As part of our countdown to spring, Mike, Tim, and I will be sharing the events in concerts, sports, and theater that we’re most looking forward to this season. Let’s kick it off with theater.
||Matilda the Musical
|Where it’s playing:
||Shubert Theatre, New York, NY
||April 11, 2013
There are a lot of Broadway shows I’m excited about, mostly because my general outlook on life is "excited." But I’d be lying if I didn’t say I had a soft spot for Matilda the Musical.
I may be an adult, but there are just some ways in which I refuse to grow up. My unabashed love for things I adored in my childhood is one of them. I really loved "Matilda" the movie as a kid. It had everything going for it, including magical powers (which I was convinced I would someday discover I also had), the act of overcoming a hardship, and a happy ending.
It was announced on Friday that Disney’s The Lion King on Broadway has been extended through November 2013. Was there ever any doubt?
The production isn’t the fifth longest-running Broadway show ever for nothing.
Here are a few reasons why The Lion King is so awesome.
It’s based on a fantastic movie. It’s a rule of Disney films that they are supposed to make you cry. But "The Lion King" is kind of the ultimate movie to ugly-cry at. That moment when Simba is pawing at Mufasa to wake up? Oh, God, I can’t deal. Go into The Lion King knowing you will at least be getting the sniffles because it is sad, okay?
Back in 1991, Patrick Stewart (yeah, Professor X from "X-Men" and Jean-Luc Picard from "Star Trek: The Next Generation") starred in A Christmas Carol on Broadway, for which he eventually won a Drama Desk Award and Laurence Olivier Award. Here’s the weird thing: he played all 40-plus characters in the show.
If that’s not mind-blowing enough, he also co-produced the show.
As much as I love theater, I am not a performer myself, and just the idea of getting up on stage makes me a little queasy. So I can’t imagine the thought process that goes into being the only person responsible for a play. And then there’s, you know, actually working really hard to pull it all together and having no one else to blame if something goes wrong. Call me crazy, but if I don’t have someone but myself to blame for a failure, then I’m just plain not interested.
It was announced this week that Shia LaBeouf ("Transformers," "Indiana Jones") was fired from his upcoming Broadway role in Orphans.
Ben Foster, who's been in "3:10 to Yuma" and "The Messenger" will replace LaBeouf to star in the show with Alec Baldwin, former "30 Rock" star. (Can I just point out that both LaBeouf and Foster were Disney channel stars growing up? Shia LaBeouf starred in "Even Stevens" while Ben Foster was in "Flash Forward.") It's unclear exactly why LaBeouf was let go, but he took that opportunity to make a graceful exit by tweeting all about it!
Although the tweets have since been deleted, things on the internet have a tendency of staying on the internet. Oops. According to The Los Angeles Times, "LeBeouf tweeted that 'the theater belongs not to the great but to the brash.' His emails to the play's team, including Baldwin, had the tone of gentlemanly apology and showed no rancor." You can read the exchange here, and even though the situation is kind of a bummer, it seemed to have ended on a good note, with LaBeouf wishing Baldwin luck.
Here's the good news: Orphans will still start its previews March 19, and officially open April 7. Yay! Any thoughts about who should replace LaBeouf?
Theater buzz has been a little… slow, to say the least. March is when things start to pick up, and now we’re ever-so-slowly climbing out of the Broadway slump where literally nothing at all happens and makes reporting on theater things a little challenging. But we’re almost there! There’s some Broadway theater news, and there's not one, but two shows that will enter previews the week before March begins. Finally. Here's a run-down of what's going on.
New Broadway previews: Hands on a Hardbody enters previews February 24, and will open March 21. It's a light-hearted play about a group of Southerners competing to win a new truck. In order to get the prize, however, they’ll need to see which of them can keep his or her hand on the truck the longest, as they all stand beneath the sweltering Texas sun. I can’t help but be reminded of those competition reality shows that would take place on MTV’s "Real World/Road Rules" challenges — you know, like, being forced to bungee jump into a lake while wearing a sumo wrestler outfit. (Not an actual challenge that I recall, but close enough.) To top it all off, Hands on a Hardbody is a musical! I like a show that’s not trying to take itself too seriously.