Friday, July 29, 2022

B'way Update: Woods Extends, Mockingbird Not Flying Back, High Noon, Frida Kahlo Musical

Joshua Henry and Gavin Creel in
Into the Woods.
Credit: Matthew Murphy and 
Evan Zimmerman for
Into the Woods is now officially extending its limited run at the St. James through Oct. 16. The acclaimed revival of the Stephen Sondheim-James Lapine fairy-tale musical was originally intended to play only till Aug. 21 after its sold-out City Center run. The announcement came one day after producers of The Piano Lesson revealed they were moving the August Wilson production to the Barrymore rather than the previously announced St. James. New casting for later in the run will be announced in the coming days. What's surprising is the extension is only for another two months. Perhaps there will be another extension if the box office continues to hold strong. Woods pulled in a whopping near $2 million last week. Maybe the show could become like another Encores transfer, Chicago which is still running and holds the record as the longest-playing American musical in Broadway history. Chicago boosted its epic run with some interesting big names in replacement casting including most recently Pamela Anderson. With so many juicy roles, Woods could become star-bait and attract new audiences with each new cast.
Jeff Daniels in To Kill a Mockingbird
Credit: Julieta Cervantes

While Woods is extending, To Kill a Mockingbird will not be flying back to Broadway. According to emails obtained by the New York Times, the stage version of Harper Lee's beloved classic will not be reopening on Broadway. The play closed in March 2020 along withe the rest of Broadway, due to the COVID pandemic. It returned Oct. 2021 and played the Shubert until Jan. 16, 2022. It was announced Mockingbird would fly to the Belasco in June, but the slot was taken by Girl from the North Country for a limited run and then by Ain't No Mo for the fall. Rumors had it the show would take up residence at the Music Box in November, but producer Scott Rudin who had stepped away from the production due to reports of creating a toxic work environment, re-inserted himself and pulled the plug. Rudin stated in emails to director Barlett Sher and playwright Aaron Sorkin that the economic prospects for straight plays did not look good enough for a remounting. Mockingbird continues to tour with Richard Thomas and recently opened in London.

Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly
in High Noon.
There has also been news of new shows on the far Broadway horizon including a stage adaptation of High Noon, the classic 1952 Western starring Gary Cooper as principled marshall defending his town against a gang of outlaws even though everyone else has deserted him including his new bride. The play will take place in real time over two hours as the lonely hero awaits the arrival of the villains on the noon train. The script is by six-time Oscar nominee Eric Roth who won the Adapted Screenplay Award for Forrest Gump. Michael Arden (Once Upon This Island, Spring Awakening) will direct and the plans are for a 2023 opening. The original film, produced by Stanley Kramer and directed by Fred Zinnemann starred Cooper, Grace Kelly, Lloyd Bridges, Thomas Mitchell, Katy Jurado and Lee Van Cleef. Carl Foreman, a victim of the Hollywood Blacklist, wrote the screenplay. The original 1952 film is regarded as one of the classic westerns and was registered with the National Film Registry in 1989 for being "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant." 

Ricardo Herrera and Catalina Cuervo
in Frida, the Opera
at Michigan State Opera.
Then in 2024, a new musical based in the life of revolutionary painter Frida Kahlo is scheduled for Broadway after regional workshops in 2023. Frida, the Musical, is sanctioned by the Kahlo estate and is based in part on the book Intimate Frida, by the artist's niece Isolda P. Kahlo. Mexican composer Jaime Lozano is responsible for the music and playwright Neena Beber will pen the lyrics. Julie Taymor directed a 2004 film bio of Kahlo starring Salma Hayek which won two Academy Awards and six nominations. Frida, an opera based on Kahlo's life debuted in 1991 and later played the Brooklyn Academy of Music. 

A synopsis of the new production reads, “Grounded by the rollercoaster romance between the artist and her great love, Diego Rivera, Frida will be a full-throated celebration of Kahlo’s joyous spirit of creativity and her unmatched gift for transforming physical and emotional pain into breathtaking beauty.”

2022-23 Broadway/Off-Broadway Schedule
Aug. 25--Kinky Boots (Stage 42)
Aug. 28--Two Jews, Talking (Theater at St. Clement's)
Aug. 30--As You Like It (Delacorte)
Sept. 19--The Piano Lesson (Barrymore) (previews begin; opening TBA)
Sept. 22--Sesame Street: The Musical (Theater Row)
Sept. 24--Baldwin and Buckley at Cambridge (Public Theater) (previews begin; opening TBA)
Sept. 27--A Raisin in the Sun (Public Theater) (previews begin; opening TBA)
Oct. 2--Leopoldstadt (Longacre)
Oct. 3--Cost of Living (MTC/Friedman)
Oct. 6--1776 (Roundabout/AA)
Oct. 9--Death of a Salesman (Hudson) 
Oct. 20--Topdog/Underdog (Golden)
Oct. 26--Straight Line Crazy (The Shed/Griffin)
Oct. 28--Where We Belong (Public Theater) (previews begin; opening TBA)
Oct. 30--A Man of No Importance (CSC)
October--Catch as Catch Can (Playwrights Horizons); Downstate (Playwrights Horizons)
Nov. 2--Where the Mountain Meets the Sea (MTC/City Center Stage I)
Nov. 3--Almost Famous (Bernard Jacobs)
Nov. 4--Plays for the Plague Year (Public Theater) (previews begin; opening TBA)
Nov. 10--Kimberly Akimbo (Booth)
Nov. 13--Fiddler on the Roof (New World Stages)
Nov. 17--& Juliet (Sondheim)
Nov. 20--KPOP (Circle in the Square)
Nov. 21--Becky Nurse of Salem (LCT/Mitzi Newhouse)
Dec. 1--Ain't No Mo (Belasco)
Dec. 4--A Beautiful Noise: The Neil Diamond Musical (Broadhurst)
Dec. 11--Some Like It Hot (Shubert)
Dec. 20--The Collaboration (MTC/Freidman)
February--The Trees (Playwrights Horizons)
March--Regretfully So the Birds Are (Playwrights Horizons)
April 13--Camelot (Lincoln Center/Vivian Beaumont)
May--Wet Brain (Playwrights Horizons)

Fall 2022 (no dates yet)
Between Riverside and Crazy (Second Stage/Hayes)
the bandaged place (Roundabout/Underground)
Camp Siegfried (Second Stage/Tony Kiser)
Summer, 1976 (MTC/City Center Stage II)

2022-23 (no dates or theaters yet)
Ain't Supposed to Die a Natural Death, Black Orpheus, Cinderella, Come Fall in Love--The DDLJ Musical, Dancin', The Ohio State Murders, Pal Joey, Square One

Winter 2022-23
Dark Disabled Stories (Public)
The Wanderers (Roundabout/Laura Pels)

Spring 2023 
Prime Facie (a Shubert theater TBA)
The Thanksgiving Play (Second Stage/Hayes)
Good Bones (Public)
Poor Yella Rednecks (MTC/City Center Stage II)
Shadow/Land (Public)

2023, 2024 and Beyond
Game of Thrones, The Great Gatsby, Frida, the Musical, High Noon

Future--Good Night, Oscar; The Devil Wears Prada; The Griswolds' Family Vacation; The Karate Kid; Back to the Future; Our Town; The Nanny; The Normal Heart/The Destiny of Me; Sing Street; Smash; Soul Train; The Who's Tommy

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