Hot Town, Hot Stories: Broadway's LatestJuly 26, 2016 - by Griffin Miller
We've got the latest in hot summer stories: all the comings and goings on Broadway and in New York theatre. Just when you thought you had until November to cash in on Motown’s return to Broadway along comes a big old Broadway buzz bomb: Motown will be leaving the Nederlander Theatre on July 31st.
In a statement released to the media, the show’s producers noted: “We promised that the hit show would return to New York following the profitable engagement that finished on Broadway in January 2015. Now, after the launch of a record-breaking London company and a hugely successful, sold-out First National Tour, we are delighted that this amazing company of actors and musicians has been able to bring the production full circle back to Broadway where the production began, for the final stop of the tour.”
That said, the “revival” run lasted under three weeks. Did not see that coming.
Fiddler on the Roof. Photo: Joan Marcus
Another surprise Broadway closing—albeit one that allows theatregoers decent lead-time to score tickets—is Fiddler On The Roof. Outstanding reviews, three Tony nominations, and stellar performances (including a killer turn by Danny Burstein as Tevye) failed to give the classic revival the oomph required for what should have been an open-ended run. On the plus side, it’s poised to make a grand exit complete with Champagne toasts “To Life (L’Chaim!)” on December 31st following the 2pm matinee.
“We felt that it was important to provide people with enough time to come see this great musical in a definitive production,” said producer Jeffrey Richards, adding, “Who knows the next time one will be able to experience this award-winning show on Broadway?”
Notably, Richards has already scoped out his next Broadway project, Significant Other, which is set to begin previews on February 16th. The play, written by Joshua Harmon (Bad Jews), opened Off-Broadway at Roundabout’s Laura Pels Theatre to stellar reviews in June of 2015. Its transfer to Broadway’s Booth Theatre will boast the entire original cast and creative team, including director Trip Cullman and actors Gideon Glick, Barbara Barrie, and Lindsay Mendez. For the record, the Booth production marks Harmon’s Broadway debut.
Speaking of recent Off-Broadway success stories bound for the Great White Way, Dear Evan Hansen—the critically ballyhooed musical (“Superb,” “Powerfully emotional!,” “Intimate...with a gigantic heart”) that hit the ground running earlier this year at Second Stage (netting a trio of Best Off-Broadway Musical awards and sell-out status) will premiere at the Belasco Theatre this coming November with an opening date set for December 4th. Reprising his stint in title role (awkward-kid-turned-proactive-social media-giant) is teen heartthrob Ben Platt (Pitch Perfect; Pitch Perfect 2).
Meanwhile, Off-Broadway is privy to some fun updates:
* Chart-topping vocalist Darlene Love—whose career spans over 50 years with collaborations with the likes of Frank Sinatra, Marvin Gaye, and Elvis Presley (as well as films, Broadway, and membership in the Roll Hall of Fame—joins the cast of Stage42’s deliriously camp '60s-pop musical Trip of Love on July 28th for a limited nine-week run, and most possibly the most copacetic juxtaposition of performer-show names.
"What a fun show! When I saw the show, the audience was waving their arms and singing along. They had a grand time," said Love. "I remember all those classic songs... I did sing on a number of them.” She adds that while she never recorded any of the show’s music, she is: “....really looking forward to putting my own signature on 'Moon River,' 'Both Sides Now,' and so many others.
* White Rabbit Red Rabbit, playwright Nassim Soleimanpour’s unique theatre piece presented by a different solo actor at each performance, has announced its latest roster of stars: August 1: Ramin Karimloo (Les Miserables); August 8: Tony Danza (Taxi); August 15: Michael Urie (Ugly Betty); and August 29: Darren Criss (Glee). The show, which runs Monday nights only at the Westside Theatre, has yet to announce its August 15th star, so you may want to check the show’s website (whiterabbitredrabbit.com) for updates and tickets.
*Finally, the hit comedy whodunit Shear Madness, featuring Tony winner Cady Huffman (The Producers), recently reopened Off-Broadway after moving from its first NYC home at New World Stages to the Davenport Theatre (354 W. 45th St.). Check it out at nyc.shearmadness.com!