Actress Christine Baranski is heading back to the New York stage for a short stint in a special Off-Broadway revival of 1936 musical On Your Toes. The Good Wife star will appear in seven performances of the refreshed production presented by Encores!, a program which showcases lesser-known musicals as a pared down version of the traditional Broadway production.
Baranksi says, "Being in a rehearsal room and watching all of these top-of-the-line dancers is the best. It feels like summer camp."
The show's director and choreographer Warren Carlyle heaped praise on the two-time Tony winner, crediting her "wonderful energy" and "comedic instincts" for making her a natural choice for the lead role.
On Your Toes opens at the New York City Center on 8 May (13).
Limelight: The Story of Charlie Chaplin originated at California's La Jolla Playhouse in 2010 and now theatre bosses are to revive the show under a new name for a New York run, beginning later this year (12).
Warren Carlyle has been tapped to direct and choreograph the production, which was created by Christopher Curtis.
Becoming Chaplin will follow the star's life-story but casting has not yet begun.
The screen legend died in 1977.
The holiday production, choreographed by Warren Carlyle - the man behind Hugh Jackman: Back on Broadway - has set out on a five-city tour across the U.S. to determine how a "brand-new show with no track record" appeals to audiences, according to producer Jerry Goehring.
Child star-turned-director Peter Billingsley, who played the role of 12-year-old Ralphie Parker in the 1983 classic, also serves as a producer on the project.
The show will end its current run in Chicago, Illinois on 30 December (11), but producers hope to stage the production in New York next year (12).
Val Waxman (Woody Allen) is an award-winning director who has jumped the shark and is now in Canada shooting deodorant commercials for nickels and dimes and well animal pelts. So when his ex-wife Ellie (Téa Leoni) and her new husband slick Hollywood studio exec Hal Yeager (Treat Williams) ask him to helm Galaxy Pictures' next big-budget movie he reluctantly signs the deal. Unfortunately the script for The City That Never Sleeps reminds Val of his own failed relationship with his son and causes him to go psychosomatically blind. Poor Val doesn't want to lose this much-needed gig and allows his agent Al (Mark Rydell) to persuade him to direct the film anyway which means keeping his blindness a secret. To make matters worse the publicity department has given a reporter from Esquire magazine the green light to cover the daily happenings on the set. Needless to say no one can do a better job than Allen of talking and gesticulating to the air walking into large objects and falling off sets.
Nervous and jittery like most of his characters Woody Allen is hilarious as Val and he makes the character's blindness completely believable. Allen's performance is priceless especially in the scenes where he is out with Ellie; he tries his best to have a professional discussion with her but constantly blurts out these Turrets-like comments about their breakup. Téa Leoni (Jurassic Park III) is superb and very natural in the role of Ellie--she has come such a long way since her short-lived 1995 television series The Naked Truth. Treat Williams (Venomous) and George Hamilton (Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles) are perfectly cast as glossy Hollywood tycoons while Mark Rydell (Intersection) personifies perfectly the loyal entertainment agent. Will & Grace's Debra Messing struts her big screen skills with her portrayal of Lori the ditzy aspiring actress and Val's live-in girlfriend but much like sultry Tiffani Thiessen's (The Ladies Man) part her role is rather small.
Allen has written a clever satire of Hollywood films and what goes on behind the scenes. When his character Val loses his vision and exclaims that he will not be able to direct the film his agent Al responds "Have you seen some of the pictures out there?" The rest of the film never lets up down to the film's crowd-pleasing "Hollywood Ending." There are quick-witted jabs at everyone and everything especially West Coast culture. The film even pokes fun at itself sometimes: Messing's character Lori leaves for an extended stay at a fitness spa early on in the film and when she finally returns Ellie comments "I forgot about her." Well so had we all. Allen also drops a lot of little references that will leave you wondering. For example his character mentions that when his first wife left him she changed their son's name. (Wasn't Seamus Allen's real life son with Mia Farrow once called Satchel?) Although there are some preachy moments including a dinner party scene where the characters discuss their favorite Hitchcock film the film is witty and entertaining.