Guys. Have I mentioned Tom Hanks is going to be on Broadway? Well, he is, and we're five days (counting today) from when his show, Lucky Guy, officially opens on April 1.
People. Are. Freaking. Out.
The show has quickly jumped up to one of the top-selling theater shows through TicketNetwork; for the month of March, it was just outside the top 10, beating out already-established Broadway productions, like Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark and Mamma Mia!. Aside from that, Emmy-nominated actress Maura Tierney, who stars opposite Hanks in the show (bet you didn’t even know this wasn’t a one-man show, huh?), says the preview crowds have been quite enthusiastic.
Tierney told Broadway.com that people are so excited to see Tom Hanks on stage that they hardly have any expectations at all. It makes me think if the show was two hours of Tom Hanks reading a phone book out loud, people would argue that it was riveting and moving, and I can’t say I disagree. It’s Tom Hanks. (Hanks will actually play Mike McAlary, a columnist and reporter for the NY Daily News. A Daily News writer said the play is a "stickler for detail" and that Hanks was determined to accurately portray McAlary — not that it matters, because again, IT'S TOM HANKS.)
Even the stage door crowds have been interesting. When asked how she handles the stage door, Tierney said, "You mean the crazy people? The crazy crowds, I should say. I don’t have to handle it! I walk and go “It’s not Tom!” and they go, “Ohhh, okay.” Chris McDonald (Lucky Guy co-star) told me that there were people outside with bathroom lighting fixtures waiting for Tom to sign them."
So: are you excited about Tom Hanks making his Broadway debut? Will you be getting Lucky Guy tickets to check him out for yourself? Or maybe you'd prefer to get tickets just to say you took a breath of the same air as the legend. It's fine; this is a judgment-free zone.
Matilda, Cinderella, even How the Grinch Stole Christmas — these are all children’s books that have not only translated well onto the theater stage, but have also transcended their demographic. The productions were intended to be for children, sure, but you’d be hard-pressed to find an adult who wasn’t just as dazzled seeing the story come to life on stage.
While there are some children's-books-turned-stage-adaptations I'm excited about, including Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (in London), there are few that haven't quite made it to Broadway yet. Here are my top picks for children’s books I think would work well as a theater show.
Where the Wild Things Are
I loved "Where the Wild Things Are" by Maurice Sendak as a kid, although watching the film adaptation as an adult made me realize it was much darker than I remembered. Still, I think it would be pretty cool to see the big monsters on stage, as well as intricate set designs. I’d shy away from making it into a musical — it was already made into an opera back in the ‘80s — but a great orchestral accompaniment could make the production go a long way. It would be light enough for the kids to enjoy, especially adorable Max in his white bunny suit, while also providing enough to keep adults intrigued.
Whenever I head to NYC, I usually have grandiose plans to do a bunch of things all over the city. Museums! Local eateries! Central Park! Horse and carriage ride! Guess what happens when I get there?
I do two or three things out of a list a mile long.
It’s not that I’m not ambitious, it’s just that sometimes I have a hard time grasping just how far one part of Manhattan is from another. It looks so tiny on the map, you know? And I somehow also forget I’ll be walking everywhere.
So if you’re making a trip to see a Broadway show, you’ll probably want to make sure your other adventures are in the general vicinity of the theater district, unless you’re like The Flash and you can get from point A to point B in milliseconds. (We already created a food, theater, and accommodations guide to keep you from planning lunch all the way across the city!)
Here are a few fun, interesting attractions nearby.
Discovery Times Square: Located on 44th Street (right across from the Shubert Theatre, where Matilda is currently playing), Discovery Times Square is an exhibit-based museum. Right now, they offer a spy exhibit, which features "the secret world of espionage," and a Harry Potter exhibit, which pays homage to the eight films from the series. Fun!
If you loved Tina Fey’s "Mean Girls" movie as much as I did, then news that there is a musical probably sends you weeping happily at your work desk. No? Just me? Fine, but it is exciting!
At the SAG awards, Tina Fey said she and her husband, who did the music for "30 Rock," are working on creating one. (I originally wrote her husband DOES the music for the show, which is depressing, because the show is over now.) She said she thinks Paramount is on board, too.
That’s all I need to know. "Mean Girls" is one of my favorite movies to quote, and after the success of Legally Blonde the Musical and Bring It On the Musical, it would probably do well. (Although I feel like Amy Poehler’s character, Regina George’s "cool mom," will totally steal the show. Or maybe the very minor but nonetheless wonderful Glen Coco. You go, Glen Coco.)
Here are a few other teen films we might like to see on stage. Let us know if we missed any!
I mean, obviously. "Clueless" is up there on my list of favorite movies ever and I think it could be hilarious and campy on stage. They could probably even get the original cast of the movie to be onstage because they’re all freaks and haven’t aged a bit. (Fun fact: this film is based on Jane Austen’s novel, "Emma.")
Big name actors and actresses on Broadway isn’t something new, necessarily; Humphrey Bogart, Liza Minnelli, and Nathan Lane are just a few well-known stars who’ve starred in a Broadway show (or many) and still maintained Hollywood celebrity status.
But this year feels extra star-studded. There’s something kind of exciting about seeing your favorite celebrities take on the stage. For one thing, they’re right there instead of on a television or movie screen. For another, live acting has its challenges, and people always wonder how stars will fare.
Check out some of the Hollywood stars we’re excited to see on Broadway in 2013.
About the actor: Show me a person who doesn’t like Tom Hanks, and I’ll show you a liar. It’s not enough that he’s been in some of the most classic romantic comedies of all time, like "You’ve Got Mail" and "Sleepless in Seattle," he’s also been in movies like "Big," "Forrest Gump," "Saving Private Ryan," "The Green Mile," and "Cast Away." That’s right — Tom Hanks made us feel for a beaten up volleyball because he’s that good. Oh, and, he was also Woody in the "Toy Story" franchise. No big deal.
Broadway Show: Lucky Guy
Synopsis: It's a Nora Ephron play, so it'll probably be good. Tom Hanks plays real-life journalist Mike McAlary, who worked for the New York Daily News police beat. His involvement with police work didn't stop there, as he went on to write a book, contribute to a movie script, and even won a Pulitzer Prize in 1988 for his coverage of police brutalization. The show documents McAlary's life up through his untimely death in 1998.