Star-studded Broadway musical Cinderella is to close in January (15) after almost two years onstage in New York. Producers of the Rodgers & Hammerstein fairytale have announced the curtain will come down for the last time on 3 January (15) after a festive run of shows featuring Keke Palmer and Glee star Nene Leakes, who will be making her Broadway debut as the wicked stepmother on 25 November (14).
The show, which has also featured pop star Carly Rae Jepsen as Cinderella and Fran Drescher, will have had 41 previews and 770 regular performances when it closes.
Actress/singer Keke Palmer is set to make theatre history as the first African-American star to portray Cinderella on the Broadway stage. The True Jackson, VP star will make her debut on the Great White Way from 9 September (14), when she takes over from current actress Paige Faure to tackle the lead role in the hit Rodgers & Hammerstein musical.
The 20 year old won't be the first celebrity to step into Cinderella's shoes on Broadway - pop star Carly Rae Jepsen led the cast in a limited 12-week run earlier this year (14), alongside Fran Drescher as her evil stepmother.
La Bamba star Lou Diamond Phillips is to make his Australian stage debut in the royal role that helped launch his theatre career almost 20 years ago. The actor will replace Jason Scott Lee in the Melbourne production of The King & I.
A torn calf muscle has forced Lee to withdraw from the show.
Reports suggest Phillips flew in to start rehearsals on Monday (30Jun14), and he'll hit the stage as the King of Siam, opposite Lisa McCune, on 10 July (14).
Phillips made his Broadway debut as The King in 1996, opposite Donna Murphy. Phillips played the role for more than 550 performances and won a Theatre World Award. He was also nominated for both a Tony Award and a Drama Desk Award.
The actor cannot wait to hit the stage when the show opens, stating, "I am honoured to once again inhabit the role of The King... I have great passion and respect for the role and am especially excited to bring my interpretation to a new continent."
The news comes a day after it was announced Japanese actor Ken Watanabe would be making his Broadway debut in a revival of the Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein musical about the real-life relationship between the King of Siam and a British schoolteacher, who he enlists to tutor his wives and children.
Japanese actor Ken Watanabe is set to make his Broadway debut in a revival of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein's The King And I. The Inception star will team up with Broadway favourite Kelli O'Hara in the musical about the relationship between the King of Siam and a British schoolteacher, who he enlists to tutor his wives and children.
The play will be directed by Bartlett Sher and will begin previews at the Vivian Beaumont Theater in New York in March, 2015.
The original stage show was adapted in 1951 from Margaret Landon's novel Anna and the King of Siam and featured Yul Brynner and Gertrude Lawrence.
It won Tony Awards for Best Musical, Best Actress and Best Featured Actor and spawned a 1956 film, for which Brynner reprised his role as the king and won an Academy Award.
Beloved Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II musical The King & I is returning to the New York stage in 2015. The show will open at the Lincoln Center Theater with veteran thespian Kelli O'Hara, who is currently starring in Broadway's The Bridges of Madison County, rumoured to be among the cast.
Based on the 1944 novel Anna and the King of Siam by Margaret Landon, the musical premiered on the Great White Way in 1951, and went on to become the fourth longest-running Broadway musical in history.
The show was revived on Broadway in 1996, with Donna Murphy and Lou Diamond Phillips in the lead roles. The production won a Best Revival Tony Award.
Canadian pop star Carly Rae Jepsen stepped into the shoes of Cinderella for her first night on Broadway on Tuesday (04Feb14). The Call Me Maybe hitmaker replaced original cast member, Tony Award winner Laura Osnes, as the fairytale character in the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical.
The star was counting down the days to her debut on her Twitter.com page, writing before the curtain went up, "No more sleeps!!!!! Tonight's the night", while her co-star Fran Drescher documented the countdown by posting backstage pictures for fans.
In one shot, The Nanny star is seen in costume with Jepsen throwing coins into a prop wishing well, adding, "Right b4 (before) curtain we both made a wish in the wishing well. Carly Rae Jepsen... whata nite (sic)!"
The 28-year-old pop star, who underwent musical theatre training in her native Canada, will tread the boards on the Great White Way for a limited 12-week run alongside Drescher, who plays Cinderella's evil stepmother.
Whatever side of the Underwood debate you fall on, we think everyone can agree that the highlight of NBC's The Sound of Music, Live! were the Broadway veterans in supporting roles. Audra McDonald's "Climb Ev'ry Mountain" provoked the only emotion we saw on Carrie's face all night — other than "Meow, meow, meow, meow...," of course. Christian Borle made Max so likeable we kept forgetting about that Nazi sympathizer thing. And as Elsa, Laura Benanti changed the plot of the show to "Fabulous Baroness loses imagination-free whistle-fetishist to robot nanny in Sandra Bullock's costume from the Miss Congeniality talent competition scene." She. Was. Everything. In no particular order, her finest moments.
When she was the best-dressed woman in Austria.
Clearly, everyone but Laura did something to piss off the costume designer. While the rest of the cast was clothed in K-Mart's Heidi-meets-High School Musical collection, Elsa was devastating us in a black evening gown and a perfectly fitted and flowing pink and red pantsuit. Work.
When she single-handedly filled up our "Reaction Gif" folders.
We were already questioning the Captain and Maria's whirlwind "love" affair when they shared as much chemistry as I do with my Metrocard. But it was Benanti's eyerolls and raised eyebrows that really drove home the silliness of the situation. Go find yourself a nice Baron, Elsa.
Oh right — when she sang.
Laura has played Gypsy Rose Lee, Claudia in Nine, Cinderella in Into the Woods, and yes, Maria the novice on Broadway. So she hardly broke a sweat when she slayed her meager two songs on the live broadcast.
When she loved us for loving her.
"Hey all my gays and bitches out there," Laura tweeted. "Thanks for being #TeamElsa."
The frigid months to come will see our friends at NBC spending a good amount of time overseas — before trekking over to Russia for the 2014 Winter Olympics, the Peacock is making a quick stop in the Swiss Alps (or, at the very least, a network studio designed to look like the Swiss Alps) for a live production of The Sound of Music. But team figure skating (the Olympics' newest event) and singing convents will take a backseat to NBC's most anticipated addition: Jimmy Fallon as the host of The Tonight Show.
During its upfront presentation on Monday, NBC informed attendees that Fallon would be taking Jay Leno's seat during revealed the date during the network's broadcast of the Winter Olympics, stepping in during the second week of the international games (the Olympics kick off on Feb. 7; Fallon should take the reigns on Feb. 14). Following the conclusion of the dynamic tradition, Fallon will assume the regular 11:35 PM time slot permanently — as the Olympics is often cause for schedule shifting, leaving the Tonight Show broadcast times for the week rather nebulous at this time — on Monday, Feb 24, 2014. At this time, Fallon's fellow Saturday Night Live alum Seth Meyers will also step in as the official host of Late Night, airing at 12:35 AM.
NBC also revealed the planned broadcast date of its previously announced live production of The Sound of Music, a performance of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical (first immortalized on the big screen by Julie Andrews) starring Carrie Underwood as Maria von Trapp. The 3-hour special will air Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013.
Alongside talks of Fallon's and Meyers' promotions, and the musical production, NBC also shared a handful of comedic and dramatic trailers for upcoming programs. Check them out here.
Follow Michael Arbeiter on Twitter @MichaelArbeiter
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Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Sutton Foster took the stage together. No, they haven't teamed up for a Broadway show, a new television series, or a Modern Family/Bunheads crossover (which would be awesome). But the theater-loving stars came together Tuesday to announce the nominations for the 2013 Tony Awards. (They are the hosts for this year's show, after all, so it only made sense that these two would have the honors of making the big announcement.)
Check out which plays and actors are nominated for Tony Awards for their work on the stage this year.
2013 Tony Awards Nominations:
Best Play:The Assembled PartyLucky GuyThe Testament of MaryVanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Best Musical:Bring It On: The MusicalKinky BootsMatilda The MusicalA Christmas Story, The Musical
Best Book of a Musical:A Christmas Story, The MusicalKinky BootsMatilda The MusicalRodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella
Best Revival of a Play:Golden BoyOrphans The Trip to BountifulWho's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Best Revival of a Musical: AnnieThe Mystery of Edwin DroodPippinRodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play: Laurie Metcalf, The Other PlaceAmy Morton, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?Kristine Nielsen, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and SpikeHolland Taylor, AnnCicely Tyson, The Trip to Bountiful
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play: Tom Hanks, Lucky GuyNathan Lane, The NanceTracy Letts, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?David Hyde Pierce, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and SpikeTom Sturridge, Orphans
Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre: A Christmas Story, The Musical Music and Lyrics: Benj Pasek and Justin Paul Hands on a Hardbody Music: Trey Anastasio and Amanda Green Lyrics: Amanda Green Kinky Boots Music & Lyrics: Cyndi Lauper Matilda The Musical Music & Lyrics: Tim Minchin
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical: Stephanie J. Block, The Mystery of Edwin Drood Carolee Carmello, Scandalous Valisia LeKae, Motown The Musical Patina Miller, Pippin Laura Osnes, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical: Bertie Carvel, Matilda The Musical Santino Fontana, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella Rob McClure, Chaplin Billy Porter, Kinky Boots Stark Sands, Kinky Boots
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play: Carrie Coon, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Shalita Grant, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike Judith Ivey, The Heiress Judith Light, The Assembled Parties Condola Rashad, The Trip to Bountiful
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play:Danny Burstein, Golden Boy Richard Kind, The Big Knife Billy Magnussen, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike Tony Shalhoub, Golden Boy Courtney B. Vance, Lucky Guy
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical:Annaleigh Ashford, Kinky Boots Victoria Clark, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella Andrea Martin, Pippin Keala Settle, Hands on a Hardbody
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical:Charl Brown, Motown The Musical Keith Carradine, Hands on a Hardbody Will Chase, The Mystery of Edwin Drood Gabriel Ebert, Matilda The Musical Terrence Mann, Pippin
Best Costume Design of a Play: Soutra Gilmour, Cyrano de Bergerac Ann Roth, The Nance Albert Wolsky, The Heiress Catherine Zuber, Golden Boy
Best Costume Design of a Musical: Gregg Barnes, Kinky Boots Rob Howell, Matilda The Musical Dominique Lemieux, Pippin William Ivey Long, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella
Best Direction of a Play:Pam MacKinnon, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Nicholas Martin, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike Bartlett Sher, Golden Boy George C. Wolfe, Lucky Guy
Best Direction of a Musical:Scott Ellis, The Mystery of Edwin Drood Jerry Mitchell, Kinky Boots Diane Paulus, Pippin Matthew Warchus, Matilda The Musical
Best Choreography:Andy Blankenbuehler, Bring It On: The Musical Peter Darling, Matilda The Musical Jerry Mitchell, Kinky Boots Chet Walker, Pippin
Best Orchestrations:Chris Nightingale, Matilda The Musical Stephen Oremus, Kinky Boots Ethan Popp & Bryan Crook, Motown The Musical Danny Troob, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella
Best Scenic Design of a Play:John Lee Beatty, The Nance Santo Loquasto, The Assembled Parties David Rockwell, Lucky Guy Michael Yeargan, Golden Boy
Best Scenic Design of a Musical:Rob Howell, Matilda The Musical Anna Louizos, The Mystery of Edwin Drood Scott Pask, Pippin David Rockwell, Kinky Boots
Best Lighting Design of a Play: Jules Fisher & Peggy Eisenhauer, Lucky Guy Donald Holder, Golden Boy Jennifer Tipton, The Testament of Mary Japhy Weideman, The Nance
Best Lighting Design of a Musical:Kenneth Posner, Kinky Boots Kenneth Posner, Pippin Kenneth Posner, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella Hugh Vanstone, Matilda The Musical
Best Sound Design of a Play:John Gromada, The Trip to Bountiful Mel Mercier, The Testament of Mary Leon Rothenberg, The Nance Peter John Still and Marc Salzberg, Golden Boy
Best Sound Design of a Musical:Jonathan Deans & Garth Helm, Pippin Peter Hylenski, Motown The Musical John Shivers, Kinky Boots Nevin Steinberg, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella
Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre:Bernard GerstenPaul LibinMing Cho Lee
Regional Theatre Award:Huntington Theatre Company, Boston, MA
Isabelle Stevenson Award:Larry Kramer
Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre:Career Trainsition For DancersWilliam CraverPeter LawrenceThe Lost ColonyThe four actresses who created the title role of Matilda The Musical on Broadway: Sophia Gennusa, Oona Laurence, Bailey Ryon, and Milly Shapiro
Follow Lindsey on Twitter @LDiMat.
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How do you solve a casting problem like Maria? Hire Carrie Underwood to play the role!
NBC has cast the country-pop superstar in the part of the nun turned governess turned Nazi-fighting choirmaster in the new version of The Sound of Music they’re planning to air during the 2013 holiday season. Though the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical debuted on Broadway in 1959, it was the 1965 Oscar-winner for Best Picture that truly immortalized Maria von Trapp, played by Julie Andrews. The acting challenge that awaits Underwood is about as daunting as climbing a mountain, especially considering that it’s her first major dramatic role.
The Peacock’s presentation of the musical is intended to be a three-hour live broadcasting event. It’ll be produced by Smash’s Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who are also helming this year’s Academy Awards ceremony. Speaking about Underwood’s addition to the cast, Zadan and Meron said in a statement, “It’s a particular joy to us as producers to see this amazing artist stretch into new territory with this classic musical.” NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt also added, “Speaking for everyone at NBC, we couldn’t be happier to have the gifted Carrie Underwood take up the mantle of the great Maria von Trapp. She was an iconic woman who will now be played by an iconic artist.”
Do you think Underwood is right for the role? And will this leave more of an impression than Brandy's 1997 version of Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella? It's at least gotta be better than that 2001 made-for-TV remake of South Pacific starring Glenn Close and Harry Connick Jr., right? (Yes, that happened.)
Follow Christian Blauvelt on Twitter @Ctblauvelt
[Photo Credit: DJDM/Wenn]
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