Sara Bareilles in Waitress, Derren Brown and More
Welcome to another edition of our Broadway Round-up as we once again endeavour to bring you up to speed on all the latest news from the city that never sleeps.
Whilst the UK is turned upside down by its very own "pie-gate" with reserve goalkeepers tucking into tasty pastries live on camera and consequently losing their jobs, Broadway's Waitress will shortly be getting a brand new scrumptious pie maker of its own... and she comes in the form of Tony and 6-time Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Sara Bareilles! Yes, the composer of the Tony-nominated musical has agreed to step into the lead role of Jenna after the departure of original cast member and Tony winner Jessie Mueller next month. Bareilles will play a limited 10-week engagement at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre from 31 March to 11 June 2017. She is perhaps best known on our shores for her 2007 album "Little Voice," which also included in the smash hit "Love Song."
Continuing with the pie-related theme, congratulations to the Tooting Arts Club whose critically acclaimed production of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, which successfully ran at Harrington’s Pie and Mash Shop here in London, has been innovatively recreated at off-Broadway's Barrow Street Theatre. With traditional pie and mash being served prior to every performance, let's hope that the New York audiences will get their fill of the worst pies in London! An official opening is scheduled for 1 March.
Congratulations to our very own Cynthia Erivo, who can now pop a Grammy Award on her mantelpiece right next to last year's Tony Award. The Broadway cast recording of The Color Purple fought off competition from the West End recording of Kinky Boots, as well as the Broadway recordings of Bright Star, Fiddler on the Roof, and Waitress, in the category of "Best Musical Theater Album" on 12 February in Los Angeles. The other principal soloists for the recording, who also get to take home an iconic gramophone trophy, are "Orange is the New Black" star Danielle Brooks and Jennifer Hudson, who can also currently be seen on our screens as a mentor on "The Voice UK."
I'm on a roll, congratulating peeps left, right and centre, so why stop now? Congrats to our very own mastermind of illusion Derren Brown, who will be making his New York stage debut this Spring! West End audiences have been awed and inspired by his past stage shows such as "Something Wicked This Way Comes," "Mind Reader: An Evening of Wonders," "Enigma," "Svengali," and "Miracle," with Mr. Brown picking up two Olivier Awards for his efforts along the way. Now the Atlantic Theater Company will produce the world premiere of Derren Brown: Secret, which will play off-Broadway's Linda Gross Theater from 21 April to 4 June, with an official opening set for 16 May 2017.
One of Broadway's more recent smash hit musicals - Natasha, Pierre and The Great Comet of 1812 - has now officially announced who will take over as Pierre after multi-platinum selling recording artist Josh Groban completes his Broadway debut engagement at the Imperial Theatre on 2 July 2017. Hamilton favourite Okieriete “Oak” Onaodowan, who originated the dual roles of Hercules Mulligan and James Madison in the Broadway juggernaut, will have the honours. With completely different vocal stylings to Mr. Groban, it will certainly be intiguing to see how the new addition to the cast will affect the direction of the new pop rock opera.
Previews have begun for a handful of new Broadway shows, since our last Broadway Round-up, so we would like to wish all the very best to the casts and crews of Joshua Harmon's Significant Other, the 9/11-themed new musical Come From Away, the Roundabout Theatre Company's star-studded revival of Arthur Miller's The Price (Hello Mark Ruffalo, Danny DeVito, Tony Shalhoub and Jessica Hecht!) and finally to the Broadway transfer of the New York City Center production of Sondheim's Sunday in the Park with George. The latter, which stars Oscar nominee Jake Gyllenhaal and Tony winner Annaleigh Ashford, officially opens at Broadway's newly re-opened Hudson Theatre tonight! Break a leg, George!
Fans of Harvey Fierstein's Torch Song Trilogy rejoice! Off-Broadway company Second Stage Theatre have officially announced that they will revive the cult classic under the title Torch Song at their Tony Kiser Theatre from 26 September 2017. Popular 'Buyer & Cellar' and "Ugly Betty" star Michael Urie has been cast as Arnold Beckoff in the revival which marks the plays' 35th Anniversary. This is sure to be a hot ticket off-Broadway and may well have 'Broadway transfer' written all over it.
Playwright Tracy Letts is certainly proving to be in demand at the moment. He is currently represented off-Broadway by Second Stage Theatre with Man From Nebraska, which stars Tony winner Reed Birney and Annette O'Toole and has just announced a 2-week extension through to 26 March 2017. He will also be represented on Broadway next year with a brand new play The Minutes. The comedy about small town politics will celebrate its world premiere at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre this autumn and will move on to a yet-to-be-confirmed Broadway venue for a 8 March 2018 opening (with previews beginning on 6 February). There is a degree of Broadway buzz around the project as it will be the first collaboration between Letts and director Anna D. Shapiro, whose last joint Broadway outing was the 2007 smash hit August: Osage County, which resulted in Tony wins for "Best Play" and "Best Direction of a Play" in 2008.
Finally, we'd like to end our Broadway Round-up with news about a much-loved New York tradition - The Public Theater's "Shakespeare in the Park". Staged in the beautiful Delacorte Theater in Central Park, this tradition of top quality theatre has now been running for 55 years, producing over 150 free productions and entertaining more than five million patrons in its lifespan. Public Theater Artistic Director Oskar Eustis announced that this summer's season will include new productions of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, directed by himself, and A Midsummer Night's Dream, with Lear deBessonet making her Shakespeare in the Park directorial debut. I'll leave you with the immortal words of the Bard...
“If we shadows have offended,
Know but this and all is mended.
That you have but slumbered here,
While these visions did appear,
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding, but a dream.”
(William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream)
Until next time mere mortals, stay tuned to www.NewYorkTheatreGuide.com for all the latest!