Sunday, March 11, 2007

Final Four

Final Four

Just as America’s annual national obsession with college basketball is about to conclude, so will four performances on Broadway this evening.

The Great White Way will bid adieu to two plays, one musical and one singular, breathtaking performance in a musical. They include:

The critically-acclaimed Manhattan Theatre Club revival of Brian Friel’s Translations, which after 53 regular performances sadly leaves on a bitter note with the abrupt firing of actor Michael Fitzgerald for rough handling of a castmate. Jeremy Bobb replaced him for the final performances.

David Hare’s The Vertical Hour, with Bill Nighy and Julianne Moore. Critics were mixed on this play, although all sang Nighy’s praises. Moore’s starpower wasn’t enough to keep the production from closing two weeks earlier than planned. Still, with 117 regular performances, the production achieved that rarest of feats for Broadway plays: it leaves having already turned a profit.

The Roundabout Theatre Company’s revival of The Apple Tree with Kristin Chenoweth, Brian d’Arcy James and until recently, Marc Kudisch, who jumped ship for The Pirates Of Penzance. Although the cast received decent to rapturous notices, few critics (including yours truly) were excited about this dated concept musical. The limited run enjoyed 99 regular performances.

Bob Martin (pictured), a/k/a Man In Chair, in the ongoing, Tony-winning Broadway production of The Drowsy Chaperone. Martin, of course, is one of the genii behind this vastly entertaining musical from before its inception as a 1999 Toronto Fringe Festival favorite. But fortunately for West End audiences, Martin will be returning to the comfort of an English version of his favorite settee later this year. Still, it will be hard to imagine anyone else on the Great White Way as this one-of-a-kind character, who inserts himself into the action of a 1920s-style tuner.

Each of these departures is deserving of a fond farewell, and expect to see some well-deserved Tony nominations announced for performances in the outgoing productions. And perhaps there’s a future Olivier in the cards for Martin, who rightly received a Tony nod last year.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).
Click here for The Drowsy Chaperone tickets.

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