Shakespeare is having a moment. Again. Given that William Shakespeare is arguably the most memorable playwright of all time, it's no surprise that his shows continue not just to be shared and acted in schools, but also on the Broadway stage.
This year, four of Shakespeare's plays made it to the Great White Way — and one was so enthralling, it was worthy of two different renditions.
While some of the Shakespeare shows were modernized (Romeo and Juliet), others stay as close to the original 17th century performances as possible (Richard III/Twelfth Night). Here's a breakdown of the shows that helped make 2013 the "Year of Shakespeare" on Broadway.
Alan Cumming's Macbeth
Starring: Alan Cumming
Opening Date: April 21, 2013
Closing Date: July 14, 2013
About This Rendition: Performed at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre, Alan Cumming's one-man rendition of Macbeth was called a "tour-de-force that redefines the term" by Associated Press. The critically acclaimed show featured Cumming playing each role in Macbeth, but with a twist: the entire thing took place in an asylum ward.
It was announced this week that Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark will be closing its doors Jan. 4, 2014. But the show, which is currently performed at Foxwoods Theatre, won't be gone for good. Instead, the flashy production will head to Las Vegas, joining other theater shows such as Jersey Boys and Blue Man Group.
When Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark opened on Broadway, many feared it wouldn't last long. Prior to its debut, it had gained quite a bit of traction, but for all the wrong reasons; many were talking about its production-related troubles, including a need to retool the book and score, as well as stunt-related issues. Rehearsals and previews were both dragged on longer than anticipated when several actors were injured during the process. In fact, Spider-Man currently holds the record for longest preview period in history, with 182 performances.
Michael Cohl — producer for Spider-Man — told AP, "We can have a more exciting and better show in Las Vegas. To me, Las Vegas is the town of show business. ...If you look at our show, it's much, much more a spectacle and a Vegas show than a Broadway show. So I think we're going to have a great time there."
Alanis Morissette's 1995 album, Jagged Little Pill, might just be heading to Broadway. Morissette and Tom Kitt (a Pulitzer Prize winner who has previously worked on Broadway shows like If/Then) are said to be collaborating on a musical that will be inspired by the iconic '90s album.
If all goes well, a workshop production of the musical will debut in New York come 2014. It would include the entire album's tracklist, as well as songs from other Morrisette albums and some new songs she'll compose specifically for the production.
Friendly reminder: Angsty "You Oughta Know" — Morisette's first single off of Jagged Little Pill — is rumored to have been written about Dave Coulier, who played Joey Gladstone on "Full House."
Disney's Broadway musical, The Lion King, is one of the biggest and most beloved theater shows of all time. Last week, it was announced that the show is the first Broadway show ever to gross more than $1 billion in revenue. As of Oct. 6, the show was at $997 million, but by the end of October, that number will grow to more than $1 billion.
It's an amazing feat, especially for a show that's not even the longest-running production in Broadway's history. (That title belongs to The Phantom of the Opera, which has been on Broadway since 1988 — nearly 10 years longer than "The Lion King.") Part of what made The Lion King such a strong money-maker is that in its run, the musical has only dropped under 80 percent audience capacity less than 12 times.
Here are a few facts about The Lion King, the highest-grossing musical of all time:
- The Lion King opened on Broadway in 1997 (Nov. 13, 1997, to be exact). Its previews began Oct. 15, 1997.
Although they don't often come up in the public consciousness as much as, say, Broadway, ice shows are quite popular. In fact, the Disney On Ice series has collectively been the single biggest theater ticket seller on TicketNetwork.com for the last year, accounting for approximately 1/5 of all theater ticket sales. Affordable tickets and family-friendly content has helped drive those sales, making the series a perfect option for families looking for something to see with their kids.
With that said, why don't we see more of these shows? Surely if Disney can make it work, anybody can? Okay, so there's the whole thing about taking a stage show and adding ice, but I think the idea has widespread potential, especially if it's something somebody can relate to...like comedy. So here are three comedic movies that might do well as ice shows.
Plot: For those who don't know, The Mask is a 1994 film starring Jim Carrey. In the film, Carrey's character finds a mask belonging to Norse god Loki, which imbues the wearer with magical powers and a mischievous, trickster temperament. It was very popular among both kids and adults, and remains so today. Along with Ace Ventura and Dumb and Dumberer, which were also released the same year, it pretty much established Carrey's career, as well as that of co-star Cameron Diaz's.
Why It'd Work: Ice is a perfect medium to use when you need to do things quickly and "The Mask" is nothing if not quick moving. When donning Loki's mask, Stanley Ipkuss turns into a huge spaz, moving from one place to another in the blink of an eye. Also, most of the shows that are now on ice are musical in nature, and The Mask is already partially a musical itself, as one of the movie's key scenes is a comedic musical number. Finally, the movie was rated PG-13, but is innocuous enough that it still could be seen by adults and older kids.