Theater news round-up: Hands on a Hardbody, Cinderella, Les Miserables, Annie

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Broadway news

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.

Theater Shows Average Prices*

Hands on a Hardbody $181 Tickets »
Cinderella $270 Tickets »
Les Miserables $267 Tickets »
Annie $204 Tickets »

Also, previews for Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella start February 25, with an official opening scheduled for March 3. It promises to contain new elements in its version of the classic fairy tale. Rodgers and Hammerstein were the ones who gave us the Brandy/Whitney Houston "Cinderella" movie, so they will likely add a little something extra to this stage adaptation. And, honestly, what’s not to love about a story where a down-and-out girl gets a fairy godmother to grant her every wish, and then she lives happily ever after? I feel like we all deserve fairy godmothers at some point, but at least we can live vicariously through Cinderella until then.

A classic returns home: Les Miserables has long been a Broadway favorite, but with the recent film that premiered, it’s riding a resurgence. The production is on tour right now, but it was just announced the show will head back to Broadway in 2014. Not bad for a musical that debuted in the ‘80s, when it could have died right along with shoulder pads and mullets. In the meantime, there’s still plenty of chances to catch the show in a city near you. Stops on its tour include Miami, FL; Richmond, VA; Worcester, MA; Columbus, OH; Denver, CO; and Minneapolis, MN.

Jane Lynch is awesome, as usual: Jane Lynch — who you may know from "Glee" but who I’m obsessed with because of her work in "Party Down" and her random appearances in movies I love — will make her Broadway debut this season. And she won’t just be playing anyone. She’ll be Miss Hannigan, the mean drunkard who manages the orphanage in Annie. I know, right?! Lynch will have a limited run, from May 16 through July 14, and then two-time Tony Award-winning actress Katie Finneran will return.

All I can say is: thank goodness theater news is finally picking up. How many more adorable animal videos could I post? Just kidding, the correct answer is I can never post too many adorable animal videos.

*Average prices are as of 02/21/2012 11:30 AM EST. Prices are not set by TicketNetwork.com and may fluctuate based on market demand.

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