Perhaps most well-known stateside for her Oscar-winning turn as Queen Elizabeth II in 2007’s The Queen, Dame Helen Mirren has been providing audiences with command performances on stage and screen for nearly 50 years. Now, she’s bringing the role of Queen Elizabeth II to Broadway in the production of The Audience.
An episodic production that follows the matriarch’s reign from her coronation in 1953, through scandals and drama, straight up to modern day, The Audience depicts visions of the confidential meetings between Britain’s Queen and her Prime Ministers. From Churchill to Thatcher, Major to Blair, and even touching upon the sitting PM, David Cameron, we watch Queen Elizabeth as she grows older, hopefully wiser, and her influence changes among the statesmen of Britain. Though few ever know what actually takes place in these weekly audiences between the Queen and her Prime Minister, the play offers a rare glimpse of what may transpire among these history makers. More a character portrait than an historical fiction, The Audience deftly draws out the humanity in the icon that is Queen Elizabeth II. Indeed, one might venture that the perfect venue for such portraiture is not Britain herself, but the United States, where our national attention is so easily rapt by Britain’s Royal Family.
Mirren herself began her career in show business in roles with far less realism but no less gravitas, often playing in BBC productions of Shakespeare, and later making a serious and scandalous splash in Gore Vidal’s 1979 biopic Caligula, and as Victoria in the penultimate Brit gangster flick The Long Good Friday alongside the late Bob Hoskins. In the 1990s, she became a household presence in the Prime Suspect television series, playing jaded DCI Jane Tennison, a detective with a knack for attracting the criminal element and a penchant for gin & tonics.
With over 103 awards for acting and acting-related causes, among them one Oscar, two Golden Globes, three Emmys, and five BAFTAs, Mirren is perhaps well on her way to a Tony Award with The Audience. Now if only we can secure her a role that will nail a Grammy, she’ll be on her way to that EGOT we know every true actor covets.
Written by Nicole Lajoie
Starring on Broadway is a dream come true for many actors, but it can quickly turn into a nightmare. While some celebrities seize the opportunity to show off their acting skills in front of a live audience, many are overshadowed by the spotlight. The following celebrities are currently trying to make their mark on Broadway:
Emma Stone - “Cabaret”
Most of you know Emma from mega movies like “Superbad,” “Easy A,” and “The Amazing Spider Man,” but did you know that she is currently starring as Sally Bowles in the Broadway staple, “Cabaret?” Stone was originally selected to play Sally early last year, but scheduling issues forced her to drop the part and focus on other projects. After Emma’s sudden resignation, Michelle Williams took over the role and unfortunately critics found her performance to be mediocre at best. The quality of Ms. Stone’s voice has been questioned, but her passion and acting skills seem to have made up for any vocal shortcomings. Critics find Emma’s performance to be solid as ‘Stone.’
With more than two years and 1,000 shows under its belt, Newsies will say goodbye to Broadway. The Disney musical is scheduled to close on Aug. 24 at the Nederlander Theatre. But it's not time to say so long for good — a national tour commences October 2014. The North American tour will visit cities across the U.S. and Canada beginning Oct. 11, 2014 and continuing through Aug. 16, 2015, with more dates likely to be announced.
Newsies on Broadway became a somewhat-unexpected hit for Disney. The company originally thought they would develop the musical for regional, stock, and amateur markets but were surprised when the musical fared well as a Broadway production. It was an especially welcome success, given that the original film version from 1992 didn't do well. In comparison, the Broadway version has racked up more than $100 million, while the movie version earned a mere $3 million.
See below for the production's upcomnig tour dates and visit the Newsies for more information on tickets.
Over the weekend, I went to see the Broadway national tour of Ghost the Musical. It stopped in Hartford, CT, June 12 through June 15, at The Bushnell as part of the theater's annual Broadway series.
A little background about the show: Ghost the Musical is based on the 1990 film "Ghost" starring Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore, Whoopi Goldberg, and Tony Goldwyn. The live, musical version first opened in the UK in 2011, before transferring to Broadway in April 2012. Shortly thereafter, the show launched its national U.S. tour, which is currently scheduled through August 2014.
Both the show and the film center on Sam and Molly, a young couple who are dealt an unexpected blow when Sam dies, leaving him trapped between two worlds. When Sam realizes Molly is in danger, he refuses to move on and instead turns to a psychic in order to communicate with Molly and ask her to avenge his death.
So how did the story translate onstage? Check out my review below to find out.
Please note: Major spoilers ahead!
In Broadway news this week, there's good news for shows like Holler If Ya Hear Me, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill. Plus, the countdown till the Tony nominees is on!
Holler If Ya Hear Me Gets a Star
Last July, it was announced a musical based on the music of Tupac Shakur would be heading to Broadway. Alas, there was no date, just a vague time frame and the knowledge that Tupac's music was the catalyst behind the production. Recently, the show not only got a firm debut date (June 19, 2014, with previews beginning May 26, 2014), but the cast was announced, too. Renowned slam poet, singer, and actor Saul Williams will take the title role in Holler If Ya Hear Me, alongside other Broadway veterans, such as Christopher Jackson (After Midnight), Saycon Sengbloh (Fela!), and Ben Thompson (Matilda). Tonya Pinkins, John Earl Jelks, Joshua Boone, and Dyllon Burnside round out the cast.