Sunday, May 13, 2007

Casting News That's Anything But De-Bate-Able

Casting News That's Anything But De-Bate-Able

Last week, several major casting announcements were made that had me pondering potential trips. There are a number of actors I would traverse the globe in attempts to see perform live.

Currently at the top of the list, based entirely upon the past week’s casting notices, is film actress Kathy Bates. The Academy Award-winning star will be performing in Philadelphia this October 26-November 25 in the world premiere of Terrence McNally’s Unusual Acts Of Devotion at the Philadelphia Theatre Company’s new Suzanne Roberts Theatre.

Bates has long been one of my favorite film actresses. I admire the way in which she convincingly and effortlessly flits from one memorable role to the next. I’ve long vowed that if I ever had an opportunity to see her live on stage, I would make the effort. Guess I’d better start planning a weekend in Philly.

Second is the captivating Ewan McGregor, who simply blew me away with his 2005 portrayal of Sky Masterson in the London revival of Guys And Dolls. Now, teaming once again with director Michael Grandage, McGregor is slated to star in a Donmar Warehouse revival of William Shakespeare’s Othello. The limited engagement opens in London on December 4.

I’ve rarely passed up opportunities to visit the United Kingdom, and given my affinity for Grandage’s other efforts, I just may find myself West End bound later this year.

Last, but certainly not least, I was thrilled to read that Jefferson Mays is already preparing his next role post-Journey’s End. Mays, who won a Tony for his one-man tour de force performance in I Am My Own Wife a couple years back, will now take on the role of Professor Henry Higgins in an upcoming revival of George Bernard Shaw’s classic Pygmalion. The Roundabout Theatre Company will be producing this limited run at the American Airlines Theatre beginning on September 14 (opening night production will be October 11).

Unfortunately, I missed out on seeing Mays in both I Am My Own Wife and Journey’s End, so I’m going to try to make a point of seeing Pygmalion, one of my personal favorite plays of all time.

Finally, on the potential downside, it was reported that Hairspray will be getting a new Wilbur Turnblad. “Leave It To Beaver” star Jerry Mathers will take over the role next month. While I suppose it would be grossly unfair to judge his capabilities, I must admit that this quirky bit of stunt-casting doesn’t seem to be designed to really boost the show. But since the film version is opening during his scheduled three months, expect the theatre to be packed by curiosity seekers hoping to see a train wreck, alongside those who simply want to see the film-inspired stage version that inspired the latest movie.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

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At 14 May, 2007, Blogger SarahB said...

Yep - the first thing I thought when I saw the news about Bates was I'm going to Philly...

At 14 May, 2007, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Sarah, we'll see you there!

At 14 May, 2007, Anonymous Esther said...

You know, regarding Jerry Mathers, I honestly don't think the theater wll be filled with curiosity seekers hoping to see a train wreck.

If people do go out of curiosity, I think they're more likely to be aging baby boomers like myself, who spent way too many hours in front of the television set growing up and are nostalgic to see a little bit of their childhood up on stage!

I've seen Wicked and Hairspray so far this year on tour, and I'm also curious just to see how different or similar the shows are on Broadway. Plus, I love the music from both of them, and I'd love to see them again.

I'm more concerned about the movie version of Hairspray - the musical. (Not to be confused with Hairspray the non-musical movie. Which actually does have quite a bit of music in it. Boy, this is getting confusing!) I just can't quite see John Travolta and Christopher Walken as Edna and Wilbur Turnblad!

At 15 May, 2007, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Appreciate your thoughts on this Esther. Hope I'm not too jaded here. It's just that anyone who's going to Hairspray to see the Beaver is going to see a nearly 60 year old man, rather than the cute little boy they knew and loved.

At 15 May, 2007, Anonymous Esther said...

Oh no, nearly 60!!!! Surely, that can't be!!! What happened to my youth??? No, Steve, you're not jaded. You're the voice of reason!

At 15 May, 2007, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Esther, "The Beav" was born June 2, 1948, so in truth, he's almost 59.

At 27 August, 2007, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Post Script: It was announced on August 27 that Kathy Bates has pulled out this show.

"On the recommendation of her doctor, Kathy Bates has regretfully had to withdraw from Unusual Acts of Devotion due to health reasons. Because the world premiere play was written specifically with Ms. Bates in mind, and because the re-casting of a new actress of equal caliber could not be achieved under the time constraints, Philadelphia Theatre Company has decided to postpone the play for a future season." - Philadelphia Theatre Company

Here's wishing the formidible Kathy Bates good health.

At 15 November, 2009, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

I have deleted a comment that was advertising in violation of rule #4.


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