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'First Date' & 'Murder Ballad': Two Sexy Musicals to Keep Your Heartbeat Throbbing

Sunday June 30, 2013
Murder Ballad

Murder Ballad

© Manhattan Theatre Club

Whether you're in the mood for a light-hearted romantic comedy or a steamy, sultry dark love triangle, the New York Theatre District has you covered.

First Date stars Zachary Levi, best known as TV's quirky computer geek "Chuck," and Krysta Rodriguez of NBC's "Smash" as two skittish first-time daters in this hilarious Broadway transfer. The antics of the anxious pair is compounded as everyone else in the restaurant gets involved in their date. For more info on the cast and creatives, plus how to get tickets, check out my article on First Date.

If happy, zippy musicals aren't your thing this month, check out the darker, sultrier Murder Ballad presented by the Manhattan theatre Club. Starring Priscilla Queen of the Desert's Will Swenson and Ghost the Musical's Caissie Levy, Murder Ballad is a gritty rock musical that explores the complexities of a love triangle where more than one person has a past they're trying to keep in the past. But you have to catch the show soon -- it just got its pink slip and will close July 21st. For show info, read my article of Murder Ballad.

Take a peek through the recent archives to stay up on what's happening on Broadway in the coming months!

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Final Week to See Tom Hanks in Broadway's 'Lucky Guy'

Thursday June 27, 2013
Tom Hanks in 'Lucky Guy'

Tom Hanks in 'Lucky Guy'

© Lucky Guy

After a wildly successful Broadway debut, Tom Hanks and the production of Lucky Guy will play its final performance next week.

Nora Ephram's play, Lucky Guy, has enjoyed both critical acclaim and audience adoration, in large part because of the performance given by two-time Academy Award winner Tom Hanks. The show was extended and will end its Broadway run July 3, 2013.

This production was directed by two-time Tony Award winning director George C. Wolfe and presents Ephram's exploration of corruption within New York City's police department.

Be sure to catch Tom Hanks in the home stretch of this limited engagement playing at the Broadhurst Theatre through July 3, 2013.

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John Grisham's 'A Time to Kill' to Open on Broadway Fall 2013

Thursday June 27, 2013
John Grisham's 'A Time to Kill' novel

John Grisham's 'A Time to Kill' novel

©John Grisham

Legal thriller aficionados will drool at the news that John Grisham's A Time to Kill will open on Broadway this Fall.

The production marks the first Grisham novel to be adapted for the stage, a task assigned to Rupert Sweeney, who won Tony Awards for Best Book and Best Score for The Mystery of Edwin Drood. The show will be directed by Ethan McSweeny, who helmed Gore Vidal's The Best Man.

A Time to Kill will begin Previews on Broadway on September 28, 2013, with its official Opening Night scheduled for October 20, 2013, at the John Golden Theatre at 252 West 45th Street. In fact, the sequel to A Time to Kill is due out in stores October 22nd and is titled Sycamore Row.

In a statement, the Mississippi lawyer-turned-author Grisham said about his work's Broadway debut:

"For almost a quarter of a century, A Time to Kill has captivated readers with its raw exploration of race, retribution and justice. It was my first book and the first that I have allowed to be adapted for the theatre. Rupert Holmes did an excellent job of translating it from the page to the stage, and I am happy that not only my loyal readers, but a whole new audience will be able to experience this story in live theatre. I am looking forward to opening night on Broadway!"

The 1996 film starred Matthew McConaughey, Samuel L. Jackson, Sandra Bullock, and Kevin Spacey. More information the Broadway production's cast and production team will be announced soon.

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Final Week to See Bette Midler in Broadway's 'I'll Eat You Last...'

Thursday June 27, 2013
Bette Midler in 'I'll Eat You Last'

Bette Midler in 'I'll Eat You Last'

© I'll Eat You Last

After a successful run on Broadway, the Divine Miss M's one-woman show I'll Eat You Last... A Chat With Sue Mengers must some to an end.

Holding court from a stage sofa, Midler has thrilled audiences with her signature storytelling style, bringing to life the "agent to the stars," Sue Mengers. Midler will play the final performance of the show Sunday, June 30, 2013.

The show has broken its own box office records several times, grossing $890,276 just last week. Clearly, the show will end on a high, after 18 preview performances  and 71 enthusiastically received regular performances.

Catch Midler in her final shows as "Sue Mengers" at the Booth Theatre this week.

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'Miss Saigon' Set to Return to London's West End in 2014

Thursday June 20, 2013
Miss Saigon, original Broadway poster

Miss Saigon

© Cameron Mackintosh

In a season already gearing up for major revivals comes news that Miss Saigon will enjoy a revival in London's West End theatre district in 2014.

Legendary producer Cameron Mackintosh announced that Miss Saigon will once again take the stage in London, appearing at the Prince Edward Theatre, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the show's original opening. Directed by Laurence Connor, the operatic-style musical about love and loss amidst the Viet Nam war will open in May 2014.

According to the press release, Mackintosh feels that audiences will relate to the characters' emotions and stories from a more personal perspective now that this generation has experienced the wars and conflicted emotions of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Casting has yet to be announced, but stay tuned for more information as it is released. And yes, I am also interested to see if this means a Broadway revival for Miss Saigon is imminent.

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'Into the Woods' Film to Be Released for 2014 Holiday Season

Thursday June 20, 2013
Into the Woods, original Broadway poster

Into the Woods

© Into the Woods

If you're having withdrawals from the fervent speculation of how Hollywood will treat a sacred Broadway musical now that Les Misérables has come and gone, get your thinking caps on! The whispers surrounding the film adaptation of the Sondheim/Lapine classic Into the Woods already have tongues wagging.

As I reported back in January 2012, this official feature-film length version of Into the Woods will be helmed by Academy Award-winning movie musical director Rob Marshall and produced by Disney. This version also features a Book re-written by its Tony-winning librettist James Lapine himself (though, it will be interesting to see what he did with the long dialogue scene in Act II). There is no word on how Stephen Sondheim's Tony-winning musical numbers may or may not have been altered.

The names attached to the project include Meryl Streep for the "Witch," Christine Baranski for Cinderella's "Stepmother," Emily Blunt as the "Baker's Wife," Jake Gyllenhaal for one of the "Princes," with the "Baker" possibly being played by Brit comedic actor James Corden, who won the Tony for One Man, Two Guvnors, and none other than Johnny Depp for the anatomically-correct "Wolf."

For those unfamiliar with their stage work, Gyllenhaal appeared in this season's If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet, and Christine Baranski, known for her work on "The Good Wife," won the 1984 Best Featured Actress Tony for The Real Thing.

Into the Woods has a target date of December 25, 2014, for its movie theater release. Stay tuned for updates!

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'Kinky Boots' to Launch National Tour in Las Vegas in 2014

Monday June 17, 2013
Kinky Boots poster

Kinky Boots

© Kinky Boots

Producers Daryl Roth and Hal Luftig have announced that Kinky Boots, the winner of six 2013 Tony Awards, will kick off its national tour in Las Vegas in September 2014.

The tour will open at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts in Downtown Las Vegas, in response to overwhelming demand by locals to bring the show to the Vegas area.

According to Roth, "We are so excited to take Kinky Boots from coast to coast, so that the entire country can share in the joyousness that our audiences on Broadway experience every night." Luftig concurred, saying, "And what a privilege it is to be the first Broadway show to launch a national tour at the beautiful new Smith Center. We look forward to an exciting opening night in Las Vegas next September."

Written by Tony winner Harvey Fierstein and new Tony Award-winning composer Cyndi Lauper, Kinky Boots tells the true story of how one young man saves the family business by being open to change and taking a risk.

The original Broadway production of Kinky Boots opened April 4, 2013, and recently six won Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Score for Cyndi Lauper, Best Choreography for Jerry Mitchell, Best Actor for Billy Porter, Best Orchestrations for Stephen Oremus, and Best Sound Design for John Shivers. The show also received the Best Musical trophies from the Drama League, Outer Critics Circle, as well as many other awards.

Stay tuned for updates about tour dates and cities!

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Neil Patrick Harris Returns to Broadway in 'Hedwig and the Angry Inch'

Monday June 17, 2013
Neil Patrick Harris

 

Neil Patrick Harris

© Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Neil Patrick Harris will return to the Broadway stage in the 2014 Broadway premiere of Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

Fans of the TV and Broadway star and fabulous Tony Awards host will be thrilled to learn Harris will grace the Great White Way once again. In a statement released by producers, Harris said, "I am simultaneously ecstatic and terrified to be stepping into 'Hedwig's' heels. It is truly a once-in-a-lifetime role, and I can't wait to begin the journey."

Composer Stephen Trask was elated to have Harris cast as the cult favorite "Hedwig": "It's like you're putting together a fantasy rock band and Paul McCartney agrees to play bass."

Hedwig and the Angry Inch was a favorite on stage and in the Sundance award-winning indie film written by and starring John Cameron Mitchell. Talk of a Broadway production has been circulating for years, and now with Harris in the lead, the show seems to finally be on track for a Spring 2014 opening.

The Broadway production is being produced by David Binder, who produced the original Hedwig Off-Off-Broadway in 1997. Says Binder:

"I'm so excited that everything has come into place to bring Hedwig to Broadway. I have always felt that John and Stephen's musical is a masterpiece and deserved to be seen by wider audiences. Neil Patrick Harris is a consummate stage performer who knows how to rock -- there is no one better to play the role of Hedwig on Broadway."

More news on creatives and theatre location will be announced soon. Stay tuned!

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POLL: Which Show Will Win Best Play at the 2013 Tony Awards?

Thursday May 23, 2013
Tony Awards

Tony Awards

© American Theatre Wing/ Broadway League

Ready to vote for Best Play?

Several famous Hollywood and television stars hit the boards this season, including Tom Hanks in Lucky Guy, Judith Light in The Assembled Parties, and David Hyde Pierce and Sigourney Weaver in Vasha and Sonia and Masha and Spike.

Tony voters might be a little-star-struck, so help them out! Vote in the poll below to name your pick to win the Tony Award for Best Play for the 2012-2013 season.

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POLL: Which Show Will Win Best Musical at 2013 Tony Awards?

Thursday May 23, 2013
Tony Awards

Tony Awards

© American Theatre Wing/ Broadway League

It's that time of year again! Time to put on our thinking caps and guess which shows will take the top trophies at this year's Tony Awards.

Think you know what show will snag Best Musical? Vote below! Then see how your prediction ranks with others.

Happy voting!

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