Sunday, May 21, 2006

Casting Call (Week Ending May 21, 2006)

Casting Call (Week Ending May 21, 2006)

Although theatrical news over the past two weeks has largely been devoted to late 2005-06 season openings, as well as award nominations and wins, there has also been a significant number of announcements pertaining to upcoming productions and their casts.

While the casting news that may have received the most buzz has been that surrounding Hugh Jackman and his participation in the Taylor Hackford-helmed workshop of Leap of Faith (based on the 1992 movie with Steve Martin), perhaps the most noteworthy report surrounds recently-minted Academy Award-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman’s return to the stage in LAByrinth Theater’s Jack Goes Boating. I last saw Hoffman in the haunting semi-autobiographic Broadway portrait of Eugene O’Neill’s family in Long Day’s Journey Into Night a few years ago in which Hoffman co-starred alongside Tony Award-winners Brian Denehy, Vanessa Redgrave and Robert Sean Leonard. In Jack Goes Boating, beginning this winter, Hoffman will be joined by John Ortiz and the always delightful Daphne Rubin-Vega.

As for Jackman, it’s clear that his participation is much in demand as he’s also been rumored to be sought for a new Joe Mantello-helmed Broadway revival of Pal Joey, as well as Stop the World, I Want to Get Off. Celebrated choreographer Matthew Bourne’s name has also been attached to the Pal Joey revival. As Jackman demonstrated through his triumphant, Tony Award-winning portrayal of Peter Allen in The Boy From Oz, he can turn even the most dubious of roles into a tour-de-force performance. He was absolutely remarkable. The only drawback in that show was that he was compelled to impersonate the nasally Allen rather than using his glorious, natural voice. Regardless of which production he’s ultimately attached to, I’m looking forward to once again enjoying this gifted performer.

Other recent and noteworthy casting includes. . . . Disney’s announcement that Donny Osmond -- often the perennial Joseph in various productions of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat -- will soon be the new Gaston in the long-running Broadway hit Beauty and the Beast. I’ll be interested in learning whether Osmond has seriously bulked up or will simply use padding to play Belle’s dim suitor . . . . Tony Award-winner Chuck Cooper will join 80s pop idol-turned-Broadway actress Deborah Gibson in Van Hill Entertainment’s production of Saint Heaven, a spiritually-toned musical love story that begins performances at the Stamford (CT) Center for the Arts, June 1-11. I last saw Gibson in the role of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella opposite Eartha Kitt’s fairy Godmother several years ago. . . . Jeremy Kushnier, Andy Karl and his real-life wife Orfeh will star in the musical version of Bright Lights, Big City. Karl, whom I originally saw in Disney’s On the Record in 2004, has made quite a name for himself over the past year, particularly with his Off-Broadway role in the much-lauded Altar Boyz, as well as his lead role in Slut. Bright Lights, Big City -- the new adaptation of the famed Jay McInerny novel -- will descend on Philadelphia’s Prince Music Theater, beginning June 14 for a limited premiere engagement. . . . and finally, Linda Gray leads the casting in the stage adaptation of Terms of Endearment, which has already been announced as part of the upcoming season in both Houston and Hartford in 2007. Gray is undoubtedly best known for her years portraying Sue Ellen Ewing on television’s “Dallas.” But more recently, she assumed the role of Mrs. Robinson in the stage version of The Graduate.

Expect more exciting casting news in the weeks ahead.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

Click here for Jack Goes Boating/LAByrinth ticket information.
here for Beauty and the Beast (Broadway) tickets.
here for Saint Heaven tickets.
here for Bright Lights, Big City tickets
here for Terms of Endearment (Houston Alley) ticket information.
Related Stories:

Casting Call (Week Ending June 7, 2006) (June 7, 2006)

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