Theatre Thursdays: Bullets Over Broadway

zach_braff (1)Huffpo has it, that Zach Braff will make his Broadway debut in 2014 in Bullets Over Broadway, a stage adaptation of Woody Allen’s 1994 crime comedy film.  Braff will play the role played in 1994 by John Cusack, that of David Shayne, an idealistic young playwright who hires a talentless actress to gain mob funding for his new show. He finds himself lying and cheating, morally compromised, and unprepared for what it means to be a Broadway neophyte, all while working toward his big open.

If you haven’t see the film, see it. It is as funny and witty as you would expect from Allen, with quality performances from Mary-Louise Parker, Dianne Wiest (who won an Oscar for her performance), and Rob Reiner, among others. It’s actually probably the best thing that Allen wrote or directed in the nineties.

Susan_Stroman (1)

I think that scene best illustrates the point I want to make is that as funny as it was on film, the nature of the writing is such that Bullets Over Broadway has the genuine potential to be an even better play, and that’s no mean trick. But I think that it could happen. The show will be directed by Susan Stroman, who has five Tonys strapped under her dancebelt, four for choreography and one for directing The Producers, whose six-year Broadway run opened in 2001 at the St. James Theatre.

Braff and the rest of the cast will similarly open at the St. James on March 11, 2014. I’m looking forward to Braff’s performance in particular, as the jump from film to the Broadway spotlight has always piqued my interest. For example, when James Bond (Daniel Craig) and Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) were cast in A Steady Rain, I dutifully bought tickets and watched as the two of them revealed largely unknown acting talents. Wolverine, for example, earned himself a 2004 Tony for Leading Actor in a Musical for The Boy From OzCraig, for his part, has starred at the Old Vic, The Royal Court Theatre, and the National Theatre, and so is not without experience or pedigree. And they are not above heckling you if you let your phone ring

But, back to my point, Braff isn’t without his own theatrical talent. Braff was active in the New York theatre scene, acting at the Public Theatre in 2002, and he was onstage at the Second Stage Theatre as recently as 2010. He has also written a play, All New Peoplethat has toured all over the UK, including Manchester and Glasgow. He’s got all the necessary chops to jump back into acting and make his Broadway debut. You can’t see it, but I’m squealing like a little girl.

So, to sum: Zach Braff. Woody Allen. St James Theatre. March 2014. Fabulous. See you there!

Trailer Tuesdays: Les Misérables

Lady Bacula: We’ve got a new Les Misérables trailer, you guys! And only one week until we can see the whole thing. It’s actually the international trailer. I’m not sure what that means, but it doesn’t make the movie look any less awesome.

I’ve never seen the musical, although I know a lot of the music from various choruses in my younger years. I thought about reading the book, but Lady Saika warned me against it.

Lady Saika: I love it, but the unabridged version is the only way to go, and it’s a hell of a commitment at 1400+ pages.

Lady Bacula: I’m reading the Song of Ice and Fire books instead. But I love Hugh Jackman (from X-Men and Oklahoma!), and Anne Hathaway seems to have good chops. I’m a tad worried about Russell Crowe. In fact, I’m afraid we’re going to get a similar performance to Pierce Brosnan in Mamma Mia! And if you’ve never seen that, count yourself amongst the lucky.

Now that we are all gearing up for Christmas, I hope you’ve put seeing this movie on your list!

Theatre Thursdays: The Tonys!

So did anyone else watch the Tonys on Sunday night?

Just me?

Crap.

Well, they actually put on a damn good show. There was an opening number from last year’s best musical winner The Book of Mormon, general all-around clever wonderfulness from host Neil Patrick Harris, and plenty of musical theatre jokes sandwiched in with the snippets of this year’s best musical and play nominees. I was particularly pleased to see the latter, as I found myself woefully ignorant of even the titles of most of the top shows.

Here’s the full list of winners if you want to peruse it. Once (one of those I’d never heard of, but apparently about a young songwriter?) won eight awards, making it the stand-out winner of the night. Hugh Jackman won a special Tony for being awesome in general (“the Hugh Jackman Award For Being Hugh Jackman goes to… Hugh Jackman,” as a friend put it) and adorably accepted it from his wife. And I was personally pleased in the core of my geek soul to see that James Corden (Craig in Doctor Who series 5 and 6) won the Best Actor in a Play Tony above huge names like James Earl Jones, Frank Langella, John Lithgow and Philip Seymour Hoffman.

The one thing that made me sad, although I totally understood why they did it for the sake of steamlining the show and not turning it into an Oscar-length fiasco, was that they did all the backstage awards (lighting, sets, costumes, etc.) during the commercial breaks, and flashed back to them when the show returned from commercial. As a costumer I’m interested in these, but like I said, I totally understand that most people would rather watch the actor awards and are content with a recap of who won what design things.

In passing, let NPH sum up the awards for you better than I ever could:

Theatre Thursdays: Les Miserables – THE MOVIE!!1

I have a confession to make, everyone: I love the musical Les Miserables more than I have loved any stage show ever, bar none.  It was the first musical that made me cry; I spent my final years of grade school and the beginning of high school independently studying the history of revolutionary and Napoleonic France because of my love of it; I have read the unabridged original novel by Victor Hugo (at a whopping 1463 pages) far more times than is normal or possibly healthy. I actually cried with joy onstage when I had the opportunity to perform in a student production.

So when I heard they were finally making a movie adaptation of this driving force in my life, I had ALL THE FEELINGS. Musical to movie adaptations are a mixed bag to be sure, usually only appealing to people who were fans of the musical to begin with, and often starring actors chosen for their fame rather than for their ability to sing. I’M LOOKING AT YOU, PHANTOM OF THE OPERA MOVIE. And when you get the original cast instead, they’ve usually aged a decade or so and a suspension of disbelief is required when you see them playing twenty-somethings. I’M LOOKING AT YOU, RENT MOVIE.

So here’s the cast list so far:

And can I say? I’m actually pretty confident about it.  The only person who makes me worried at this point is Russell Crowe, because I simply don’t know if he has the vocal chops (or the muttonchops, har har) to carry the really awesome and important role of Javert.  I know that Jackman will be amazing as Valjean, though; Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter will be tremendous as the skeevy Thenardiers.  And, when I looked up that cast list just now my little Mizzie heart just leapt in my chest with happiness, because the original cast’s Valjean, Colm Wilkinson, is playing the Bishop of Digne.

So this isn’t coming out for a while and the cast has only very recently become more than a thing of speculation. And I haven’t seen any set shots or trailers yet that give me a feel for how those things will or will not emulate the musical.  But I’m hoping that it’s all-star cast will both do justice to the score AND bring the pure wonderfulness of Les Miserables to a wider movie-going audience. My fingers are crossed, and the stars in their multitudes have been wished upon.

Here, have a ludicrously high-res and ludicrously AWESOME movie poster for the road.