BREAKING NEWS
CTNOW

Jonathan Groff Headlines Westport Gala, Amy Schumer Picking Up 'Meteor Shower' Role

Jonathan Groff will headline the 2017 gala at Westport Country Playhouse on Sept. 9. But wait, wasn't it supposed to be Matthew Morrison's gig? Morrison had a "scheduling conflict," according to the theater.

Groff played Jesse St. James on "Glee," the same TV series that starred Morrison as Mr. Schuester. Groff's New York theater credits include Melchior in "Spring Awakening," King George III in "Hamilton," Billy in Craig Lucas' "Prayer for My Enemy" and the Shakespeare in the Park productions of "Hair" and "The Bacchae."

His past concert shows have mixed Broadway standards (from Rodgers and Hammerstein to Sondheim) with pop hits (from Andy Williams to Prince). Tickets to the gala range from $250 to $2,500. Details at 203-571-1138, westportplayhouse.org.

Bushnell E-Blasts

For those of us who get to our seats early, read the cast blurbs in the program and find ourselves thinking "but didn't I also see him in…?," this is great news: The Bushnell now has free, easily accessible public wifi. The network name is Free Bushnell Wifi and no password is required, though you do have to log in with email or Facebook. (And yes, that gets you on mailing lists.) With the recent proliferation of interactive shows that ask you NOT to turn off your phones, easy wifi access is a smart move for the 87-year-old theater.

'Anastasia' Going Strong

How's "Anastasia" holding up on Broadway? The musical, which premiered at Hartford Stage in 2016, is apparently doing very well, playing to capacity or near-capacity houses throughout the summer. Its weekly grosses are higher than those for "Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812," "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," "Groundhog Day" and a bunch of other shows that opened around the time that "Anastasia" did.

The six lead players are all still the same as they were when the show was at Hartford Stage in 2016. When they're not onstage at the Broadhurst, members of the "Anastasia" cast have been active in concert events around New York City. Some have appeared on podcasts: Anastasia herself, Christy Altomare was on Playbill's new Broadway Cast Podcast and John Bolton can be heard on an episode of "Behind the Curtain."

Jackie Burns Back On Broadway

Jackie Burns, the University of Connecticut grad and Broadway star who visited Hartford last year in the wonderful national tour of "If/Then," has returned to one of her signature roles: Elphaba in "Wicked."

Also just added to the current Broadway cast of "Wicked": Amanda Jane Cooper as Glinda, whom she played in the national tour of the show when it was at the Oakdale in Wallingford last year.

Star-Studded 'Meteor Shower'

It's now no longer a rumor that Amy Schumer will be one of the stars of Steve Martin's abstract marital comedy "Meteor Shower" when it opens on Broadway this fall.

The rest of the just-announced cast is pretty impressive, too: Keegan-Michael Key of "Key and Peele," Broadway veteran Laura Benanti and Alan Tudyk (K-230 in the Star Wars movie "Rogue One"). The director will be Jerry Zaks.

None of those names were involved with the show's premiere co-production at the Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven and the Old Globe in San Diego last year. "Meteor Shower" will begin previews Nov. 1 at New York's Booth Theatre, with opening night on Nov. 29.

 

 

Bring Back Birdie!

With "Bye Bye Birdie" last season and "Rags" upcoming, the Goodspeed is reminding us all of the glories of a Charles Strouse score. It's also making folks curious about some "lost" shows by the great composer (whose biggest hit, "Annie," premiered at the Goodspeed in 1976). Luckily, Strouse is still around (aged 89), and interested in his own legacy.

Concert versions of some of his lesser-known works have been arranged at the New York venue Feinstein's/54 Below. "A Broadway Musical" was performed there on July 16. The underrated "Bye Bye Birdie" sequel "Bring Back Birdie" will be done on Nov. 9. "A Pound in Your Pocket," the first musical Strouse wrote with his "Birdie," "Annie" and "Marty" collaborator Lee Adams, will be heard at the club on Jan. 24.

A Decent 'Indecent' Run

Paula Vogel and Rebecca Taichman's "Indecent" ended its Broadway run Aug. 6 with the highest-grossed week of its 128-performance (plus 15 previews) run. The history-based play with klezmer music had its premiere at the Yale Repertory Theatre in 2015 and also played off-Broadway before spending the last four months on Broadway.

The Aug. 3 performance was filmed for the BroadwayHD streaming channel, which will air it in January. Future productions are already being planned at regional theaters — first up is one directed by Wendy C. Goldberg (artistic director of the O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford) at the Guthrie Theater in Minnesota this coming February.

 

Barrie Reborn

Did you see the "Finding Neverland" tour at The Bushnell this month? Did you wonder about all those other plays Barrie was supposedly writing, plays that were apparently very different from "Peter Pan"?

A recently discovered J.M. Barrie play has been published this month in The Strand Magazine, a journal devoted to detective fiction. The parodic thriller "The Reconstruction of the Crime" was written around a century ago, years after the creation of Peter Pan and around the time he was writing "Dear Brutus" and his "Echoes of the War" one-acts. Barrie was a prolific playwright and novelist with numerous successes besides "Peter Pan." The Strand has previously published lost works by Mark Twain and Tennessee Williams, among others.

Copyright © 2018, CT Now
82°