Broadway's Latest Buzz, From Glenda Jackson to King KongMay 19, 2017 - by Griffin Miller
It’s reassuring to know a couple of this season’s VIP players have signed on for Three Tall Women, slated to hit Broadway next spring. Joe Mantello, whose performance alongside Sally Field’s Amanda in The Glass Menagerie ends its run this coming Sunday, will be directing Laurie Metcalf, a Tony nominee for her current five-star run as Nora Helmer in A Doll’s House, Part 2. Oh yes, also appearing with Metcalf will be two-time Oscar winner Glenda Jackson who returns to Broadway after a 30 year absence. (The youngest tall woman—and non-speaking Boy character—remain floating about the murky casting realm of TBA.)
Jackson, whose last appearance on the Great White Way was as Lady Macbeth opposite Christopher Plummer’s Macbeth, comes to the New York stage following her acclaimed performance as King Lear at London’s Old Vic.
Three Tall Women, Edward Albee’s third play to ace a Pulitzer Prize for drama (for the record, his other two were A Delicate Balance and Seascape), was first and last seen in New York in 1994 at the Vineyard Theatre, where it hit the Off-Broadway trifecta, picking up the Lucile Lortel Award for Outstanding Play, the Outer Critics Award for Best Off-Broadway Play, and the Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play.
Looking even further into 2018’s roster of jaw-droppers, there's a play set to pound its chest onto Broadway this fall as a musical extravaganza, sure to prove provocative to anyone smitten with the myriad variations on the beast-and-babe film King Kong. And don’t tell me it won’t be worth the price of admission to check out how the theatrical special effect pros pull it off. (Pioneering/award-winning creature designer Sonny Tilders is the guy heading up the monster’s stage debut vis a vis a combo of animatronics and puppetry.)
The King Kong script comes from Jack Thorne, who picked up the Olivier earlier this year for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. And while both Kong and Potter are equally oversized phenoms in the sci-fi/fantasy empire, it’s a tad dubious whether the King will have the pre-sell-out power Potter has shown prior to its spring arrival at the Lyric Theatre wrapped in all kinds of Anglophile street cred.
Other pertinent Kongean news: The show will be directed and choreographed by Drew McOnie, an Olivier Award winner for the London production of In the Heights and an Olivier Award nominee this year for Jesus Christ Superstar. No other casting news as yet. Meanwhile, the score is to be composed by four-time Grammy nominee Marius de Vries (La La Land; Moulin Rouge; Romeo + Juliet), with songs by a very busy Eddie Perfect, who’s the composer and lyricist of three other Broadway-bound shows: Beetlejuice, Strictly Ballroom The Musical, and Shane Warne The Musical.
Carmen Pavlovi, CEO of producer Global Creatures, said he was thrilled with the venture and creative team, “…who will bring a new dimension to the telling of Kong’s story. Drew’s physical world will allow Kong to live in ways we never thought possible…” Indeed.