Patti LuPone, Josh Groban, A Doll's House Part 2 and More
It's time once again to cast our eyes over the pond to bring you a quick round-up of all the latest theatrical happenings from the Great White Way over the past couple of weeks... and it's been a helluva ride from that helluva town!
Firstly... she's back! Broadway legend Patti LuPone will make a welcomed return to the Broadway stage to star as cosmetics titan Helena Rubinstein, alongside fellow Broadway legend Christine Ebersole as her rival Elizabeth Arden. The new musical War Paint chronicles America's first major female entrepreneurs as they built their international empires and ruthlessly competed with each other. An official opening is set for 6th April 2017 at Broadway's Nederlander Theatre, following previews from 7th March. And if the pre-Broadway tryout from Chicago's Goodman Theatre this past Summer is anything to go by, this will be a showdown between these two-time Tony Award winners not to be missed!
Congratulations to three-time Grammy nominee and multi-platinum recording artist Josh Groban, who makes his long-awaited Broadway debut tonight in the Broadway premiere of Dave Malloy's musical Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 at the Imperial Theatre. The show garnered a great deal of critical acclaim from its previous off-Broadway outings due to its intimate and immersive staging, so it will be interesting to see if it can maintain its charm after being re-designed to fit a traditional proscenium-style theatre. The musical is adapted from a 70-page slice of Leo Tolstoy’s Russian epic "War and Peace" and Mr. Groban will take on the role of Pierre... Break a leg, Josh!
Congratulations to our very own Josie Rourke too, Artistic Director of the Donmar Warehouse here in London, whose production of Christopher Hampton's Les Liaisons Dangereuses began previews at Broadway's Booth Theatre on Saturday 8th October. The production premiered at the Donmar in December of last year and starred British favourite Janet McTeer. Ms Rourke directs the Broadway transfer of this infamous tale of sex, intrigue and betrayal in pre-revolutionary France, which sees the Tony winner and Oscar nominee reprise her role as La Marquise de Merteuil. Ms McTeer is joined on Broadway by Tony winner and Golden Globe nominee Liev Schreiber as Le Vicomte de Valmont.
The announcement of a new Broadway show always makes waves in the theatre community, and War Paint isn't the only show recently to be revealed for the 2016-2017 season. Have you ever wondered what happened to Ibsen's iconic character of Nora Helmer after her shock departure in the finale of his 1879 classic 'A Doll's House'? Well, thanks to playwright Lucas Hnath, wonder no more! The scribe will make his Broadway debut next year with a sequel - A Doll's House, Part 2 - at the John Golden Theatre from 1st April 2017. Sam Gold - the Tony-winning director behind 'Fun Home' - will helm the production which includes a starry cast of three-time Emmy winner and three-time Tony nominee Laurie Metcalf ("Roseanne"), Oscar winner Chris Cooper ("Adaptation"), Tony winner Jayne Houdyshell ('The Humans') and two-time Tony nominee Condola Rashad ('The Trip to Bountiful'). We can't wait to revisit the setting of this timeless masterpiece!
As the excitement and anticipation becomes almost too unbareable for the West End premiere of Dreamgirls at the Savoy Theatre, two of the original 'Dreams' from the 1981 Broadway premiere are making headlines and telling you they're not going anywhere! Tony winner Jennifer Holliday, who played Effie White in the musical, has now assumed the role of Shug Avery from fellow Tony winner Heather Headley in the Tony-winning revival of The Color Purple (ooh, that's a lot of Tonys!), whilst Tony nominee Sheryl Lee Ralph, who originated the role of Deena Jones, will return to Broadway from 1st November to replace two-time Tony winner Judy Kaye as Madame Morrible in Wicked at the Gershwin Theatre. In the words of those fabulous Dreamgirls themselves, "It's Hard to Say Goodbye."
In other casting news, Tony nominee and 'RENT' favourite Adam Pascal is set to return to the Great White Way as the last man to play The Bard, Shakespeare himself, in the musical comedy Something Rotten! from 7th November until the Broadway production's final performance at the St. James Theatre on 1st January 2017. Congratulations, Adam! But remember - it's always "Hard to Be the Bard"! Emmy-nominated "Dancing with the Stars" favourite Mark Ballas makes his Broadway debut tonight and becomes the last man to play Frankie Valli in the Broadway production of Jersey Boys at the August Wilson Theatre. He will remain with the show until its final performance on 15th January 2017. "Oh, What a Night!" that will be! And last but by no means least, in (what seems to be) our obligatory dose of Hamilton news, Tony nominee Christopher Jackson has announced his "One Last Time" final performance as George Washington in the smash hit musical for 13th November 2016. There aren't many original cast members left now in the Broadway behemoth, but something tells us the show's box office takings will be just fine.
Stay tuned to our NewYorkTheatreGuide.com sister site for all the Broadway and off-Broadway news as and when it happens. Until next time, Broadway Brendas!