Thursday, June 17, 2010

Send In The Replacements

Send In The Replacements

The week immediately following the Tony Awards often tends to be one of transitions. Often, nominated shows and/or original cast members take their final bows.

This year is no different as the just crowned Tony-winning Best Actress in a Musical Catherine Zeta-Jones and her Tony-nominated co-star Angela Lansbury offer their final performances in A Little Night Music this Sunday. (Leave it to my dear friend SarahB for snaring coveted house tickets to be a part of it all.)

While A Little Night Music had previously posted its closing notice when its producers seemed to have long given up on finding suitable replacements, along came a new buzz of rumors that the ultimate dream pairing in Great White Way replacements were actually in negotiations: Broadway legends Bernadette Peters and Elaine Stritch.

Some (including me) were even swooning at the idea that they could be lured into taking over the juicy roles of Desiree and Madame Armfeldt. In particular, many were thinking Ms. Peters could finally provide the nuanced performance we'd been waiting for (click here for my SOB Review to see what I thought of the Tony winner she's replacing).

Then on June 7, theatre lovers rejoiced at the news. While the show would remain dark for three weeks commencing immediately after this Sunday's final performances by Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury, the musical would resume on July 13 with Bernadette Peters and Elaine Stritch. The dynamic duo are contracted through this November; however, tickets are now on sale through the first full week of 2011.

In addition to A Little Night Music, what other major shows are bringing in replacements?

Here are a few of them:

Race - Ethel Barrymore Theatre

(SOB Review: *1/2 out of ****)

On Tuesday, Eddie Izzard, Dennis Haysbert and Afton C. Williamson joined the cast of this David Mamet play as replacements for James Spader, David Alan Grier and Kerry Washington, respectively.

Even though I wasn't a very big fan of this work, I thought Spader and Grier acquitted themselves very well, thus I find the casting of Izzard and Haysbert (in his Broadway debut) rather intriguing. But the one problemetic original cast member, Richard Thomas, somehow remains in the cast.

Race is now scheduled to close August 21, 2010.

next to normal - Booth Theatre

(SOB Review: ***1/2 out of ****)

The big news over the last couple weeks for next to normal should have been that Alice Ripley was leaving the show for which she earned her 2009 Tony Award to tour with the production nationally and that real husband-and-wife actors Jason Danieley and Marin Mazzie will take over the roles of this show's couple beginning July 19.

Instead, a flipplant Facebook remark by Ripley rippled like an electroshock wave through the gay community. Ripley has since apologized.

When Mazzie and Danieley succeed Ripley and Brian d'Arcy James, it will be first time this married duo will ever have been in a Broadway show together. As for the once "criminally underused" d'Arcy James, he not only created next to normal's Dan Goodman Off-Broadway and came "full circle" in returning to the role as a Broadway replacement himself for J. Robert Spencer, but now he is departing to perform once again in the next show on my list.

next to normal remains an open-ended run (meaning no closing date has been posted).

Time Stands Still - Cort Theatre

(SOB Review: ***1/2 out of ****)

On May 12, one of those rarest of rare announcements was made about a Broadway show that's already closed. Time Stands Still, which had enjoyed an acclaimed run at the non-profit Manhattan Theatre Club's Samuel J. Friedman Theatre earlier this year, will enjoy a return engagement at the Great White Way's Cort Theatre, the mid-sized commercial house currently home to Fences.

Because time doesn't stand still, only three of the four original Broadway principals -- Laura Linney, Brian d'Arcy James and Eric Begosian -- will return to the production. But the fourth, Alicia Silverstone (who had also been in the world premiere mounting of the play on the West Coast) will not be joining them. She will be replaced by film actress Christina Ricci in her Broadway debut.

Time Stands Still resumes performances at the Cort on September 23 with a second opening night slated for October 7. The limited engagement is currently scheduled through January 23, 2011.

Currently, of those four shows, I already have tickets to see A Little Night Music and am contemplating a revisit to Time Stands Still. How about you? Will any of these new names lure you back to see what these replacements can do?

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

In keeping with the new Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulations that unfairly discriminate against bloggers, who are now required by law to disclose when they have received anything of value they might write about, please note that I have received nothing of value in exchange for this post.

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At 18 June, 2010, Blogger Sarah B. Roberts said...

Noah and I will be at Night Music on July 13th. Can't miss this first "preview".

At 18 June, 2010, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

That's the Sarah I know and love! Enjoy!!

At 19 June, 2010, Blogger JK said...

I'll be there in mid-August!

At 19 June, 2010, Anonymous Anonymous said...

¿Bernardette in "A little night music"? Well for me that's really a great news and about Red I just hope that after its success at the Tonys it could be performed in Spain!

Best wishes.


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