ENTERTAINMENT, JAZZ/STANDARDS, MUSIC

Broadway Buzz: Ewan McGregor’s Broadway debut

November 1, 2013

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Happy birthday to theatre phenomenon: WICKED!  This Wednesday was the 10th anniversary of the smash-hit show and, as you would expect, there was a huge celebration. The night’s festivities kicked off at The Gershwin with the show’s alumni and original creative team, then it was off to a starry after-party at The Edison Ballroom.  Trust me when I say, there’s a lot to celebrate. I don’t use the term phenomenon lightly but since its New York premiere a decade ago, Wicked has grossed over $3.1 billion worldwide and has been seen by over 38 million around the world. There are currently 9 productions worldwide: in New York, London, Tokyo, Australia/New Zealand, Seoul, Mexico City, a U.K. Tour, and 2 concurrent North American National Tours.  I spent Wednesday tweeting with passionate fans about their favorite memories, songs and alums.I loved what strong feelings and opinions I got! Feel free to check out the feed and send me your own thoughts on Twitter: @julie_james

The other big news this week is that film and London stage star Ewan McGregor will make his Broadway debut next year in the Roundabout Theatre Company production of Tom Stoppard’s The Real Thing!  I’m not only a fan of his work, but have what’s probably fair to call a Moulin Rouge obsession. Although I would love to see him in a musical (hello?!), I’m just thrilled he’ll be finally welcomed to the live stage on Broadway.  The Real Thing was the 1984 Tony winner for Best Play, and hasn’t been revived on Broadway in 14 years.  Directed by Sam Gold (Picnic, Look Back in Anger), previews will begin October 2, 2014 at the American Airlines Theatre in a limited engagement running through January 4, 2015.  Learn more about this production and the other great theatre they do (including the highly-anticipated revival of the Sam Medes/ Rob Marshall Cabaret with Alan Cumming and Michelle Williams) at www.RoundaboutTheatre.org.

Speaking of McGregor, I’m also really looking forward to his appearance in the upcoming film adaptation of Tracy Letts’ Pulitzer and Tony Award-winning play August: Osage County.

Academy Award-winning Dreamgirls writer Bill Condon has been tapped to rewrite a P.T. Barnum screenplay for Tony winner Hugh Jackman!  The 20th Century Fox film musical “The Greatest Showman on Earth”, produced by Jackman and Laurence Mark (Dreamgirls, Jerry Maguire) casts Jackman himself as circus impresario Barnum. The musical will also explore his relationship with soprano Jenny Lind.  It’s interesting that this isn’t a film adaptation of the 1980 Broadway musical Barnum.  Condon is currently at work on a new production of his musical Side Show, in production at the La Jolla Playhouse.  We’re still counting on Jackman’s word that he’s involved in a Broadway-aimed musical, Houdini, written by Wicked and Pippin composer/lyricist Stephen Schwartz. Houdini has a planned premiere in Chicago prior to landing in New York next season.

Now that Halloween is behind us and we’re already in the new month of November, time to talk HOLIDAYS.  Emmy and Tony nominee Matthew Morrison, currently starring in the hit TV-series Glee, will release his 1st holiday EP, “A Classic Christmas” on November 19. This is one of the last projects taken on by the late, legendary producer Phil Ramone, who also produced Morrison’s collection of Broadway standards “Where It All Began”.  Both CDs were released on 222 Records, the newly formed label from Adam Levine.  Morrison will also appear November 29-30 with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center. Don’t miss out when PBS airs a concert of Christmas songs and standards at the end of the month. (Check local listings for more tune-in info).

One of the best musical adaptations, A Christmas Story, The Musical, by the red-hot young writing team of Tony nominees Pasek and Paul, announced its full casting this week for their regional tour. The holiday-themed tour includes stops at Hartford’s Bushnell Theatre (November 12-17), the Wang Theatre in Boston (November 20- December 8) and the Theater at Madison Square Garden here in New York City (December 11-29).  Original Broadway cast members Dan Lauria (Lombardi, TV’s The Wonder Years) returns, as well as John Bolton, Erin Dilly and Caroline O’Connor (who dazzled on this year’s Tony Awards in the big production number from the show). For me, this show takes everything you love about the classic Christmas movie and brings it to the next level as a musical:  a big ‘ol leg lamp number…yes please!

I’ll be back with you next week for all the biggest scoop, and don’t forget to listen out for a daily dose on “The Broadway Buzz” On Broadway, Ch. 72!