a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

Posts tagged ‘Harry Potter’

“Downtown Abbey” Movie to Begin Shooting


It’s official! Downton Abbey fans! Rejoice! For the movie version of the blockbuster Masterpiece TV series is beginning to shoot in England. At where else? HIghclere Castle!

As the original cast is returning, it will feel like visiting with old friends. Including Dame Maggie Smith, Michele Dockery, Hugh Bonneville and Joanne Frogatt. Things have changed in that now the nefarious footman Thomas (Rob James-Collier) is now the head butler.

Mr. Carson is unwell, the character, not the great actor, James Carter, but his real life wife, Olivier-winning actress Imelda Staunton, the odious teacher Frances Umbrage of Harry Potter fame, will be joining the cast as Dame Maggie’s cousin.

Julian Fellowes wrote this at a brisk clip. It must have been like a walk in the country for him after writing EVERY SINGLE EPISODE of the six year series.

Others being added to the already starry cast are:-

Geraldine James (Anne with an E, Beast), Simon Jones (The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Brideshead Revisited), David Haig (Killing Eve, Penny Dreadful), Tuppence Middleton (War and Peace, The Imitation Game), Kate Phillips (Peaky Blinders, The Crown) and Stephen Campbell Moore (History Boys, Lark Rise to Candleford), amongst others.

It’s a packed house already! And will undoubtedly be packing movie theaters all over the world upon its’ release next year. Once again, I can’t wait!

One little spoiler that Lily James revealed in her “Mama Mia 2” press interviews is that her character, the vivacious, flirtatious, former flapper Rose, won’t be featured as much, because she said “The focus is on the family.” And Rose, if you remember, married a rich Jewish young man, and they both moved to New York.

Domage!

 

It’s Only a Play is Very Funny and VERY Long

Tony 1It's Only 1“It’s Only a Play” is very funny and VERY long. Why this piece of fluff, of absolutely delicious whimsy had to be two hours AND  FORTY MINUTES, I had no idea! When I checked the time leaving the theater it was just before ten! And it had started at 7! However, I did have a good time. It’s breezy, bouncy and cheesy. But cheese of the most delicious, aromatic type.It’s a witchy, bitchy brew.

You’ll enjoy it, too, if you’re lucky enough to get tickets. It’s totally sold out it’s limited engagement! Limited! Only until January 4! It’s the biggest hit on Broadway! With all the star-power involved, you’d think they’d have more courage to just have it open-ended and sweep up every Tony in sight come June.

But no, it was only supposed to run til the beginning of January, and Nathan Lane’s leaving, and Martin Short’s coming in(see press release a few posts back) and the good news is it’s running now until March. And Nathan hasn’t been this good since “The Producers.” He’s really, really funny in this and actually I don’t think that Broadway has seen a show with this much fun and bounce SINCE “The Producers”!

I always think  of the great Terrence McNally who wrote(and re-wrote and re-wrote) “It’s Only a Play” since the ’70s, as a very genial sort.He’s no longer Mr. Nice Guy now!. The gloves are definitely off in “It’s Only a Play” so much so that it reminded me of wonderful Gerard Alessandrini’s much missed “Forbidden Broadway.” Everybody who’s anybody gets it in the teeth here. Liza Minelli is called a cunt. I’m not kidding. And Lane bemoans the Kardashians starring in “Three Sisters”. Here McNally has become an equal opportunity insulter. And the play is all the more timely and fun because of it.

And the worst review that Lane’s character gets is being compared(unfavorably) to Harvey Fierstein. Over and over and over. It’s funny. His exasperation and horror are truly hilarious as he keeps repeating “Harvey Fierstein!”

And every body in the stellar cast is very, very funny, with the exception of the somnambulist Matthew Broderick. Who has never got this theatrical mojo back since “The Producers.” He walks through this like a dead fish. Shame. Lots of jokes about Stockard Channing’s diva/actress character and her penchant for drugs. Specifically Valium.

Broderick’s performance is like that. Dead-eyed and dead-in-the-water,and he’s supposed to be the impassioned playwright,  but it matters not, because every body else has brought their A-Game.

It’s wonderful to see Lane at his level best. And he has joke after joke after joke, and actually never once leaves the stage, THANK GOD!

Lane states, “I don’t work with children, dogs or Frank Langella.”(!?!)

Channing has never been better as the leading actress Virginia Noyes(pronounced Noise) and she sports a cane because she’s got a police detector, an ankle bracelet on her ankle, which keeps going off at the most hilarious moments. She snorts coke and has to  report in to her parole officer every three hours. She’s described as a “female impersonator searching for a female to impersonate.”(!?!)

Her auburn hair is styled like Susan Hayward at her most flaming in the ’50s. Recalling her in “The Jane Froman Story,” and she makes the most of every comic line McNally has given her. She and Lane are a joy. But I bet it is Channing who gets the Tony come awards time. She, unlike Lane, is staying in the show.

The newly thin-esque Megan Mullaney, looks completely un-like her former TV self and is sporting a Southern drawl to go with her newly svelte figure. I didn’t even recognize her! She’s the play’s energetic and naive and very rich producer, Julia Budder. And she, too keeps the comic balls bouncing.

At one point, somebody throws a snow-ball through her town house(where the play is set, stunningly designed by Scott Pask), through her town house window, and she looks outside to see who did and she says “It’s the Cast of ‘Matilda’! And I can’t understand a word they’re saying!”

Also surprisingly expert at their comic chops are Harry Potter’s Rupert Grint, as a snotty British director, who HATES getting nothing but good reviews(and is a secret kleptomaniac) and F. Murray Abraham(also unrecognizable here, initially) as that dreaded creature THE THEATER CRITIC.

Stealing the show out from everyone in a brand new part which has just gone through a sex-change(the character as written originally was some one called Emma) is newcomer Micah Stock as the lanky/hunky, gay cater-waiter, Gus P. Head, who’s just gotten into town, in cowboy boots, no less, and who keeps wanting to sing “Defying Gravity” from “Wicked” and eventually does so, to hilarious effect.

“They’re going to eat you alive!” Lane notes. Stock is so good audiences and critics are indeed eating him up. With delight.

“It’s Only a Play” is so good and so funny that you wonder why more rip-roaring comedies aren’t written like this and are on Broadway delighting millions. Well, when I read its’ history,  since THE SEVENTIES, which I’ll post below,  well, you’ll see what a long and tortuous road “It’s Only A Play” had on its’ way to Broadway, where quite frankly, it belongs, and I hope it runs for a million years!

History here below thanks to Wikipedia ~

It’s Only a Play is a play byTerrence McNally. The play ranOff-Off-Broadway in 1982, Off-Broadway in 1986, and Broadway in 2014. The producer, playwright, director, actors and friends eagerly wait for the opening night reviews of their Broadway play.

Productions

The play was revised from its 1978 version and produced off-off-Broadway by Manhattan Punch Line at the Actors and Directors Theatre, opening in November 1982.[1][2] Paul Benedict directed, with a cast that included Francis Cuka as Julia Budder, Richard Leighton as James Wicker, Paul Guilfoyle as Frank Finger, Ken Kliban as Ira Drew and Harriet Rogers as Emma.[3]

The play was produced Off-Broadway by the Manhattan Theatre Club at its New York City Center Stage 1, running from December 17, 1985 (previews), officially January 11, 1986 to January 26, 1986. Directed by John Tillinger, the cast featured Christine Baranski (Julia Budder), Paul Benedict (Ira Drew),Mark Blum (Peter Austin), James Coco (James Wicker), David Garrison (Frank Finger), Joanna Gleason (Virginia Noyes) and Florence Stanley(Emma).[4] John Tillinger was nominated for the 1986 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Director of a Play.[5]

A revised version was produced by the Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson at the Doolittle Theatre, Los Angeles, California in April 1992. John Tillinger directed, with a cast that featured Eileen Brennan (Virginia Noyes), Sean O’Bryan (Gus, a waiter), Charles Nelson Reilly (James Wicker), David Hyde Pierce (Frank Finger), Dana Ivey (Julia Budder), Paul Benedict (Ira Drew),Zeljko Ivanek (Peter Austin) and Doris Roberts (Emma).[4][6]

The play began its Broadway premiere at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre on August 28, 2014 (in previews) and officially on October 9, 2014. It was originally scheduled for a limited 18-week engagement, through January 4, 2015. Jack O’Brien directs, with a cast that stars Nathan Lane as James Wicker and Matthew Broderick as Peter Austin. Also featured in the cast areMegan Mullally as Julia Budder, Stockard Channing as Virginia Noyes, F. Murray Abraham as Ira Drew, Rupert Grint as Frank Finger, and Micah Stock as Gus.[7][8][9] In November 2014, it was announced that the play would extend its run, through January 18, 2015 at the Schoenfeld, and will then transfer to the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre in a run from January 23, 2015 to March 29, 2015. Martin Short will replace Lane in the role of “James Wicker” as of January 7, 2015.[10]

McNally has said that he has rewritten the play to bring it up-to-date.[1][11]

Background

The play was originally called Broadway, Broadway and had closed during tryouts in Philadelphia in 1978.[12] Geraldine Page and James Coco were in the Philadelphia cast, and the play was set to open on Broadway at theEugene O’Neill Theatre. However, the Philadelphia reviews were negative and the Broadway opening was cancelled.[13] In 1984, McNally said that afterBroadway, Broadway closed he was no longer confident, but finally realized that having a show close is not the worst thing that could happen.[14]

 

 

Matthew Broderick to Extend in “It’s Only a Play”!

It's Only 1

TONY® AWARD WINNER

M A T T H E W B R O D E R I C K

EXTENDS IN
BROADWAY’S SMASH HIT

“IT’S ONLY A PLAY”

New York, NY (November 13, 2014) – Producers Tom Kirdahy, Roy Furman, and Ken Davenport announced today that Tony® Award winner Matthew Broderick has extended his contract with Broadway’s smash hit It’s Only A Play. Originally scheduled to appear in the production through its original closing date of January 4th, Broderick will continue to star in the production through its new end date on March 29, 2015. Broderick currently stars in the production opposite Nathan Lane, who exits on January 4th for a previously scheduled professional commitment. Beginning January 7th, Broderick will headline It’s Only A Play opposite the previously-announced Martin Short.

In a brief statement, Broderick said: “It’s been my great joy to return to Broadway with Nathan—but now that he’s headed to Brooklyn, I can think of no greater scene partner than my friend and colleague Martin Short. To celebrate his arrival at It’s Only A Play, we thought it would be best to move to the theater next door and start the play all over again.”

Previously scheduled as a limited engagement through January 4th, the record-breaking It’s Only a Play will extend at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre through January 18, 2015 and then transfer to its sibling Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre (242 West 45th Street) starting January 23, 2015 and currently scheduled through March 29, 2015. Tickets are now on sale for all performances through March 29th.

The biggest hit of the new season, It’s Only A Play, is now in performances and celebrated its opening night on Thursday, October 9, 2014. Academy Award® winner F. Murray Abraham, Tony® Award winner Matthew Broderick, Emmy® and Tony® Award winner Stockard Channing, international film sensation Rupert Grint, Tony® Award winner Nathan Lane, Emmy® Award winner Megan Mullally, and newcomer Micah Stock star. 3-time Tony® Award winner Jack O’Brien directs. For more information, please visit http://www.ItsOnlyAPlay.com.

In It’s Only A Play, it’s opening night of Peter Austin’s (Matthew Broderick) new play as he anxiously awaits to see if his show is a hit. With his career on the line, he shares his big First Night with his best friend, a television star (Nathan Lane), his fledgling producer (Megan Mullally), his erratic leading lady (Stockard Channing), his wunderkind director (Rupert Grint), an infamous drama critic (F. Murray Abraham), and a fresh-off-the-bus coat check attendant (Micah Stock) on his first night in Manhattan. It’s alternately raucous, ridiculous and tender — and proves that sometimes the biggest laughs happen offstage.

Mr. McNally—a four-time Tony® Award winning playwright—recently celebrated the premiere of his 20th Broadway production, Mothers and Sons, which marks his 50th year on Broadway. Mothers and Sons, which was nominated for Best Play at the 2014 Tony® Awards, ended its celebrated Broadway run June 22, 2014 at the Golden Theatre and will be seen in more than twenty countries next year.

The design team for It’s Only A Play includes scenic design by Tony® winner Scott Pask, costume design by Academy Award® and Tony® winner Ann Roth, lighting design by Philip Rosenberg, and sound design by Fitz Patton.

Tickets are available by visiting the Schoenfeld Theatre box office Monday – Saturday, 10am – 8:30pm; Sunday, 12 – 6pm; by visiting the Jacobs Theatre box office Monday – Saturday, 10am – 8:30pm; Sunday, 12 – 6pm; or online at Telecharge.com. For groups of 20 or more, call 855-329-2932.

It’s Only A Play is produced on Broadway by Tom Kirdahy, Roy Furman, Ken Davenport, Hunter Arnold, Morris Berchard and Susan Dietz, Caiola Productions, Carl Daikeler, Jim Fantaci, Wendy Federman, Barbara Freitag and Loraine Alterman Boyle, Hugh Hayes, Jim Herbert, Ricardo F. Hornos, Stephanie Kramer, LAMS Productions, Scott Landis, Mark Lee and Ed Filipowski, Harold Newman, Roy Putrino, Sanford Robertson, Tom Smedes and Peter Stern, and Brian Cromwell Smith.

“Deliriously Dishy. It’s Only a Play is a hit!”
-Ben Brantley, New York Times

“Hilarious! The hottest ticket in town – and rightly so”
-Terry Teachout, Wall Street Journal

“Wickedly funny. A pure hoot, a rollicking comedy with perfect casting
and deft direction by Jack O’Brien that gleefully dissects modern Broadway.
You won’t want the night to end”
-Mark Kennedy, Associated Press

“Terrence McNally’s It’s Only a Play is that rare Broadway comedy
that’s as smart as it is funny”
-Linda Winer, Newsday

“A fierce, uproarious new play”
-Elysa Gardner, USA Today

“The funniest play on Broadway in years!”
-Rob Shuter, VH1

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: