Sunday, April 30, 2006

Encore: Spotlight Week Ending April 30

Encore: Spotlight Week Ending April 30

While I’ve spent considerable time – perhaps too much -- this past week focusing on the two Broadway musicals that received mixed to negative reviews, my underreported story of the past week is the rousing success enjoyed by British import The History Boys. In fact, I didn’t report on it at all, but really should have.

Alan Bennett’s hit is the likely front-runner for this year’s Best Play Tony. For me, the show would be worth the price of admission just to see the talented Frances de la Tour perform live; de la Tour is primarily known to American audiences for her role as Madame Olympe Maxime in the latest big screen incarnation of Harry Potter. Personally, I loved her fine understated performance in “Love Actually,” which was completely edited out (fortunately, it still lives on DVD among the deleted scene selections). The History Boys also marks yet another milestone along the already shining track record for director Nicholas Hytner, who helmed everything from Miss Saigon in the 80s to Jumpers two years ago.

Rent celebrated its tenth anniversary on Broadway this past week with a star-studded concert that featured its original cast. Among them was Idina Menzel, who will be returning to her Tony Award-winning green roots to once again play Elphaba as Wicked shoots for a September opening on London’s West End. Also heading to London will be Spamalot’s Christopher Sieber, who will reprise his role as Sir Galahad (and others) along with Tim Curry, who will once again play King Arthur.

Off Broadway, the critically-acclaimed Stuff Happens – which had previously sold out at the Public Theater – has extended again, this time to June 25. The historical drama centers on the Bush Administration’s decision to go to war in Iraq.

Perhaps the most exciting news of the past week is that four-time Tony winner Angela Lansbury may be ready to tread the boards once again on Broadway. When contemplation turns to reality, you can bet that I’ll be reporting on it.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

Related Stories:
Flashback: Best of 2003-04 (May 25, 2006)
Approaching One Year, Chicago's Wicked Continues to Captivate (May 23, 2006)
Wicked's West End Witches Update (May 17, 2006)
Tony Award Nominations Announced (May 16, 2006)
Broadway Season Nears Finale (April 30, 2006)

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