Woman in Black (McKittrick Hotel)
Jan. 29--The Confession of Lily Dare (Primary Stages/Cherry Lane)
Jan. 30--Medea (BAM/Harvey Theater)
Jan. 30--Anatomy of a Suicide (Atlantic Theatre Company; previews begin)
Jan. 30--Frankenstein (CSC; previews begin)
Feb. 4--Cambodian Rock Band (Signature Theater; previews begin)
Feb. 6--West Side Story (Broadway)
Feb. 6--All the Natalie Portmans (MCC; previews begin)
Feb. 11--The Hot Wing King (Signature Theater; previews begin)
Feb. 11--Harmony (Folksbiene/Jewish Heritage Museum; previews begin)
Feb. 14--Unknown Soldier (Playwrights Horizons; previews begin)
Feb. 18--Coal Country (Public Theater; previews begin)
Feb. 25--We're Gonna Die (Second Stage)
Feb. 25--Dana H. (Vineyard)
March 3--The Perplexed (MTC/City Center Stage I)
March 5--Girl from the North Country (Belasco)
March 7--Gnit (TFANA; previews begin)
March 9--Endlings (NYTW)
March 12--Six (Brooks Atkinson)
March 15--The Minutes (Cort)
March 17--Vagrant Trilogy (Public Theater; previews begin)
March 18--Hangmen (Golden)
March 19--Nollywood Dreams (MCC; previews begin)
March 22--Company (Jacobs)
March 23--Intimate Apparel (LCT/Mitzi Newhouse)
March 24--Sanctuary City (NYTW/Lucille Lortel)
March 24--The Visitor (Public Theater; previews begin)
March 26--The Lehman Trilogy (Nederlander)
March 27--Selling Kabul (Playwrights Horizons; previews begin)
March 31--Diana (Longacre)
April--Assassins (CSC)
April 2--Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Booth)
April 5--Mrs. Doubtfire (Stephen Sondheim)
April 7--Caroline or Change (Roundabout/Studio 54)
April 13--Plaza Suite (Hudson)
April 14--American Buffalo (Theater TBA)
April 16--Flying Over Sunset (LCT/Vivian Beaumont)
April 21--Birthday Candles (Roundabout/AA)
April 21--Between the Lines (Second Stage; previews begin)
April 22--How I Learned to Drive (MTC/Friedman)
April 23--Take Me Out (Second Stage/Helen Hayes)
April 25--Waiting for Godot (TFANA; previews begin)
April 28--Twilight: Los Angeles (Signature Theatre; previews begin)
Spring 2020--Blue
2019-20 (dates unspecified)--New York Theater Workshop--Three Sisters.
The New Group--Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice; The Seagull/Woodstock, NY
Vineyard Theater--Tuvalu or The Saddest Song
May 9--The Bedwetter (Atlantic Theatre Company; previews begin)
May 12--Confederates (Signature Theatre; previews begin)
May 15--A Boy's Company Presents: "Tell Me If I'm Hurting You"
May 19--The Best We Could Do (MTC/City Center Stage II)
May 20--A Play Is a Poem (Atlantic Theater Company; previews begin)
June 2--Poor Yella Rednecks (MTC/City Center Stage I)
June 4--Perry Street (MCC; previews begin)
July 7--Cullud Wattah (Public Theater; previews begin)
Aug. 13--MJ The Musical (Neil Simon)
Oct. 20--The Music Man
Spring 2021--1776
2021--Soul Train
2021--The Devil Wear Prada (Chicago, then Broadway)

Future--Cinderella (Andrew Lloyd Webber version), Cagney, Dave, Death Becomes Her, Mighty Real: A Fabulous Sylvester Musical, Working Girl, Half-Time, Roman Holiday, The Wiz, Camp David, Photograph 51, An Enemy of the People, Sherlock Holmes, Singin' in the Rain, Pat Benatar Musical, Chasing Rainbows, Magic Mike, Some Like It Hot, Ever After, The Flamingo Kid

2019-20 Broadway Season
New Plays
Birthday Candles
A Christmas Carol
Grand Horizons
The Great Society
Hangmen (previously seen Off-Broadway)
The Height of the Storm
The Inheritance, Parts One and Two
The Lehman Trilogy (previously seen Off-Broadway)
Linda Vista
The Minutes
My Name Is Lucy Barton
Sea Wall/A Life (Off-Broadway transfer)
Slave Play (Off-Broadway transfer)
The Sound Inside

New Musicals
David Byrne's American Utopia
Flying Over Sunset
Girl from the North Country (transfer from Off-Broadway)
Jagged Little Pill
Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical (previously presented Off-Broadway)
Moulin Rouge
Mrs. Doubtfire
Tina: The Tina Turner Musical

Play Revivals
American Buffalo
Frankie and Johnny in the Clare de Lune
How I Learned to Drive
Plaza Suite
The Rose Tattoo
A Soldier's Play
Take Me Out
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Musical Revivals
Caroline or Change
West Side Story

Barry Manilow
Derren Brown: Secret
Harry Connick Jr.--A Celebration of Cole Porter
The Illusionists: Magic of the Holidays
Kristin Chenoweth: For the Girls
Slava's Snowshow (revival)

New Musicals
MJ The Musical
Soul Train

Musical Revivals
The Music Man

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