Sweeney Todd, Frozen Switcheroo, Jennifer Holliday and More
The Brits are making a splash once again on the other side of the pond, so let's bring you all up to speed with the main Broadway and off-Broadway news from the past couple of weeks.
Firstly, a big congratulations to the Tooting Arts Club! The company's unique and innovative production of Sweeney Todd - The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, which wowed audiences in the autumn of 2014 in the setting of Britain's oldest continuously operating pie shop - Harrington's Pie and Mash Shop on Shaftesbury Avenue, is heading to New York City. The renowned off-Broadway venue of the Barrow Street Theatre will present the production, converting the theatre itself into a working pie shop for the limited engagement. The classic Sondheim/Wheeler musical thriller will begin previews on 14th February 2017, before a 1st March official opening. Barrow Street will be serving traditional pie and mash prior to each performance, but let's hope they don't decide on Mrs Lovett's traditional ingredients!
Dates have now been announced for the Broadway transfers of two West End productions for the upcoming 2016-2017 season. Sir Cameron Mackintosh's revival of the classic Schönberg/Boublil Miss Saigon enjoyed a widely celebrated run at London's Prince Edward Theatre and the production, along with its London stars Olivier nominee Jon Jon Briones as 'The Engineer' and Eva Noblezada as Kim, will officially open at the Broadway Theatre on 23rd March 2017, with previews beginning on 1st March. The limited Broadway engagement of Miss Saigon ends on 14th January 2018, before heading out on a National US Tour. The 1st March can't come quick enough... The wait (and the heat) is on!
Joining Saigon, will be Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures' re-worked transfer of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The visually-stunning musical will play its final performance in the West End on 7th January 2017, but those infamous Oompa-Loompas won't be out of a job for too long, as the Broadway incarnation will begin previews on 28th March 2017, before an official opening on 23rd April. Broadway favourite and two-time Tony Award winner Christian Borle takes on the iconic role of Willy Wonka. For many of us who grew up with the beloved Roadl Dahl novels and film adaptations, we will always remember the genius of Gene Wilder as the eccentric confectioner. Mr. Wilder sadly passed away yesterday at the age of 83, after battling Alzheimer's and it will certainly be touching to see how Mr. Borle might pay homage to his unforgettable screen performance.
We roll on with the British Invasion theme with news about two of the UK's finest directors. Tony winner John Doyle is making waves as his first season as Artistic Director of the Classic Stage Company, revealing that the star of his eagerly-anticipated world premiere stage adaptation of Dead Poets Society will be none other than Hollywood star and "Saturday Night Live" favourite Jason Sudeikis. Mr. Doyle will direct the production himself, which is written by Tom Schulman, adapted from his own screenplay from the 1989 film. Previews begin on 27th October, before an official opening on 17th November and a limited run through to 11th December. If all goes to plan for Mr. Doyle, this one has Broadway transfer written all over it!
In addition, there has been a bit of a creative shake-up at Camp Disney, as previously announced director Alex Timbers is officially no longer at the helm of the forthcoming musical adaptation of the snowballing success that is Disney's Frozen. Rumour has it that Disney Theatrical Productions is now in negotitations with our very own Stephen Daldry - a two-time Oliver and two-time Tony-winning director - to take over. If he does indeed get the nod, we personally can't wait to see Mr. Daldry's interpretation, bringing icy Arendelle to life on the Broadway stage. The world premiere takes place at Denver's Center for the Performing Arts in August 2017 ahead of a Broadway premiere in Spring 2018.
Finally, West End favourite and Tony Award winner Cynthia Erivo, who is still blowing the roof off the Bernard B. Jacons Theatre in the Tony-winning revival of The Color Purple, is getting set to welcome yet another high-calibre star to the cast. After falling in love with Grammy and Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson and then Grammy and Tony winner Heather Headley night after night, it has now been announced that the next Shug Avery will be portrayed by a Broadway legend. Tony and Grammy winner Jennifer Holliday, original star of Dreamgirls, will assume the role from 4th October 2016... And we are telling you, this is going to be nothing short of fabulous!
Oh, and we almost forgot the compulsory dose of Hamilton news! Two-time Tony winner Brandon Victor Dixon, who may be known to London audiences for his Olivier-nominated performance as Haywood Patterson in The Scottsboro Boys, finally took over the reigns as Aaron Burr in the Broadway smash hit last Tuesday, 23rd August. In slightly sadder news, Tony winner Renée Elise Goldsberry announced her final performance as Angelica Schuyler this coming Saturday, 3rd September. Worry not though die-hard Hamilton fans because she is handing over to the lovely Mandy Gonzalez, who originated the role of Nina in Lin-Manuel Miranda's first Broadway hit In The Heights. That leaves us more than "Satisfied"!
Until next time, be sure to check out NewYorkTheatreGuide.com for all the latest Broadway and off-Broadway buzz!